July 9, 2017: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
If we are to share our lives with others and generously give of ourselves, we also have to realize that every person is worthy of our giving. Not for their physical appearance, their abilities, their language, their way of thinking, or for any satisfaction that we might receive, but rather because they are God’s handiwork, his creation. God created that person in his image, and he or she reflects something of God’s glory. Every human being is the object of God’s infinite tenderness, and he himself is present in their lives. Jesus offered his precious blood on the cross for that person. Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love. Consequently, if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life. It is a wonderful thing to be God’s faithful people. We achieve fulfilment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names! (274) The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis
First Reading: Zechariah 9:9-10
Psalm: 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14
Second Reading: Romans 8:9, 11-13
Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God. Once our reason has grasped the idea of God’s almighty power, it will easily and without any hesitation admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe – even if they be great and marvelous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature.” (274)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fourteenth 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)
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)
Romans Chapter 8
The salvation offered in its fullness to men in Jesus Christ by God the Father’s initiative, and brought about and transmitted by the work of the Holy Spirit, is salvation for all people and of the whole person: it is universal and integral salvation. It concerns the human person in all his dimensions: personal and social, spiritual and corporeal, historical and transcendent. It begins to be made a reality already in history, because what is created is good and willed by God, and because the Son of God became one of us. Its completion, however, is in the future, when we shall be called, together with all creation (cf. Rom 8), to share in Christ’s resurrection and in the eternal communion of life with the Father in the joy of the Holy Spirit. This outlook shows quite clearly the error and deception of purely immanentistic visions of the meaning of history and in humanity’s claims to self-salvation. (38)
In her social doctrine the Church offers above all an integral vision of man and a complete understanding of his personal and social dimensions. Christian anthropology reveals the inviolable dignity of every person and places the realities of work, economics and politics into an original perspective that sheds light on authentic human values while at the same time inspiring and sustaining the task of Christian witness in the varied areas of personal, cultural and social life. Thanks to the “first fruits of the Spirit” (Rom 8:23), Christians become “capable of discharging the new law of love (cf. Rom 8:1-11). Through this Spirit, who is ‘the pledge of our inheritance’ (Eph 1:14), the whole man is renewed from within, even to the achievement of ‘the redemption of the body’ (Rom 8:23)”. In this sense the Church’s social doctrine shows how the moral basis of all social action consists in the human development of the person and identifies the norm for social action corresponding to humanity’s true good and as efforts aimed at creating the conditions that will allow every person to satisfy his integral vocation. (522)
Are we teachable or “know it alls”? The little ones captured by curiosity, awe, wonder or the wise and learned stuffed with data. Calculating formulas, testing hypotheses to the “nth” degree, stating theorems of life that preclude the working of the Spirit. The burden of continually finding and testing new hypotheses leaves one in a burdened, pressure filled environment. A heavy yoke resting on weak shoulders carries the weight of continual need for discovery. An easy yoke to carry is a light burden, learns from the Master and that revealed from the Father. The paradigm of life revealed, dismisses the stress of testing hypotheses, the pain of infinite calculations leading to unverifiable, inconclusive results creating the vicious cycle of more questions. The easy yoke is skillfully crafted and balanced not to jab and scratch nerves eliciting painful actions. Armed bows are the byproducts of the fight to justify unverifiable hypotheses rumbling like chariots, in defense of self over the scantily of humanity and creation. Bows piercing the tips of truth creating discord, heightening awareness but unable to shatter hope. For peace prevails when barbs launched from bows encounter the atmosphere of peace, grounding projectiles into useless armaments. They render into useless weapons for invading the vastness of every sea and to the ends of the earth. The lightness of peace rests not in frivolity but a deep mantle graced with praise, mercy and kindness. A high threshold to hostile anger for the primary moving of Divine Spirit hovers in peace, rests in justice beyond superficial utterances. A faithfulness to His works that lifts up those falling into the chasm created by violence, an abyss of an endless free fall away from God. The meekness of a colt, not a limo., carried the truth of true kingship, not needing stomping hoofs of horses destined for war or chariots poised for battle. Today, can we abandon lives seeped in hypotheses that we mount on modalities of war and desire to learn, not lament, to continually grasp the Divine, not garble over presentations of hypotheses with formulas appearing as learned understanding of intricacies beyond our capacity of living with Divine mystery.? Let us stop and recycle our yoke that causes our eyes to sag below the Divine horizon, to live with mystery and the gift of peace.
Individual Reflection: Zechariah 9:9-10
What arrows do we need to cease launching to lighten our yokes? Coordinate a discussion and prayer service addressing this topic. Place a yoke on the prayer table to symbolically grasp the feel for what the burden is of carrying a heavy yoke.
Family Reflection: Matthew 11:25-30
Have each family member teach the other family members one thing during the coming week.
Prayer: July 14th is the Feast Day of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American Saint. The following picture and prayer, in the tradition of Native American prayers to the six directions, is from the Tekakwitha Conference website:
Prayer in Six Directions
Call to Prayer: Sign of the Cross
Hymn of your choice (optional)
Scripture: Isaiah 30: 19-21 (or one of your choice)
(You are invited to face in each of the directions as you pray) optional
We greet you, Spirit of the East.
You come to us with the power of the rising sun.
You give the gift of new life to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha and to us.
Awaken in us with each day, new hopes, new dreams;
Fill our bodies with your breath;
Be our light as we walk on the path of Mother Earth..
We greet you, Spirit of the South.
You bring winds of summer and breathe on us
The warmth of the sun to soothe and heal our
body, mind and spirit.
As you, Spirit of the South, give all the Earth
your refreshing winds; enfold us like your
gentle breezes, as you did with Saint Kateri Tekakwitha,
So that we may daily grow closer to you.
We greet you, Spirit of the West.
You refresh us and bring laughter to our hearts.
As you brought joy to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha,
Guide our steps and keep us from evil.
It is by your power that the sun goes down,
Give us a great sky for setting.
Fill us with your peace that we may rest
until morning calls us forth again to give you praise and thanksgiving.
We greet you Spirit of the North.
You are the cold wind that blows
across our land and brings the snows of winter.
It is your spirit who covers the earth for sleep.
Spirit of the North, teach us courage, patience and endurance as you did in the life of
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.
In the solitude and darkness of winter like the sleeping earth, we wait within ourselves
in prayer and fasting for a new life in Christ.
We greet you, Giver of all Life
We pray to you from the earth.
Help us to remember that we are small and need you.
Help us to be thankful as Saint Kateri Tekakwitha for the gift of the earth.
May we walk gently and softly on this land of the First Peoples.
Bless us with the eyes to love all that comes from Mother Earth.
We greet you Spirit of the Heavens.
Lift us up to you.
May our hearts worship you and come to you in glory.
Help us through Saint Kateri Tekakwitha to remember that you are our Creator God.
Let all that is in the Earth lift our minds, our hearts, and our lives to you,
so that we may come to you always in truth with a good mind and clean heart.
Leader: God our Creator, we ask that we have the wisdom and patience to listen to one
another and to learn the many ways you call us to live life. 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.
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 June 29, 2017 St. Kateri Pray for us! The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.