July 14, 2019: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Reflect on loving your neighbor as yourself, how must you affirm your dignity as a child of God to truly love your neighbor?
First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14
Psalm: 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37 or 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-20
Gospel: Luke 10:35-37
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Without the help of grace, men would not know how “to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil, and the violence which under the illusion of fighting evil only makes it worse.” This is the path of charity, that is, of the love of God and of neighbor. Charity is the greatest social commandment. It respects others and their rights. It requires the practice of justice, and it alone makes us capable of it. Charity inspires a life of self-giving: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (1889) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Man and woman are in relationship with others above all as those to whom the lives of others have been entrusted. “For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning, … I will require it … of man [and] of every man’s brother” (Gen 9:5), God tells Noah after the flood. In this perspective, the relationship with God requires that the life of man be considered sacred and inviolable. The fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex 20:13; Deut 5:17), has validity because God alone is Lord of life and death. The respect owed to the inviolability and integrity of physical life finds its climax in the positive commandment: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev 19:18), by which Jesus enjoins the obligation to tend to the needs of one’s neighbour (cf. Mt 22:37-40; Mk 12:29-31; Lk 10:27-28). (112)
Christian realism sees the abysses of sin, but in the light of the hope, greater than any evil, given by Jesus Christ’s act of redemption, in which sin and death are destroyed (cf. Rom 5:18-21; 1 Cor 15:56-57): “In him God reconciled man to himself”. It is Christ, the image of God (cf. 2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15), who enlightens fully and brings to completion the image and likeness of God in man. The Word that became man in Jesus Christ has always been mankind’s life and light, the light that enlightens every person (cf. Jn 1:4,9). God desires in the one mediator Jesus Christ, his Son, the salvation of all men and women (cf. 1 Tim 2:4-5). Jesus is at the same time the Son of God and the new Adam, that is, the new man (cf. 1 Cor 15:47-49; Rom 5:14): “Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling”. In him we are, by God, “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom 8:29). (121)
Colossians 1:15-16, 1:15-18, 1:18 and 1:20
Faith in Jesus Christ makes it possible to have a correct understanding of social development, in the context of an integral and solidary humanism. In this regard, the contribution of theological reflection offered by the Church’s social Magisterium is very useful: “Faith in Christ the Redeemer, while it illuminates from within the nature of development, also guides us in the task of collaboration. In the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians, we read that Christ is ‘the firstborn of all creation,’ and that ‘all things were created through him’ and for him (Col 1:15-16). In fact, ‘all things hold together in him’, since ‘in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things’ (v. 20). A part of this divine plan, which begins from eternity in Christ, the perfect ‘image’ of the Father, and which culminates in him, ‘the firstborn from the dead’ (v. 15-18), in our own history, marked by our personal and collective effort to raise up the human condition and to overcome the obstacles which are continually arising along our way. It thus prepares us to share in the fullness which ‘dwells in the Lord’ and which he communicates ‘to his body, which is the Church’ (v. 18; cf. Eph 1:22-23). At the same time sin, which is always attempting to trap us and which jeopardizes our human achievements, is conquered and redeemed by the ‘reconciliation’ accomplished by Christ (cf. Col 1:20)”. (327)
Human activity aimed at enhancing and transforming the universe can and must unleash the perfections which find their origin and model in the uncreated Word. In fact, the Pauline and Johannine writings bring to light the Trinitarian dimension of creation, in particular the link that exists between the Son—Word — the Logos — and creation (cf. Jn 1:3; 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:15-17). Created in him and through him, redeemed by him, the universe is not a happenstance conglomeration but a “cosmos”. It falls to man to discover the order within it and to heed this order, bringing it to fulfilment: “In Jesus Christ the visible world which God created for man — the world that, when sin entered, ‘was subjected to futility’ (Rom 8:20; cf. ibid. 8:19-22) — recovers again its original link with the divine source of Wisdom and Love”. In this way — that is, bringing to light in ever greater measure “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8), in creation, human work becomes a service raised to the grandeur of God. (262)
The entrance of Jesus Christ into the history of the world reaches its culmination in the Paschal Mystery, where nature itself takes part in the drama of the rejection of the Son of God and in the victory of his Resurrection (cf. Mt 27:45,51, 28:2). Crossing through death and grafting onto it the new splendour of the Resurrection, Jesus inaugurates a new world in which everything is subjected to him (cf. 1 Cor 15:20-28) and he creates anew those relationships of order and harmony that sin had destroyed. Knowledge of the imbalances existing between man and nature should be accompanied by an awareness that in Jesus the reconciliation of man and the world with God — such that every human being, aware of divine love, can find anew the peace that was lost — has been brought about. “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). Nature, which was created in the Word is, by the same Word made flesh, reconciled to God and given new peace (cf. Col 1:15-20). (454)
The scholar of the law, in a legalistic posture, memorized the law, but failed to know the law. He took the traditional interpretations and parroted them back to Jesus. Reciting what he had been taught, but failing to discern, he sought to reiterate the theoretical interpretation of neighbor as someone of one’s ethnic or tribal group by rhetorically asking Jesus to affirm his interpretation at face value. Jesus instead cites a parable to show eternal life is for all who love God with all their heart, being, mind and strength and their neighbor as themselves. No deference to just the chosen people to inherit eternal life for following the law, the scholar succinctly studied, but the opportunity for all people, no matter their ethnicity, race or tongue. The road from Jericho to Jerusalem wove through Judea, not Samaritan lands. Yet Jesus placed the “other” on that road. The priest and the Levite, on their home turf prioritized their self-interest by avoiding the victim, for caring for him would necessitate the time and trouble of ritual purification from touching a bloody and potentially dead man. A point Jesus makes to draw notice to compassion from a Samaritan stopping, using his costly oil and wine. A sacramental gesture of oil and wine poured out not on an altar, but poured forth to humanity and in the sanctity of an inn. The scholar of the law profoundly touched by Jesus’ parable acknowledges the neighbor was not the priest or Levite, but the one who showed mercy. Yet he was unable to give dignity to the Samaritan, share in his inclusion of Jesus’ plan for salvation, for the scholar of the law was unable to articulate Samaritan —instead referring to him as the one who treated the victim with mercy. The innkeeper displayed mercy too, not a religious cleric, but working to provide hospitality. He could have denied the Samaritan to stay at his inn due to ethnic and religious divisions. He could have demanded payment in full and not kept a tab for when the Samaritan returned, but exhibited trust. In the end the priest and the Levite became the victims in the story, for they victimized themselves with a rigid perception of neighbor and denial of the possibly working together with the Samaritan to care for the victim. Ultimately, a denial of God’s abundant mercy in their souls. For their faith bound in laws ultimately bound them from reaching out to others and God. God’s words abound in spirit and if we move beyond reciting them to live them, we have life more precious than anything we could ever possess. It is not too mysterious or remote, but as close as extending a hand to one in need.
July 22nd is the Feast of St Mary Magdalene. Learn about resources to celebrate her witness to faith:
Family Reflection: Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 11
July 14th is the feast day of St Kateri Tekakwitha. Learn more about her life. St Kateri, Pray for us.
Prayer: Colossians 1:15-20 is an ancient hymn inserted in the text. Let the words be a melodic prayer
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.
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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 3, 2019 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.