November 13, 2016: Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time
Catholic Social Teaching: Care for God’s Creation
As regards the ecological question, the social doctrine of the Church reminds us that the goods of the earth were created by God to be used wisely by all. They must be shared equitably, in accordance with justice and charity. This is essentially a question of preventing the injustice of hoarding resources: greediness, be it individual or collective, is contrary to the order of creation. Modern ecological problems are of a planetary dimension and can be effectively resolved only through international cooperation capable of guaranteeing greater coordination in the use of the earth’s resources. (481)
Responsibility for the environment, the common heritage of mankind, extends not only to present needs but also to those of the future. “We have inherited from past generations, and we have benefited from the work of our contemporaries: for this reason we have obligations towards all, and we cannot refuse to interest ourselves in those who will come after us, to enlarge the human family”. This is a responsibility that present generations have towards those of the future, a responsibility that also concerns individual States and the international community. (467) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Malachi 3:19-20a
Psalm: 98:5-6, 7-8, 9
Second Reading: 2nd Thessalonians 3:7-12
Gospel: Luke 21:5-19
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“Far from diminishing our concern to develop this earth, the expectancy of a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that the body of a new human family grows, foreshadowing in some way the age which is to come. That is why, although we must be careful to distinguish earthly progress clearly from the increase of the kingdom of Christ, such progress is of vital concern to the kingdom of God, insofar as it can contribute to the better ordering of human society.” (1049)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
2nd Thessalonians 3:6-12 and 3:7-15
The awareness that “the form of this world is passing away” (1 Cor 7:31) is not an exoneration from being involved in the world, and even less from work (cf. 2 Thes 3:7-15), which is an integral part of the human condition, although not the only purpose of life. No Christian, in light of the fact that he belongs to a united and fraternal community, should feel that he has the right not to work and to live at the expense of others (cf. 2 Thes 3:6-12). Rather, all are charged by the Apostle Paul to make it a point of honour to work with their own hands, so as to “be dependent on nobody” (1 Thes 4:12), and to practise a solidarity which is also material by sharing the fruits of their labour with “those in need” (Eph 4:28). Saint James defends the trampled rights of workers: “Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts” (Jas 5:4). Believers are to undertake their work in the style of Christ and make it an occasion for Christian witness, commanding “the respect of outsiders” (1 Thes 4:12). (264)
The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice. Will we join Him, letting healing rays touch our earth with equity? A justice that extinguishes evil and pride with a firefull passion to see humanity and creation connected with a unified purpose to foster the common good instead of individual entitlement. Justice requires orderly, systemic work grounded in PATIENCE.
- Purpose: A focus with passion
- Articulate: Clearly defined need for justice
- Teach: Why justice is important and how justice benefits society for the well-being of all
- Integrity: Be forthright, grounded by a moral compass
- Equality: Respect the rights and inclusion of everyone
- Negotiate: Consensus building, not dictate initiatives
- Craft hope: Upholding a positive outlook, refrain from dredging chasms of division
- Ecological balance: Sustainable stewardship of creation incorporated into justice initiatives
Striving for justice connects us as a branch to the vine of the Lord. On our branch, we are rooted deeply, given strength by drawing upon the stability of a framework architecturally designed to uphold the work of all the branches. We must not lop off other branches to make our cause for justice more prominent. We must not nip other campaigns in the bud, afraid they might flower more fruitfully or place our justice initiative in the shade. We must allow ourselves to be nurtured by the vine, absorbing the nutritional richness to grow our cause, for relying on our own pedigree will not let us fully graft to the vine and flourish. We must feel the strength and security of the other branches and use that strength collaboratively.
Standing on the ground, gazing at the branches, major limbs and smaller offshoots, justice may seem nebulous, difficult to connect with. Only when we venture into the vine, grasp a branch, let it support us do we know the Divine concept of justice. We see the Lord desires unity, connectivity, for we are bestowed talents to be one branch among many. How unnatural would a vine with only one branch be? How unrealistic our lives would be with only a singular act of justice to address our multifaceted needs to maintain human dignity? How the Gospel would be trivialized if only one justice issue would remain after cutting out the rest of the pages? How our Church’s perception in the world would seem to lack subtlety, if its teachings articulated a mono-focused justice perspective? God created the world in and for interconnectedness. A creation of blessedness and goodness we must imitate in our quest for justice. For justice cannot be one issue, a singular focus, but the strength of a woven garment to cloth the world in peace. A paradigm, where the vitality of the vine with interwoven branches, continually grows and produces fruit to nurture the world.
Individual Reflection: 2nd Thessalonians 3:7-12
Read the following verse, verse 13,”…do not be remiss in doing good.” How do you do good through your work? What are the challenges for doing good and making your work incorporate a justice perspective? What are some justice initiatives you should prioritize in your work?
Family Reflection: Psalm 98:5-6, 7-8, 9
Reflecting on the PATIENCE model in the reflection, how does your family emulate justice in the family and your broader interaction in the world?
“May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2nd Thessalonians 3:16
Let these words be your prayer this week to give you peace, a prayer for you and all people
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 November 6, 2016 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.