September 4, 2011: 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Rights and Responsibilities
First Reading Ezekiel 33:7-9
Second Reading: Romans 13:8-10
Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: Matthew 18:20
God, in Christ redeems not only the individual person, but also social relationships… Church communities brought together by the message of Jesus Christ and gathered in the Holy Spirit round the Risen Lord, offer themselves as places of communion, witness and mission and as catalysts for the redemption and transformation of social relationships. (Paragraph 57)
In our friendships, do we share sincere appraisals of words and actions? We must choose between articulating caringly, not judgmentally, our perceptions of friends’ faults or expounding praise of niceties that reinforces continuing blundering. Do our parishes sugar coat the Gospel or expound the challenging truth? To say that stealing only means a forcable, physical taking of another person’s property or also Biblical stealing that means denying a person what is due them –be it the equitable distribution of material goods or discrimination stealing their human dignity. Do we choose to define coveting by desiring the resources extracted in another continent and plundering their eco system? If our parishes are to be catalysts for the redemption and transformation of social relationships, we must acknowledge beyond superficial definitions when our actions do evil to neighbors, next door or the next continent. In this demeanor, we hear God’s voice and harden not our hearts to the reality of our decisions. This process roots itself in knowing the facts of where our food is grown, do workers making our clothes receive a living wage or is the paper we use in our printers have a sustainable forest designation. An effort not of diligence but love. As Church, we should speak out to let the facts of injustice be known and dissuade our brothers and sisters from refusing to listen.
Individual Reflection: Romans 13:8-10
On the Internet, read paragraphs 2258 to 2463 and 2534 to 2557 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on killing, adultery, stealing and coveting. Write down five new perspectives you learned about the depth of these commandments and pray how you will integrate these insights into your life.
Family Reflections: Matthew 18:15-20
As a family, research on the Internet which cell phones and computers are the most environmentally and socially responsible. Learn about resources needed to make these products and the environmental challenges in recycling them.
The reflection may be used in parish bulletins, newsletters and for faith sharing groups without copyright concerns.