Saturday, July 10, 2010

MONDAY MORNING MISSION MEDITATION for the week of July 11, 2010

Catholic Charities. Providing Help. Creating Hope.

VISION: Believing in the presence of God in our midst, we proclaim the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the person by sharing in the mission of Jesus given to the Church. To this end, Catholic Charities works with individuals, families, and communities to help them meet their needs, address their issues, eliminate oppression, and build a just and compassionate society.

MISSION: Rooted in the Mission of the Diocese of Youngstown "to minister to the people in the six counties of northeastern Ohio . . .(and) to the world community", we are called to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same.

GOALS: Catholic Charities is devoted to helping meet basic human needs, strengthening families, building communities and empowering low-income people. Working to reduce poverty in half by 2020.

KEY VALUE: Hospitality

WHAT WE DO: Organizing Love. "As a community, the Church must practise love. Love thus needs to be organized if it is to be an ordered service to the community" (Deus Caritas Est, par. 20)


On Sunday (15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C, http://www.usccb.org/nab/071110.shtml ) we read in the Gospel of Luke about the story of the Good Samaritan. We in Catholic Charities are called to be leaders/servants going and doing "likewise."

This reflection by Father Thomas Rosica, CSB provides some wonderful insights:

"The story of the Good Samaritan in today's Gospel (Luke 10:25-37) is one of the most treasured parables of the Bible. During my studies in the Holy Land, no matter how many times I traveled that perilous yet spectacular highway from Jerusalem to Jericho, I always found myself musing on Luke's provocative story.

Luke's story is powerful, for it speaks of the power of love that transcends all creeds and cultures and "creates" a neighbor out of a complete stranger. The parable is personal, for it describes with profound simplicity the birth of a human relationship that has a personal, physical touch, transcending social and cultural taboos, as one person binds the wounds of another. The parable is a pastoral one, for it is filled with the mystery of care and concern that is at the heart of what is best in human beings. The story is primarily practical, for it urges us to cross all barriers of culture and community and to go and do likewise!

Let us look closely at Luke's parable. The legal expert who responds to Jesus' counter-question is certainly a good and upright man. The words, "wished to justify himself" may often be understood to mean that the lawyer was looking for some loophole to demonstrate his worthiness. In fact, the lawyer wishes to be sure that he understands just what "love your neighbor" really implies. In response to a question from this Jewish legal expert about inheriting eternal life, Jesus illustrates the superiority of love over legalism through the parable.

The priest and Levite (vv 31-32) are religious representatives of Judaism who would have been expected to be models of "neighbor" to the victim they would pass by on the road. Levites were expected to have a special dedication to the law. The identity of the "neighbor" requested by the legal expert turns out to be a Samaritan, the enemy of the Jew. Samaritans were hated by the lawyer's racial group. In the end, the lawyer is even unable to say that it was the Samaritan who showed compassion. He resorts to the description, "The one who treated him with compassion."

Spectator sport

To show compassion is to suffer with the wounded and the suffering, to share their pain and agony. Compassion does not leave us indifferent or insensitive to another's pain but calls for solidarity with the suffering. This is how Jesus, the Good Samaritan par excellence, showed compassion. At times we can be like the priest and the scribe who, on seeing the wounded man, passed by on the other side. We can be silent spectators afraid to involve ourselves and dirty our hands.

Compassion demands that we get out of ourselves as we reach out to others in need. It means that we get our hands and even our reputations dirty. Indifference is worse than hostility. The hostile person at least acknowledges the presence of the other while reacting violently to it; the indifferent person, on the other hand, ignores the other and treats him as if he did not exist. That was the kind of indifference and insensitivity shown by the priest and the Levite who passed by on the other side, leaving the wounded and waylaid traveler completely alone.

The Good Samaritan shows us what compassion and commitment are all about. He could have easily passed by on the other side. He could have closed his heart and refused to respond to a genuine need. But he stopped and knelt down beside the stranger who was hurting. At that moment, a neighbor was born. Everyone who stops beside the suffering of another person, whatever form it may take, is a Good Samaritan. This stopping and stooping, this pausing and kneeling down beside the suffering, is not done out of curiosity but out of love. The Samaritan's compassion brings him to perform a whole series of actions. First he bandaged his wounds, then he took the wounded man to an inn to care for him, and before leaving, he gives the innkeeper the necessary money to take care of him (vv 34-35).

Loving means acting like the Good Samaritan. We know that Jesus himself is the Good Samaritan par excellence; although he was God, he did not hesitate to humble himself to the point of becoming a man and giving his life for us. More than 2,000 years after this story was first told, it continues to move people deeply. It teaches us what authentic compassion, commitment and communion with others are all about.

Concept of neighbor

In his 2005 encyclical letter "Deus Caritas Est" (On Christian Love), Benedict XVI wrote in #15: "The parable of the Good Samaritan offers two particularly important clarifications. Until that time, the concept of 'neighbor' was understood as referring essentially to one's countrymen and to foreigners who had settled in the land of Israel; in other words, to the closely-knit community of a single country or people. This limit is now abolished. Anyone who needs me, and whom I can help, is my neighbor. The concept of 'neighbor' is now universalized, yet it remains concrete. Despite being extended to all mankind, it is not reduced to a generic, abstract and undemanding expression of love, but calls for my own practical commitment here and now.

'The Church has the duty to interpret ever anew this relationship between near and far with regard to the actual daily life of her members. Lastly, we should especially mention the great parable of the Last Judgment (cf. Matthew 25:31-46), in which love becomes the criterion for the definitive decision about a human life's worth or lack thereof. Jesus identifies himself with those in need, with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison. 'As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40). Love of God and love of neighbor have become one: In the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God.'"

(from Loving Means Acting Like the Good Samaritan, Zenit, July 6, 2010)




Reflection from Pope Benedict XVI's Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate

"The great challenge before us, accentuated by the problems of development in this global era and made even more urgent by the economic and financial crisis, is to demonstrate, in thinking and behaviour, not only that traditional principles of social ethics like transparency, honesty and responsibility cannot be ignored or attenuated, but also that in commercial relationships the principle of gratuitousness and the logic of gift as an expression of fraternity can and must find their place within normal economic activity. This is a human demand at the present time, but it is also demanded by economic logic. It is a demand both of charity and of truth." (par. 36d)



http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20090629_caritas-in-veritate_en.htm



Some important date(s) this week:
http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/ByDate.aspx

WEDNESDAY July 14 Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680) The blood of martyrs is the seed of saints. Nine years after the Jesuits Isaac Jogues and John de Br├ębeuf were tomahawked by Iroquois warriors, a baby girl was born near the place of their martyrdom, Auriesville, New York.
Her mother was a Christian Algonquin, taken captive by the Iroquois and given as wife to the chief of the Mohawk clan, the boldest and fiercest of the Five Nations. When she was four, Kateri lost her parents and little brother in a smallpox epidemic that left her disfigured and half blind. She was adopted by an uncle, who succeeded her father as chief. He hated the coming of the Blackrobes (Jesuit missionaries), but could do nothing to them because a peace treaty with the French required their presence in villages with Christian captives. She was moved by the words of three Blackrobes who lodged with her uncle, but fear of him kept her from seeking instruction. She refused to marry a Mohawk brave and at 19 finally got the courage to take the step of converting. She was baptized with the name Kateri (Catherine) on Easter Sunday.
Now she would be treated as a slave. Because she would not work on Sunday, she received no food that day. Her life in grace grew rapidly. She told a missionary that she often meditated on the great dignity of being baptized. She was powerfully moved by God’s love for human beings and saw the dignity of each of her people.
She was always in danger, for her conversion and holy life created great opposition. On the advice of a priest, she stole away one night and began a 200-mile walking journey to a Christian Indian village at Sault St. Louis, near Montreal.
For three years she grew in holiness under the direction of a priest and an older Iroquois woman, giving herself totally to God in long hours of prayer, in charity and in strenuous penance. At 23 she took a vow of virginity, an unprecedented act for an Indian woman, whose future depended on being married. She found a place in the woods where she could pray an hour a day—and was accused of meeting a man there!
Her dedication to virginity was instinctive: She did not know about religious life for women until she visited Montreal. Inspired by this, she and two friends wanted to start a community, but the local priest dissuaded her. She humbly accepted an “ordinary” life. She practiced extremely severe fasting as penance for the conversion of her nation. She died the afternoon before Holy Thursday. Witnesses said that her emaciated face changed color and became like that of a healthy child. The lines of suffering, even the pockmarks, disappeared and the touch of a smile came upon her lips. She was beatified in 1980.

WEDNESDAY July 14 St. Francis Solano (1549-1610) Francis came from a leading family in Andalusia, Spain. Perhaps it was his popularity as a student that enabled Francis in his teens to stop two duelists. He entered the Friars Minor in 1570, and after ordination enthusiastically sacrificed himself for others. His care for the sick during an epidemic drew so much admiration that he became embarrassed and asked to be sent to the African missions. Instead he was sent to South America in 1589.
While working in what is now Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, Francis quickly learned the local languages and was well received by the indigenous peoples. His visits to the sick often included playing a song on his violin.
Around 1601 he was called to Lima, Peru, where he tried to recall the Spanish colonists to their baptismal integrity. Francis also worked to defend the indigenous peoples from oppression. He died in Lima and was canonized in 1726.



SHARING HOPE IN HARD ECONOMIC TIMES.

Be a Voice of Hope! As Catholic Charities celebrates 100 years as a movement in the United States, consider attending the 13th Annual Voice of Hope Dinner on Saturday, September 11, 2010. For more information, visit the Catholic Charities website at www.ccdoy.org.


PAPAL INTENTIONS: JULY 2010

Justice in Electing those who Govern
General: That in every nation of the world the election of officials may be carried out with justice, transparency and honesty, respecting the free decisions of citizens.

An Urban Culture of Justice, Solidarity and Peace
Missionary:That Christians may strive to offer everywhere, but especially in great urban centers, an effective contribution to the promotion of education, justice, solidarity and peace.



Corporal Works of Mercy: The seven practices of charity toward our neighbor
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Visit those in prison
Bury the dead



Note: Please consider joining our
FACEBOOK CAUSE http://apps.facebook.com/causes/106889
FACEBOOK GROUP http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=461833870606
TWITTER account, CCDOY, http://twitter.com/CCDOY
for current updates and calls to action that we can all use.

See our website at www.catholiccharitiesyoungstown.org for links to the our ministries and services.
For more information on Catholic Social Doctrine and its connection to our ministries, visit my blog at: http://corbinchurchthinking.blogspot.com/

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