October 16, 2016: Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community, Participation
The lay faithful must strengthen their spiritual and moral lives, becoming ever more competent in carrying out their social duties. A deepening of interior motivations and the acquisition of a style appropriate for their work in the social and political spheres are the results of a dynamic and ongoing formation directed above all to the attainment of harmony between life, in all its complexity, and faith. In the experience of believers, in fact, “there cannot be two parallel lives in their existence: on the one hand, the so-called ‘spiritual’ life, with its values and demands; and on the other, the so-called ‘secular’ life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social relationships, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture”
Bringing faith and life together requires following the path judiciously indicated by the characteristic elements of Christian living: the Word of God as a reference point; the liturgical celebration of the Christian Mystery; personal prayer; the authentic experience of Church enhanced by the particular formational services of discerning spiritual guides; the exercise of the social virtues and a persevering commitment to cultural and professional formation. (546) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Exodus 17:8-13
Psalm: 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
Second Reading: 2nd Timothy 3:14-4:2
Gospel: Luke 18:1-8
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“Pray constantly . . . always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.” St. Paul adds, “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints.” For “we have not been commanded to work, to keep watch and to fast constantly, but it has been laid down that we are to pray without ceasing.” This tireless fervor can come only from love. Against our dullness and laziness, the battle of prayer is that of humble, trusting, and persevering love. This love opens our hearts to three enlightening and life-giving facts of faith about prayer. (2742)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
2nd Timothy 4:2-5
At the dawn of this Third Millennium, the Church does not tire of proclaiming the Gospel that brings salvation and genuine freedom also to temporal realities. She is mindful of the solemn exhortation given by Saint Paul to his disciple Timothy: “Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry” (2 Tim 4:2-5). (2)
In the face of injustice, how do we react? We can pout, mope, whine, bray the inequities to let the injustice sap and detract our energies to act for change. Or we can ground ourselves in God’s word and pray for the insights, guidance and strength to engage ourselves to address the injustices.
Allegorically, the widow portrays the least empowered member of a patriarchal antiquical society. She was to have no voice or power, but live as an invisible member of society. Instead, she provides a model of continual perseverance to an unjust judge entrusted to enforce societal edicts. We may feel a lack of empowerment in a large world controlled by economic, media and ecclesial elites seeking to dictate agendas. But our individual and collective perseverance must remain focused on rendering injustice into justice. By removing the “in”, we enter “into” the struggle. The Word sustains us to define the path, the cause, rest in the sacrifice needed and the hope to come. Out of fidelity to our Creator and Redeemer, we must pray, not endless loops of devout holiness to separate us from the gracious warmth of Divine love, but prayers from the pressing challenges and joyous thanksgivings of our sincere hearts praising God’s providence to guard our ways. Prayers uttered in sincerity woven with communal bonds of solidarity to build God’s kingdom flourishing in justice. Like Moses and his companions, our prayers must resonate and collaborate with one another, so faith does not languish in isolation but flourish in unified community. If we ignore this spiritual synergy and retrench to devout holiness with hands in prayerful posture, a chasm develops between oneself and the Divine. Pious holiness causes us to shun the loving embrace of the Divine with open arms, prevents us from realizing Jesus is our closest friend, someone to have a chat with, hold our hand along the way. The pursuit of intense holiness, laden with pious prepositions only further separates us from God. We defile our relationship to the Divine into an idolistic worship. Because placing God on a pedestal, we distance ourselves on a treadmill of unworthiness prioritizing continual sanctification instead of a continual conversation and conversion rooted in friendship instead of slavery.
Faithful to our belief in Scriptural values of justice, love, mercy and forgiveness with the beauty of prayer to sustain, comfort and encourage, we realize the gift of our salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. From that gift, we realize the imperative and abiding strength to ask challenging questions, the challenge to include all people, the challenge to love when hate and judgment festers. Not a job, but defining life’s overriding purpose.
Individual Reflection: Luke 18:1-8
October 18th is the Feast of St Luke. Reflecting on the Gospel of Luke and Acts, also attributed to St Luke, what are five meaningful readings that inspire your faith? Share them with five people this week.
Family Reflection: Luke 18:1-18
Learn about Human Thread’s campaign for more fair trade clothing options and the perseverance needed to have sustainable and equitable clothes
Prayer: Have a cool chat with Jesus
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 12, 2016 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.