September 2016

UNIVERSAL INTENTION

Centrality of the Human Person: That each may contribute to the common good and to the
building of a society that places the human person at the center.


Made in the image of God and redeemed by the Son of God, each person is sacred. The individual ought to be at the center of society which protects and fosters the dignity of each.

From this reality arises “the common good” which the Catechism says “concerns the life of all” and consists in “what is needed to lead a truly human life: food, clothing, health, work, education and culture, suitable information, the right to establish a family, and so on.” Because human beings are social by nature, “the good of each individual is necessarily related to the common good, which in turn can be defined only in reference to the human person.”

Unfortunately the world does not operate in this way. In many places the power, wealth, and comfort of some come before the common good and the sanctity of human life. Addressing this situation in his Exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel,” Pope Francis wrote: “The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.”

He went on to say that only openness to God will bring about the necessary change: “It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education, and healthcare. Why not turn to God and ask him to inspire their plans? I am firmly convinced that openness to the transcendent can bring about a new political and economic mindset which would help to break down the wall of separation between the economy and the common good of society.”

Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God and to love one’s neighbor. We pray with Pope Francis that all may live that commandment by placing God’s beloved creature, the human person, at the center and work for the common good of all.

Reflect
How do the centrality of the human person and the common good influence the choices I make, especially when I vote?

Scripture
Genesis 1: 27 In the divine image God created humanity.


EVANGELIZATION INTENTION

Mission to Evangelize: That by participating in the Sacraments and meditating on Scripture, Christians may become more aware of their mission to evangelize.

The Mass consists of two parts—the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In the first, we hear about God’s love and in the second we receive that love in the flesh as Jesus offers himself to the Father for the salvation of all and then gives us his Body and Blood. We are finally sent forth to live the Mass in our daily lives. Our sharing of the love we have received is evangelization.

Jesus was so passionately in love with humanity that he suffered and died for us. Through Word and Sacrament we now share in his passion and offer ourselves with him for the salvation of souls. Pope Francis said: “Mission is a passion for Jesus and at the same time a passion for his people. When we pray before Jesus crucified, we see the depth of his love which gives us dignity and sustains us. At the same time, we realize that the love flowing from Jesus’ pierced heart expands to embrace the People of God and all humanity. We realize once more that he wants to make use of us to draw closer to his beloved people.”

The Pope went on to say that “all the faithful are called to live their baptismal commitment to the fullest, in accordance with the personal situation of each.” In baptism we were joined to the Body of Christ. The Eucharist strengthens our life in Christ so that we can go forth and be his living witnesses wherever we are.

We pray this month that we may not only receive the love that Jesus gives us in Word and Sacrament, but also give that love to a world that is looking for true love but unaware of where it can be found. We know, and we don’t want to keep the answer to ourselves!

Reflect
How do the Scriptures and Sacraments make me more aware of Jesus’ passion for mission? In what ways does this passion lead me to offer myself with Jesus for the ongoing work of salvation?

Scripture
Luke 24: 13-35 “Were not our hearts burning within us…?”


Links for September 2016

Universal
Reflect:

Evangelization
Reflect

August 2016

UNIVERSAL INTENTION

Sports: That sports may be an opportunity for friendly encounters between peoples and may contribute to peace in the world.

Many people are obsessed with sports. A tremendous amount of money is spent on stadiums, player and management salaries, tickets, and clothing—not to mention gambling. Sporting events are entertainment, but can be blown way out of proportion. Moreover, the competition inherent in sporting events can lead to cheating, drug use, disrespect, and even violence.
Yet sports also have potential to do good. Pope Francis sees them as an opportunity for “encounter” in which the other person is recognized as good. Speaking to the International Olympic Committee, he said this.

“Engaging in sports, in fact, rouses us to go beyond ourselves and our own self interests in a healthy way; it trains the spirit in sacrifice and, if it is organized well, it fosters loyalty in interpersonal relations, friendship, and respect for rules. It is important that those involved at the various levels of sports promote human and religious values which form the foundation of a just and fraternal society. This is possible because the language of sports is universal; it extends across borders, language, race, religion and ideology; it possesses the capacity to unite people, together, by fostering dialogue and acceptance. This is a very valuable resource!”

Sports carry the potential for promoting “peace, sharing, and coexistence among peoples.” This is so important to Pope Francis, that the Vatican will be hosting a first-ever conference this October—“Sports at the Service of Humanity.” As we pray that sports may always be used, in the Pope’s words, to “build bridges, not walls,” we pray in a particular way for this October conference.

Reflect
How do sports help or hinder me in my love for others, both friends and enemies?

Scripture
1 Timothy 4: 7-10 “Physical training is of limited value, devotion is valuable in every respect.”


EVANGELIZATION INTENTION

Living the Gospel: That Christians may live the Gospel, giving witness to faith, honesty, and love of neighbor.

The Letter to the Hebrews says that “the word of God is living and effective” (4: 12). This “word” is first of all Jesus himself. Jesus is the word that God spoke to the world—God’s perfect communication of who he is. This “Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1: 14).

Through the Church, the Body of Christ, the word takes flesh and is “living and effective” today. The words which Jesus taught us are not meant simply to be repeated, but lived, for, as the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.”

In this intention, Pope Francis says that there are three things that show Christians are living the Gospel. The first is “faith.” This is more than believing that God exists. It involves a relationship with God that includes trust. Jesus told us not to worry (see Matthew 6: 25-34) and the trusting peace that follows will lead people to wonder what our secret is.
Secondly, living the Gospel involves honesty. Jesus said he was the truth (John 15: 6) and
that he came to witness to the truth (John 18: 37). Our honesty with God, others, and ourselves is a hallmark of our Christianity.

But perhaps the greatest witness to our living the Gospel is our love for others. As Jesus said, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13: 35).

We pray with Pope Francis that all Christians may live the Gospel, for we may be the only Gospel that some people will ever see or hear.

Reflect
How am I living the Gospel in ways that others can read?

Scripture
Colossians 3: 12-17 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”


Links for August, 2016

Universal

Get Involved:

  • October, 2017 Vatican Conference on Faith and Sport sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture: http://www.sportforhumanity.com/
  • Beyond Sport: an organization that supports, promotes, and develops inspirational projects using sport from across the world: http://www.beyondsport.org/
  • Special Olympics: “a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability”: http://www.specialolympics.org/

Evangelization

For Further Reflection: