Happy St Francis Day to our Franciscan brothers and sisters. Inspired by Francis and our Pope Francis, may we be more reverent towards the world God has created for us.
In our Lectionary, which provides the Sunday readings, the Isaiah text is
printed to look like the poem it was in the original. In rich imagery, a friend
of God speaks on God's behalf to us. But what starts as a love song turns
discordant at the end.
“As citizens in the world’s leading democracy, Catholics in the United States
have special responsibilities to protect human life and dignity and to stand
with those who are poor and vulnerable. We are called to welcome the stranger,
to combat discrimination, to pursue peace and to promote the common good.
Catholic social teaching calls us to practice civic virtues and offers us
principles to shape participation in public life. We cannot be indifferent to or
cynical about the obligations of citizenship. Our political choices should not
reflect simply our own interests, partisan preferences or ideological agendas,
but should be shaped by the principles of our faith and our commitment to
justice, especially to the weak an vulnerable.”
Click here for a link to this Sunday’s readings:https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/100420.cfm
[The Lord of Hosts] looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed! For justice, but hark, the outcry!
In Isaiah 5, the vine is a metaphor for the people of Judah and because of their social injustice, they clearly failed God’s intention and threaten its destruction. Fast forward eight centuries to Jesus’ time and Matthew writes of another vineyard where God expects a harvest of righteous fruits and will not tolerate injustice. Jesus is speaking to the chief priests and elders and, through the story, tells them because of their injustice the kingdom of God will be taken away from them and "given to a people that will produce its fruit (Matthew 21:43).
Fast forward again to the present time. The 2019 U.N. Human Development Report argues that the unrest and protests in the world are about more than disparities in income and wealth, but are driven, also, by inequalities in opportunity and power that leads to lack of access to jobs, healthcare, education and social mobility. Pope Francis has identified inequality as a moral problem, saying in Evangelii Gaudium, "Inequality is the root of social ills." The vineyard again is in danger of being destroyed because of social injustice.
Now, is the time of reckoning. The Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church #83 says that the human conscience is called to recognize and fulfill the obligations of justice and charity in society. But, more is needed than just fulfilling obligations.
Pope Francis provides this wisdom, "In every age, humanity experiences injustices, moments of conflict and inequality among peoples. In our own day these difficulties seem to be especially pronounced. Even though society has made great progress technologically, and people throughout the world are increasingly aware of their common humanity and destiny, the wounds of conflict, poverty and oppression persist, and create new divisions. In the face of these challenges, we must never grow resigned. . .we know that there is a way forward, a way that leads to healing, mutual understanding and respect. A way based on compassion and loving kindness" (11/29/17). When you come to the vineyard to clear the social injustice that has grown there, bring all of your gifts and your love.
To learn more about inequality around the world and what can be done to narrow the staggering economic inequality that so afflicts us in almost every aspect of our lives, exploreinequality.org, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.
–Barbara Molinari Quinby, MPS, Director,
Office of Human Life, Dignity, and Justice Ministries
Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral
Mini-reflections on the Sunday scripture readings designed for persons on the run. "Faith Book" is also brief enough to be posted in the Sunday parish bulletins people take home.
From today’s Gospel reading:
Finally, the owner of the vineyard sent his son to [the tenants of the vineyard], thinking, "They will respect my son." But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, "This is the heir. Come let us kill him and acquire his inheritance." They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him."
Jesus is telling us something about God that we need to hear. God doesn't give up on us, even when we have turned away from God. God is even willing to risk looking foolish in our eyes, willing to come again and again to us. God's love doesn't diminish, even when we reject God or live lukewarm lives of faith.
So we ask ourselves:
"One has to strongly affirm that condemnation to the death penalty is an inhuman measure that humiliates personal dignity, in whatever form it is carried out."
This is a particularly vulnerable time for state and federal prisoners. Conditions, even without the pandemic, are awful in our prisons. Imagine what it is like now with the virus spreading through the close and unhealthy prison settings. I invite you to write a postcard to one or more of the inmates listed below to let them know we have not forgotten them. If the inmate responds you might consider becoming pen pals.
Please write to:
----Central Prison, 4285 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4285
For more information on the Catholic position on the death penalty go to the Catholic Mobilizing Network:http://catholicsmobilizing.org/resources/cacp/
On this page you can sign "The National Catholic Pledge to End the Death Penalty." Also, check the interfaith page for People of Faith Against the Death Penalty:http://www.pfadp.org/
"First Impressions"is a service to preachers and those wishing to prepare for Sunday worship. It is sponsored by the Dominican Friars. If you would like "First Impressions" sent weekly to a friend, send a note to fr. John Boll, OP at email@example.com.
If you would like to support this ministry, please send tax deductible contributions to fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P.
St. Albert Priory, 3150 Vince Hagan Drive Irving, Texas 75062-4736
Make checks payable to: Dominican Friars. Or, go to our webpage to make an online donation:https://www.PreacherExchange.com/donations.htm
1. We have compiled Four CDS for sale:
If you are a preacher, lead a Lectionary-based scripture group, or are a member of a liturgical team, these CDs will be helpful in your preparation process. Individual worshipers report they also use these reflections as they prepare for Sunday liturgy.
You can order the CDs by going to our webpage:www.PreacherExchange.com and clicking on the "First Impressions" CD link on the left.
2. "Homilías Domincales" —These Spanish reflections on the Sunday and daily scriptures are written by Dominican sisters and friars. If you or a friend would like to receive these reflections drop a note to fr. John Boll, O.P. atJboll@opsouth.org. 3. Our webpage: www.PreacherExchange.org - Where you will find "Preachers’ Exchange," which includes "First Impressions" and "Homilías Dominicales," as well as articles, book reviews, daily homilies and other material pertinent to preaching.
4. "First Impressions" is a service to preachers and those wishing to prepare for Sunday worship. It is sponsored by the Dominican Friars. If you would like "First Impressions" sent weekly to a friend, send a note to fr. John Boll, OP at the above email address.
Thank you and blessings on your preaching,
fr. Jude Siciliano, O.P.
3150 Vince Hagan Drive
Irving, Texas 75062-4736
Click on a link button below to view the reflection indicated.
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