July 5, 2015: Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person
“…True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution. Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature. Today’s media do enable us to communicate and to share our knowledge and affections. Yet at times they also shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experiences.” (47) Laudato Si, Pope Francis
First Reading: Ezekiel 2:2-5
Psalm: 123:1-2, 2, 3-4
Second Reading: 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10
Gospel: Mark 6:1-6
Catechism of the Catholic Church
God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? “I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution”, said St. Augustine, and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For “the mystery of lawlessness” is clarified only in the light of the “mystery of our religion”. The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace. We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror (385)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
In his preaching, Jesus teaches that we should appreciate work. He himself, having “become like us in all things, devoted most of the years of his life on earth to manual work at the carpenter’s bench” in the workshop of Joseph (cf. Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3), to whom he was obedient (cf. Lk 2:51). Jesus condemns the behaviour of the useless servant, who hides his talent in the ground (cf. Mt 25:14-30) and praises the faithful and prudent servant whom the Master finds hard at work at the duties entrusted to him (cf. Mt 24:46). He describes his own mission as that of working: “My Father is working still, and I am working” (Jn 5:17), and his disciples as workers in the harvest of the Lord, which is the evangelization of humanity (cf. Mt 9:37-38). For these workers, the general principle according to which “the labourer deserves his wages” (Lk 10:7) applies. They are therefore authorized to remain in the houses in which they have been welcomed, eating and drinking what is offered to them (cf. Lk 10:7). (259)
Luke 4:18-19 Gospel Acclamation
The benevolence and mercy that inspire God’s actions and provide the key for understanding them become so very much closer to man that they take on the traits of the man Jesus, the Word made flesh. In the Gospel of Saint Luke, Jesus describes his messianic ministry with the words of Isaiah which recall the prophetic significance of the jubilee: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk4:18-19; cf. Is 61:1-2). Jesus therefore places himself on the frontline of fulfilment, not only because he fulfils what was promised and what was awaited by Israel, but also in the deeper sense that in him the decisive event of the history of God with mankind is fulfilled. He proclaims: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). Jesus, in other words, is the tangible and definitive manifestation of how God acts towards men and women. (28)
Judgment, stereotypes, that quick first impression where we think we are getting a jump start analyzing a situation, ends up costing us a multitude of opportunities. Judging with our eyes closes our ears to prophetic words that could transfigure a conversation and enlighten social transformation. Crafting stereotypes gives us hearts of stone instead of hearts of love to comfort weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and constraints. Buying into societal and religious stereotypes closes us off from the astonishment of a stimulating dialogue. The loss prevents inherited wisdom from gracing our lives. To live beyond judgment requires faith, to believe in the dignity of each person endowed with gifts and insights that can only enhance our lives. We do not fear the person we might be tempted to judge, but openly receptive to listening, weaving the stories our lives into a collective, supporting journey.
In the work of justice, judgments can derail a program, render services ineffective, if agendas, mission and vision statements take precedent over people and their true identity. Judgments and stereotypes are just plain arrogance, pride and contempt to say verbally or non-verbally that I know you better than you know yourself. In effect, in obstinance of heart, we make idolatry of our mental faculties to think we have omnipotent capacity to evaluate others in a mil-second analysis. Instead of spending time fixated on judging others, our eyes must be fixated on the Lord, for that is an affirmation of our weakness and we need the presence of Christ to dwell in us to be present and attentive to others.
To refrain from judgment does not mean that we remain silent, for we must not be mute to telling the truth when lies abound, violence is glorified, when people hear that they do not matter. Then we must verbalize injustice, at times boldly speaking truth to power from the strength of having our focus on the Lord.
Individual Reflection Mark 6:1-6
Share the bulletin announcement about Laudato Si with your parish liturgy committee and encourage them to use it in an upcoming bulletin:
Family Reflection: Ezekiel 2:2-5
Review the stewardship of creation resources from Catholic Relief Service. Encourage them to be integrated in to parish faith formation activities and religious education classes:
Prayer: Adapted from Collect
O God, in the gift of your Son, You have given hope in a world where many may doubt meaning and purpose. Let us be receptive in faithfulness to your holy joy that enlivens us with a passion for justice to support the weak, insulted and persecuted in our midst. For in the freedom of letting sin hold us back no more from pursuing your infinite love, we seek refuge in your goodness. A transformation of heart to soften our intellect, so justice is not a burden of obligation, but refreshment in living your ways.
In Your Son’s 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 ,June 29, 2015 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.