September 30, 2018: Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Rights and Responsibilities
Inextricably connected to the topic of rights is the issue of the duties falling to men and women, which is given appropriate emphasis in the interventions of the Magisterium. The mutual complementarities between rights and duties — they are indissolubly linked — are recalled several times, above all in the human person who possesses them. This bond also has a social dimension: “in human society to one man’s right there corresponds a duty in all other persons: the duty, namely, of acknowledging and respecting the right in question”. The Magisterium underlines the contradiction inherent in affirming rights without acknowledging corresponding responsibilities. “Those, therefore, who claim their own rights, yet altogether forget or neglect to carry out their respective duties, are people who build with one hand and destroy with the other”. (156) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Numbers 11:25-29
Psalm: 19:8, 10, 12-13, 14
Second Reading: James 5:1-6
Gospel: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Scandal can be provoked by laws or institutions, by fashion or opinion.
Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.”88 This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger,89 or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values. (2286) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The Church’s love for the poor is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, by the poverty of Jesus and by his attention to the poor. This love concerns material poverty and also the numerous forms of cultural and religious poverty. The Church, “since her origin and in spite of the failing of many of her members, has not ceased to work for their relief, defence and liberation through numerous works of charity which remain indispensable always and everywhere”. Prompted by the Gospel injunction, “You have received without paying, give without pay” (Mt 10:8), the Church teaches that one should assist one’s fellow man in his various needs and fills the human community with countless works of corporal and spiritual mercy. “Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God”, even if the practice of charity is not limited to alms-giving but implies addressing the social and political dimensions of the problem of poverty. In her teaching the Church constantly returns to this relationship between charity and justice: “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice”. The Council Fathers strongly recommended that this duty be fulfilled correctly, remembering that “what is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity” Love for the poor is certainly “incompatible with immoderate love of riches or their selfish use” (cf. Jas 5:1-6). (184)
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)
Remuneration is the most important means for achieving justice in work relationships.The “just wage is the legitimate fruit of work”.
They commit grave injustice who refuse to pay a just wage or who do not give it in due time and in proportion to the work done (cf. Lv 19:13; Dt 24:14-15; Jas 5:4). A salary is the instrument that permits the labourer to gain access to the goods of the earth. “Remuneration for labour is to be such that man may be furnished the means to cultivate worthily his own material, social, cultural, and spiritual life and that of his dependents, in view of the function and productiveness of each one, the conditions of the factory or workshop, and the common good”. The simple agreement between employee and employer with regard to the amount of pay to be received is not sufficient for the agreed-upon salary to qualify as a “just wage”, because a just wage “must not be below the level of subsistence” of the worker: natural justice precedes and is above the freedom of the contract. (302)
We are all baptized as prophets, but does our faith manifest as mute, faceless expression? Do we heard ourselves into camps of narrow spiritual ideology instead of appreciating the breadth of universal Catholic thought? Will we hear with welcome hearts, not jealousy, the voices not in our midst, but resounding from afar as they speak the Gospel? For God’s spirit is not rationed, but present in abundance for all willing to witness for the faith. And we must not trivialize, discount or oppress good deeds done by people not fully aligned with the Church. For their sincere actions affirm the inherent dignity of humanity made in the image and likeness of God.
We must not let corrosive ideology devour the Church to separate the Body of Christ and detach us from goodness brought forth by collective initiatives of all people of good will. When wealth controls the message and agenda, we stagnate as the movement of the Holy Spirit is stifled rotting away potential initiatives, eating away like moths spiritualities, actions and thought not promoting an elitist agenda. How this negates the belief of many seeing the superficial faith and hypocrisy of agenda seeking control, many times with nationalistic agendas, instead of unity for the sake of the Gospel. A faith of influence and actions, denying by oppression, the Church’s many spiritualities all leading to the Divine. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart, refreshing the soul giving wisdom to the simple. When we see “prophets” that divide, express doom and their “truth” as the only “authentic” agenda, we must be diligent prophets to carefully speak with charity and prayerfully act to foster unity to drive no one away. For when good deeds prevail, no space for ill will exists, a commonality of purpose prevails for a respectful, just society.
October 7th is the memorial of the Lady of the Rosary. Pray the rosary each day this week and reflect on how this meditation draws you closer to Christ.
To celebrate the Feast of St Francis, October 4th, announce a collection of used pens, mechanical pencils and markers to help recycle them at your parish, school and work. Buy a recycling box in celebration of caring for creation., as your action to help recycle some of the 1.6 BILLION pens disposed of annually in the United States. Also visit your local office supply store and write emails to pen manufactures encouraging them to offer pen refills for sale, as a means to decrease single use pens.
October 2nd is the memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels, as we remember our guardian angel who protects and guides us, during our journey of life. Let us pray (Collect for the day from Daily Roman Missal):
O God, who in your unfathomable providence are pleased to send your holy Angles to guard us, hear our supplication as we cry to you, that we may always be defended by their protection and rejoice eternally in their company. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever, 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.
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 19, 2018 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.