October 30, 2017: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Rights and Responsibilities
The Christian knows that in the social doctrine of the Church can be found the principles for reflection, the criteria for judgment and the directives for action which are the starting point for the promotion of an integral and solidary humanism. Making this doctrine known constitutes, therefore, a genuine pastoral priority, so that men and women will be enlightened by it and will be thus enabled to interpret today’s reality and seek appropriate paths of action: “The teaching and spreading of her social doctrine are part of the Church’s evangelizing mission”.
It is in this light that the publication of a document providing the fundamental elements of the social doctrine of the Church, showing the relationship between this doctrine and the new evangelization, appeared to be so useful. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which has drawn up the present document and is fully responsible for its content, prepared the text in a broad-based consultation with its own Members and Consulters, with different Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, with the Bishops’ Conferences of various countries, with individual Bishops and with experts on the issues addressed. (7) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Exodus 22:20-26
Psalm: 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51
Second Reading: 1st Thessalonians 1:5c-10
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40
Catechism of the Catholic Church
In response to the question about the first of the commandments, Jesus says: “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”2
The apostle St. Paul reminds us of this: “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”(2196)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Thirtieth 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)
John 14:21, 23-24 (Gospel Acclamation John 14:23)
The Church has the right to be a teacher for mankind, a teacher of the truth of faith: the truth not only of dogmas but also of the morals whose source lies in human nature itself and in the Gospel. The word of the Gospel, in fact, is not only to be heard but is also to be observed and put into practice (cf. Mt 7:24; Lk 6:46-47; Jn 14:21,23-24; Jas 1:22). Consistency in behaviour shows what one truly believes and is not limited only to things strictly church-related or spiritual but involves men and women in the entirety of their life experience and in the context of all their responsibilities. However worldly these responsibilities may be, their subject remains man, that is, the human being whom God calls, by means of the Church, to participate in his gift of salvation.
Men and women must respond to the gift of salvation not with a partial, abstract or merely verbal acceptance, but with the whole of their lives — in every relationship that defines life — so as not to neglect anything, leaving it in a profane and worldly realm where it is irrelevant or foreign to salvation. For this reason the Church’s social doctrine is not a privilege for her, nor a digression, a convenience or interference: it is her right to proclaim the Gospel in the context of society, to make the liberating word of the Gospel resound in the complex worlds of production, labour, business, finance, trade, politics, law, culture, social communications, where men and women live. (70)
Aliens, widows, orphans the most vulnerable members of society in ancient Palestine, as social and cultural systems failed to allow them to provide for their physical necessities. The Lord admonished the Hebrew people to not molest or oppress aliens, least they forget their ancestral heritage as aliens in the land of Egypt. Widows and orphans, the lowest rung on the societal ladder, with no opportunity to ascend from rigid definitions and visions of society, If they cry out in anguish for their state of despair, the Lord hears their cry that humanity should be attentive to alleviating. As God asked his chosen people to care for the alien, widow and orphan, he asks us today through the words of Jesus to do likewise. Not a dutiful obligation, but act of love. For if we love God, out of love for Him we do He requests by serving others and acting as stewards of creation. Otherwise, acts of charity done without love, clang like cymbals, a disruptive, noisy interference to the harmony of God’s design. And carrying for alien, widow and orphan of our day who might be an unaccompanied minor migrant, homeless or incarcerated, we do out of the love of neighbor Jesus invites us to experience. To see neighbor not as someone on your block, but anyone, of any race, speaks any language, practices any faith tradition, lives on any continent, or simply anyone on the planet. If we express limitations, exceptions or exclusions then our love is conditionally superficial, glossing over the love Jesus speaks of. A love we must instill in ourselves also. For if we lack respect and dignity to not love ourselves as a child of God in the same way we would love others, how will we manifest the divine expression of love for others? If we make ourselves a doormat, instead of picturing ourselves as a child of God, we only set ourselves up to have our self-esteem vaporized and God given dignity vanish to mitigate our ability to loving serve others. Impinging on our ability to have our lives molded by the love of God and neighbor, the lack of love towards God and neighbor makes us confrontational, aligned with rivalries, seeking personal gain. A process of retracting from the breadth of the world God bestowed on us.
How is the love of God compromised in our Church and parishes with mores of exclusion, the failure of inclusive welcome for all hungering for the Bread of Life and thirsting for the Cup of Salvation? If we say we love our neighbor, but magnify their sin, while minimizing ours, has the love of neighbor been burdened with a long list of footnotes to justify love only if one “qualifies”? The person becomes an alien, widow or orphan in an ecclesial essence. And how does it distill our love of God, when we place qualification on love of brother and sister? God tries to make our relationship with Him simple in case we do not absorb all the writing of the law and prophets, but we add layers of rhetoric to complicate our lives. Living with less than God’s fully inclusive love, we make idolatry of qualifications. Will we imitate the Lord’s love or draft our own definitions?
Individual Reflection: Exodus 22:20-26
Learn about the work of Catholic Legal Immigration Network. How might you get involved with their initiatives? Sign up for email updates to get informed, attend trainings, volunteer at workshops, have your parish include their updates in your parish bulletin…Learn more about this organization founded in 1988 by the USCCB: https://cliniclegal.org/about-us/history
Family Reflection: Matthew 22:34-40
How can you family during this upcoming holiday season manifest love of God and neighbor by moving beyond just charity to acts of justice at your parish, community and how you give gifts among family and friends?
Prayer: Prayerfully reflect on your love of God and neighbor with the words from 1st Corinthians Chapter 13.
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 October 19, 2017 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.