July 19, 2015: Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
“…The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.” Themes from Catholic Social Teaching, USCCB
In biblical revelation, peace is much more than the simple absence of war; it represents the fullness of life (cf. Mal 2:5). Far from being the work of human hands, it is one of the greatest gifts that God offers to all men and women, and it involves obedience to the divine plan. Peace is the effect of the blessing that God bestows upon his people: “The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Num 6:26). This peace produces fruitfulness (Is 48:19), well-being (cf. Is 48:18), prosperity (cf. Is 54:13), absence of fear (cf. Lev 26:6) and profound joy (cf. Pr 12:20). (489) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Peace is a value and a universal duty founded on a rational and moral order of society that has its roots in God himself, “the first source of being, the essential truth and the supreme good”. Peace is not merely the absence of war, nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies. Rather it is founded on a correct understanding of the human person and requires the establishment of an order based on justice and charity.
Peace is the fruit of justice, (cf. Is 32:17) understood in the broad sense as the respect for the equilibrium of every dimension of the human person. Peace is threatened when man is not given all that is due him as a human person, when his dignity is not respected and when civil life is not directed to the common good. The defense and promotion of human rights is essential for the building up of a peaceful society and the integral development of individuals, peoples and nations.
Peace is also the fruit of love. “True and lasting peace is more a matter of love than of justice, because the function of justice is merely to do away with obstacles to peace: the injury done or the damage caused. Peace itself, however, is an act and results only from love”. (494)Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6
Psalm:23: 1-3, 3-4, 5,6
Second Reading: Ephesians 2:13-18
Gospel: Mark 6-30-34
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Good Shepherd ought to be the model and “form” of the bishop’s pastoral office. Conscious of his own weaknesses, “the bishop . . . can have compassion for those who are ignorant and erring. He should not refuse to listen to his subjects whose welfare he promotes as of his very own children…. the faithful … should be closely attached to the bishop as the Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the Father :“ Let all follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ follows his Father, and the college of presbyters as the apostles; respect the deacons as you do God’s law. Let no one do anything concerning the Church in separation from the bishop. (896)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B
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. Prov29:14) 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 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)
Ephesians 2:14 and 2:14-16
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)
Working for peace can never be separated from announcing the Gospel, which is in fact the “good news of peace” (Acts 10:36; cf. Eph 6:15) addressed to all men and women. At the centre of “the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15) remains the mystery of the cross, because peace is born of Christ’s sacrifice (cf. Is 53:5) — “Upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we were healed”. The crucified Jesus has overcome divisions, re-establishing peace and reconciliation, precisely through the cross, “thereby bringing the hostility to an end” (Eph 2:16) and bringing the salvation of the Resurrection to mankind. (493)
“He (Jesus) came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.” The words of Ephesians we need to be attentive to today, in a world where many spheres around us revel in violence. For those who call ourselves Christians, do we listen to Jesus’ blessing of “peace be with you”? Or do we choose to be at peace with our best friends, but sever ourselves from the path of peace Jesus invites us to take in our other interactions and world view? When we offer peace in hospitality to friends, we admire and enjoy their company, but can spiel venom at people half a globe away that we do not even know. And do we view peace as just the absence of war, but our faith call us to define peace as the fullness of life, the fruit of justice, the fruit of love.(Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church 489 and 494, see in Catholic Social Teaching section above for complete text ) . A peace that reconciles us to our sister and brothers, but ultimately is reconciliation with God. Allowing the Divine plan to grasp our nature engulfs us in God’s blessing, away from warring ways where in words or actions we destroy members of the human family and ultimately destroy ourselves. For in the violence we construct and inflict, the human experience sunders more from God.
To ponder peace requires time alone, savoring the quiet realm, a place deserted from the hum of normalcy revved up to the max, so Jesus admonished the disciples and us today, “Come away by yourself to a deserted place and rest awhile.” For if we are absorbed in doing, hastening to seek and absorb axioms of faith, there also requires a time for processing, to synthesize eternal truths. Then, and only then does peace prevail in our lives, so we can share God’s peace and be peace in the world. We are like sheep with our shepherd Jesus and He mercifully teaches us His Father’s peace if we dwell in the house of the Lord—then there is nothing we shall want, for we know true peace.
July 25th is the feast of St James. James chapter two, talks of faith without action is no faith. A new resource The Rosary of St James reflects on the mysteries of discipleship. Consider offering this reflective meditation at your parish to encourage new forms of active discipleship, maybe in conjunction with parish stewardship or as an Advent reflection.
In France and Spain, the Camino de Santiago has been a pilgrimage route called the Way of St James for hundreds of years. Read about the Camino on the internet. Where in your community might the family make a pilgrimage? A historical church, the local cathedral, a church where a family member was baptized —plan a pilgrimage as an outing for the family.
Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
Attributed to St Francis, but most likely written centuries later. Reflecting on the text how are you an instrument of peace?
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 ,July 12, 2015 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.