July 6, 2014: Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
“(Solidarity) is a virtue directed par excellence to the common good…in the Gospel sense to lose oneself for the other instead of exploiting him and to serve him instead of oppressing him for one’s own advantage…These principles remind us…the interconnectedness of the freedom of all persons…contributing by means of their choices either to build up or to impoverish (society).” Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 193
First Reading: Zechariah 9:9-10
Psalm: 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14
Second Reading: Romans 8:9, 11-13
Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God. Once our reason has grasped the idea of God’s almighty power, it will easily and without any hesitation admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe – even if they be great and marvellous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature. (274)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fourteenth 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. Prov 29:14) 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)
The promise of peace that runs through the entire Old Testament finds its fulfilment in the very person of Jesus. Peace, in fact, is the messianic attribute par excellence, in which all other beneficial effects of salvation are included. The Hebrew word “shalom” expresses this fullness of meaning in its etymological sense of “completeness” (cf. Is 9:5ff; Mic 5:1-4). The kingdom of the Messiah is precisely the kingdom of peace (cf. Job 25:2; Ps 29:11; 37:11; 72:3,7; 85:9,11; 119:165; 125:5, 128:6; 147:14; Song 8:10; Is 26:3,12; 32:17f.; 52:7; 54:10; 57:19; 60:17; 66:12;Hag 2:9; Zech 9:10; et al.). Jesus “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility among people, reconciling them with God (cf. Eph 2:14-16). This is the very effective simplicity with which Saint Paul indicates the radical motivation spurring Christians to undertake a life and a mission of peace.
On the eve of his death, Jesus speaks of his loving relation with the Father and the unifying power that this love bestows upon his disciples. It is a farewell discourse which reveals the profound meaning of his life and can be considered a summary of all his teaching. The gift of peace is the seal on his spiritual testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). The words of the Risen Lord will not be any different; every time that he meets his disciples they receive from him the greeting and gift of peace: “Peace be with you” (Lk24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
Romans Chapter 8
The salvation offered in its fullness to men in Jesus Christ by God the Father’s initiative, and brought about and transmitted by the work of the Holy Spirit, is salvation for all people and of the whole person: it is universal and integral salvation. It concerns the human person in all his dimensions: personal and social, spiritual and corporeal, historical and transcendent. It begins to be made a reality already in history, because what is created is good and willed by God, and because the Son of God became one of us. Its completion, however, is in the future, when we shall be called, together with all creation (cf. Rom 8), to share in Christ’s resurrection and in the eternal communion of life with the Father in the joy of the Holy Spirit. This outlook shows quite clearly the error and deception of purely immanentistic visions of the meaning of history and in humanity’s claims to self-salvation. (38)
In her social doctrine the Church offers above all an integral vision of man and a complete understanding of his personal and social dimensions. Christian anthropology reveals the inviolable dignity of every person and places the realities of work, economics and politics into an original perspective that sheds light on authentic human values while at the same time inspiring and sustaining the task of Christian witness in the varied areas of personal, cultural and social life. Thanks to the “first fruits of the Spirit” (Rom 8:23), Christians become “capable of discharging the new law of love (cf. Rom 8:1-11). Through this Spirit, who is ‘the pledge of our inheritance’ (Eph 1:14), the whole man is renewed from within, even to the achievement of ‘the redemption of the body’ (Rom 8:23)”. In this sense the Church’s social doctrine shows how the moral basis of all social action consists in the human development of the person and identifies the norm for social action corresponding to humanity’s true good and as efforts aimed at creating the conditions that will allow every person to satisfy his integral vocation. (522)
The words from Matthew proclaim Jesus’ praise for the Father, Lord of heaven and earth. Sharing the praise encompasses an invitation of the Son wishing to reveal the Father. An invite to look beyond burdens, not a forcible decree, to come to Jesus. He doesn’t show favoritism or hierarchical priorities, since the invitation is open to all laboring and burdened by the yoke of the law inflicting demanding religiosity instead of spiritual reality. The invitation is not a DIY (Do It Yourself) project to try and figure out the details, for taking the yoke is a rest from the treadmill of seeking but never finding, success without purpose, financial security without contentment, to learn from the Master to be meek and humble of heart.
What would your personal faith be like if you were meek? What would your community be like if meekness permeated society? What would the world be like if meekness eclipsed dominance and greed? Meek rooted in the Psalm’s’ expression of the Lord that is gracious, merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The same three questions would take on an ever more profound dimension layered with a humble heart. For one’s personal life would not seek only for “me”, community and world perspectives would not exist as islands of autonomy or hands of power grasping for socio-economic control. Hands not pushing away the world to isolate or gasping power are hands open to service and minds freed from strategizing on self-fulfillment and preservation to be guided by the Holy Spirit to put to death deeds drafted by the learnedness and wisdom of our human nature. The seeming triviality of the sin we render against ourselves or inflict against the human family settles the yoke more burdensome on our shoulders. It takes us away from the Messiah prophesized as one that would banish the warrior’s bow and proclaim peace to the nations and the ends of the earth, as He came to give us life. He offers the words, “Come to me,” each time we look inward instead of towards Him, each time we seek to work towards peace in the world, but it looks too complicated, each times we praise the gods of the world, instead of our God and King. Learning from Jesus with an indwelling of the Spirit, we find rest not stress by living meekly, with a humble heart, leading us to live Gospel peace.
Individual Reflection: Romans 8:9, 11-13
July 1st is the Memorial for Blessed Junipero Serra and July 3rd is the Feast of St Thomas. Both traveled far from their homeland as missionaries and each has been historically “labeled”. Fr Serra characterized about treatment of indigenous people in the lands where he helped establish the present missions of California and St Thomas for his doubting of Christ’s resurrection. What can we learn from their “labels”? How can we better respect and appreciate the gifts of other cultures? What doubts in our faith do we need to surrender to the Risen Lord?
Family Reflection: Matthew 11:25-30
The liturgy for July 4th, Independence Day, talks of peace, justice and truth. These themes can be very counter cultural to July 4th celebrations infused with prideful patriotism. What ways do you see prideful nationalism existing as a god of society? Do you see people where a commitment to patriotism takes precedent over their faith?
Lord, every day may we seek peace of your design. May we learn meekness does not shrink from injustice, but embraces it with compassion. May our hearts be humble to melt desire for motivation by our ego. Help us to live with the enthusiasm of little ones, not jaded by our learnedness. And in thanksgiving for the yoke of your crafting, the rest it provides and the life it gives from worldly futility, we praise you, your Father and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Blogs to Visit:
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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.
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List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born June 22, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern