Friday, October 23, 2020

Why won't you be my neighbor?

 October 25th 2020

3oth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Thus says the LORD:

You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien, 

for you were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt.

You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.

If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, 

I will surely listen to their cry.           

                                                                 Exodus 22:20-22


You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

                                                     Matthew 22:39b

This week’s readings challenge us to expand our understanding of:  neighbor and neighborhood.  Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’:  On Care For Our Common Home”  has been a source of guidance and inspiration as I reflect on the word of God.

The Holy Father cites St. Francis of Assisi as a model par excellence of caring for the vulnerable (our neighbors) and the earth’s internal ecology (our global neighborhood).  

He speaks of the beloved saints’ unique perspective of the link between nature and the God who fashioned it.

“Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his* infinite beauty and goodness.”  (* emphasis mine)

A major focus of the encyclical is “The Issue of Water.”  Here are several excerpts:  

“Fresh drinking water is an issue of primary importance, since it is indispensable for human life and for supporting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.  

”Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market. Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal  human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights.”


The songs and images before Mass connect to the call to expand our understanding of neighbor and common home.  You can find the words, music and scripture verses by clicking the links in blue.

Curtis Stephan’s Tend the Ground was directly inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical.  The lyrics contain references to: God’s providence, Christ’s selfless love, Isaiah’s call to turn swords into plowshares, and our duty to reject personal greed and focus on the needs of all.  

Shall We Gather At The River is based on the living-water which flows from God’s throne of God. Revelation 22:1-5.   It is a reminder that  participating in the Eucharist places us in communion with those who already enjoy the fulfillment of God’s heavenly kingdom.


Prayer for the Earth
All powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.  Pour out upon us the power of your love,that we may protect life and beauty.
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, 
not pollution and destruction. 
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature  as we journey towards your infinite light.   Amen.
Wishing you blessings and good spirit,

Why won't you be my neighbor?

  October 25th 2020 3oth Sunday in Ordinary Time   Thus says the LORD: You shall not oppress or afflict a resident alien,  for you were once...