Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sunday, 25C. "Make friends for yourselves": Befriend Christ in love through all the elements of sacred worship

Christ is the friend we love in and need above all friends. He alone grants to us in the love of friendship that gift we need above all other gifts: eternal life.

Here and now, in the sacred liturgy, he introduces Himself to us in loving friendship. And we are called to respond to Him in holy listening, in prayer and praise, in song and in all of the elements of sacred worship. Our gestures indicate acceptance of Him whether through kneeling, bowing, standing or in the movement of the Communion procession where we anticipate the moment when we will receive our divine Friend with all of the reverential love of which we are capable.

Tragically some have lost their faith in Christ's Eucharistic gift of Himself and what can result is sacrilege, where Christ is treated as a thing only, to be thrown away, to be trampled underfoot.

The world's goods that serve only human friendship will "fail us" at the end of our lives. If these have served our friendship with Christ then indeed a "lasting reception" will be ours.

Restoration of the sacred in worship and in life, reverence for God and for others is not a gift only for God, accepting it as He does with love, pleased as He is with all of us, His dear children in Christ. Restoring the authentic spirit of worship, whereby we fall down in adoration before God present here in holy Mass, through the love and obedience of intellect and will, is the only way in which we will ever be truly restored to ourselves and given once again the gift of loving ourselves and others, of "making friends" and thus, in love, begining already the joy of God's eternal friendship in His kingdom without end. Amen.

More on our use of this world's goods:

"Make friends for yourselves through your use of this worlds goods, so that when they fail you, a lasting reception may be yours." The gifts God bestows upon us in this world come with a responsibility to be good stewards of all he has made. These are the little matters he entrusts to us now, so that we may prepare for the far greater good of eternal life.

The Church holds in a crucial balance both the universal destination of goods as well as the right to private property. Both reflect Gods providence, and neither excuse us from sincere and generous charity. The Church draws her social teaching from the Lord's instructions in the Gospel parables and other expressions of his law of love.

We are not permitted to reduce our use of earthly goods to the pursuit of profit alone irregardless of other factors. A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable.

"The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of the many conflicts which disturb the social order. (Cf. Gaudium et spes, art. 3; Laborem Exercens 7; 20; Centesimus Annus 35.) A system that 'subordinates the basic rights of individuals and of groups to the collective organization of production' is contrary to human dignity. (Gaudium et spes 65, art. 2.) Every practice that reduces persons to nothing more than a means of profit enslaves man, leads to idolizing money, and contributes to the spread of atheism. 'You cannot serve God and mammon.'(Mt 6:24; Lk 16:13.)" (CCC 2424)

All that God gives is to be shared, but in a collaborative and voluntary way, in accord with the human dignity both of the giver and the receiver of the gift. "The goods of creation are destined for the entire human race. The right to private property does not abolish the universal destination of goods." (CCC 2452)

"Those blessed with wealth or economic power, whether individuals or nations, are called at the same time to stewardship and active solicitude for the poor, unemployed and dispossessed. Goods of production - material or immaterial - such as land, factories, practical or artistic skills, oblige their possessors to employ them in ways that will benefit the greatest number. Those who hold goods for use and consumption should use them with moderation, reserving the better part for guests, for the sick and the poor." (CCC 2405)

A principal divine foundation for the right to private property is enshrined in the Decalogue itself: "You shall not steal".

"The seventh commandment forbids unjustly taking or keeping the goods of one's neighbor and wronging him in any way with respect to his goods. It commands justice and charity in the care of earthly goods and the fruits of men's labor. For the sake of the common good, it requires respect for the universal destination of goods and respect for the right to private property. Christian life strives to order this world's goods to God and to fraternal charity." (CCC 2401)

There are situations, however, when the individual is not committing grave sin where, by appropriating some amount of the private property of an unjust employer, he is merely providing for the basic sustenance of his family or those in his care. This is traditionally called occult compensation.

The Church advocates a living wage for all workers. Withholding just wages can be stealing as well and can put the lives of others in danger. The basic goods to maintain life, shelter and health are a fundamental human right.

"The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another's property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing . . .) is to put at one's disposal and use the property of others." (CCC 2408)

Social justice on earth anticipates the perfect justice and love of the Kingdom. We are trusted with these little matters now that our heavenly Father may prepare us to inherit, as true sons and daughters of his, the treasure beyond all price: the reign of heaven.

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.

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(See also Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph numbers 952, 2425. Publish with permission. http://www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/)

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