October 7, 2018: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Rights and Responsibilities
Human rights are to be defended not only individually but also as a whole: protecting them only partially would imply a kind of failure to recognize them. They correspond to the demands of human dignity and entail, in the first place, the fulfillment of the essential needs of the person in the material and spiritual spheres. “These rights apply to every stage of life and to every political, social, economic and cultural situation. Together they form a single whole, directed unambiguously towards the promotion of every aspect of the good of both the person and society … The integral promotion of every category of human rights is the true guarantee of full respect for each individual right”. Universality and indivisibility are distinctive characteristics of human rights: they are “two guiding principles which at the same time demand that human rights be rooted in each culture and that their juridical profile be strengthened so as to ensure that they are fully observed”. (154) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Genesis 2:18-24
Psalm: 128:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Second Reading: Hebrews 2:9-11
Gospel: Mark 10:2-16
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The love of the spouses requires, of its very nature, the unity and indissolubility of the spouses’ community of persons, which embraces their entire life: “so they are no longer two, but one flesh.”153 They “are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving.”154 This human communion is confirmed, purified, and completed by communion in Jesus Christ, given through the sacrament of Matrimony. It is deepened by lives of the common faith and by the Eucharist received together. (1644) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to theTwenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Genesis 2:18 and 2:24
The importance and centrality of the family with regard to the person and society is repeatedly underlined by Sacred Scripture. “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen 2:18). From the texts that narrate the creation of man (cf. Gen 1:26-28, 2:7-24) there emerges how — in God’s plan — the couple constitutes “the first form of communion between persons”. Eve is created like Adam as the one who, in her otherness, completes him (cf. Gen 2:18) in order to form with him “one flesh” (Gen 2:24; cf. Mt 19:5-6). At the same time, both are involved in the work of procreation, which makes them co-workers with the Creator: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Gen 1:28). The family is presented, in the Creator’s plan, as “the primary place of ‘humanization‘ for the person and society” and the “cradle of life and love”. (209)
With this specific vocation to life, man and woman find themselves also in the presence of all the other creatures. They can and are obliged to put them at their own service and to enjoy them, but their dominion over the world requires the exercise of responsibility, it is not a freedom of arbitrary and selfish exploitation. All of creation in fact has value and is “good” (cf. Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21,25) in the sight of God, who is its author. Man must discover and respect its value. This is a marvellous challenge to his intellect, which should lift him up as on wings towards the contemplation of the truth of all God’s creatures, that is, the contemplation of what God sees as good in them. The Book of Genesis teaches that human dominion over the world consists in naming things (cf. Gen 2:19-20). In giving things their names, man must recognize them for what they are and establish with each of them a relationship of responsibility. (113)
Genesis 2:20 and 2:23
The relationship between God and man is reflected in the relational and social dimension of human nature. Man, in fact, is not a solitary being, but “a social being, and unless he relates himself to others he can neither live nor develop his potential”. In this regard the fact that God created human beings as man and woman (cf. Gen 1:27) is significant: “How very significant is the dissatisfaction which marks man’s life in Eden as long as his sole point of reference is the world of plants and animals (cf. Gen 2:20). Only the appearance of the woman, a being who is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones (cf. Gen 2:23), and in whom the spirit of God the Creator is also alive, can satisfy the need for interpersonal dialogue, so vital for human existence. In one’s neighbour, whether man or woman, there is a reflection of God himself, the definitive goal and fulfillment of every person”. (110)
The human person is essentially a social being because God, who created humanity, willed it so. Human nature, in fact, reveals itself as a nature of a being who responds to his own needs. This is based on a relational subjectivity, that is, in the manner of a free and responsible being who recognizes the necessity of integrating himself in cooperation with his fellow human beings, and who is capable of communion with them on the level of knowledge and love. “A society is a group of persons bound together organically by a principle of unity that goes beyond each one of them. As an assembly that is at once visible and spiritual, a society endures through time: it gathers up the past and prepares for the future”. (149)
Genesis 2;24 and Mark 10:5
