September 20,2015: Twenty-fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
The common good can only be realized when the most vulnerable and marginalized in our midst, locally and globally, are active participants. When they lack the basic necessities of life, humanity denies their sacred dignity.
“Pope Benedict XVI has taught that love for widows, orphans, prisoners and the sick and needy of every kind, is as essential to the Church as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching the Gospel (Deus Caritas Est, no 22). This preferential option for the poor and vulnerable includes all who are marginalized in our nation and beyond—unborn children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and terminally ill and victims of injustice and oppression.” Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, 51
From: Catholic Social Teaching: Seven Principles for Life: https://cst74life.wordpress.com
First Reading: Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
Psalm: 54:3-4, 5, 6-8
Second Reading: James 3:16-4:3
Gospel: Mark 9:30-37
Catechism of the Catholic Church
It remains for the holy people to struggle, with grace from on high, to obtain the good things God promises. In order to possess and contemplate God, Christ’s faithful mortify their cravings and, with the grace of God, prevail over the seductions of pleasure and power. (2549)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Twenty-fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Jesus refuses the oppressive and despotic power wielded by the rulers of the nations (cf.Mk 10:42) and rejects their pretension in having themselves called benefactors (cf. Lk22:25), but he does not directly oppose the authorities of his time. In his pronouncement on the paying of taxes to Caesar (cf. Mk 12:13-17; Mt 22:15-22; Lk 20:20-26), he affirms that we must give to God what is God’s, implicitly condemning every attempt at making temporal power divine or absolute: God alone can demand everything from man. At the same time, temporal power has the right to its due: Jesus does not consider it unjust to pay taxes to Caesar.
Jesus, the promised Messiah, fought against and overcame the temptation of a political messianism, characterized by the subjection of the nations (cf. Mt 4:8-11; Lk 4:5-8). He is the Son of Man who came “to serve, and to give his life” (Mk 10:45; cf. Mt 20:24-28: Lk 22:24-27). As his disciples are discussing with one another who is the greatest, Jesus teaches them that they must make themselves least and the servants of all (cf. Mk 9:33- 35), showing to the sons of Zebedee, James and John, who wish to sit at His right hand, the path of the cross (cf.Mk 10:35-40; Mt 20:20-23).(379)
With the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, Pope John Paul II commemorates the twentieth anniversary of Populorum Progressio and deals once more with the theme of development along two fundamental lines: “on one hand, the dramatic situation of the modern world, under the aspect of the failed development of the Third World, and on the other, the meaning of, conditions and requirements for a development worthy of man”. The Encyclical presents differences between progress and development, and insists that “true development cannot be limited to the multiplication of goods and service — to what one possesses — but must contribute to the fullness of the ‘being’ of man. In this way the moral nature of real development is meant to be shown clearly”. Pope John Paul II, alluding to the motto of the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, “opus iustitiae pax” (peace is the fruit of justice), comments: “Today, one could say, with the same exactness and the same power of biblical inspiration (cf. Is 32:17; Jas 3:18), opus solidaritatis pax (peace is the fruit of solidarity)”. (102)
The full truth about man makes it possible to move beyond a contractualistic vision of justice, which is a reductionist vision, and to open up also for justice the new horizon of solidarity and love. “By itself, justice is not enough. Indeed, it can even betray itself, unless it is open to that deeper power which is love”. In fact, the Church’s social doctrine places alongside the value of justice that of solidarity, in that it is the privileged way of peace. If peace is the fruit of justice, “today one could say, with the same exactness and the same power of biblical inspiration (cf. Is 32:17; Jas 3:18): Opus solidaritatis pax, peace as the fruit of solidarity”. The goal of peace, in fact, “will certainly be achieved through the putting into effect of social and international justice, but also through the practice of the virtues which favour togetherness, and which teach us to live in unity, so as to build in unity, by giving and receiving, a new society and a better world”. (203)
Prayer molded on thy kingdom come, thy will be done dispels jealousy and selfish ambitions. We then cannot wage war in physical ambush or psychological scarring, when we look beyond our self to a kingdom of Divine proportions with extensive, welcoming inclusion. There is no one to wage war against because in God’s kingdom a mandate beckons us to look at everyone as our brother and sister, as we seek the common good. So how could we engage in charades of power grabs seeking pinnacles of greatness when our focus shall be service? Jesus defines service to the powerless, in a metaphor of a child, transcending the gamut of the least, voiceless, those unable to repay us for any of our actions. Actions that we don’t undertake for recognition or platitudes of praise, but done in the name of the Lord. Life where we live as instruments of change, not the focus of change. Where the subtleties of life produce good fruit cloaked in peacefulness, gentleness and mercy. In this rationale for living, the Lord sustains our lives if we freely offer ourselves as the servant of ALL. A word of inclusion, not excluding anyone at any time or place. Not service when it is convenient for us. Not to serve only our friends. Not to serve in a circle of cohorts. Not to serve fragmented by ethnicity or national origin. Not to serve people of status and their agenda. But to serve ALL—three simple letter encompassing everyone. Easy to remember by an acronym A=Always L=Longitudinal L=Love. So we serve along the spectrum of society without distinction, without erecting walls, setting parameters, boxing ourselves into puny self-imposed limits, when we can serve in the breadth of God’s love.
Individual Reflection: Mark 9:30-37
As Pope Francis visits America keep updated with emails from the USCCB Department of Justice and Peace: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ebdvxyix022b1afb&oseq=&c=&ch=
Family Reflection: James 3:16-4:3
September 21st is the Feast of St Matthew. Read the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-16) and discuss how they relate to service, so you will be salt and light in the world.
Lord, help us to understand the magnitude of all. Symbolized by you sacrifice on the cross, may it permeated our soul, chart our course so we live lives of service. Service without distinction, for as you loved all in the mercy of your Father, sustains us to serve in that perspective. Let embracing all melt hate and fear, to refreshing streams of healing. Help us to be agents of change for the sake of the Gospel and fostering of the Kingdom. In your name Jesus, 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, September 14, 2015 The exaltation of the Holy Cross The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.