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Sunday Scripture Readings for Sept. 7, 2014 Print E-mail
Written by Sharon K. Perkins   
Scripture Readings
Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014
Twenty-third Sunday
in Ordinary Time

Ezekiel 33:7-9
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
Romans 13:8-10
Matthew 18:15-20

I have several relatives and friends who love a good fight. I don't mean that they engage in physical violence, but if there's an opportunity to debate a controversial topic (religion and politics come to mind), they're in the middle of the fray.

Not so with me. When it comes to "flight or fight," I'm content to leave the room or become an unobtrusive bystander so I can avoid getting involved.

But as I write this, I am aware of a number of places in the world where multitudes of people don't have that luxury.

The United Nations reports that the number of citizens forced to flee their homes due to civil unrest and criminal activity has climbed to 50 million -- half of them children -- the highest number since World War II.

As with the current refugee crisis at our own borders, there are no easy or perfect solutions, so the responses generally range from moral paralysis to rancorous argument.

Today's Gospel instructs us to treat recalcitrant, unrepentant brothers as one would treat a "gentile or a tax collector."

The normal human response and perfectly legal solution would be to cast him out of the community altogether.

But throughout the Gospel, Jesus ate with tax collectors and healed gentiles, restoring their dignity through love and kindness.

Whatever one's political leanings or opinions, it serves us well to view our current issues regarding refugees and immigration by asking the same questions implied in the Gospel -- remembering that Jesus has delegated to us both the power and the task of binding the evils of violence and persecution while loosening the burdens of oppression.

Who is my "neighbor"? What is my responsibility toward him or her? What does the law of love call for in this situation? How can I contribute a voice of compassion and reason amid the insanity of public demonstrations, obnoxious blog posts, and general misinformation? Is there some action I can and should take?

The first step, according to the psalmist, is to "harden not your hearts" to the Lord's voice or toward those who are suffering. Jesus does not give me the option of "unobtrusive bystander"; I am already involved by being a member of his body.


This column is offered in cooperation with The North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.

 

 
Daily Scripture Readings Print E-mail
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Scripture readings from the United States Conference
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Pope's Prayer Intentions: August Print E-mail
August General Intention

Refugees. That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.

August Mission Intention
Oceania. That Christians in Oceania may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.
 
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The following are Holy Days of Obligation for 2014.

Holy Days of Obligation Description
Wednesday, January 1
Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Thursday, May 29
Ascension Thursday
Friday, August 15
Solemnity of the Assumption
Saturday, November 1
All Saints (abrogated because it falls on Saturday)
Monday, December 8
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Thursday, December 25
Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
 
Prayer to St. Raphael Print E-mail

photo of Pilgrim Icon of St. Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

We beg you, assist us in all our needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the "medicine of God" we humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of our souls and the ills that afflict our bodies.

We especially ask your guidance of our diocese as we journey toward the rebuilding of a cathedral bearing your name, and the great grace of purity to prepare us to be temples of the Holy Spirit. As our intercessor, beg the Blessed Trinity to prosper the work of our hands and, above all, to bring us, face-to-face, into their Holy presence.

Amen.

 
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