February 28, 2016: Third Sunday of Lent
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
For the Church, the option for the poor is primarily a theological category rather than a cultural, sociological, political or philosophical one. God shows the poor “his first mercy”. This divine preference has consequences for the faith life of all Christians, since we are called to have “this mind… which was in Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:5). Inspired by this, the Church has made an option for the poor which is understood as a “special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity, to which the whole tradition of the Church bears witness”. This option – as Benedict XVI has taught – “is implicit in our Christian faith in a God who became poor for us, so as to enrich us with his poverty”. This is why I want a Church which is poor and for the poor. They have much to teach us. Not only do they share in the sensus fidei, but in their difficulties they know the suffering Christ. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them. The new evangelization is an invitation to acknowledge the saving power at work in their lives and to put them at the centre of the Church’s pilgrim way. We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them. (198) The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis
First Reading: Exodus 3: 1-8a, 13-15
Psalm: 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11
Second Reading: 1st Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12
Gospel: Luke 13:1-9
Catechism of the Catholic Church
As St. Paul affirms, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” But to do its work grace must uncover sin so as to convert our hearts and bestow on us “righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. “Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God, by his Word and by his Spirit, casts a living light on sin: Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man’s inmost being, becomes at the same time the start of a new grant of grace and love: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Thus in this “convincing concerning sin” we discover a double gift: the gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption. the Spirit of truth is the Consoler. (1848) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Third Sunday of Lent, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Exodus 3:7-8, 14
Against the background of universal religious experience, in which humanity shares in different ways, God’s progressive revelation of himself to the people of Israel stands out. This revelation responds to the human quest for the divine in an unexpected and surprising way, thanks to the historical manner — striking and penetrating — in which God’s love for man is made concrete. According to the Book of Exodus, the Lord speaks these words to Moses: “I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex 3:7-8). The gratuitous presence of God — to which his very name alludes, the name he reveals to Moses, “I am who I am” (Ex 3:14) — is manifested in the freeing from slavery and in the promise. These become historical action, which is the origin of the manner in which the Lord’s people collectively identify themselves, through the acquisition of freedom and the land that the Lord gives them. (21)
We perish from God’s gratuitous nature when we resort to grumbling about everything and anything. We separate ourselves from God when we isolate, insulate ourselves from standing on holy ground by being afraid to remove our proverbial sandals to let God’s nature touch us or get protective of our comfort zone by wearing thick soled hiking boots. This prevents us from planting our being firmly on the message of I Am, God of kindness and mercy through all generations, pardoning inequities and healing the resulting destructive ills. Securing justice and the rights of the oppressed, He asks us not to be just continual partakers of mercy absorbing nourishment for our soul, but also producing fruits of mercy. If our lives are barren in expressing the bounty of God’s graciousness, do we really have faith, are we just fooling ourselves with a mindset of religious correctness? A timid belief, of only internalized faith not related to the flow of life, still has not shed the fear of expressing openly one’s belief or feels too secure in their own ability to orchestrate life. We then have missed the message of receiving and giving forth in gratitude. God desires with abundant love to guide our journey, when we are tending our business, climbing the mountain to God that stretches our endurance or crossing the seas of life, in what appears to be out of sight of any bearings. For He desires, we not fall into an abyss of despair or cut ourselves off from Him, but freely repent into an unfolding road abounding with grace. Something we do not absorbed with the guilt of our sinfulness, for that only diminishes God’s love for us to make God a punitive compiler of our misdeeds. Merciful and gracious, He is slow to anger and abounding in kindness, as the heavens are high above the earth. An exponentially infinite gift that if we truly believe in, we can only share from the immeasurable abundance we have received.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 103:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8, 11
Reflect on the abundance of God’s mercy for you and how you share that mercy by reading the Declaration for the Year of Mercy:
Family Reflection: Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15
Share how we limit the abundance of God’s gracious mercy and kindness in our lives.
God of infinite mercy, help us to have the courage to remove our sandals, whatever insulates or isolates us from you, so we always walk on holy ground. In thanksgiving for your mercy, let us parlay it into mercy in our world, where your compassion and kindness offers hope and soothes the wrath of injustice. May the freedom of your love, to move beyond guilt, animate our lives. We repent from our unbelief, into Your sacredness, I Am. Amen in Jesus’ dear name
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 February 18, 2016 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.