January 29, 2017: Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Rights and Responsibilities
An adequate solidarity in the era of globalization requires that human rights be defended. In this regard, the Magisterium points out that not only the “vision of an effective international public authority at the service of human rights, freedom and peace has not yet been entirely achieved, but there is still in fact much hesitation in the international community about the obligation to respect and implement human rights. This duty touches all fundamental rights, excluding that arbitrary picking and choosing which can lead to rationalizing forms of discrimination and injustice. Likewise, we are witnessing the emergence of an alarming gap between a series of new ‘rights’ being promoted in advanced societies – the result of new prosperity and new technologies – and other more basic human rights still not being met, especially in situations of underdevelopment. I am thinking here for example about the right to food and drinkable water, to housing and security, to self-determination and independence – which are still far from being guaranteed and realized”. (365) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13
Psalm: 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
Second Reading: 1st Corinthians 1-26-31
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12a
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity. They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of his Passion and Resurrection; they shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life; they are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ’s disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints. (1717)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Peace is the goal of life in society, as is made extraordinarily clear in the messianic vision of peace: when all peoples will go up to the Lord’s house, and he will teach them his ways and they will walk along the ways of peace (cf. Is 2:2-5). A new world of peace that embraces all of nature is the promise of the messianic age (cf. Is 11:6-9), and the Messiah himself is called “Prince of peace” (Is 9:5). Wherever his peace reigns, wherever it is present even in part, no longer will anyone be able to make the people of God fearful (cf. Zeph 3:13). It is then that peace will be lasting, because when the king rules according to God’s justice, righteousness flourishes and peace abounds “till the moon be no more” (Ps 72:7). God longs to give peace to his people: “he will speak of peace to his people, to his saints, to those who turn to him in their hearts” (Ps 85:9). Listening to what God has to say to his people about peace, the Psalmist hears these words: “Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss” (Ps 85:11). (490)
The peace of Christ is in the first place reconciliation with the Father, which is brought about by the ministry Jesus entrusted to his disciples and which begins with the proclamation of peace: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!”’ (Lk 10:5; cf. Rom 1:7). Peace is then reconciliation with one’s brothers and sisters, for in the prayer that Jesus taught us, the “Our Father”, the forgiveness that we ask of God is linked to the forgiveness that we grant to our brothers and sisters: “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Mt 6:12). With this twofold reconciliation Christians can become peacemakers and therefore participate in the Kingdom of God, in accordance with what Jesus himself proclaims in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Mt 5:9). (492) For complete text visit: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html
The Beatitudes, words acclaiming the journey of the cross. A counter cultural paradox only attainable when humility deflates boasting. Emotions and actions quantified, abundant with blessings of spiritual happiness. An exhortation to rejoice, a promise of eternal reward, so why does exemplifying the Beatitudes as Church, as people of faith cause us to quickly turn the page to obscure the Lord’s signature teaching?
Jesus saw the crowds and went up the mountain. His disciples, uninitiated, heard words that challenged their demeanor. Why did Peter who heard, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God, resort to violence in the garden? Did his heart trusting in violence instead of non-violent peacemaking, render his trice denial of Jesus plausible? Violence fails allegiance only to pierce the dawn with true reality of its cowardliness. James and John sought status in the eternal kingdom, a carte blanche acceleration to glory, unbeknownst to meekness, a humble spirit, a life of service not our of obligation, but coming forth from a transformed heart. Thomas sought proof, visual reality of the resurrection conveyed by first hand observers. Did preponderance to doubt fuel thirst quenchable only with satisfaction in concrete facts, leaving no room to achieve satisfaction of a spiritual path to righteousness wrought in mystery.
What keeps us from truly taking to heart the Beatitudes, to take the Sermon on the Mount into the reality of our lives? A lack of trust from a faith preached with timidity never presenting the challenge of Jesus’ profound words? Do we value confusion, a spiritual struggle over clarity of what will lend ourselves and the world to the peaceable kingdom? Will we realize meekness constitutes not a doormat mentality, but a quest for justice speaking out and living for the right, not grabbing power. Pray the Beatitudes often to transition from listening to their words to the blessedness of living their words, so you may rejoice and be glad you are a follower of Jesus.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10
Read Fr. Joh Dear’s Book, The Beatitudes: Meditations on the Beatitudes, Peacemaking and the Spiritual Life
Family Reflection: Matthew 5:1-12a
This week prayerfully chose one Beatitude to manifest in the 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.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born January 19, 2017 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.