October 26, 2014: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
“Just as the commandment “Thou shall not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shall not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills…Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed on the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized; without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.
Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or it disenfranchised—they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers.” (53) The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis
First Reading: Exodus 22:20-26
Psalm: 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51
Second Reading: 1st Thessalonians 1:5c-10
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“In response to the question about the first of the commandments, Jesus says: “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ the second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The apostle St. Paul reminds us of this: “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (2196)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The prototype of the king chosen by Yahweh is David, whose humble origins are a favourite topic of the biblical account (cf. 1 Sam 16:1-13). David is the recipient of the promise (cf. 2 Sam 7:13-16; Ps 89:2-38, 132:11-18), which places him at the beginning of a special kingly tradition, the “messianic” tradition. Notwithstanding all the sins and infidelities of David and his successors, this tradition culminates in Jesus Christ, who is par excellence “Yahweh’s anointed” (that is, “the Lord’s consecrated one”, cf. 1 Sam 2:35, 24:7,11, 26:9,16; Ex 30:22-32), the son of David (cf. Mt 1:1-17; Lk 3:23-38; Rom 1:3).
The failure of kingship on the historical level does not lead to the disappearance of the ideal of a king who, in fidelity to Yahweh, will govern with wisdom and act in justice. This hope reappears time and again in the Psalms (cf. Ps 2, 18, 20, 21, 72). In the messianic oracles, the figure of a king endowed with the Lord’s Spirit, full of wisdom and capable of rendering justice to the poor, is awaited in eschatological times (cf. Is 11:2-5; Jer 23:5-6). As true shepherd of the people of Israel (cf. Ezek 34:23-24, 37:24), he will bring peace to the nations (cf. Zech 9:9-10). In Wisdom Literature, the king is presented as the one who renders just judgments and abhors iniquity (cf. Prov 16:12), who judges the poor with equity (cf. Prov29:14) and is a friend to those with a pure heart (cf. Prov 22:11). There is a gradual unfolding of the proclamation of what the Gospels and other New Testament writings see fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the definitive incarnation of what the Old Testament foretold about the figure of the king. (378)
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” (Ex20:13; 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)
The immediate purpose of the Church’s social doctrine is to propose the principles and values that can sustain a society worthy of the human person. Among these principles, solidarity includes all the others in a certain way. It represents “one of the fundamental principles of the Christian view of social and political organization”.
Light is shed on this principle by the primacy of love, “the distinguishing mark of Christ’s disciples (cf. Jn 13:35)”. Jesus teaches us that “the fundamental law of human perfection, and consequently of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love” (cf. Mt 22:40, Jn 15:12; Col 3:14; Jas 2:8). Personal behaviour is fully human when it is born of love, manifests love and is ordered to love. This truth also applies in the social sphere; Christians must be deeply convinced witnesses of this, and they are to show by their lives how love is the only force (cf. 1 Cor 12:31-14:1) that can lead to personal and social perfection, allowing society to make progress towards the good. (580)
Loving the Lord is a trinitarian experience of heart, soul and mind. And not just a sliver of our heart, soul and mind, but all our heart, all our soul and all our mind encompasses the greatest and first commandment. Heart, soul and mind, words not listed in alphabetical order, but delineated as a process of transformation. For the Lord first seeks for us to surrender our hearts. A process of surrendering our own desires that turns us from self-imposed idols, to serve the living and true God. The transformation of the heart reverberates to one’s soul, the core and essence of one’s being. Acts of oppression towards people viewed as alien cease, as a transformed mind cannot perpetuate past deeds of wronging people detached from the security of familiarity and are now the least and most vulnerable neighbors among us. The Lord hears their cries of extortion from their chill in the night air, when goods rightly theirs are snatched from their possession by those seeking financial profit, without regard for their basic human needs to rightly affirmed their dignity. When all our heart, soul and mind loves God, loving our neighbor with compassion is not an afterthought of our existence, but a priority in living our lives. And neighbor takes on a breadth of understanding to widen the circle of inclusion, to welcome, respect and enjoin in collective struggles. Compassion is not a challenge, but infused by God in our will. Compassion given in generosity to others and equally to ourselves. For we cannot respect our neighbor, if we loathe ourselves in pity and unworthiness to sever respect for ourselves. Our life and will unified in service and respect of others and ourselves, radiating love through our heart, mind and soul, must direct all our actions.
Individual Reflection: Matthew 22:34-40
Learn about a Catholic Charities supported program providing services for people with dementia: http://www.daybreakcares.org/
How might this model be implemented in your community?
Family Reflection: Exodus 22:20-26
Coordinate Justice for Immigrants awareness at your parish: http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/parish-kit.shtml
God increase our faith, hope and charity and make us love what you command, so that we merit what you promise. (From Collect for Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time) Help us to realize in giving only a fraction of our heart, soul and mind we cheat ourselves of your love and compassion and limit our ability to serve our neighbor. 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 October 20, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.