January 25, 2015: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
Solidarity highlights in a particular way the intrinsic social nature of the human person, the equality of all in dignity and rights and the common path of individuals and peoples towards an ever more committed unity. Never before has there been such a widespread awareness of the bond of interdependence between individuals and peoples, which is found at every level. The very rapid expansion in ways and means of communication “in real time”, such as those offered by information technology, the extraordinary advances in computer technology, the increased volume of commerce and information exchange all bear witness to the fact that, for the first time since the beginning of human history, it is now possible — at least technically — to establish relationships between people who are separated by great distances and are unknown to each other.
In the presence of the phenomenon of interdependence and its constant expansion, however, there persist in every part of the world stark inequalities between developed and developing countries, inequalities stoked also by various forms of exploitation, oppression and corruption that have a negative influence on the internal and international life of many States. The acceleration of interdependence between persons and peoples needs to be accompanied by equally intense efforts on the ethical-social plane, in order to avoid the dangerous consequences of perpetrating injustice on a global scale. This would have very negative repercussions even in the very countries that are presently more advantaged (192).
The new relationships of interdependence between individuals and peoples, which arede facto forms of solidarity, have to be transformed into relationships tending towards genuine ethical-social solidarity. This is a moral requirement inherent within all human relationships. Solidarity is seen therefore under two complementary aspects: that of a social principleThe awareness that “the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor 7:31) is not an exoneration from being involved in the world, and even less from work (cf. 2 Thes 3:7-15), which is an integral part of the human condition, although not the only purpose of life. No Christian, in light of the fact that he belongs to a united and fraternal community, should feel that he has the right not to work and to live at the expense of others (cf. 2 Thes 3:6-12). Rather, all are charged by the Apostle Paul to make it a point of honour to work with their own hands, so as to “be dependent on nobody” (1 Thes 4:12), and to practise a solidarity which is also material by sharing the fruits of their labour with “those in need” (Eph 4:28). Saint James defends the trampled rights of workers: “Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts” (Jas 5:4). Believers are to undertake their work in the style of Christ and make it an occasion for Christian witness, commanding “the respect of outsiders” (1 Thes 4:12). and that of a moral virtue.
Solidarity must be seen above all in its value as a moral virtue that determines the order of institutions. On the basis of this principle the “structures of sin”that dominate relationships between individuals and peoples must be overcome. They must be purified and transformed into structures of solidarity through the creation or appropriate modification of laws, market regulations, and juridical systems.
Solidarity is also an authentic moral virtue, not a “feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good. That is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all”. Solidarity rises to the rank of fundamental social virtue since it places itself in the sphere of justice. It is a virtue directed par excellence to the common good, and is found in “a commitment to the good of one’s neighbour with the readiness, in the Gospel sense, to ‘lose oneself’ for the sake of the other instead of exploiting him, and to ‘serve him’ instead of oppressing him for one’s own advantage (cf. Mt 10:40-42, 20:25; Mk 10:42-45; Lk 22:25-27)” (193) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Jonah 3”1-5, 10
Psalm: 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Second Reading: 1st Corinthians 7:29-31
Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
Catechism of the Catholic Church
All Christ’s faithful are to “direct their affections rightly, lest they be hindered in their pursuit of perfect charity by the use of worldly things and by an adherence to riches which is contrary to the spirit of evangelical poverty. (2545)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The Church, the community of those who have been brought together by the Risen Christ and who have set out to follow him, is “the sign and the safeguard of the transcendent dimension of the human person. She is “in Christ a kind of sacrament — a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men”. Her mission is that of proclaiming and communicating the salvation wrought in Jesus Christ, which he calls “the Kingdom of God” (Mk 1:15), that is, communion with God and among men. The goal of salvation, the Kingdom of God embraces all people and is fully realized beyond history, in God. The Church has received “the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is, on earth, the seed and the beginning of that Kingdom” (49)
1st Corinthians 7:31
The human person cannot and must not be manipulated by social, economic or political structures, because every person has the freedom to direct himself towards his ultimate end. On the other hand, every cultural, social, economic and political accomplishment, in which the social nature of the person and his activity of transforming the universe are brought about in history, must always be considered also in the context of its relative and provisional reality, because “the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor 7:31). We can speak here of an eschatological relativity, in the sense that man and the world are moving towards their end, which is the fulfilment of their destiny in God; we can also speak of a theological relativity, insofar as the gift of God, by which the definitive destiny of humanity and of creation will be attained, is infinitely greater than human possibilities and expectations. Any totalitarian vision of society and the State, and any purely intra-worldly ideology of progress are contrary to the integral truth of the human person and to God’s plan in history. (48)
The awareness that “the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor 7:31) is not an exoneration from being involved in the world, and even less from work (cf. 2 Thes 3:7-15),which is an integral part of the human condition, although not the only purpose of life. No Christian, in light of the fact that he belongs to a united and fraternal community, should feel that he has the right not to work and to live at the expense of others (cf. 2 Thes 3:6-12). Rather, all are charged by the Apostle Paul to make it a point of honour to work with their own hands, so as to “be dependent on nobody” (1 Thes 4:12), and to practise a solidarity which is also material by sharing the fruits of their labour with “those in need” (Eph 4:28). Saint James defends the trampled rights of workers: “Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts” (Jas 5:4). Believers are to undertake their work in the style of Christ and make it an occasion for Christian witness, commanding “the respect of outsiders” (1 Thes 4:12). (264)
Jonah was sent to Nineveh by the Lord. Where is the Lord asking you to do His bidding? We need to have our GPS (God Positioning System) on with attentiveness to God’s call through the Holy Spirit. Opportunities to use our gifts to share the beauty of the Gospel. Two words define this process, teachable and humble. Teachable, a receptivity to the Lord’s ways, to see His paths with eyes of faith and richness of truth from the gift of salvation. A love, kindness and goodness that cannot be hoarded, but in its abundance only shared. Humbleness leads to the quest for justice to eliminate arrogance flaunting self-acclamation. Justice rooted in Gospel values of reconciliation, welcoming and supporting the downtrodden to wholeness.
Don’t turn off your GPS and live as the Jonahs of today. Share your belief in the Gospel, not out of condemnation toward people possessed with the nuances and paradigms of today’s Ninevehs. But share the hope of justice rooted in affirming dignity to cultivate peace. This is the process of leaving our nets abandoned. What from your catch will you need to leave behind? Personal goals, self-serving possessions, attitudes of hate and indifference. Then you will be able to share in the common ground from being spiritually clothed in the sackcloth of repentance, to journey in freedom from believing in the Gospel.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
What skills do you have that you could teach others to empower them in their personal or professional lives? Reflect on how education is a path of justice.
Family Reflection Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Plan a summer vacation to attend Campaign Non-Violence’s national conference and vigils in New Mexico
Pray about the words of the communion antiphon from John 8:12
I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
Prayerfully ponder the darkness you need to walk away from and offer praise for the light of life you have embraced and serve.
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, January 10, 2015The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.