January 31, 2016: Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Rights and Responsibilities
“…The mutual complementarities between rights and duties — they are indissolubly linked… The Magisterium underlines the contradiction inherent in affirming rights without acknowledging corresponding responsibilities. “Those, therefore, who claim their own rights, yet altogether forget or neglect to carry out their respective duties, are people who build with one hand and destroy with the other”. (156) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-19
Psalm: 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
Second Reading: 1st Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Gospel: Luke 4:21-30
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our journey here below. Then we shall see God “face to face”, “as he is”. So faith is already the beginning of eternal life:
When we contemplate the blessings of faith even now, as if gazing at a reflection in a mirror, it is as if we already possessed the wonderful things which our faith assures us we shall one day enjoy. (163) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
1st Corinthians 12:31
Among the virtues in their entirety, and in particular between virtues, social values and love, there exists a deep bond that must be ever more fully recognized. Love, often restricted to relationships of physical closeness or limited to merely subjective aspects of action on behalf of others, must be reconsidered in its authentic value as the highest and universal criterion of the whole of social ethics. Among all paths, even those sought and taken in order to respond to the ever new forms of current social questions, the “more excellent way” (cf. 1 Cor 12:31) is that marked out by love. (204)
1st Corinthians 12:31-14:1
The immediate purpose of the Church’s social doctrine is to propose the principles and values that can sustain a society worthy of the human person. Among these principles, solidarity includes all the others in a certain way. It represents “one of the fundamental principles of the Christian view of social and political organization”.
Light is shed on this principle by the primacy of love, “the distinguishing mark of Christ’s disciples (cf. Jn 13:35)”. Jesus teaches us that “the fundamental law of human perfection, and consequently of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love” (cf. Mt 22:40, Jn 15:12; Col 3:14; Jas 2:8). Personal behaviour is fully human when it is born of love, manifests love and is ordered to love. This truth also applies in the social sphere; Christians must be deeply convinced witnesses of this, and they are to show by their lives how love is the only force (cf. 1 Cor 12:31-14:1) that can lead to personal and social perfection, allowing society to make progress towards the good. (580)
1st Corinthians 13:12
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)
We do not have an exclusive endowment of God’s love at the exclusion of others. The prophet Elijah ventured to Sidon. During the time of Elisha the prophet, the leaper was only cleansed in Syria. For God gives life to all, cares for all and loves all. If we declare His justice day by day, we too must not practice exclusivity, if we are inclined to the Lord’s ear. It would be easier to retreat into the confines of our own clan, tribe, race, faith, but that only leads us into a famine spread across a parched void to separate us from the immensity of God’s love. There, we would see only in our self-interest, instead of envisioning the expanse of God’s compassion. In limiting our perception of God, we only marginalize our faith and do not strive for the greatest spiritual gifts. For if we perceive God’s justice without love for all people and creation, we live with a false perception of love. Speaking only for self-preservation is like a gong proclaiming a justice of self-entitlement—see and hear me—void of listening to and learning about others. Immersed in action to move monumental problems aside with knowledgeable intellect and persistence, but doing only for prestige, gaining a strong foothold for a self-serving position, leaves portraying God’s love as absent. People may label those pursuing justice as activists, but justice grounded in faith does not hate others, label enemies, but with God infused love cares about people without inflated egos, pompous attitudes, rudeness or quick-tempered actions. They rejoice in hope over the truth rising into view not wrongdoings. We will never know the ultimate enormity of God’s love until embracing eternity, but in faith and hope, we can strive to love beyond ourselves to emulate God’s love.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
How will you celebrate the UN World Day of Social Justice on February 20th? What activity might you plan to engage your parish?
Family Reflection: Luke 4:21-30
With Lent approaching, visit the Catholic Relief Service Rice Bowl website and select resources for the family to use on their Lenten journey: http://www.crsricebowl.org/
An option for the Communion Antiphon is a portion of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12)
Prayerfully recite the Beatitudes and ask for the spiritual gifts to live the Beatitudes.
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, January 28, 2016 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.