November 4, 2012: 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person
“…We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things…”
First Reading: Deuteronomy 6:2-6
Second Reading: Hebrews 7:23-28
Gospel: Mark 12:28-34
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Mark 12:28 and 29-31
“The universality and integrality of the salvation wrought by Christ makes indissoluble the link between the relationship that the person is called to have with God and the responsibility he has towards his neighbor in the concrete circumstances of history…The link finds a clear and precise expression in the teaching of Jesus Christ and is definitively confirmed by the supreme witness of the giving of his life, in obedience to the Father’s will and out of love for his brothers and sisters…Inextricably linked in the human heart are the relationship with God—recognized as Creator and Father, the source and fulfillment of life and salvation—and openness is concrete love towards man, who must be treated as another self, even if he is an enemy. In man’s inner dimension are rooted, in the final analysis, the commitment to justice and solidarity, to the building up of a social, economic and political life that corresponds to God’s plan.” Paragraph 40
“…The fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”, 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 neighbor as yourself”, by which Jesus enjoins the obligation to tend to the needs of one’s neighbor.” Paragraph 112
“…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 appears time and again in the Psalms. 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. As true shepherd of the people of Israel, he will bring peace to the nations. In Wisdom Literature, the king is presented as the one who renders just judgments and abhors iniquity, who judges the poor with equity and is a friend to those with a pure heart. 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.” Paragraph 378
The scribe’s affirmative reply to Jesus, on love of God and neighbor, came not from his intellectual knowledge of the basis of Mosaic Law. He was able to utter the words, in sincerity, from taking the words to heart. The principles lived exceeded the worth of all burnt offerings and sacrifices. Realizing the depth of the scribe’s understanding, Jesus commended him for not being far from the kingdom of God. Can we delve into living our faith beyond the ease of ritualistic practices, to love God and neighbor in life’s ordinary activities? Will we take the words to our heart that is open and undivided with other agendas? Can we enjoin the words in to our being today, not next week or next year when we think it might be more convenient? When we truly love the Lord, we don’t ignore His words, but are blessed with His love and the love of the Father — as the Gospel acclamation proclaims, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord; and my Father will love him and we will come to him.”
Individual Reflection: Mark 12:28-34
What is one way you can expand your vision of neighbor?
Family Reflection: Mark 12:28-34
For a week, ask each family members to daily recite Mark 12:29-31, but replacing the words “Hear, O Israel” with “Hear, and inset their name—so they feel the words are being spoken to them. At the end of the week, discuss how these words of Scripture now resonate in your lives.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice web sites.
By Barb Born October 2012 The reflection may be used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups.