January 21, 2018: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
Peace is built up day after day in the pursuit of an order willed by God and can flourish only when all recognize that everyone is responsible for promoting it. To prevent conflicts and violence, it is absolutely necessary that peace begin to take root as a value rooted deep within the heart of every person. In this way it can spread to families and to the different associations within society until the whole of the political community is involved. In a climate permeated with harmony and respect for justice, an authentic culture of peace can grow and can even pervade the entire international community. Peace is, consequently, the fruit of “that harmony structured into human society by its Divine Founder and which must be actualized by men as they aspire for ever greater justice”. Such an ideal of peace “cannot be obtained on earth unless the welfare of man is safeguarded and people freely and trustingly share with one another the riches of their minds and their talents”. (495) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm: 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Second Reading: 1st Corinthians 7:29-31
Catechism of the Catholic Church
All Christ’s faithful are to “direct their affections rightly, lest they be hindered in their pursuit of perfect charity by the use of worldly things and by an adherence to riches which is contrary to the spirit of evangelical poverty.” (2545) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The Church, the community of those who have been brought together by the Risen Christ and who have set out to follow him, is “the sign and the safeguard of the transcendent dimension of the human person”. She is “in Christ a kind of sacrament — a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men”. Her mission is that of proclaiming and communicating the salvation wrought in Jesus Christ, which he calls “the Kingdom of God” (Mk 1:15), that is, communion with God and among men. The goal of salvation, the Kingdom of God embraces all people and is fully realized beyond history, in God. The Church has received “the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is, on earth, the seed and the beginning of that Kingdom.
1st Corinthians 7:31
The human person cannot and must not be manipulated by social, economic or political structures, because every person has the freedom to direct himself towards his ultimate end. On the other hand, every cultural, social, economic and political accomplishment, in which the social nature of the person and his activity of transforming the universe are brought about in history, must always be considered also in the context of its relative and provisional reality, because “the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor 7:31). We can speak here of an eschatological relativity, in the sense that man and the world are moving towards their end, which is the fulfilment of their destiny in God; we can also speak of a theological relativity, insofar as the gift of God, by which the definitive destiny of humanity and of creation will be attained, is infinitely greater than human possibilities and expectations. Any totalitarian vision of society and the State, and any purely intra-worldly ideology of progress are contrary to the integral truth of the human person and to God’s plan in history.(48)
The awareness that “the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor 7:31) is not an exoneration from being involved in the world, and even less from work (cf. 2 Thes 3:7-15), which is an integral part of the human condition, although not the only purpose of life. No Christian, in light of the fact that he belongs to a united and fraternal community, should feel that he has the right not to work and to live at the expense of others (cf. 2 Thes 3:6-12). Rather, all are charged by the Apostle Paul to make it a point of honour to work with their own hands, so as to “be dependent on nobody” (1 Thes 4:12), and to practise a solidarity which is also material by sharing the fruits of their labour with “those in need” (Eph 4:28). Saint James defends the trampled rights of workers: “Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts” (Jas 5:4). Believers are to undertake their work in the style of Christ and make it an occasion for Christian witness, commanding “the respect of outsiders” (1 Thes 4:12). (264)
Belief in the Gospel does not exist in a vacuum of theological pondering. For Jesus proclaims if we allow the Gospel to provide fulfillment in our lives conversion and transformation must occur. This incorporates a soul desiring repentance. Not sorrowful despair that consumes one’s ability to act or leaves one loathing in unworthiness, but a resilient spirit. A conscience realizing our lives are not defined by past transgressions or focus on worldly attributes, but how moving toward God is a continuum foraging forward towards a deeper understanding of Gospel precepts. Greater clarity gained along the way, so fulfillment takes on greater parameters. For the kingdom of God is at hand if we take our hands into the world following the transformative landscape of our hearts. A process sometimes requiring us to move on to new locales and initiatives. And we must not get locked into a static mode fearing current endeavors will crumble or people within our circle of friendship, care and leadership will implode if we walk on to something new that God is calling us to do. For belief in the Gospel means we trust God as continually building His kingdom, where we are a cog not the engine.
From reading prophet Jonah’s excursions, we learn the spiritual realities of believing in the Gospel. Just like Jonah’s venture with the large fish, Nineveh was an enormously large city. OBSERVATION # 1: The task of following the Lord may appear very formidable in our eyes, seem unattainable in our minds. Jonah went to do the Lord’s bidding. Bidding and not proclaiming encased Jonah’s mindset. He assumed his prophetic role half-heartedly, instead of with courage and boldness. OBSERVATION # 2: Let your belief be BOLD with humility, not cocky, to show your conviction. The people of Nineveh believed God, leading them to the sackcloth of repentance and fasting. OBSERVATION # 3: God calls us as disciples, vessels of the Holy Spirit to actualize change, not us in our humanity, but the Divine indwelling shown forth cultivates belief in others. Initially Jonah refused God’s call and landed in darkness, portrayed by the belly of the great fish, but even with hesitancy he did trek to Nineveh. OBSERVATION # 4: When we shy away from answering God’s call we live in darkness, but God’s compassion and desire we abide in HIs light provides us continual opportunities to grow in faith We each cast our nets fishing for meaning in our lives, but only when we journey to the Ninevehs of our lives that God calls us to are we taught God’s ways. A journey of the vastness of discipleship to leave behind familiarity. An experienced wrought in our humbleness for God’s message, the words of the Gospel to transform from destructive actions in our personal and collective lives. As we are taught the ways of the Lord and allow it to be continually retaught through us we answer the call to repent and believe in the Gospel one step at a time.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Encourage you parish to use the mass propers no. 30 for the Preservation of Peace and Justice from the Daily Roman Missal on, January 22nd, the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children to acknowledge the breadth of peace and justice issues challenging the lives of children around the globe.
Family Reflection: Mark 1:14-20
January 25th is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Have family members share their conversion story, where faith transitioned beyond acceptance to belief. How has God allowed you through transformation to move beyond darkness to the light of faith? Where have you been called, the Nineveh of your life, to be a prophetic witness to the Gospel?
January is Poverty Awareness Month. Reflect on the material for the Forth Sunday in Ordinary Time and share the suggested Prayers of the Faithful for use in your parish’s liturgies:
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 15, 2018 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.