February 14, 2016: First Sunday of Lent
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community and Participation
“The sacredness and dignity of human life exists not in isolation, but affirmed through individuals growing in community…” From https://cst74life.wordpress.com
“…Since something of the glory of God shines on the face of every person, the dignity of every person before God is the basis of the dignity of man before other men. Moreover, this is the ultimate foundation of the radical equality and brotherhood among all people, regardless of their race, nation, sex, origin, culture, or class.” (144) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Deuteronomy 26:4-10
Psalm: 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15
Second Reading: Romans 10:8-13
Gospel: Luke 4:1-13
Catechism of the Catholic Church
This dramatic situation of “the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one” makes man’s life a battle: The whole of man’s history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity. (409) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the First Sunday of Lent, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The living experience of the divine presence in history is the foundation of the faith of the people of God: “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand” (Deut 6:21). A look at history permits one to have an overview of the past and discover God at work from the very beginning: “A wandering Aramean was my father” (Deut 26:5); of his people God can say: “I took your father Abraham from beyond the river” (Josh 24:3). This reflection permits us to look to the future with hope, sustained by the promise and the covenant that God continually renews.
The faith of Israel is lived out in the space and time of this world, perceived not as a hostile environment, nor as an evil from which one must be freed, but rather as the gift itself of God, as the place and plan that he entrusts to the responsible management and activity of man.Nature, the work of God’s creative action, is not a dangerous adversary. It is God who made all things, and with regard to each created reality “God saw that it was good” (cf. Gen1:4,10,12,18,21,25). At the summit of this creation, which “was very good” (Gen 1:31), God placed man. Only man and woman, among all creatures, were made by God “in his own image” (Gen 1,27). The Lord entrusted all of creation to their responsibility, charging them to care for its harmony and development (cf. Gen 1:26-30). This special bond with God explains the privileged position of the first human couple in the order of creation. (451)
The universal destination of goods requires a common effort to obtain for every person and for all peoples the conditions necessary for integral development, so that everyone can contribute to making a more humane world, “in which each individual can give and receive, and in which the progress of some will no longer be an obstacle to the development of others, nor a pretext for their enslavement”. This principle corresponds to the call made unceasingly by the Gospel to people and societies of all times, tempted as they always are by the desire to possess, temptations which the Lord Jesus chose to undergo (cf. Mk 1:12-13; Mt4:1-11; Lk 4:1-13) in order to teach us how to overcome them with his grace. (175)
Jesus refuses the oppressive and despotic power wielded by the rulers of the nations (cf.Mk 10:42) and rejects their pretension in having themselves called benefactors (cf. Lk22:25), but he does not directly oppose the authorities of his time. In his pronouncement on the paying of taxes to Caesar (cf. Mk 12:13-17; Mt 22:15-22; Lk 20:20-26), he affirms that we must give to God what is God’s, implicitly condemning every attempt at making temporal power divine or absolute: God alone can demand everything from man. At the same time, temporal power has the right to its due: Jesus does not consider it unjust to pay taxes to Caesar.
Jesus, the promised Messiah, fought against and overcame the temptation of a political messianism, characterized by the subjection of the nations (cf. Mt 4:8-11; Lk 4:5-8). He is the Son of Man who came “to serve, and to give his life” (Mk 10:45; cf. Mt 20:24-28: Lk 22:24-27). As his disciples are discussing with one another who is the greatest, Jesus teaches them that they must make themselves least and the servants of all (cf. Mk 9:33- 35), showing to the sons of Zebedee, James and John, who wish to sit at His right hand, the path of the cross (cf.Mk 10:35-40; Mt 20:20-23). (379)
“God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34; cf. Rom 2:11; Gal 2:6; Eph 6:9), since all people have the same dignity as creatures made in his image and likeness. The Incarnation of the Son of God shows the equality of all people with regard to dignity: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28; cf. Rom 10:12; 1 Cor 12:13, Col 3:11).
Since something of the glory of God shines on the face of every person, the dignity of every person before God is the basis of the dignity of man before other men. Moreover, this is the ultimate foundation of the radical equality and brotherhood among all people, regardless of their race, nation, sex, origin, culture, or class. (144)
The Lord Jesus is the prototype and foundation of the new humanity. In him, the true “likeness of God” (2 Cor 4:4), man — who is created in the image of God — finds his fulfilment. In the definitive witness of love that God has made manifest in the cross of Christ, all the barriers of enmity have already been torn down (cf. Eph 2:12-18), and for those who live a new life in Christ, racial and cultural differences are no longer causes of division (cf.Rom 10:12; Gal 3:26-28; Col 3:11).
Thanks to the Spirit, the Church is aware of the divine plan of unity that involves the entire human race (cf. Acts 17:26), a plan destined to reunite in the mystery of salvation wrought under the saving Lordship of Christ (cf. Eph 1:8-10) all of created reality, which is fragmented and scattered. From the day of Pentecost, when the Resurrection is announced to diverse peoples, each of whom understand it in their own language (cf. Acts 2:6), the Church fulfils her mission of restoring and bearing witness to the unity lost at Babel. Due to this ecclesial ministry, the human family is called to rediscover its unity and recognize the richness of its differences, in order to attain “full unity in Christ”. (431)
The Lord enriches all who call upon Him, the perceived chosen people of God and those worshipping a broad spectrum of gods. Belief in the Lord with one’s heart and confession of faith with one’s mouth unites all, across earthly separations of language, continents and culture. A call to unify, not despise, a call to trust not tribulation among the human family. Or do we let the evil of every temptation, rooted in concern for the necessities of life, amassing power and challenging God with our own designs separate us from the Lord and ultimately from one another?
In the deserts of our lives, this perspective may seem unfathomable, for we cry out to the Lord in our troubles, not spiritually cognizant of the angels guarding us in all our ways, the Lord with us in times of distress. Coming to the spiritual embrace, we realize we are in the land of milk and honey, a richness of nourishment and sweetness to nurture our lives. In response, will we give the Lord the first fruits of our lives? As a gift of gratitude, the best of our time, talent and treasures, not just a sliver of convenience, a minute fraction of our gifts or a faint glimmer of our resources, but meaningful portions where we praise the Lord with the trinity of stewardship.
Filled with the Holy Spirit, we are led on journeys of discovery. Across deserts of parched spirituality, where prayer appears barren, dusty with the messiness of life, but we discover true meaning, the oasis of belief in a landscape wrought with thorny issues and mirages of illusive visions of grandeur. In seeking power, we find true power in surrender and service. When we tempt God by puffing our ego, we find true peace rests in our humility to trust God and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Individual Reflection: Deuteronomy 26:4-10
Watch the video for Pope Francis’ February 2016 intentions of caring for creation:
Family Reflection: Luke 4:1-13
This Friday cook a Lenten meal in solidarity with the human family. Reflect upon what the “daily bread”, people’s daily meals, looks like in other countries.
This Lenten season pray each day in gratitude for your faith journey and for the journey of those in RCIA, at your parish and the universal Church, preparing to receive the Sacraments at the Easter Vigil.
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.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born, February 10, 2016 Ash Wednesday The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.