August 13, 2017: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Care for Creation
The relationship of man with the world is a constitutive part of his human identity. This relationship is in turn the result of another still deeper relationship between man and God. The Lord has made the human person to be a partner with him in dialogue. Only in dialogue with God does the human being find his truth, from which he draws inspiration and norms to make plans for the future of the world, which is the garden that God has given him to keep and till (cf. Gen 2: 15). Not even sin could remove this duty, although it weighed down this exalted work with pain and suffering (cf. Gen 3:17-19).
Creation is always an object of praise in Israel’s prayer: “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all” (Ps 104:24). Salvation is perceived as a new creation that re-establishes that harmony and potential for growth that sin had compromised: “I create new heavens and a new earth” (Is 65:17) — says the Lord — in which “the wilderness becomes a fruitful field … and righteousness [will] abide in the fruitful field … My people will abide in a peaceful habitation” (Is 32:1518). (452) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: 1st Kings 19:9a, 11-13a
Psalm: 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14
Second Reading: Romans 9:1-5
Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.” “And now, O LORD God, you are God, and your words are true”; this is why God’s promises always come true. God is Truth itself, whose words cannot deceive. This is why one can abandon oneself in full trust to the truth and faithfulness of his word in all things. The beginning of sin and of man’s fall was due to a lie of the tempter who induced doubt of God’s word, kindness and faithfulness. (215)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Psalm 85: 9 and 85:11
Peace is the goal of life in society, as is made extraordinarily clear in the messianic vision of peace: when all peoples will go up to the Lord’s house, and he will teach them his ways and they will walk along the ways of peace (cf. Is 2:2-5). A new world of peace that embraces all of nature is the promise of the messianic age (cf. Is 11:6-9), and the Messiah himself is called “Prince of peace” (Is 9:5). Wherever his peace reigns, wherever it is present even in part, no longer will anyone be able to make the people of God fearful (cf. Zeph 3:13). It is then that peace will be lasting, because when the king rules according to God’s justice, righteousness flourishes and peace abounds “till the moon be no more” (Ps 72:7). God longs to give peace to his people: “he will speak of peace to his people, to his saints, to those who turn to him in their hearts” (Ps 85:9). Listening to what God has to say to his people about peace, the Psalmist hears these words: “Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss” (Ps 85:11). (490)
Psalm 85:9, 11
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)
The definitive salvation that God offers to all humanity through his own Son does not come about outside of this world. While wounded by sin, the world is destined to undergo a radical purification (cf. 2 Pet 3:10) that will make it a renewed world (cf. Is 65:17, 66:22; Rev 21:1), finally becoming the place where “righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13).
In his public ministry, Jesus makes use of natural elements. Not only is he a knowledgeable interpreter of nature, speaking of it in images and parables, but he also dominates it (cf. the episode of the calming of the storm in Mt 14:22-33; Mk 6:45-52; Lc 8:22-25; Jn 6:16-21). The Lord puts nature at the service of his plan of redemption. He asks his disciples to look at things, at the seasons and at people with the trust of children who know that they will never be abandoned by a provident Father (cf. Lk 11:11-13). Far from being enslaved by things, the disciple of Jesus must know how to use them in order to bring about sharing and brotherhood (cf. Lk 16:9-13). (453)
The sum of all God’s words is truth. Truth transcends just a couple of words or phrases. Truth encompasses a wide spectrum and depth of concepts. For God’s demeanor rests on a multi faceted balance, not teetering to one issue, extolled in only one principle. As followers of Jesus we might fool ourselves in a boat load of like minded believers reveling about a single issue. But Jesus invites us, in faith, to leave the safe confines of our boats to walk on the seas of life. Many times choppy waves challenge us and strong winds buffet us in the complexities of many swirling paradigms. We must live as disciples trusting God’s truth in all its grandeur relevant to all life’s issues and encounters. A call not to chip a fragment of truth off the embodiment of truth and attempt to put the chip on spiritual steroids. To make it all powerful and domineering over the collective beauty of the interconnectedness of all God’s truth. God adores balance. Jesus was balanced as human and divine. The Holy Spirit manifest as peace and power. Shall we take this spiritual cue and look at the balanced diversity of truth?
God’s truth displays not brut force, incessant bantering, an either or mentality. For truth meets with kindness, a place where love abounds, a gathering of us, not you, me or I, for collective mutual respect. Truth seeks to manifest the common good, for then only justice reigns. A metamorphosis of truth births God’s justice that excludes no one from belonging, participating and praising God’s kingdom. As Jesus made the disciples get in the boat to travel to a new destination and dismissed the crowds from feeding the multitudes he had pity on, without a megaphone, so we too are sent forth from the Eucharistic table to live truth in the world today. To make truth known, with a hallmark of justice, so our land shall yield an increase of truth’s fruits. An excursion of truth in the subtleties of life, unspoken words, whispers or muffled speech. For many times injustice hides, there in lives oppressed, pain of “isms” lives endure. Living and breathing God’s truth, with our whole being, breaches the security of caves hewn from truth of singular design. Only when we hear the collective utterances of all God’s truth, will our lives no longer feel unsettled, for we know God proclaims peace. Any attempts at vengeance, lack of welcome or mockery is not crafted from God’s truth, not offered in kindness and not bestowed in God’s peace.
Individual Reflection: Matthew 14:22-33
A Year of the Laity is proposed by the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops and their lay commission from the Feast of Christ the King 2017 till Feast of Christ the King 2018.The goal of the Year of the Laity is for lay men and women to become conscience of their church that is going out into the world. This is returning to the ecclesiology of Vatican II, namely, that the Church is not centered on itself but focused on the people going out into the world. Church, i.e., the People of God, will celebrate the presence and organization of lay men and lay women in Brazil with the intent for this celebration to deepen their identity, vocation, spirituality and mission. It will also support their witness to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom in society.
The first goal of the Year of the Laity is to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Ordinary Synod on the laity (held in 1987) and the 30th anniversary of the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Christi Fideles Laici by Pope John Paul II on the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and in the world (1988). Coming to this understanding was controversial between the bishops and lay people because originally it was going to be a study of the role of lay people inside the Church. The commission insisted that the year of the laity be about the church out in the street and what the lay people can accomplish. They want it to be understood that the people are the protagonists and not the servants of the bishops.
They are their own agents. This year of the laity is about the role of the laity as equal members of the baptized along with the ordained.
The second objective is to promote the study and practice of the new document created for this year, “Lay men and lay women in the Church and Society” to have people develop teams in their dioceses to read and understand this document and develop practical steps they can take outside the Church. They will also study other documents of the Magisterium, especially from Pope Francis, on the Laity.
The third objective is to help lay Christian men and women understand that they have an equally important role inside the church as well as outside the Church. This should result in lay people being heard in the Church.
May you encourage your pastor and bishop to support this initiative as an initiative for the global Church. Cardinal Ferrel of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life has received request from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Brazil and considering seriously the proposal as an initiative for the global Church.
Family Reflection: Psalm 85:9, 10, 11-12, 13-14
Share ways kindness and truth have met in your lives. How can truth be more balanced in your family life?
From USCCB website:
Prayer For Charity In Truth
Father, your truth is made known in your Word.
Guide us to seek the truth of the human person.
Teach us the way to love because you are Love.
Jesus, you embody Love and Truth.
Help us to recognize your face in the poor.
Enable us to live out our vocation to bring love and justice to your people.
Holy Spirit, you inspire us to transform our world.
Empower us to seek the common good for all persons.
Give us a spirit of solidarity and make us one human family.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
This prayer is based on Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth)
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By Barb Born August 7, 2017 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.