February 12, 2017: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family Community and Participation
Love is at the Service of Others
The next word that Paul uses is chrestéuetai. The word is used only here in the entire Bible. It is derived from chrestós: a good person, one who shows his goodness by his deeds. Here, in strict parallelism with the preceding verb, it serves as a complement. Paul wants to make it clear that “patience” is not a completely passive attitude, but one accompanied by activity, by a dynamic and creative interaction with others. The word indicates that love bene ts and helps others. For this reason it is translated as “kind”; love is ever ready to be of assistance. (93)
Throughout the text, it is clear that Paul wants to stress that love is more than a mere feel- ing. Rather, it should be understood along the lines of the Hebrew verb “to love”; it is “to do good”. As Saint Ignatius of Loyola said, “Love is shown more by deeds than by words”.106 It thus shows its fruitfulness and allows us to ex- perience the happiness of giving, the nobility and grandeur of spending ourselves unstinting- ly, without asking to be repaid, purely for the pleasure of giving and serving. (94)
From Amores Laetitia, Pope Francis
First Reading: Sirach 15:15-20
Psalm: 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
Second Reading: 1st Corinthian 2:6-10
Gospel: Matthew 5:17-37
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The New Law is called a law of love because it makes us act out of the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than from fear; a law of grace, because it confers the strength of grace to act, by means of faith and the sacraments; a law of freedom, because it sets us free from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law, inclines us to act spontaneously by the prompting of charity and, finally, lets us pass from the condition of a servant who “does not know what his master is doing” to that of a friend of Christ – “For all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” – or even to the status of son and heir. (1972)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Man can turn to good only in freedom, which God has given to him as one of the highest signs of his image: “For God has willed that man remain ‘under the control of his own decisions’ (Sir 15:14), so that he can seek his Creator spontaneously, and come freely to utter and blissful perfection through loyalty to Him. Hence man’s dignity demands that he act according to a knowing and free choice that is personally motivated and prompted from within, neither under blind internal impulse nor by mere external pressure”.
Man rightly appreciates freedom and strives for it passionately: rightly does he desire and must form and guide, by his own free initiative, his personal and social life, accepting personal responsibility for it. In fact, freedom not only allows man suitably to modify the state of things outside of himself, but it also determines the growth of his being as a person through choices consistent with the true good. In this way man generates himself, he is father of his own being, he constructs the social order. (135)
What leads us to spewing superlatives Raqa, blockhead, you fool against a sister, brother or segment of society? Have we forgotten we have journeyed to the altar of the Lord? Do we erase from our minds the spirit of the commandments? Never going beyond the mere letter of the law, do we evade the depth of love? For faith is embedded not in broad utterances of legalism, but precise acts of charity and demeanor rooted in love. Acting out of our love for God, we lovingly respect the dignity of others. This comes from our free choice of life giving service over the death of trust, congeniality and respect. Desiring to manifest good in the world, translating to rippling waves of refreshment of the common good over the evil of a society unholy, like a piece of Swiss cheese with random holes of exclusion, ridicule and possession. Choices we make of our own choosing, we only impose on ourselves the consequences. Blessedness following the blameless path, we walk in the way of the Lord. A journey into the mystery of God, not explainable many times in precise phrases. Exploring God’s design, not half-heartedly with a narrow focus drafted for convenience and comfort, genuine faith cascades from the passion of our whole heart. As with our free will choosing between life and death, good and evil, we must opt how we use the Divine infusion of passion in our heart. We might segregate it for pleasure, knowledge, praise, service or the work of justice, seeking a balance.
Jesus’ fulfillment of the law and teaching of the prophets offers a broader perspective than the final, absolute, concrete, definitive action of killing, divorce, adultery or false oaths. We must examine our lives in the incremental steps taken towards actions of finality. To pause and with eyes of faith, we must intervene with a spirit of reconciliation to derail physical, and verbal thoughts and actions of violence towards others and all creation. Reconciliation tapping on love, a desire for wholeness in our lives and world and ultimately with our God.
Individual Reflection: Matthew 5:17-37
Prayerfully reflect on five issues where you need to practice reconciliation in your life. Select one item to address this week.
Family Reflection: Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
Over several weeks, read, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (paragraphs 2052 thru 2557) the in depth reflection on the Ten Commandments. After reviewing each section talk of how Jesus’ coming to fulfill the law and voices of the prophets amplifies in love the meaning of each commandment.
Dear Lord, Help us to understand the power of reconciliation for bringing to fulfillment your precepts. May we pause when we feel the compulsion to charge ahead. May we listen, when we have a desire to speak. May we watch, when we feel we must act. Help us to realize haste can perpetuate violence of thoughts and actions, leading to a severing of dialogue. We trust in the Divine infusion of passion in our hearts and help us to use this gift with a balanced spirit to enrich our faith and serve your kingdom. May our focus stay rooted in love for You that we manifest in love for others.. Jesus, thank you for your teachings and always let them be written in our hearts., In Your dear name we pray, Amen.
Blogs to Visit:
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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.
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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 February 6, 2017 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.