Word To Life
Sunday Scripture Readings, Sept. 22, 2013
By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service
September 22, Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Amos 8:4-7
Psalm 113:1-2, 4-8
2) I Timothy 2:1-8
Gospel: Luke 16:1-13 or Luke 16 10-13
In July, Pope Francis was the catalyst for a great deal of media attention as he traveled to Brazil for World Youth Day. True to form, he visited one of Rio's notorious "favelas," or slums, not for a photo op, but to stroll through its rainy streets, visit the dwellers in their homes and deliver a message that is very much in keeping with this Sunday's readings, especially the denunciation from the prophet Amos.
Criticizing the "culture of selfishness and individualism" that contributes to social injustice, the pope said, "No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world! Everybody, according to his or her particular opportunities and responsibilities, should be able to make a personal contribution to putting an end to so many social injustices." He further advocated a "culture of solidarity" that regards others "not as rivals or statistics, but brothers and sisters."
Pope Francis also made it clear that overcoming inequality isn't about political upheaval or a personally disengaged method of throwing money at social problems. Rather, he praised the generous practices of the poor who welcomed him: "I am well aware that when someone needing food knocks at your door, you always find a way of sharing food; as the proverb says, one can always 'add more water to the beans!' ... And you do so with love, demonstrating that true riches consist not in material things, but in the heart!"
It is this kind of attitude that eschews the angry, self-centered polarizations and tensions between "haves" and "have-nots," seeking instead to please God and advance the good of the other regardless of his or her social status, according to 1 Timothy.
As the Gospel illustrates, it is not the amount of one's wealth that matters -- it is one's trustworthiness with what one is given.
Pope Francis' teaching is not a new one. But his continuous actions of solidarity with the poor and the marginalized compel us to hear the message of the Gospel afresh and to act on it.
How can you make a personal contribution to ending social injustice? In what way can you deepen your own solidarity with those whose socio-economic status is different from your own?
SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:
"He raises up the lowly from the dust ... to seat them with princes." -- Psalm 113:7-8
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