Fr. Rick’s Pastoral Messages 9-19-20

Pastoral Messages from Fr. Rick 9/19/20

1/  IT’S ALL CONNECTED:  A recent article from the Catholic News Service published in the 9/11/20 Intermountain Catholic summarized the message of Pope Francis as saying a lack of respect for human life from conception to natural death and a lack of respect for the environment are both signs of a person claiming power over something that is not theirs to control.  “They are the same indifference, the same selfishness, the same greed, the same pride, the same claim to be the master and despot of the world that lead human beings on the one hand to destroy species and plunder natural resources and, on the other, to exploit poverty, to abuse the work of women and children, to overturn the laws of the nuclear family (and) to no longer respect the right to human life from conception to its natural end.”  The comments were made in a talk given to French laypersons to help them advise their bishops about how to best present his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ (On Care of Our Common Home) in their upcoming pastoral efforts.

2/ Two weeks ago in my homily, I read an 1861 proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln calling for a day of humility, prayer and fasting for peace and justice to occur on the 4th Thursday of September.  It was my suggestion that we participate in this holy effort on September 24th.  Please consider joining us for Mass at 8:00 AM, say the rosary at your leisure and remember to fast as is appropriate for one’s individual condition.

3/ Please consider studying the ‘Faithful Citizenship’ document and the ‘Open Wide our Hearts’ pastoral letter against Racism that is featured on our website. 

4/  Here are the ‘answers’ to the biblical citations from last week’s bulletin which alluded to the biblical timeline for Catholic Social Teaching.

Answer Key to Bible Timeline for Biblical Footings of Catholic Social Teaching  (see 9/13/20 bulletin)

1) The human person is created in God’s image and given a role as God’s partner in caring for creation. The creation story is in the book of Genesis. The story illustrates that human persons are created in God’s own image and likeness and therefore, every person possesses intrinsic dignity. Also, Adam and Eve were not created as solitary beings—they were created for relationship with God and one another. Finally, Adam and Eve were given a role as stewards. We are called to care for and protect God’s gift of creation.

2) God helps the Israelites escape from slavery and oppression. Exodus 1:1-15:21 illustrates that God liberates the oppressed and hears the cries of those who are vulnerable.

3) On Mt. Sinai, God gives Moses the Ten Commandments to help the Israelites live in right relationship with God and others. This story, told in Exodus 20, shows how God gave the Israelites a moral code so that they could treat God and one another with respect and live rightly and peacefully.

4) The Israelites’ legislative codes include rules for caring for the poor, forgiving debts, welcoming the stranger, and stewardship of the land. There are three Legislative Codes in the Old Testament: the Covenant Code (Exodus 21:1-23:33), the Law of Holiness (Leviticus 17:1-26.46), and the Deuteronomic Code (Deuteronomy 4:44-26:19). These codes include rules for how those who are most vulnerable should be treated. The Codes exist as guides to right worship and living.

5) The prophets, such as Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amos, condemn injustice done to the poor as a sign of Israel’s unfaithfulness. Throughout the OT: the peoples’ faithfulness is judged not only by faithfulness to God but also by their treatment of the widow, orphan, migrant, and those who are poor. We see examples of this in Hosea 4, Isaiah 1; 5; 32; 58, Jeremiah 5; 7; 9; 34, Ezekiel 18:5; 22; 34; Amos 5:7-17; 8; Micah 2, and Malachi 1:6-29. Each describes the result when leaders fail to follow God’s commandments, including those on social justice. For example, the prophecy of Amos about the fall of the northern kingdom was tied to his criticism of the misuse and hoarding of wealth by the upper class while the poorest suffered (5:7-8:6).

The prophet Jeremiah cried out against Judah’s rulers’ unfaithfulness to God—and the injustice that pervades society. The great sin of King Jehoiakim was his selfish use of power, building a new expensive palace using forced labor and ignoring the needs of the poor (5:26-29, 22:13)

6) Pregnant with Jesus, Mary visits Elizabeth, proclaiming, “[The Lord] has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.” Mary’s proclamation of the Magnificat in Luke 1:46-56 testifies to God’s special love for those who are poor and weak. Jesus, who is God incarnate, affirms the goodness of creation and God’s love for humanity. Jesus’ birth, life and death seek to make right the broken relationship between humans and God.

7) In the synagogue, Jesus reads from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” In Luke 4:18, Jesus proclaims the coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus seeks to make present the Kingdom not only in end times, but also starting now!

8) During his ministry, Jesus shows mercy to the needy (Luke 16:19-31; Matthew 25:31-46) grants pardon (Matthew 6:11, 14-15; 18:21-35), shows concern for the weak (Mark 9:35-37; 10:13-16, Matthew 18:10-14), performs exorcisms, and heals the sick (Matthew 4:23-25, 9:35-36, 11:5; 15:29-31). Through his ministry to those who are sick, weak, and possessed, Jesus shows us how to worship rightly and live rightly. 9) Jesus’ parables, such as the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-40), show God’s special love for the poor and the stranger which we are to imitate.

10) Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, calling them to love and serve others in the same way. The washing of the disciples’ feet in John 13:1-7 precedes the first Eucharistic liturgy, setting the stage for our own reflection during the Liturgy today about our own call to service, self-sacrifice, and mission.

11) Having received the Holy Spirit, the disciples perform wonders, such as healing the sick. The disciples receive the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 and then perform great works and wonders through the power of the Holy Spirit.

12) The disciples establish the Christian community, in which all members have enough and “there was no needy person among them.” The description in Acts 4:32-35 of the first Christian community inspires us today to take seriously the responsibility to care for all who are in need.

13) Paul chastises the community at Corinth for divisions according to social class, presenting a vision for Eucharistic community as one body of Christ. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10-11 remind us that we are one body and that when one part of the body suffers, we all suffer.

14) The letters of James, Hebrews, and others exhort the early Christians to live out Jesus’ commandment of love, to be doers of the Word (not only hearers), to refrain from showing partiality toward the rich and from defrauding laborers (James 1:22, 2:1-9, and 5:1-6, respectively), and to implement worship through Christian living (Hebrews 10:22-25, 12:14-17, 13:15-16).

15) Letters to the persecuted churches use code language to exhort them to persevere in public witness through saintly deeds, acts of justice and work to establish God’s kingdom. Letters to the persecuted churches, such as those found in Revelation 5:10, 19:8, 20:6, and 21:2, offer hope and instructions to live as powerful witnesses in the world