September 22, 2019:Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Care for Creation
Prepare to celebrate the Feast of St Francis on October 4th: We are all connected: Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor
First Reading: Amos 8:4-7
Psalm: 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8
Second Reading: 1st Timothy 2:1-8
Gospel: Luke 16:1-13
Catechism of the Catholic Church
A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable. The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of the many conflicts which disturb the social order. (2424) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the, Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
At the beginning of its history, the people of Israel are unlike other peoples in that they have no king, for they recognize the dominion of Yahweh alone. It is God who intervenes on Israel’s behalf through charismatic individuals, as recorded in the Book of Judges. The people approach the last of these individuals, Samuel, prophet and judge, to ask for a king (cf. 1 Sam 8:5; 10:18-19). Samuel warns the Israelites about the consequences of a despotic exercise of kingship (cf. 1 Sam 8:11-18). However, the authority of the king can also be experienced as a gift of Yahweh who comes to the assistance of his people (cf. 1 Sam 9:16). In the end, Saul is anointed king (cf. 1 Sam 10:1-2). These events show the tension that brought Israel to understand kingship in a different way than it was understood by neighbouring peoples. The king, chosen by Yahweh (cf. Dt 17:15; 1 Sam 9:16) and consecrated by him (cf. 1 Sam 16:12-13), is seen as God’s son (cf. Ps 2:7) and is to make God’s dominion and plan of salvation visible (cf. Ps 72). The king, then, is to be the defender of the weak and the guarantor of justice for the people. The denunciations of the prophets focus precisely on the kings’ failure to fulfill these functions (cf. 1 Kg 21; Is 10:1-4; Am 2:6-8, 8:4-8; Mic 3:1-4). (377)
The definitive salvation that God offers to all humanity through his own Son does not come about outside of this world. While wounded by sin, the world is destined to undergo a radical purification (cf. 2 Pet 3:10) that will make it a renewed world (cf. Is 65:17, 66:22; Rev 21:1), finally becoming the place where “righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13).
In his public ministry, Jesus makes use of natural elements. Not only is he a knowledgeable interpreter of nature, speaking of it in images and parables, but he also dominates it (cf. the episode of the calming of the storm in Mt 14:22-33; Mk 6:45-52; Lc 8:22-25; Jn 6:16-21). The Lord puts nature at the service of his plan of redemption. He asks his disciples to look at things, at the seasons and at people with the trust of children who know that they will never be abandoned by a provident Father (cf. Lk 11:11-13). Far from being enslaved by things, the disciple of Jesus must know how to use them in order to bring about sharing and brotherhood (cf. Lk 16:9-13). (453)
To the subjects, whether individuals or communities, that exercise ownership of various types of property accrue a series of objective advantages: better living conditions, security for the future, and a greater number of options from which to choose. On the other hand, property may also bring a series of deceptive promises that are a source of temptation. Those people and societies that go so far as to absolutize the role of property end up experiencing the bitterest type of slavery. In fact, there is no category of possession that can be considered indifferent with regard to the influence that it may have both on individuals and on institutions. Owners who heedlessly idolize their goods (cf. Mt 6:24, 19:21-26; Lk 16:13) become owned and enslaved by them. Only by recognizing that these goods are dependent on God the Creator and then directing their use to the common good, is it possible to give material goods their proper function as useful tools for the growth of individuals and peoples. (181)
The prophet Amos reminds us the needy are not trampled under foot by just physical force, but crushing blows of economic violence. Systems propelled by greed, dishonesty, yet in hypocrisy stopping to pause as the moon sets on the sanctity of religious observances or Sabbath rest. Exploiting the lowly, buying and selling them like a pair of shoes. The dignity of humanity reduced to a factor of production of an economic equation seeking profits over people’s well being. They may think their motives of economic righteousness escape the view of God, society’s view hidden behind lens of items with lowest cost to fuel lifestyles of opulence measured by consumption instead of compassion. But the Lord lifts up the poor by letting crack form in the gilded profits for stories of oppression to wipe out and horrify the decency of humanity. Salaries of CEOs’ exponentially obscuring a living wage for those on the lowest rung. Tax structures fostering a lingo of buy back, buy out funneling capital into coffers of capitalism instead of a daily meal for potential future daily workers coming to school with hunger pains. It is the moral duty of all to help the poor shake the dust from their clothes and seat them at the table with their oppressors. As the refrains of liberation echo across the land, the paradigm of wealth reflects upon the tradition of the early Church where people collectively gave and took only based on need. To worship wealth only distances one from God, an idol crafted in numbers, electronic ledgers and square feet of a residence. An idol to placate status and distract from worshipping God. One cannot serve two masters, an economic system prioritizing profits and the eternal profits of salvation. The ends of each are radically divergent. Severing right relationships by serving mammon severs one from friendship with God. Being trustworthy of God’s dictates lets collective benefits form an economy to satisfy basic human needs, food, clothing, shelter, education instead of the opulent wants of the few. A society to simplify life, conserve resources, preserve creation with mindfulness towards future generations.
Individual Reflection: Amos 8:4-7
In light of Laudato Si, share the resources about income and wealth disparity. Where do you see the impact of these statistics in your community? How can you support workers facing injustice in your community?
Family Reflection: Luke 16:1-13
Educate your family to the reality of human slavery in the world today that exploits human dignity.
In this Season of Creation how can your parish reach out to other faith traditions to collectively support care for creation?
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 September 17, 2019 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.