Weekly Homily Reflections
Dear Clergy of Houma-Thibodaux
Greetings in Christ,
Reflections and thoughts for your consideration based on the social teachings of the church for Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary January 1, 2017
Catholic Social Teaching: Global Solidarity
We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, and ideological differences. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.
The blessing given in Numbers is something that is meant to be shared with the whole human community. It is a hopeful blessing for the whole world. It must be all inclusive if it is to have its full power.”…in the diversity of ethnic groups, societies and cultures, we see the seeds of a vocation to form a community composed of brothers and sisters who accept and care for one another.” (Pope Francis, 1 January 2014)
The birth of a child is a sign of hope – hope not just for the parents and immediate family, but also for the whole community. The life of Mary of Nazareth is a sign of hope - not just because her faith made her holy, but also because it says something to us all.
The Solemnity of Mary is a sign of hope to the world. It is a sign that we can give birth to a new vision – the vision of Jesus in the world – a vision of Justice and Peace – a vision of God present in the poor child and the young woman of Nazareth – a vision of God to be found in all the people and things of our world and especially among the poor.
In the gospel the shepherds come to see the child lying in the manger. This child just being there speaks to us of the peace to which God calls us.
The Epiphany of the Lord January 8, 2016
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community, and Participation
The person is not only sacred but also social. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all. Especially the poor and vulnerable.
The Feast of the Epiphany invites us to celebrate the wonderful reality that Jesus came as a light to all people, not just to some subset of the human race. Thus, the categorical exclusion of anyone contradicts the good news of Jesus Christ.
The behavior of Herod reflects the behavior of one who is afraid. The news about a new child to be king threatens his kingship. He is not only afraid of change, but afraid of real community. Rather than learning from the wisdom of the foreign visitors, he is afraid, and seeks to destroy what they came to discover.
The behavior of the foreign visitors or magi is the behavior of those who seek the truth at a great cost. The child offers a vision that is worth traveling a long distance to experience. Jesus offers a light that is worth sharing. In the wisdom of a child born in humble circumstances, they find a wonderful light, a powerful good news, and a liberation from sin, injustice, and prejudice.
The foreigners experience the power and the gift of Christ. They also bring gifts with them. Gifts that are given to the child but also gifts that open our eyes to the experience of the light of Christ as a gift for the whole world. This mutuality is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Giving and receiving happen at the same time. This must be true in our ministry for justice.
No one is to be excluded from the light of Christ. Whether we are young or old, female or male, we are all invited to experience the epiphany.
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time January 15, 2016
Catholic Social Teaching: Global Solidarity
We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.
Today’s selection from Isaiah proclaims: “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” God’s global vision is beginning to break through in these words to Isaiah. God does not care only for a special group of people. God’s love and God’s vision is global. God wants a certain type of “healthy globalization.”
It seems that the increasingly globalized economy has lots of winners and lots of losers. It seems that many of the poor are losers in the system. Our social teaching reminds us that God calls us to work to include everyone, including the poor.
John the Baptist points to the light of Christ. Christ calls us to a global concern - a concern for justice for all the people of our world, a call not to rest until all God’s people experience justice.
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time January 22, 2016
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
Jesus tells us to care for those who are most in need in the world. He reminds us of our Christian duty to give a voice to those who are unheard and to help those who are most vulnerable.
It may be helpful to read the scriptures today in light of the church’s preferential option for the poor. Pope Francis, in his address to the Archbishop of Canterbury on June 14, 2013, said “Among our tasks
as witness to the love of Christ is that of giving a voice to the cry of the poor.”
The ministry of Jesus is about freedom for the oppressed and good news to the poor. Jesus is about bringing a light to all people – including all the men and women of our age.
As we hear the word of God today, we might ask ourselves: Where is the darkness today?
Jesus goes into the “land of darkness” and ends up revealing the light. It is in the backwaters of Galilee and it is among the poor that the good news of Jesus Christ comes to light. It is there that Jesus finds people who are free enough to hear the good news. It is there that Jesus finds people who are able to let go and enter into God’s plan.
If we experience the light of Christ, we must not be afraid of walking into the darkness and into the challenges of life. We must not be afraid of being close to those who experience poverty or oppression. We must be with those in need. It is there that we will learn the way of Jesus Christ. It is there that we will experience liberation.
Catholic Social Teaching invites us to put the poor and vulnerable first. This is not only for their sake but for our own good and the good of the world. Only then will we be free enough to see the light and shake off the mantle of oppression.
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time January 29, 2016
Catholic Social Teaching: All teachings are covered in the readings for today.
A powerful and radically challenging key to the Christian life is found in the Beatitudes. The key is summarized in the first reading from Zephaniah in the phrase: “Seek justice, seek humility.”
The values of Jesus contrast markedly with the values that we see play out in parts of our contemporary culture where greed, prestige, power, security, wealth, status and the like are often assumed to be signs of success and happiness. The gospel message is clearly “counter-cultural.” The Beatitudes challenge us to look in a new way and live in a new way. We are called to be free in a radical liberating way. We are called to learn from those who are striving for righteousness. We are called to learn from those who are poor or sorrowing.
Each of the Beatitudes may remind us of some aspect of Catholic Social Teaching:
+ Our preferential option for the poor
We believe we must put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
+ Our special concern for anyone who is suffering
We believe we are one human family.
+ The profound dignity of every person irrespective of wealth or power.
We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking the well-being of all.
+ Our hunger for justice in the world and in its institutions and structures
We believe a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected.
+ Our concern for mercy and justice in our criminal justice system
We believe every person has a right to those things required for human decency.
+ Our profound respect for life in all its forms
We believe that human life is sacred and the dignity of human life is precious.
+ Our care for the earth as a gift from God to be shared by all
We are called to protect people and the planet.
+ Our passion for nonviolence and peace
We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
+ Our willingness to face opposition and to live by values different from those of our culture
Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by
violence and conflict.
---Education for Justice Lectionary Reflections By: Fr. John Bucki, S.J.