February 4, 2018: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Read the book of James this week and reflect on the call to serve. How does your faith translate into the lived reality of your life?
First Reading: Job 7:1-4, 6-7
Psalm: 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Second Reading: 1st Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23
Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially. This is “the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ.” By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them “to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live.” The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church. Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies. (2105) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the, Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The Old Testament presents God as the omnipotent Creator (cf. Gen 2:2; Job 38-41; Ps 104; Ps 147) who fashions man in his image and invites him to work the soil (cf. Gen 2:5-6), and cultivate and care for the garden of Eden in which he has placed him (cf. Gen 2:15). To the first human couple God entrusts the task of subduing the earth and exercising dominion over every living creature (cf. Gen 1:28). The dominion exercised by man over other living creatures, however, is not to be despotic or reckless; on the contrary he is to “cultivate and care for” (Gen 2:15) the goods created by God. These goods were not created by man, but have been received by him as a precious gift that the Creator has placed under his responsibility. Cultivating the earth means not abandoning it to itself; exercising dominion over it means taking care of it, as a wise king cares for his people and a shepherd his sheep.
In the Creator’s plan, created realities, which are good in themselves, exist for man’s use. The wonder of the mystery of man’s grandeur makes the psalmist exclaim: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him little less than god, and crown him with glory and honour. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet” (Ps 8:5-7). (255)
1st Corinthians 9:16
This right of the Church is at the same time a duty, because she cannot forsake this responsibility without denying herself and her fidelity to Christ: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (1 Cor 9:16). The warning that St. Paul addresses to himself rings in the Church’s conscience as a call to walk all paths of evangelization, not only those that lead to individual consciences but also those that wind their way into public institutions: on the one hand, religion must not be restricted “to the purely private sphere”, on the other, the Christian message must not be relegated to a purely other-worldly salvation incapable of shedding light on our earthly existence.
Because of the public relevance of the Gospel and faith, because of the corrupting effects of injustice, that is, of sin, the Church cannot remain indifferent to social matters: “To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls”. (71)
The entire people of God has a role to play as the Church fulfils her mission. In various ways and through every member according to the gifts and the manner of acting proper to each vocation, the people of God must respond to the duty to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel (cf. 1 Cor 9:16), in the awareness that “missionary activity is a matter for all Christians”.
Pastoral work in the social sector is also meant for all Christians, who are called to become active subjects in bearing witness to this social doctrine and to be fully part of the solid tradition of the “fruitful activity of many millions of people, who, spurred on by the social Magisterium, have sought to make that teaching the inspiration for their involvement in the world” Acting either as individuals or together with others in various groups, associations and organizations, Christians of today represent “a great movement for the defence of the human person and the safeguarding of human dignity”. (538)
We willingly preach the Gospel when we walk in the shoes of people on our path, who cross our path. Lives preaching not from rhetorical dominance, but soothing with empathy. Trying to grasp the challenges others face in their weakness as we contend with our own weakness, knowing in surrender to the Lord we manifest Christ in the world. We cease spewing lament of a life encased in drudgery, restlessness void of hope for we come to realize by journeying with others rays of God’s goodness illuminates our path. We see Divine providence to gather the dispersed, heal the brokenhearted with no limit to his wisdom to sustain the lowly. The fruit of healing should lead one to rise above their weakness to the joy of service. Jesus’ presence can heal most profoundly when hope appears shrouded in darkness and the sun has set on humanly realistic options for renewal. Grounded in prayer, the ministry of presence to affirm the Gospel helps us share in Christ’s mission, the Gospel alive, active in our world today. We should share without desire for recompense but freely give as we receive. For when we live for the sake of the Gospel, we are blessed to have a share in its love and power to transform.
February 8th is the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita and the international day of human trafficking awareness. Share these resources with your parish and plan to share in the coming months ways to alleviate human trafficking in your community and globally.
Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent is February 14th. What act of service and presence can your family collectively do during Lent?
Prayer: Stations of the Cross for Victims of Human Trafficking
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 January 30, 2018 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.