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Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time [b] February 12, 2012

By: Fr. John Bucki, S.J.

Readings
Leviticus 13:1-2, 44-46
1 Corinthians 10:31--11:1
Mark 1:40-45

Calendar
February 11: World Day of the Sick [Feast of Our Lady at Lourdes]
February 12: Anniversary of the Murder of Sr. Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN
February 14: Valentine’s Day
February 20: Presidents Day observed in U.S.
February 22: Ash Wednesday

Quotes

The solidarity which binds all people together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist.
-- John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, #157

How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their heads?     . . . Christians must learn to make their act of faith in Christ by discerning His voice in the cry for help that rises from this world of poverty.

-- John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, no. 50

… We must come to grips with the first of these challenges: solidarity among generations, solidarity between countries and entire continents, so that all human beings may share more equitably in the riches of our planet. This is one of the essential services that people of good will must render to humanity. The earth, in fact, can produce enough to nourish all its inhabitants, on the condition that the rich countries do not keep for themselves what belongs to all.
-- Benedict XVI, 16 June 2005

You are a Christian only so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society you live in ... so long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo and keep saying that a new world is yet to come.
-- Henri Nouwen


Thoughts for your consideration

The first reading reminds us of the social effects of a disease like leprosy in biblical times and even today.  In the gospel, the healing work of Jesus not only cures the person, but also allows him to reenter the community.  Human solidarity is restored.  Relationship with the community is healed.

Solidarity is one of the key values in Catholic Social Teaching.  So many things in our contemporary world prevent solidarity. Today’s readings invite us to reflect on many of the issues that divide our world and its people: racism, economic inequalities, unemployment, international debt, lack of access to medical treatment, militarism, terrorism, discrimination against women, political divisions, etc. etc.

We care called to be like Paul in the second reading who strives “for the benefit of the many” – who seeks the common good – who wants to heal the divisions.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

When have you observed or been part of a group of people being “left out” because of some form of discrimination?  Have you experienced some healing of this division?

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In the gospel Jesus heals the person who is ill.  He makes someone “clean.”  How would you describe the cleansing or absolving or healing that is needed in our social situation today?

Story
A tale from Attar of Neishapur from Anthony DeMello’s The Song of the Bird
The lover knocked of his Beloved’s door.
“Who knocks?” said the Beloved from within.
“It is I,” said the lover.
“Go away. This house will not hold you and me.”
The lover withdrew and pondered for years on the words the Beloved had said. Then he returned and knocked again.
“Who knocks?”
“It is you.”
The door was immediately opened.


Actions - Links

Military Spending
The American Friends Service Committee is encouraging people to tell Congress to cut military spending.  You can join their effort at:
https://secure2.convio.net/afsc/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserActio...

Poverty
A Pastoral Letter on the Occasion of National Poverty Awareness Month by Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, Bishop of Youngstown was published last month.  You can read it at:
http://www.doy.org/files/Scroller/Pastoral.pdf


“Crazy Facts”

“Over 60 percent of the world's poorest people live in countries rich in natural resources—but they rarely share in the wealth. Too often, poor communities have no say in the extraction of resources from their land and receive little information about these projects.”
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/publications/protect-community-rights-and-re...

* Three and a half billion people live in countries rich in oil, gas, and minerals.
* Twelve of the world’s 25 most mineral-dependent countries and six of the world’s most oil dependent countries are classified by the World Bank as “highly indebted poor countries.”
* Fossil fuels, much of which are extracted in developing countries, will continue to provide
77 percent of global energy by 2030, even if governments pursue aggressive measures
to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy.
* By 2015, the US will be receiving 25% of its oil from sub-Saharan Africa.
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/files/protect-community-rights-and-resources...


Prayer of Intercession

Response: Lord, we turn to you in our troubles.
For our nation as we political conversations and campaigns are so polarizing and divisive, we pray….
For our political leaders that they will work together for the common good and especially for economic justice, we pray…..
For a nation where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor, we pray….
For a nation where our resources are directed toward human needs, we pray….
For a nation where the environment is respected and we use our resources responsibly for the common good, we pray….
For a nation where different races and cultures live in tolerance and mutual respect, we pray….
For a nation where we can bring an end to war and to all our preparations for war, we pray….
For a nation where peace is built with justice and justice is guided by love, we pray….

Prayer - Meditation

O Lord, open my eyes that I may see the needs of others; open my ears that I may hear their cries; open my heart so that they need not be without succor; let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong, nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich ... And so open my eyes and my ears that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for thee.
-- Alan Paton

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Prayer for Justice #1
Father, you have given all peoples one common origin.
It is your will that they be gathered together
as one family in yourself.
Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love
and with the desire to ensure justice for all.
By sharing the good things you give us,
may we secure an equality for all
our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
May there be an end to division, strife and war.
May there be a dawning of a truly human society
built on love and peace.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.
Amen.
http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=722

Type of content: Lectionary Reflections