August 10, 2014: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Rights and Responsibilities
“…Rights should be understood and exercised in a moral framework rooted in the dignity of the human person.” (49) Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, USCCB
First Reading: 1st Kings 19:9a, 11-13a
Psalm: Psalm 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14
Second Reading: Romans 9:1-5
Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.” “And now, O LORD God, you are God, and your words are true”; this is why God’s promises always come true.32 God is Truth itself, whose words cannot deceive. This is why one can abandon oneself in full trust to the truth and faithfulness of his word in all things. The beginning of sin and of man’s fall was due to a lie of the tempter who induced doubt of God’s word, kindness and faithfulness. (215)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The definitive salvation that God offers to all humanity through his own Son does not come about outside of this world. While wounded by sin, the world is destined to undergo a radical purification (cf. 2 Pet 3:10) that will make it a renewed world (cf. Is 65:17, 66:22; Rev21:1), finally becoming the place where “righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13).
In his public ministry, Jesus makes use of natural elements. Not only is he a knowledgeable interpreter of nature, speaking of it in images and parables, but he also dominates it (cf. the episode of the calming of the storm in Mt 14:22-33; Mk 6:45-52; Lc 8:22-25; Jn 6:16-21). The Lord puts nature at the service of his plan of redemption. He asks his disciples to look at things, at the seasons and at people with the trust of children who know that they will never be abandoned by a provident Father (cf. Lk 11:11-13). Far from being enslaved by things, the disciple of Jesus must know how to use them in order to bring about sharing and brotherhood (cf. Lk 16:9-13). (453)
Psalm 85: 9 and 11
Peace is the goal of life in society, as is made extraordinarily clear in the messianic vision of peace: when all peoples will go up to the Lord’s house, and he will teach them his ways and they will walk along the ways of peace (cf. Is 2:2-5). A new world of peace that embraces all of nature is the promise of the messianic age (cf. Is 11:6-9), and the Messiah himself is called “Prince of peace” (Is 9:5). Wherever his peace reigns, wherever it is present even in part, no longer will anyone be able to make the people of God fearful (cf. Zeph 3:13). It is then that peace will be lasting, because when the king rules according to God’s justice, righteousness flourishes and peace abounds “till the moon be no more” (Ps 72:7). God longs to give peace to his people: “he will speak of peace to his people, to his saints, to those who turn to him in their hearts” (Ps 85:9). Listening to what God has to say to his people about peace, the Psalmist hears these words: “Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss” (Ps 85:11). (490)
The promise of peace that runs through the entire Old Testament finds its fulfilment in the very person of Jesus. Peace, in fact, is the messianic attribute par excellence, in which all other beneficial effects of salvation are included. The Hebrew word “shalom” expresses this fullness of meaning in its etymological sense of “completeness” (cf. Is 9:5ff; Mic 5:1-4). The kingdom of the Messiah is precisely the kingdom of peace (cf. Job 25:2; Ps 29:11; 37:11; 72:3,7; 85:9,11; 119:165; 125:5, 128:6; 147:14; Song 8:10; Is 26:3,12; 32:17f.; 52:7; 54:10; 57:19; 60:17; 66:12;Hag 2:9; Zech 9:10; et al.). Jesus “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility among people, reconciling them with God (cf. Eph 2:14-16). This is the very effective simplicity with which Saint Paul indicates the radical motivation spurring Christians to undertake a life and a mission of peace.
On the eve of his death, Jesus speaks of his loving relation with the Father and the unifying power that this love bestows upon his disciples. It is a farewell discourse which reveals the profound meaning of his life and can be considered a summary of all his teaching. The gift of peace is the seal on his spiritual testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). The words of the Risen Lord will not be any different; every time that he meets his disciples they receive from him the greeting and gift of peace: “Peace be with you” (Lk24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
The Gospel reading begins by saying, “Jesus made the disciples get in the boat.” A decision that was not optional or they had time to ponder. It was the boat sitting on the shore, not a boat of their choosing, their favorite canoe, the thirty-two foot sail boat docked in the marina or the pontoon boat ready for a party with friends. As Jesus calls us to be disciples, he has a boat for each of us to get into. While we may not leave a physical destination, we leave the comfort of standing on the shore of familiarity, where we know the surroundings. Called to venture forth on the boat, we enter a realm of vulnerability, sea spray mists our face, we need to trim the sails or tilt the oar to chart a new course. A road not defined on the GPS monitor, but an infinite possibility of routes to reach the other shore or sail around to return to our original point of departure and having Jesus ask us to start another journey in a different boat.
Accepting the call of discipleship means a willingness to be at the shore and looking into the infinite beyond, in trust, get on the boat. From winds and waves of the experience, a place of vulnerability and God seems absent. But in the 4th watch (3AM to 6AM), as dawn comes to fruition, we see that God was manifest in the journey and we take courage to dismiss doubt.
All God proclaims is peace and experiencing the boat that awakens within us. A peace not molded in the frivolity of make believe sand castles crafted by our hands on the shore, but experiencing the waves and winds of seeking justice. And on the day of systemic transformation and throwing overboard discrimination, inequality and exploitation — realizing the boat is not overloaded, so it will not sink, we know the Lord has passed by and guided us on the way of peace. A kiss of unity bearing the air of truth, abounding in kindness. Let us not be hesitant to board the boat Jesus asks us to journey on, for discipleship is not about the fear of what might happen, but living in the hope Jesus is the Son of God asking us to live with courage and seeing His kindness manifest.
Individual Reflection: Romans 9:1-5
Visit the website for Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP). Might this be a program to initiate in your city and give dignity to your homeless sisters and brothers?
Family Reflection: Psalm 85:9, 10, 11-2, 13-14
Visit the website of artist John August Swanson and reflect upon his portrayal of Psalm 85
Lord, let us board the boat you ask us to journey on with the enthusiasm of a faithful disciple. Help us to welcome all you have on the boat journeying with us. When the day is foggy, help us to not discard our sunglasses but stay the course in hope of your light. If the day is hot, let us seek refreshment from your living water. Keep us from running aground or ramming other boats from our path, for you are our guide that helps us embrace truth with kindness. Being on the boat you urge us to be on, let us find peace only you can give. Even as we navigate through winds and waves, thank you for sinking doubt and raising sails of courage. In your dear name Jesus, Amen.
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born July 29, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern