September 4, 2016: Twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person
The solemn proclamation of human rights is contradicted by a painful reality of violations, wars and violence of every kind, in the first place, genocides and mass deportations, the spreading on a virtual worldwide dimension of ever new forms of slavery such as trafficking in human beings, child soldiers, the exploitation of workers, illegal drug trafficking, prostitution. “Even in countries with democratic forms of government, these rights are not always fully respected”.
Unfortunately, there is a gap between the “letter” and the “spirit” of human rights, which can often be attributed to a merely formal recognition of these rights. The Church’s social doctrine, in consideration of the privilege accorded by the Gospel to the poor, repeats over and over that “the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others” and that an excessive affirmation of equality “can give rise to an individualism in which each one claims his own rights without wishing to be answerable for the common good”. (158) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Wisdom 9:13-18b
Psalm: 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14-17
Second Reading: Philemon 9-10, 12-17
Gospel: Luke 14:25-33
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: “Listen to him!” Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: “Love one another as I have loved you.” This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example. (459)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: No references this week
Do we live faith as misers, eking by with minimalistic commitment? A faith of convenience, attending mass if no other worldly obligations preclude, disciples only in our comfort zone, looking for opportunities of charity with the click of a donate button on our computer, putting our cross in a U-Haul instead of holding the sacred journey in our hands. When we prioritize family relationships, earthly endeavors and causes over our commitment to God, we trivialize faith. Our discipleship is a façade of piety.
As Jesus addressed the great crowds following him, he wanted them to know faith is not a lark, but a profound paradox. Living in the world, but detached from the absorption of ownership, control and manipulation of our possessions to glorify our self-worth in a cocky arrogance of striving towards a pedestal laden with false expectations. Jesus is upfront and tells us true discipleship takes us to a new horizon of calculating our journey of life. He asks us to consider the costs far removed from the sum total on a calculator, to the unquantifiable emotional and spiritual costs that may separate us from desires and expectations of family and friends, impose us to the ridicule of society and cause us to surrender in battles of dominance. Discipleship leaves us humble, surrendering and open to the balm of spiritual grace. A process of gaining wisdom of the heart over cerebral knowledge. Forlorn looks vanish, for we receive God’s kindness leading to a spirit of joy and gladness under the gracious care of the Lord our God. Realizing the fragility of life, we live with divine strength to trust not doubt, hope not despair, love not hate. Our family, friends and endeavors resonate with new meaning framed in the context of discipleship. For in prioritizing faith, life gains a deeper, more profound meaning woven with God’s, not our design. We profess faith not with hollow platitudes, but by the way we live our lives.
Individual Reflection: Philemon 9-10-12-17
Read Philemon, the plea to free a slave, a plea for mercy.
September 9th is the Feast Day of St Peter Claver, a Jesuit missionary , who cared for the spiritual and physical needs of South American slaves in the 1600’s. How can we be inspired by his work to address modern day slavery, human trafficking? Read about the SHEPHERD program of the USCCB:
Learn more about the issue of human trafficking:
Family Reflection: Philemon 9-10, 12-17
What fair trade products will your family purchase this week to help diminish the potential of human trafficking in our world? Learn more about fair trade at: http://www.crsfairtrade.org/
Prayer: For the victims of slavery and human trafficking: https://www.chausa.org/prayers/prayer-library/general-prayers-and-prayer-services/healing-and-health/a-prayer-for-victims-of-human-trafficking
A Prayer for the End of Human Trafficking
As shared by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, N.J.
God of freedom, beauty and truth
we believe that your deepest desire,
your most powerful energy,
is that all creation might know abundant life.
We raise our voices in anguished prayer
for our sisters and brothers,
women and girls, men and boys,
who are modern day slaves;
They are your beloved daughters and sons,
exploited sexually or forced to work
because of human violence and greed.
Fill us with your holy anger and your sacred passion
that those who are trafficked might know healing and justice;
that traffickers will come to repentance and conversion;
that all of us might live in such a way
that others are not made to pay the price
for our comfort and convenience.
Hasten the coming of the day when all people
and our precious Earth itself
will be treated, not as a commodity,
but as radiant images of your freedom, beauty and truth.
Amen. May it be so.
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 25, 2016 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.