June 14, 2015: Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community and Participation
Being Church means being God’s people, in accordance with the great plan of his fatherly love. This means that we are to be God’s leaven in the midst of humanity. It means proclaiming and bringing God’s salvation into our world, which often goes astray and needs to be encouraged, given hope and strengthened on the way. The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel. (114) The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis
First Reading Ezekiel 17:22-24
Psalm: 92:2-3, 23-24, 25-26
Second Reading: 2nd Corinthians 5:6-10
Gospel: Mark 4:26-34
Catechism of the Catholic Church
God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures’ co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God’s greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan. (306)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Love is also expressed in the generous attention shown to the elderly who live in families: their presence can take on great value. They are an example of connections between generations, a resource for the well-being of the family and of the whole of society: “Not only do they show that there are aspects of life — human, cultural, moral and social values — which cannot be judged in terms of economic efficiency, but they can also make an effective contribution in the work-place and in leadership roles. In short, it is not just a question of doing something for older people, but also of accepting them in a realistic way as partners in shared projects — at the level of thought, dialogue and action”. As the Sacred Scripture says: “They still bring forth fruit in old age” (Ps 92:15). The elderly constitute an important school of life, capable of transmitting values and traditions, and of fostering the growth of younger generations, who thus learn to seek not only their own good but also that of others. If the elderly are in situations where they experience suffering and dependence, not only do they need health care services and appropriate assistance, but — and above all — they need to be treated with love. (222)
Parables explain deep truth in understandable symbolism. Drawing a connection between the known and a concept attempting to be grasped, the one speaking the parable needs insight into the thought being conveyed. But they must also understand the intellect, perspective of the person they are attempting to share the parable with. One can talk, diagram, write, even paint a picture, but if they cannot be comprehended by the intended audience the effort is wasted. To define the kingdom of God, Jesus used the mustard seed, the tiniest of seeds, almost indistinguishable by the human eye. Two hundred forty thousand seeds make a pound. The seed, a minute speck has crafted in its substance the capacity to sprout forth from a dark shell to grow stoutly, with a beautiful mantle of flowers, even supporting other life, as birds rest in the branches. A seed, a metaphor for the word of God planted in our heart and if nurtured, grows to provide strength, comfort, a place of support for the least among the kingdom. We don’t need oodles of faith, just a small seed of faith sown in our being that multiplies and grows to manifest the kingdom of God. The small acts of kindness rippling through society. The small witnesses to peace, proclaiming the senselessness of violence in action and speech. The small voice raising questions to demeaning corporate and organizational practices solely based on gender. The small acts of love to the downtrodden to show everyone matters. Like the smallest seed, the smallest acts can grow into a supportive climate of compassion to build the living, active and dynamic kingdom of God, here and now.
What parable will we share to plant the seed in other people’s lives? To share the parable we were told by Jesus, had nurtured in our faith community, guided by the Holy Spirit, we keep sowing seed. Small acts, words of encouragement, we craft living parables to make the mystery of faith a reality in the world. To do this we must not be divested of the world, but understand the nuances, challenges, synergies and not be afraid to enter into those dynamics. Not that we condone or participate in devious ways, but enter the dialogue, courageous in faith to share our parable with the world about the transformative nature of our encounter with Jesus and the effervescence of life His ways offer. Ways of peace and justice, hope and joy, so everyone matters, is loved beyond measure by God who created the world in goodness. Don’t proclaim your faith like a blaring megaphone. Share your parable, first knowing and understanding who you are sharing it with to get a glimpse of their lives and mindset and let the Spirit guide your ways to share a parable rich in meaning and substance for the recipient.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16
How might the life experiences of the elderly be better utilized in ministries at your parish?
See Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church reference above
Family Reflection: Mark 4:26-34
Have each family member share their parable about the Kingdom of God.
O God, strength of those who hope in you, graciously hear our pleas, and since without you mortal frailty can do nothing, grant us always the help of your grace, that in following your commands we may please you by our resolve and our deeds. Amen (From Collect for the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time)
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, May 29, 2015 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.