18th Sunday Ordinary Time 2013

Scripture readings for Sunday's Mass are here

Reflections on the various readings from St Louis Centre for Liturgy are here.

From the First Reading from the book of Ecclesiastes

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!

Abbey Lincoln Sings Throw It Away !

Psalm 90

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.

R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.

R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!

R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!

R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

My previous post on this Psalm is here

Second Reading
Brothers and sisters:

If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died,
and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.

Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.

The quote below is again from Paul, but this time in a different letter to the Corinthians. It emphasises the unity we seek in Christ and Christ's own desires for unity in all of us.

There has been much discussion on the papacy of Pope Francis over the past few months and especially so this past week. I was going to do a separate post but because of time issues I've bundled it all together.

It is only a few months since his election and he has a monumental task ahead of him  The task of uniting all of us is one that the begrudgers and naysayers might find uncomfortable. Time and time again the messages from Pope Francis echo today's message from Paul- "But Christ is all and in all" That requires a softer and more listening heart in all of us and realistically progress may be slow.
Two articles this week provide some useful insight into some of these issues : 
 I don't think I'm deluded in feeling optimism, and despite holding a lot of deep frustrations, fears and worries about the church, these are tempered by a great and  deep joy in witnessing the way this new Pope has stirred us all up.

I can find parts of myself these days, somewhere in these quotes from Flannery O' Connor.

“All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.”  
“…the only thing that makes the Church endurable is that it is somehow the body of Christ and that on this we are fed. It seems to be a fact that you have to suffer as much from the Church as for it but if you believe in the divinity of Christ, you have to cherish the world at the same time that you struggle to endure it. ”
“I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.” 
 “I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe. I know what torment this is, but I can only see it, in myself anyway, as the process by which faith is deepened. A faith that just accepts is a child's faith and all right for children, but eventually you have to grow religiously as every other way, though some never do. What people don't realize is how much religion costs.

They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe. If you feel you can't believe, you must at least do this: keep an open mind. Keep it open toward faith, keep wanting it, keep asking for it, and leave the rest to God. ” 

Image source

"Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator."

  At the outset of his papacy he quoted from St Francis and I think it a good time this Sunday, given the content of these scriptures today to review some of the priorities of Pope Francis as exemplified by the following extract taken from this Huffington Post article here written quite early on in April this year by John Esposito, but still very relevant.

"Like St. Francis, whom Jesus is said to have admonished, "Francis rebuild my church," Pope Francis now faces an institutional church in need of substantial rebuilding and reform. He heads a deeply divided church theologically; has an entrenched and flawed, some would say incompetent, Vatican bureaucracy; inherits a legacy of decades of scandals (in particular pedophilia) and of deception by members of the hierarchy, and an exodus of Catholics in Europe and America. 

From the first moments of his papacy, Pope Francis signaled a pope bent on being a "spiritual leader," who emphasizes the example and teachings of Jesus (that St. Francis so steadfastly emulated): the spirit of simplicity, humility, love and compassion; emphasis on issues of social justice, especially care for the poorest of the poor; and a religiously inclusive rather than exclusive outreach not just theologically but personally to other faiths and of no faith. He has quietly but firmly eschewed the pomp and circumstance of the Papacy in dress, living quarters, popemobile and security and embraced the laity (including the poor, sick and imprisoned). 

This new style was signaled most movingly by Pope Francis break with tradition in decision to celebrating Holy Thursday liturgy outside the Vatican at a prison. He replaced the tradition of washing the feet of 12 cardinals who represented the apostles with washing and kissing the feet of 12 young prisoners, including, in an unprecedented move, two young female prisoners, one of them a Muslim.
While Pope Francis has captured headlines and the hearts of many progressives, liberals and some conservatives, he has not impressed ultra-conservative or Tridentine Catholics, who fear he will resurrect what they regard as the "excesses," for some heresies that resulted from Vatican II. 

However, liberals, who welcome a move away from Benedict XVI's retrenchment and retreat from the spirit of Vatican II, will find the pope's conservative theological opposition to married clergy, women's ordination, birth control, abortion and gay marriage disconcerting and unacceptable. Conservatives, who will applaud the pope's conservative theological positions, will at times continue to be deeply concerned, and some outraged, with what they see as a break with Catholic tradition. 

Pope Francis' success in "rebuilding" the Catholic Church faces formidable challenges. He will need to clean house, reorganize the Vatican bureaucracy and its leadership, create a more transparent and inclusive Church and hierarchy and appoint cardinals and bishops who reflect a greater theological diversity. Equally important, he is challenged to level the playing field between the hierarchy and the laity, reclaiming and institutionalizing Vatican II's more inclusive and empowering vision of both the laity and the hierarchy/clergy as the People of God. A more open and inclusive climate in the Church would surface the diversity among Catholic scholars that already exists but is often muted by fear or concern about being disciplined, silenced or fired from their positions. It would lead to substantive theological and social reforms, informed by recent scholarship in science, Scripture, theology and church history.

 The fruits of this new knowledge and perspective have already generated fresh Catholic theological thinking, respectful of tradition, but also informed by new insights from science on the nature of the universe and its impact on cosmology and understandings of God; of the New Testament and Jesus message and mission; and new understanding of the development of doctrine and practice based on the real not simply idealized understanding of Church history.

Too often, conservatives and ultra conservatives see reformist thought as a threat, undermining "sacred" tradition. They forget or are the victims of, in the words of Philip Jenkins, "holy amnesia." While tradition in Catholicism, as in Islam and other faiths, is a foundational source and reference point, it is historically and socially conditioned and therefore not immutable. Benedict XVI, a conservative icon, demonstrated this when he abolished Catholic teaching from medieval times on the existence of Limbo, the place where unbaptized souls of children go if they die before they can be baptized. In contrast, Paul VI, having convened two commissions to advise him on the Church's teaching on birth control, chose to ignore the findings of both that supported a lifting of the ban on birth control. While Pope Francis may not alter his opposition to the ordination of women to the priesthood, a first step, based on recent scholarship that demonstrates women had prominent leadership roles in the early Church, would be their ordination as deacons.

But the cornerstone for Pope Francis' rebuilding the Catholic Church and it role globally will depend on a successful reclaiming of the common ground that transcends the centrality of dogma and "holy wars" that too often have divided the Church in the past and conservatives and liberals today and have little resonance with the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels: a message of God's love and a compassion and of social justice."

Gospel Lk 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” 
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”

Then he said to the crowd,

“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Image source

Then he told them a parable.

“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’

And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:

I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.

There I shall store all my grain and other goods

and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’

But God said to him,

‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”

Thanks to Philip Chircop S.J. for this graphic of Pope Francis' quotation.

and thanks to Fr. Austin Fleming for this one below:

 A new sculpture by Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz: Pope Francis putting the traditional papal red shoes on a homeless man. Timothy notes that this sculpture is about the pope's thematic message of reaching out to those in need and doesn't represent a particular incident. (https://www.facebook.com/SculptureByTimothySchmalz)

My Post from 2010 on this Gospel here. 
and a follow up one here.

I'm thankful that some progress has been made in my church since I wrote the first one; yes I long for changes, but I pray and hope that the best is yet to come..

Fine reflection on The Gospel of The Rich Fool by Daniel Clendenin here.
and another here
and here.

All plenty which is not my God, is poverty to me. St Augustine
When Will There Be  A Harvest For The World ?

by The Christians

Powerful video

No comments: