Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

March 8, Sunday

Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice

During this third week of Lent, we’ll consider the Jesuit/Ignatian value of the Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice. In her daily reflection, Shaina Aber, the policy director at the Jesuit Conference’s National Advocacy Office, draws a clear line from Moses’ call to action to Oscar Romero’s — and on to our own.


Scripture Readings

Sunday Readings - Week 3

EX 20:1-17
1 COR 1:22-25
JN 2:13-25

English
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/030815-third-sunday-lent.cfm

Español
http://www.usccb.org/bible/lecturas/030815-third-sunday-lent.cfm

A procedural note: our reflections and prayers will refer to the Sunday readings for the week, not the daily readings.

Daily Reflection

Called to Action
by Shaina Aber

“You are killing your own brother peasants when any human order to kill must be subordinate to the law of God which says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ …In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression.”

On March 14, 1980, in his final complete homily, days before he was assassinated, Archbishop Oscar Romero called upon the Salvadoran police and military to end their brutal campaign against the people of El Salvador.

Romero invoked God’s most basic law at a time when the law of man allowed for the wholesale slaughter of the impoverished and the routine dispossession of communities seeking lives of dignity and peace. In doing so, Romero demonstrated that God, too, stands scandalized and outraged in the face of such injustice.

The Ignatian value of the “service of faith and the promotion of justice,” articulated by the 32nd General Congregation of the Jesuits in 1974, set out a bold vision for what it means to be in right relationship with God and each other. As we live out our faith in God, in a world seething with structural sins that cry out for solutions, the Ignatian value teaches us to not be complacent in the comfort of our individual lives. Further, it reminds us that praying for an end to suffering is not enough; we must also take concrete steps to challenge and mitigate actions and systems that degrade human dignity, perpetuate poverty and exclude members of our human family.

Today’s reading from Exodus articulates God’s expectations for his newly-liberated people. What lessons can we learn from this account as we seek to build a peaceful and just global community?

The ancient Hebrews emerged from Egypt after generations of abuse and brutality. Knowing how such violence can adversely impact communities for generations, we can well imagine that the Hebrews emerged from oppression broken and traumatized. Scripture tells us their society fell into sin and waste: the worship of gold, the approbation of theft and murder, the strong preying on the weak, many using God’s name to justify evil acts. It was to this community in disarray that Moses brought the word of God, reminding his people that true freedom comes within the constraints of right and just relationships with one another.

We, too, are called to action. We are called to promote substantive justice in our communities by examining our complicity in structural sins and naming systems that perpetuate subjugation; by giving voice to those who have been hurt by systemic injustice; and by calling on our neighbors, our leaders and our communities to work with us to uproot oppression.

Advocating for justice may seem a steep duty; too difficult, overwhelming and time-consuming a chore to fit into the frenetic doings of our daily lives. In many ways, justice advocacy is about stepping outside of our own comfort zones and placing the needs of other members of our global community — particularly those who are demonized, forgotten, marginalized or discarded — at the center of conversations about change. When I feel overpowered by the weight of the work yet to be done, I remind myself that, while we can’t all be like Moses, we can seek to establish dialogues that promote inclusion, compassion, empathy and understanding.

El Servicio de Fe y la Promoción de Justicia
Por: Shaina Aber

“Están matando a sus propios hermanos campesinos, cuando cualquier orden humana de matar debe ser subordinada a la ley de Dios que dice, “No debes matar” … En el nombre de Dios, en el nombre de esta gente que sufre, cuyos gritos se elevan al cielo cada día más fuerte, les ruego, les imploro, les ordeno en el nombre de Dios: Basta de represión.”

El 14 de Marzo de 1980, en su última homilía completa, días antes de su asesinato, el Arzobispo Oscar Romero hizo un llamado a la policía y a la milicia Salvadoreña, a terminar con la campaña brutal en contra de la gente de El Salvador.

Romero invocó la ley de Dios más básica, en el tiempo en que la ley de los hombres permitía la masacre al por mayor de los empobrecidos, y el despojo rutinario de comunidades que buscaban vivir con dignidad y en paz. De esta manera, Romero demostró que Dios también, se escandalizaba e indignaba ante tremenda injusticia.

El valor Ignaciano de “Servicio de Fe y Promoción de Justicia,” articulado por la 32ª Congregación General de los Jesuitas en 1974, expone una visión audaz de lo que significa estar en una buena relación con Dios y con el prójimo. Así como vivimos nuestra fe en Dios, en un mundo hirviendo en pecados de perfiles estructurales que pide soluciones a gritos, el valor Ignaciano nos enseña a no ser complacientes y quedarnos en la comodidad de nuestras vidas individuales. Más aún, nos recuerda que sólo rezar para acabar con el sufrimiento, no es suficiente; debemos tomar pasos concretos para desafiar y mitigar acciones y sistemas que degradan la dignidad humana, perpetúan la pobreza y excluyen miembros de nuestra familia humana.

La lectura de hoy de Éxodos articula las expectativas de Dios para su nuevo pueblo libre. ¿Qué lecciones podemos aprender de este acontecimiento, mientras buscamos construir una comunidad global justa y pacífica?

Los Hebreos antiguos surgieron de Egipto después de generaciones de abuso y brutalidad. Sabiendo cómo esta violencia puede impactar adversamente comunidades por generaciones, nos podemos imaginar que los Hebreos surgieron de la opresión, quebrados y traumatizados. Las Escrituras nos dicen que esa sociedad cayó en el pecado y la suciedad: el culto al oro, la aprobación del robo y asesinato, de la depredación de los débiles, muchos usando el nombre de Dios para justificar actos malignos. Fue a esta comunidad desordenada a la que Moisés trajo la palabra de Dios, recordando a su pueblo que la verdadera libertad se obtiene a partir de una relación correcta y justa con el prójimo.

Nosotros también estamos llamados a la acción. Estamos llamados a promover justicia sustantiva en nuestras comunidades, examinando nuestra complicidad en pecados de perfil estructural, y nombrando sistemas que perpetúan subyugación; siendo voceros de aquellos que han sido dañados por una injusticia sistemática y haciendo partícipes a nuestros vecinos, nuestros líderes y nuestras comunidades de nuestro trabajo de desraizar la opresión.

Abogar por la justicia puede parecer un arduo deber; muy difícil, abrumante y una tarea que requiere tiempo que debe ser agrega a nuestra ya frenética vida diaria. Muchas veces, abogar por la justicia, implica salirnos de nuestra zona de comodidad y poner las necesidades de los otros miembros de la comunidad global — particularmente aquellos que son demonizados, olvidados, marginados o descartados — en el centro de la conversación a cerca del cambio. Cuando me siento avasallado por el peso del trabajo por hacer, me recuerdo a mí mismo, que a pesar de que no todos somos como Moisés, podemos establecer diálogos que promuevan inclusión, compasión, empatía y comprensión.


Shaina Aber is the policy director at the Jesuit Conference’s National Advocacy Office, where she coordinates efforts aimed at fulfilling the social justice mission of the Jesuit Provincials of Canada and the United States in collaboration with U.S.-based Jesuit institutions and Jesuit-affiliated works abroad. Shaina holds a Juris Doctorate degree and Special Certificate in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Macalester College.

Prayer

God,
you are a loving parent to all people;
help us to claim your children as our brothers and sisters.
Out of this understanding
of being in actual familiar relationship to those in need,
send us your Spirit to speak, act and advocate wholeheartedly.
Today give us the confidence to take the first step towards justice,
towards service,
towards you:
knowing that you will strengthen us with your love and example.
Amen.

mural

Passages

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Amen.
: Bishop Ken Untener

There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.
: James A. Baldwin

Multimedia

Video
What is Justice? (2012)




Music
Kyrie; Misa Criolla (Ramirez/Sosa)




Learn more about
Archbishop Oscar Romero
http://youtu.be/lOe8Nlu-BnQ

Pedro Arrupe, the Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice
http://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/fr-pedro-arrupe-sj

Playlist (Spotify users login, then click)
https://play.spotify.com/user/beajesuit/




Questions about the program? Email the coordinator by clicking here.


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