August 23, 2015: Twenty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
“We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be…” Themes from Catholic Social Teaching, USCCB
First Reading: Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b
Psalm: 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:21-32 or Ephesians 5:2a, 25-32
Gospel: John 6:60-69
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Already Baptism, the entry into the People of God, is a nuptial mystery; it is so to speak the nuptial bath which precedes the wedding feast, the Eucharist. Christian marriage in its turn becomes an efficacious sign, the sacrament of the covenant of Christ and the Church. Since it signifies and communicates grace, marriage between baptized persons is a true sacrament of the New Covenant. (1617)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Twenty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Man and woman have the same dignity and are of equal value, not only because they are both, in their differences, created in the image of God, but even more profoundly because the dynamic of reciprocity that gives life to the “we” in the human couple, is an image of God. In a relationship of mutual communion, man and woman fulfil themselves in a profound way, rediscovering themselves as persons through the sincere gift of themselves. Their covenant of union is presented in Sacred Scripture as an image of the Covenant of God with man (cf. Hos 1-3; Is 54; Eph 5:21-33) and, at the same time, as a service to life. Indeed, the human couple can participate in God’s act of creation: “God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it’ “ (Gen 1:28). (111)
Many disciples returned to their former ways of life and no longer accompanied Jesus. They had taken a look, joined the procession in curiosity, been drawn into the hyped enthusiasm of an unfolding movement or just tagged along to investigate the buzz. In reality, they looked with their eyes and listened with their ears, but failed to see with their hearts. The experience remained in the flesh without transcendence to the Spirit. The complacency of their previous spiritual sedentary existence seemed a more placid lure than to follow the Son of Man, for they interpreted His words literally without grasping the spiritually allegorical dimensions.
When we choose to serve the gods of our fathers, wealth, power and dominance or the gods of the country we dwell in today, individualism, success and hero worship, we do not serve the Lord and deny the God of our creation and redemption. Only when we acknowledge God brought us out of a state of slavery from worldly pursuits, performed miracles of transformation in our lives and protected us along our entire journey can we come to Jesus. For in acknowledging and surrendering to God, He grants us insight into the spirit of His Son. To experience His spirit that gives light and a realization that the spiraling void in pursuing desires of the flesh are no avail to living a life of meaning and ultimately defining our salvation.
Each time we receive the Eucharist, with humbleness, sincerity and in truth, we answer as Peter did to Jesus’ question, “Do you want to leave?” “Master to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convenience you are the Holy One of God.” Privileged to receive the Eucharist, with depths of conviction and hope, do we let our lives manifest that gift or do the words of Amen on Sunday have a hollow ring in our actions the rest of the week? Do parishes exist as sanctuaries of sacraments, void of service? As one body of Christ, His Church, how can a mission be charted and fueled by a handful of agenda items, when we are formed by the inclusion of diversity to witness faith to the end of the earth in the lived reality of our daily experiences? The Eucharistic gift helps us to taste and see the merciful goodness of the Lord. So confronting the empty dysfunctionality of spiritual ritualness and narrowness, we utter praise and blessings inspired by the Spirit in our lives to confront parchness of factionalism and speak forth justice knowing God watches over us to enjoin us with His wisdom.
Individual Reflection: Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b
Pope Francis has instituted an annual day of prayer for the care of creation on September 1st, in conjunction with the Orthodox church. Help initiate a celebration of prayer at your parish and invite others in your community to participate.
Family Reflection: Psalm 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21
This week the Church celebrates four saints:
August 24th St Bartholomew
August 27th St Monica
August 28th St Augustine
August 29th The Passion of St John the Baptist
Read about their lives and discuss how their witness inspires us today
Jesus, we see your Church factionalized, people holding on to straws of belief with one hand while attempting to dislodge straws of meaning from the hands of others. Fighting verbal volleys of correctness, while people lay in groaning anguish from malnourishment, people run from military ambushes, people bobble on the sea searching for lands of hope. Help your Church to see Lord you give us your body and blood not to ascend to ideological pinnacles of superiority, but to serve one another, especially the least among us. Help us to be listeners, peacemakers in the struggles so we understand the common goal of building your kingdom requires a collective effort grounded in faith. Give us the strength Lord, in your name we pray, Amen.
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, August 10, 2015 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.