July 15, 2018: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
“…Peace is the fruit of justice, (cf. Is 32:17) understood in the broad sense as the respect for the equilibrium of every dimension of the human person. Peace is threatened when man is not given all that is due him as a human person, when his dignity is not respected and when civil life is not directed to the common good. The defense and promotion of human rights is essential for the building up of a peaceful society and the integral development of individuals, peoples and nations…” (494) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Amos 7:12-15
Psalm: 85:9-10, 11-2, 13-14
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14
Gospel: Mark 6:7-13
Catechism of the Catholic Church
It is in the Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the purpose of God’s plan: “to unite all things in him.” St. Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church “a great mystery.” Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she becomes a mystery in her turn. Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul exclaims: “Christ in you, the hope of glory. (772) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Pslam 85:9 and 11
Peace is the goal of life in society, as is made extraordinarily clear in the messianic vision of peace: when all peoples will go up to the Lord’s house, and he will teach them his ways and they will walk along the ways of peace (cf. Is 2:2-5). A new world of peace that embraces all of nature is the promise of the messianic age (cf. Is 11:6-9), and the Messiah himself is called “Prince of peace” (Is 9:5). Wherever his peace reigns, wherever it is present even in part, no longer will anyone be able to make the people of God fearful (cf. Zeph 3:13). It is then that peace will be lasting, because when the king rules according to God’s justice, righteousness flourishes and peace abounds “till the moon be no more” (Ps 72:7). God longs to give peace to his people: “he will speak of peace to his people, to his saints, to those who turn to him in their hearts” (Ps 85:9). Listening to what God has to say to his people about peace, the Psalmist hears these words: “Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss” (Ps 85:11). (490)
The promise of peace that runs through the entire Old Testament finds its fulfilment in the very person of Jesus. Peace, in fact, is the messianic attribute par excellence, in which all other beneficial effects of salvation are included. The Hebrew word “shalom” expresses this fullness of meaning in its etymological sense of “completeness” (cf. Is 9:5ff; Mic 5:1-4). The kingdom of the Messiah is precisely the kingdom of peace (cf. Job 25:2; Ps 29:11; 37:11; 72:3,7; 85:9,11; 119:165; 125:5, 128:6; 147:14; Song 8:10; Is 26:3,12; 32:17f.; 52:7; 54:10; 57:19; 60:17; 66:12; Hag 2:9; Zech 9:10; et al.). Jesus “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility among people, reconciling them with God (cf. Eph 2:14-16). This is the very effective simplicity with which Saint Paul indicates the radical motivation spurring Christians to undertake a life and a mission of peace.
On the eve of his death, Jesus speaks of his loving relation with the Father and the unifying power that this love bestows upon his disciples. It is a farewell discourse which reveals the profound meaning of his life and can be considered a summary of all his teaching. The gift of peace is the seal on his spiritual testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). The words of the Risen Lord will not be any different; every time that he meets his disciples they receive from him the greeting and gift of peace: “Peace be with you” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
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 fulfills 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 new reality that Jesus Christ gives us is not grafted onto human nature nor is it added from outside: it is rather that reality of communion with the Trinitarian God to which men and women have always been oriented in the depths of their being, thanks to their creaturely likeness to God. But this is also a reality that people cannot attain by their own forces alone. Through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, in whom this reality of communion has already been brought about in a singular manner, men and women are received as children of God (cf. Rom 8:14-17; Gal 4:4-7). By means of Christ, we share in the nature of God, who gives us infinitely more “than all that we ask or think” (Eph 3:20). What mankind has already received is nothing more than a token or a “guarantee” (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:14) of what it will receive in its fullness only in the presence of God, seen “face to face” (1 Cor 13:12), that is, a guarantee of eternal life: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3). (122)
In her social doctrine the Church offers above all an integral vision of man and a complete understanding of his personal and social dimensions. Christian anthropology reveals the inviolable dignity of every person and places the realities of work, economics and politics into an original perspective that sheds light on authentic human values while at the same time inspiring and sustaining the task of Christian witness in the varied areas of personal, cultural and social life. Thanks to the “first fruits of the Spirit” (Rom 8:23), Christians become “capable of discharging the new law of love (cf. Rom 8:1-11). Through this Spirit, who is ‘the pledge of our inheritance’ (Eph 1:14), the whole man is renewed from within, even to the achievement of ‘the redemption of the body’ (Rom 8:23)”. In this sense the Church’s social doctrine shows how the moral basis of all social action consists in the human development of the person and identifies the norm for social action corresponding to humanity’s true good and as efforts aimed at creating the conditions that will allow every person to satisfy his integral vocation. (522)
Amos stepped on the toes of power, challenging the king’s self-serving objectives. The fiefdom’s priest, bearer of Amos’ depose Fromm Bethel, bowed to the king’s standards to be the messenger. For Amos’ words proclaimed a reign divergent from kindness, truth, justice and peace, words too intently challenging for ears conditioned to self-serving proclamations. What if the king’s subjects started listening to Amos, realized the inherent truth and acted on their new convictions? The king’s reign could tumble into obscurity, his wealth banish into a distant dream.
Amos rose not from a lineage of prophets. He was humble in his most humble job in society, a shepherd, yet his words transcended all the way to jar the king’s throne. For Amos heard God’s word, formed with courage spoke truth to power that lead him from the flock to shepherding humanity. His witness gives us witness that we are called to acclaim prophetic voices no matter in what kingdom we live or work and speak truth to power even when inconvenient, uncomfortable and makes us unwelcome. To let our voices paint a paradigm of truth not articulated in hostility, vengeance, bullying or nasty speech, but kindness. For truth seeks not to further corrupt society, but nourish humanity to flourish in justice and peace. Two objectives on the surface might appear paradoxical, but they complement. Without justice for the rights of all to be affirmed, peace will never prevail. There humanity exists as a series of win/lose exchanges, whether in financial transactions or societal relationships. But with justice, societal compacts meet the basic human needs of all instead of the desires of a few. Excess baggage does not need to get in the way, but with must walk the path with walking stick in hand to steady the way of encounter and not let our words echo off the walls of a room where we sit in solitude. And one must realize not all will welcome the words of prophets, use like the king of Bethel. So if one states truth in kindness at the intersection of justice and peace and the proclamation fails to penetrate closed ears and minds, move on while shaking the dust from your feet. The seeds have been planted, not for our glory will we wait to see them bloom, but move on to plant more seeds in another locale, a different venue. For all one does must not be for personal fame and glory, but we exist for the praise of God to heed the gospel of salvation and sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit experience the first installment of our Divine inheritance.
Individual Reflection: Amos 7:12-15
This week read all of Amos. How are the words relevant in this age? How does Amos encourage you to be a prophet? What are the most demanding challenges you find in the words of Amos?
Family Reflection: Mark 6:7-13
Discuss injustices you see in society and how do prophetic words need to be spoken to address these issues?
Prayer: Pray for the courage to be a prophet in the spirit of Psalm 85, kindness and truth, justice and peace, when you see or experience injustice.
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 July 6, 2018 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.