August 16, 2015: Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community and Participation
Because we do not always see these seeds growing, we need an interior certainty, a conviction that God is able to act in every situation, even amid apparent setbacks: “We have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor 4:7). This certainty is often called “a sense of mystery”. It involves knowing with certitude that all those who entrust themselves to God in love will bear good fruit (cf. Jn 15:5). This fruitfulness is often invisible, elusive and unquantifiable. We can know quite well that our lives will be fruitful, without claiming to know how, or where, or when. We may be sure that none of our acts of love will be lost, nor any of our acts of sincere concern for others. No single act of love for God will be lost, no generous effort is meaningless, no painful endurance is wasted. All of these encircle our world like a vital force. Sometimes it seems that our work is fruitless, but mission is not like a business transaction or investment, or even a humanitarian activity. It is not a show where we count how many people come as a result of our publicity; it is something much deeper, which escapes all measurement. It may be that the Lord uses our sacrifices to shower blessings in another part of the world which we will never visit. The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results. We know only that our commitment is necessary. Let us learn to rest in the tenderness of the arms of the Father amid our creative and generous commitment. Let us keep marching forward; let us give him everything, allowing him to make our efforts bear fruit in his good time. (279) The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis
First Reading: Proverbs 9:1-6
Psalm: Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Second Reading: Ephesians 3:15-20
Gospel: John 6:51-58
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. the principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.”
On the feasts of the Lord, when the faithful receive the Body of the Son, they proclaim to one another the Good News that the first fruits of life have been given, as when the angel said to Mary Magdalene, “Christ is risen!” Now too are life and resurrection conferred on whoever receives Christ. (1391)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Christian hope lends great energy to commitment in the social field, because it generates confidence in the possibility of building a better world, even if there will never exist “a paradise of earth”. Christians, particularly the laity, are urged to act in such a way that “the power of the Gospel might shine forth in their daily social and family life. They conduct themselves as children of the promise and thus strong in faith and hope they make the most of the present (cf. Eph 5:16; Col 4:5), and with patience await the glory that is to come (cf. Rom 8:25). Let them not, then, hide this hope in the depths of their hearts, but let them express it by a continual conversion and by wrestling ‘against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness’ (Eph 6:12)”. The religious motivation behind such a commitment may not be shared by all, but the moral convictions that arise from it represent a point of encounter between Christians and all people of good will. (579)
Ignorance, destitute of knowledge, unaware, uninformed. Do we continue on a path of ignorance from indifference, shielding ourselves from reality or self-absorbed to not look beyond our own bubble? Ignorance skews the facts of reality, so we feel comfortable, in control, without the need to know the reality others encounter, absolved from seeking wisdom. In an age of information, facts abound, but the domain displays ignorance from the realm of pixels displaying words and pictures, not an encounter to let reality brush the senses, stir the heart, open eyes, let hands act and voices speak. Leaving ignorance behind, wisdom arises to forsake foolishness and advance in the way of understanding. Wisdom embellishes life with God’s ways, so we don’t address others with cold stares, but with thanksgiving from the songs of praise in our hearts. To manifest the mercy we have received from the Lord, the life giving substance of the true food and true drink, in the way we sever a desire for the comfort of ignorance and clamor for wisdom. Ignorance enslaves by lowering the horizon of goodness, setting the sun of inclusion, extinguishing stars radiant with hope and joy.
Your parish might be strangled with ignorance by ignoring the breadth of Gospel love, the inclusiveness of Jesus’ ministry and rich expanse of Catholic Social Teaching. Wisdom exposes the foolishness of this narrowness. If we partake of the true food and true drink in belief, to believe it gives us life, why would we be receptive to just a portion of what the Lord has to offer us? Why would we ignore the abundance to nibble just a sliver of the Lord’s goodness? Why would we leave the abundance of the banquet sitting on the table to spoil? When you see the foolishness of letting the spread on the table rotting from ignorance, prayerfully speak up, ask questions of why the parish lacks a fullness of life, why challenging issues are ignored as if they do not exist. If we remain silent and live in a personal cocoon of wisdom, we perpetuate ignorance, give credence to foolishness that shred the wisdom of the Gospel to a few pieces pleasing to one’s pallet, while the majority get discarded. If our heart signs and plays harmonic praise to the Lord, giving thanks for EVERYTHING, we should not fear being a voice, a light to dispel the darkness from a narrow embrace of our faith.
Individual Reflection: Ephesians 5:15-20
Give thanks for the education you have received, by supporting back to school drives through donating school supplies, backpacks and gift cards for students to purchase back to school clothes and shoes.
Family Reflection: Proverbs 9:1-6
Share when you have put foolishness aside and it has given you understanding of life.
Prayer: From the Collect for the Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 22nd)
O God, who made the Mother of your Son to be our Mother and our Queen, graciously grant that, sustained by her intercession, we may attain in the heavenly Kingdom the glory promised to your children. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
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, August 1, 2015 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.