Praying with Sunday's Scriptures
We are called to live in ways we may not understand; these are God's ways
Editor's note: To help small faith-sharing groups, couples, individuals and others continuing the Renew 2000 experience of praying with the Sunday Scripture readings, a Diocesan Faith Sharing Writing Team has prepared a monthly series using the Renew model. The series is being distributed to parish leaders and will appear in The Compass the week before that Sunday.
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 18, 2005
Reading I: Isaiah 55:6-9
Reading II: Philippians 1:20c-24,27a
Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16a
By Terri Brehm
Focus: Let us turn to the Lord who is generous and forgiving
Opening Prayer or Song: (St. Louis Jesuit's "Seek the Lord")
Refrain: Seek the Lord while he may be found
Call to him while he is still near
Today is the day and now is the hour
To forsake our sinful lives and turn to the Lord
Refrain: Seek the Lord ...
Scripture Sharing: (While making the Sign of the Cross on your lips say) "O Lord open my lips that my mouth may proclaim your praise."
Read the scriptures aloud. We marvel at the book of Isaiah leading us from the Old Testament traditions to the New. Paul advises us to conduct ourselves in a way worthy of the Gospel. We may feel the need to call on our union representative as we read the Gospel.
Reflection: It is only when we realize that the Lord's ways are not our ways - so high above our ways are God's thoughts that we can't begin to understand the mercy and justice of being a laborer in the vineyard of the Lord. What we often call charity or mercy, the Jews call Justice. Do we think that because we are chosen first we must be the best? The deathbed conversion of a mafioso or the prayers heard of a "dead man walking" could not really be as good! "Are you envious because I am generous?"
1. If we object to money spent on Hispanic or Hmong refugee programs, are the reasons justified?
2. How does "The last will be first and the first will be last" lessen or increase our desire to serve on parish councils or be ministers of hospitality?
3. How could you explain the true meaning of the Scripture lessons to someone really "hung up on justice"?
Suggested Action Response
1. Spend some time studying or reading about whether refugees truly hinder or help us.
2. Call our congressmen's office to see if they are voting for immigration reform. Many immigrants have been here legally for over ten years but still are not given papers.
3. Invite someone from Catholic Charities (for example, Amparo Baudhuin) to speak to your parish group.
Closing Prayer (Individuals offer their intentions to bring to prayer.)
"Ring out your joy to the Lord, O you just, for praise is fitting for loyal hearts."
Lord help us to see that we do not have exalted places in the kingdom. Let us know we are the humble. Let us be among the last, the weakest or the poorest because our joy is truly found in serving you with the Father and the Spirit. Amen.
(Brehm is a member of St. Margaret Mary in Neenah and of the Diocesan Writing Team for Faith Sharing Sessions, 2005.)