The characteristic traits of marriage are: totality, by which the spouses give themselves to each other mutually in every aspect of their person, physical and spiritual; unity which makes them “one flesh” (Gen 2:24); indissolubility and fidelity which the definitive mutual giving of self requires; the fruitfulness to which this naturally opens itself. God’s wise plan for marriage — a plan accessible to human reason notwithstanding the difficulties arising from “hardness of heart” (cf. Mt 19:8; Mk 10:5) — cannot be evaluated exclusively in light of the de facto behaviour and concrete situations that are at divergence with it. A radical denial of God’s original plan is found in polygamy, “because it is contrary to the equal personal dignity of men and women who in matrimony give themselves with a love that is total and therefore unique and exclusive”. (217)
By Christ’s institution, the baptized live the inherent human reality of marriage in the supernatural form of a sacrament, a sign and instrument of grace. The theme of the marriage covenant, as the meaningful expression of the communion of love between God and men and as the symbolic key to understanding the different stages of the great covenant between God and his people, is found throughout salvation history. At the centre of the revelation of the divine plan of love is the gift that God makes to humanity in his Son, Jesus Christ, “the Bridegroom who loves and gives himself as the Saviour of humanity, uniting it to himself as his body. He reveals the original truth of marriage, the truth of the ‘beginning’ (cf. Gen 2:24; Mt 19:5), and, freeing man from his hardness of heart, he makes man capable of realizing this truth in its entirety”. It is in the spousal love of Christ for the Church, which shows its fullness in the offering made on the cross that the sacramentality of marriage originates. The grace of this sacrament conforms the love of the spouses to the love of Christ for the Church. Marriage, as a sacrament, is a covenant in love between a man and a woman.(219)
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” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
Do we idolize the ideal and condemn reality? Enamored with perfection, the ideal gains lofty status while reality struggles to find voice. The ideal sustains the status quo, fails to grow as it is already stamped with the seal of perfection, while reality seeks clarity, acceptance to gain character in the process.
God creates, man names. A trusting freedom of expression to characterize in audible sounds the mental definition of a sacred gift of creation not imposed by God, but His invitation to define creation. A process initiated in the original garden, a step we each take when we closely ponder reality, but impossible with the ideal for it has already been defined by ideologues. Reality is a process where we all unite and are not ashamed to be called sisters and brothers. A journey of accompaniment to seek reality free of fear, buoyed by hope to walk in the ways of the Lord. Reality of not where we have been, but the essence of the present moment transcending to the future with the next step. To forsake reality, place the ideal on a pedestal, distances those placing their trust in the ideal paradigm from the realm of reality and the need to seek attachment to the movement of humanity. Instead, they glare with idolatry towards the ideal embedded in polarizing fixation. To accept the kingdom of God means living with reality, a child like trust, engaging in the flow of events with openness, curiosity, hopefulness. Do structures of the ideal exist in a child like mindset? For if unhindered they explore to see what works best lacking preconceived notions. That is the invitation of Jesus to manifest God’s love for us, brought to perfection thru expression of our care and concerns for others with child like, not childish acceptance of living in the reality of the Kingdom of God here and now..
Today, marriage exists as an ideal and reality. To dismiss the reality dismisses the challenges of many, their seeking of God and solidarity in humanity. And even behind the facade of the ideal, reality maybe more present that idolatry to the ideal would like to acknowledge.
Individual Reflection: 1st John 4:12 (Gospel Acclamation for 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B)
A new USCCB video in Spanish and English, The Two Feet of Love in Action, shares the need for charity and justice. Post the link on your social media sites, have it posted on the parish web page and encourage it to be shown before mass if your parish has video screens. As a followup, host a dialogue at your parish to discuss what actions of charity and justice are currently being done and what new actions might be incorporated into parish ministry. https://usccb.us11.list-manage.com/track/click?u=75c0c9953e20885f1295adc0f&id=e492d19fcd&e=1034949a06
Encourage your parish to engage the parish in liturgy and action to affirm the message of the 2nd Annual World Day of the Poor on November18th and the associated Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection., not just on that Sunday, but incorporate the message throughout the year at your parish and in your diocese. http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/poverty/upload/world-day-of-poor-2018-pastoral-aid.pdf
Let these petitions guide your prayer this week and give you the courage to be a voice for charity and justice at your parish
For the people of God, that we will open our hearts and souls to justice so that we will speak and act in ways that will eliminate poverty and injustice in this country and throughout the world, let us pray to the Lord.
For the 43 million people in our country who experience the pain and suffering of poverty every day, that Christians may join with them to share their burden and at the same time work to create more just communities, let us pray to the Lord
From World Day of the Poor Resources: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/poverty/upload/world-day-of-poor-2018-pastoral-aid.pdf
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 September 29, 2018 Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.