July 2, 2017: Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
Ponder prophets of today. How can you share in their mission?
First Reading: 2nd Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a
Psalm: 89:2-3, 16-17, 18-19
Second Reading: Romans 6:3-4, 8-11
Gospel: Matthew 10:37-42
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. Spiritual progress entails the ascesis and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes:
He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows. (2015) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The prototype of the king chosen by Yahweh is David, whose humble origins are a favourite topic of the biblical account (cf. 1 Sam 16:1-13). David is the recipient of the promise (cf. 2 Sam 7:13-16; Ps 89:2-38, 132:11-18), which places him at the beginning of a special kingly tradition, the “messianic” tradition. Notwithstanding all the sins and infidelities of David and his successors, this tradition culminates in Jesus Christ, who is par excellence “Yahweh’s anointed” (that is, “the Lord’s consecrated one”, cf. 1 Sam 2:35, 24:7,11, 26:9,16; Ex 30:22-32), the son of David (cf. Mt 1:1-17; Lk 3:23-38; Rom 1:3).
The failure of kingship on the historical level does not lead to the disappearance of the ideal of a king who, in fidelity to Yahweh, will govern with wisdom and act in justice. This hope reappears time and again in the Psalms (cf. Ps 2, 18, 20, 21, 72). In the messianic oracles, the figure of a king endowed with the Lord’s Spirit, full of wisdom and capable of rendering justice to the poor, is awaited in eschatological times (cf. Is 11:2-5; Jer 23:5-6). As true shepherd of the people of Israel (cf. Ezek 34:23-24, 37:24), he will bring peace to the nations (cf. Zech 9:9-10). In Wisdom Literature, the king is presented as the one who renders just judgments and abhors iniquity (cf. Prov 16:12), who judges the poor with equity (cf. Prov 29:14) and is a friend to those with a pure heart (cf. Prov 22:11). There is a gradual unfolding of the proclamation of what the Gospels and other New Testament writings see fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the definitive incarnation of what the Old Testament foretold about the figure of the king. (378)
The new relationships of interdependence between individuals and peoples, which are de 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 principle 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)
Personal and social life, as well as human action in the world, is always threatened by sin. Jesus Christ, however, “by suffering for us … not only gave us an example so that we might follow in His footsteps, but He also opened up a way. If we follow this path, life and death are made holy and acquire a new meaning”. Christ’s disciple adheres, in faith and through the sacraments, to Jesus’ Paschal Mystery, so that his old self, with its evil inclinations, is crucified with Christ. As a new creation he is then enabled by grace to “walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4). This “holds true not for Christians alone but also for all people of good will in whose hearts grace is active invisibly. For since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the Paschal Mystery”. (41)
When we think of ourselves as dead to sin, does our reasoning take us beyond a resolve to mend our ways? A transformation to act and speak aligned with Gospel mores, with attentiveness to sins of omission. And dead to sin means shedding burdensome cloaks of unworthiness, letting go of past facades we hid behind to shield our reality from the world and looking at life anew with opportunities for service to displace selfish ruses. For to remain slotted in the past, even though we have changed our ways, lets sin still tether our freedom of moving from death fully into life.
Baptism offers the initial plunge into the newness of life, while the cross continually challenges us to navigate spiritual minefields with GPS ( God’s Providential Steadfastness) guidance. Knowing God’s love for us allows us to understand that while we care for family, friends and those in need, our ultimate love must be for God, as everything else flows from His merciful gaze on our lives. Grasping that understanding, we acknowledge God is the source of our being, Our Creator. That gift, that love, we share with those around us. In the process, what we felt was important, critical to our existence and status fizzles into non-existence, like the effervescent fizz of a soda vanishing in the release of popping bubbles. In shedding, parting from what we thought we must possess, we find our strength rooted not in our own crafted identity, but drawn from God. A place in the garden of life where we exist not as a solitary plant, but a branch drawing on the Divine tap root and supporting strength of other branches.
Prophets, people of immense faith, modeled this way of life. Side stepping from the conventional path, validating service over status. Elisha’s demeanor, as a holy man of God, was evident to the woman of Shunem. She shattered the glass ceiling of spiritual edicts, not only talking to a man, but offered him the invitation to dine with her. The women and her husband provided a room and amenities for Elisha when he traveled to the region. Do we offer hospitality to the prophets, the voices of hope, throughout all generations continuing to our day or are the voices of prophets silenced, with the complicit silence of people with superficial faithful intent? We might not seem like we contribute must to sustain the prophets’ missions, but collective affirmations allow them to offer hope and praise from being called out of darkness into God’s wonderful light. Jesus’ invitation of giving of a cup of cold water might appear trivial, but ponder its significance for the recipient in a parched land eras before ice or refrigerators with cold water dispensers on the door. Today, how can we replicate such similar acts of hospitality and generosity where belief is sealed with the promise of eternal rewards?
Individual Reflection: 2nd Kings 4:8-11, 14-16a
As you practice hospitality this summer, with picnics and outdoor dining, try to use reusable utensils, cups and dinnerware when possible, instead of plastic and styrofoam options.
Family Reflection: Psalm 117: 1bc, 2 and Mark 16:15 (Responsorial Psalm for Feast of Saint Thomas )
July 3rd is the Feast of Saint Thomas. Despite his initial doubt of the Resurrection, he eventually traveled almost half way round the globe to share the Gospel.
Discuss what doubts of faith each family member needs to shed to strengthen their faith.
Prayer: The Entrance Antiphon for the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time is Psalm 47: 2: “All Peoples clap your hands. Cry to God with shouts of joy”
Joyfully sing one of your favorite songs as a prayer of thanksgiving.
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.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born June 25, 2017 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.