July 10, 2016: Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life. All of her pastoral activity should be caught up in the tenderness she makes present to believers; nothing in her preaching and in her witness to the world can be lacking in mercy. The Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love. The Church “has an endless desire to show mercy”. Perhaps we have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy. The temptation, on the one hand, to focus exclusively on justice made us forget that this is only the first, albeit necessary and indispensable step. But the Church needs to go beyond and strive for a higher and more important goal. On the other hand, sad to say, we must admit that the practice of mercy is waning in the wider culture. In some cases the word seems to have dropped out of use. However, without a witness to mercy, life becomes fruitless and sterile, as if sequestered in a barren desert. The time has come for the Church to take up the joyful call to mercy once more. It is time to return to the basics and to bear the weaknesses and struggles of our brothers and sisters. Mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instils in us the courage to look to the future with hope. (10) Misericordiae Vultus: BULL OF INDICTION OF THE EXTRAORDINARY JUBILEE OF MERCY
First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:10-14
Psalm: 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37 or 19:8, 9, 10, 11
Second Reading: Colossians 1:15-20
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Without the help of grace, men would not know how “to discern the often narrow path between the cowardice which gives in to evil, and the violence which under the illusion of fighting evil only makes it worse.” This is the path of charity, that is, of the love of God and of neighbor. Charity is the greatest social commandment. It respects others and their rights. It requires the practice of justice, and it alone makes us capable of it. Charity inspires a life of self-giving: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (1889) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Man and woman are in relationship with others above all as those to whom the lives of others have been entrusted “For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning, … I will require it … of man [and] of every man’s brother” (Gen 9:5), God tells Noah after the flood. In this perspective, the relationship with God requires that the life of man be considered sacred and inviolableThe fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex20:13; Deut 5:17), has validity because God alone is Lord of life and death. The respect owed to the inviolability and integrity of physical life finds its climax in the positive commandment: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev 19:18), by which Jesus enjoins the obligation to tend to the needs of one’s neighbour (cf. Mt 22:37-40; Mk 12:29-31;Lk 10:27-28). (112)
Christian realism sees the abysses of sin, but in the light of the hope, greater than any evil, given by Jesus Christ’s act of redemption, in which sin and death are destroyed (cf. Rom5:18-21; 1 Cor 15:56-57): “In him God reconciled man to himself”.It is Christ, the image of God (cf. 2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15), who enlightens fully and brings to completion the image and likeness of God in man. The Word that became man in Jesus Christ has always been mankind’s life and light, the light that enlightens every person (cf. Jn 1:4,9). God desires in the one mediator Jesus Christ, his Son, the salvation of all men and women (cf. 1 Tim 2:4-5). Jesus is at the same time the Son of God and the new Adam, that is, the new man (cf. 1 Cor 15:47-49; Rom 5:14): “Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling”.In him we are, by God, “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren” (Rom 8:29). (121)
Colossians 1:15-16, 1:15-18, 1:18, 1:20
Faith in Jesus Christ makes it possible to have a correct understanding of social development, in the context of an integral and solidary humanism. In this regard, the contribution of theological reflection offered by the Church’s social Magisterium is very useful: “Faith in Christ the Redeemer, while it illuminates from within the nature of development, also guides us in the task of collaboration. In the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians, we read that Christ is ‘the firstborn of all creation,’ and that ‘all things were created through him’ and for him (Col 1:15-16). In fact, ‘all things hold together in him’, since ‘in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things’ (v. 20). A part of this divine plan, which begins from eternity in Christ, the perfect ‘image’ of the Father, and which culminates in him, ‘the firstborn from the dead’ (v. 15-18), in our own history, marked by our personal and collective effort to raise up the human condition and to overcome the obstacles which are continually arising along our way. It thus prepares us to share in the fullness which ‘dwells in the Lord’ and which he communicates ‘to his body, which is the Church’ (v. 18; cf. Eph 1:22-23). At the same time sin, which is always attempting to trap us and which jeopardizes our human achievements, is conquered and redeemed by the ‘reconciliation’ accomplished by Christ (cf. Col 1:20)”. (327)
