July 12, 2015: Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
The Lord Jesus is the prototype and foundation of the new humanity. In him, the true “likeness of God” (2 Cor 4:4), man — who is created in the image of God — finds his fulfilment. In the definitive witness of love that God has made manifest in the cross of Christ, all the barriers of enmity have already been torn down (cf. Eph 2:12-18), and for those who live a new life in Christ, racial and cultural differences are no longer causes of division (cf.Rom 10:12; Gal 3:26-28; Col 3:11).
Thanks to the Spirit, the Church is aware of the divine plan of unity that involves the entire human race (cf. Acts 17:26), a plan destined to reunite in the mystery of salvation wrought under the saving Lordship of Christ (cf. Eph 1:8-10) all of created reality, which is fragmented and scattered. From the day of Pentecost, when the Resurrection is announced to diverse peoples, each of whom understand it in their own language (cf. Acts 2:6), the Church fulfils her mission of restoring and bearing witness to the unity lost at Babel. Due to this ecclesial ministry, the human family is called to rediscover its unity and recognize the richness of its differences, in order to attain “full unity in Christ”. (431) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Amos 7:12-15
Psalm: 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
Second Reading: Ephesian 1:3-14
Gospel: Mark 6:7-13
Catechism of the Catholic Church
It is in the Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the purpose of God’s plan: “to unite all things in him. “St. Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church “a great mystery.” Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she becomes a mystery in her turn. Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul exclaims: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (772)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Psalm 85: 9 and 11
Peace is the goal of life in society, as is made extraordinarily clear in the messianic vision of peace: when all peoples will go up to the Lord’s house, and he will teach them his ways and they will walk along the ways of peace (cf. Is 2:2-5). A new world of peace that embraces all of nature is the promise of the messianic age (cf. Is 11:6-9), and the Messiah himself is called “Prince of peace” (Is 9:5). Wherever his peace reigns, wherever it is present even in part, no longer will anyone be able to make the people of God fearful (cf. Zeph 3:13). It is then that peace will be lasting, because when the king rules according to God’s justice, righteousness flourishes and peace abounds “till the moon be no more” (Ps 72:7). God longs to give peace to his people: “he will speak of peace to his people, to his saints, to those who turn to him in their hearts” (Ps 85:9). Listening to what God has to say to his people about peace, the Psalmist hears these words: “Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss” (Ps 85:11). (490)
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” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
(431 referenced in Catholic Social Teaching section above)
The new reality that Jesus Christ gives us is not grafted onto human nature nor is it added from outside: it is rather that reality of communion with the Trinitarian God to which men and women have always been oriented in the depths of their being, thanks to their creaturely likeness to God. But this is also a reality that people cannot attain by their own forces alone. Through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, in whom this reality of communion has already been brought about in a singular manner, men and women are received as children of God (cf. Rom 8:14-17; Gal 4:4-7). By means of Christ, we share in the nature of God, who gives us infinitely more “than all that we ask or think” (Eph 3:20). What mankind has already received is nothing more than a token or a “guarantee” (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:14) of what it will receive in its fullness only in the presence of God, seen “face to face” (1 Cor 13:12), that is, a guarantee of eternal life: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3). (122)
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)
Living faithfully requires teamwork. As Jesus summoned the Twelve and sent them out as teams, we must remember to live our faith not individually, but practice collaboration, networking to support each other. A spirit that is beautifully expressed in the communal celebration of Mass and a focus we must carry forth in our sending out, to be reflected in our prayer life, works of charity and justice and in the nuances of daily living. A process Jesus engrained in the Twelve, to detach themselves from customary material possessions. A sack carrying extra provisions, that would weight them down, the false security of money, excess clothes beyond need. They were allowed a walking stick, a metaphor of support on the dusty, rocky road. Lack of receptivity and hospitality could be experienced, but it was not to discourage or anger the Twelve. They preached repentance offering freedom and hope, seeds were planted, trusting to blossom in time. Their job in that locale was completed, so they freely, comfortably and without reservations could move on.
Can we assume that posture in our faith journey today, to live as the Twelve did when summoned by Jesus? Will we let individualism fizzle and partnerships blossom, so ministry is not my ministry, but a collaborative effort weaving the inclusion of many gifts? Can we approach our endeavors simply without excess attachment to resources that evolve into prestige and status to detract from a compassionate expression of faith? May our proverbial walking stick of support lead our focus to embed our journey in prayer and trusting in the first installment of our inheritance, the Holy Spirit to steady our path. Our faith journey must not leave us discouraged or angered if some lack receptivity to the faith we share by our lives and words we speak. Their indifference, anger must be our motivation to pray for their peace, their freedom from the demons of despair, a healing of narrowness, so life has completeness of wholeness.
In humbleness and simplicity of a shepherd, Amos did not view himself as a prophetic voice to the spiritual void of prosperity with infliction of injustice, oppression detaching people from faith. A faith bestowing God’s proclamation of peace. A desire to fashion society thru offering kindness while not fearing an intersection with truth. An affection for justice and peace to be complementary paradigms. In simplicity, like the shepherd Amos, will we have the courage to speak of injustice when we see oppression, power bullying away kindness, war of armaments severing justice by dominance, war of economic blockades by gender and class, war of religious ideologies to judge before offering a welcome? May we treasure that God created us in love and with the richness of His grace, never falter in living faith beyond our individual motives. To never sidestep the call to living a prophetic faith, offering the challenge of truth where lies fester injustice, peace where war by arms, rhetorically or economically is glorified, kindness where indifference leaves a void of welcome, closed ears and hearts. Only then, will His benefits of freedom from moving forward through the forgiveness of our transgressions, in the lavishness of His grace, be actualized and our land shall yield the increase when Divinely inspired justice, truth, kindness and peace are prioritized.
Individual Reflection: Ephesians 1:3-14
July 14th is the memorial of St Kateri Tekakwitha. Learn more about her witness of faith, as the first Native American saint. May we ask her intercession in prayers of respect for our land and the diversity of people, Saint Kateri pray for us.
Family Reflection: Psalm 85: 9-10, 11-12, 13-14
Read John Swanson’s reflection and view his artistic rendering of Psalm 85. How would you draw a picture to reflect the words of Psalm 85? What issues today need the wisdom of Psalm 85?
O God, show the light of your truth to those who go astray to trust in the demons of physical and emotional wars. May they return to the right path of kindness, justice and peace. Give all who profess the Christian faith and all people of good will the grace and freedom to reject violence of actions, and words, indifference and all that is contrary to your loving goodness. We pray in Jesus’ dear name, Amen
(Adapted from the Collect for the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time)
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By Barb Born, July 4, 2015 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.