October 23, 2016: Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
Human rights are to be defended not only individually but also as a whole: protecting them only partially would imply a kind of failure to recognize them. They correspond to the demands of human dignity and entail, in the first place, the fulfilment of the essential needs of the person in the material and spiritual spheres. “These rights apply to every stage of life and to every political, social, economic and cultural situation. Together they form a single whole, directed unambiguously towards the promotion of every aspect of the good of both the person and society … The integral promotion of every category of human rights is the true guarantee of full respect for each individual right”. Universality and indivisibility are distinctive characteristics of human rights: they are “two guiding principles which at the same time demand that human rights be rooted in each culture and that their juridical profile be strengthened so as to ensure that they are fully observed” (154)
The principles of the Church’s social doctrine must be appreciated in their unity, interrelatedness and articulation. This requirement is rooted in the meaning that the Church herself attributes to her social doctrine, as a unified doctrinal corpus that interprets modern social realities in a systematic manner. Examining each of these principles individually must not lead to using them only in part or in an erroneous manner, which would be the case if they were to be invoked in a disjointed and unconnected way with respect to each of the others. A deep theoretical understanding and the actual application of even just one of these social principles clearly shows the reciprocity, complementarities and interconnectedness that is part of their structure. These fundamental principles of the Church’s social doctrine, moreover, represent much more than a permanent legacy of reflection, which is also an essential part of the Christian message, since they indicate the paths possible for building a good, authentic and renewed social life. (162) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Psalm: 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23
Second Reading: 2nd Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that “we receive from him whatever we ask.” Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer. (2631)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: No references this week
Do we let self-righteousness blind us of our personal sins, while amplifying the sins of others? We all sin. Sin is sin, the separation of ourselves from God and one another. When we say one sin is worse, more offensive, more grievous than another, those that others do are far more deplorable than ours, we deny the essence of sin. We make sin like a rating scale focusing on calculations of correctness instead of God’s ultimate forgiveness and the healing of reconciliation for our lives and the world. Placating ourselves by gazing on others and their failings creates barriers between people since we fail to see everyone journeying on a common path with common underlying challenges. Creating an unrealistic fork in the road, to relish in our self-righteousness over the path of others, diverts our attention from supporting one another with mutual comradery.
Singing praises of our perceived holiness severs our relationship to God, as we applaud our effort. Our humility evaporates, as we place ourselves on a pedestal, while despising others. A created separation between ourselves and others, as we look to establish distance by highlighting their failings. In reality, they are role models displaying the pleading for God’s mercy.
Living a legalistic faith, living to a bar of holiness out of obligation and not out of a heartfelt love for God, we might not be greedy or dishonest, but our prayers are hollow, spoken to ourselves, in places of prestige. Meaningful prayer filled with the wail of the orphan and complaints poured out by the widow, cries of the oppressed, those willingly serving God are heard, with petitions reaching the heavens. A prayerful exchange piercing the clouds, never resting or withdrawn until the Most High affirms the right. For the Lord is close not to the lofty, but the brokenhearted he redeems. Healing the lives of His servants, not impostures living faith for their own glorification, self-edification.
Self-righteousness can also transcend our ministries, when we see only our ministry as having credence and trivializing the outreach of others. Our faith calls us not to be a one issue Church, spewing venomous judgment, but relishing the interconnectedness of every social, political, economic and cultural situation. (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 154) So, we are a cog meshing with the bigger wheel to propel the foundational, spiritual and social concerns of the Church interacting in the world as positive, hopeful leaven. Supported by merciful kindness our ministries must be willing to ask “why”, the challenging questions to address the root causes of social ills. Focusing on the end condition presents our faith as insensitive to the triggers, chain of events leading up to the defining moment. Only by unraveling the resulting condition do our ministries put a human face and human touch to the issue. Otherwise, like the pharisees, self-righteous holiness prevails in our ministries living to the letter of the law, but forgetting to instill the love Jesus asks us to share. We also become darkness in the societal dialogue absorbed in a cause, battling an issue, instead of being the light of Christ to illuminate hopeful solutions.
Individual Reflection: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
Reflect on economic inequality and Gospel values. How do you see economic inequality in your community contributing to social challenges? How might your parish address these challenges?
Family Reflection: Psalm 34:2-3, 17-18, 19,23
Plan to distribute socially responsible treats this Halloween, using Fair Trade chocolate or snacks made with ethically sourced commodities.
Prayer: Prayerfully mediate on the interconnectedness of social, economic, political and cultural situations in our world.
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 October 17, 2016 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.