Human activity aimed at enhancing and transforming the universe can and must unleash the perfections which find their origin and model in the uncreated Word. In fact, the Pauline and Johannine writings bring to light the Trinitarian dimension of creation, in particular the link that exists between the Son—Word — the Logos — and creation (cf. Jn1:3; 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:15-17). Created in him and through him, redeemed by him, the universe is not a happenstance conglomeration but a “cosmos”. It falls to man to discover the order within it and to heed this order, bringing it to fulfilment: “In Jesus Christ the visible world which God created for man — the world that, when sin entered, ‘was subjected to futility’ (Rom 8:20; cf. ibid. 8:19-22) — recovers again its original link with the divine source of Wisdom and Love”. In this way — that is, bringing to light in ever greater measure “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8), in creation, human work becomes a service raised to the grandeur of God. (262)
The entrance of Jesus Christ into the history of the world reaches its culmination in the Paschal Mystery, where nature itself takes part in the drama of the rejection of the Son of God and in the victory of his Resurrection (cf. Mt 27:45,51, 28:2). Crossing through death and grafting onto it the new splendour of the Resurrection, Jesus inaugurates a new world in which everything is subjected to him (cf. 1 Cor 15:20-28) and he creates anew those relationships of order and harmony that sin had destroyed. Knowledge of the imbalances existing between man and nature should be accompanied by an awareness that in Jesus the reconciliation of man and the world with God — such that every human being, aware of divine love, can find anew the peace that was lost — has been brought about. “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). Nature, which was created in the Word is, by the same Word made flesh, reconciled to God and given new peace (cf. Col 1:15-20). (454)
Faith exists not out yonder, up in the sky or across the sea to leave us with intrepidation and appointing an emissary to fetch the precept. We might fret how to grasp such Divine beneficence perceived far off, but the reality lies very near to us already embedded in our hearts, perched in our mouths. We are poised to proclaim the commandments rooted in love of God and neighbor, but they must not linger internally forever. As Moses said to his people and Jesus proclaimed in the parables, we are called to carry out faith, not clutch it tightly within us. If hesitancy stutters us, fear trembles us, despair consumes us, we must turn to the Lord in our need to live what God calls us to do. Our need never flees, diminishes or pops up occasionally, but is present continually. A need we think we might placate by worldly externalities, affirming social sin or cocky personal demeanor, but only by continually turning to the Lord will our faith manifest into action steeped in the Lord’s kindness. Faith void of action denies our trust in the Lord, the head of our Church, preeminent in all things, with the ability to reconcile all things, robed in peace through His sacrifice on the cross. Jesus gives us life by helping us to know our neighbor with compassionate service, empowering our hands beyond prayerful postures to share the life we have been given by touching the messiness of our world. Life that does not allow us to detour to the smooth side of the road to isolate us, bask in pious purity or feeling status in life leaves us elevated above the grittiness of worldly reality. We only truly live when we continually turn to the Lord and share mercy without differentiation. Otherwise, we ignore Jesus’ call to live like the civilly despised Samaritan to use our resources and time in service of others. A command of “Go and do likewise”, not sit or avoid. Words embodied in the Eucharist if our Amen resounds with sincerity.
Individual Reflection: Luke 10:25-37
July 11th is the Memorial of Saint Benedict. Read the Rule of St Benedict. St Benedict, Pray for us.
Family Reflection: Psalm 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37
July 14th is the Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint. Learn about her life, devotion to the Eucharist, how she is a model for New Evangelization and patroness of the environment, as we care for God’s creation. Saint Kateri, Pray for us.
Prayer: Pray the prayer for the Year of Mercy, words embodying the parable of the Good Samaritan
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew
from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness
only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us,
the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by
forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its
Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be
clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those
in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought
after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us
with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace
from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may
bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession
of Mary, Mother of Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father
and the Holy Spirit for ever 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 June 27, 2016 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.