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Deacon James M. Summers Jr

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man, and …

you do not regard a person's status." (Mt. 22: 15-21)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we break open today's readings, I encourage all of us to apply the principles of Catholic Social Teaching (CST) to the actions we will take this week.

In the first reading, from the prophet Isaiah, we encounter a message affirming God's sovereignty and providence, which is particularly comforting in a world marked by injustice. Just as God anointed Cyrus for a divine purpose, we, as African-American Catholics, are summoned to discern our unique mission within our faith community and the broader Church. Understanding this reading is acknowledging our dependence on God's providence and anchoring our actions in humility and unwavering trust.

Paul's letter to the Thessalonians reveals the virtues of faith, love, and hope as the foundation of our Christian existence. Our faith calls us to uphold the inherent dignity of every human being, regardless of their background. Love compels us to serve one another with compassion and solidarity, while hope inspires us to labor tirelessly for a more just society. Understanding these virtues is crucial as they empower us to confront the challenges and injustices that persist in our communities.

In today's Gospel, we discover Jesus' teaching on the interplay between our civic responsibilities and spiritual convictions. As Catholics, understanding this passage calls us to engage actively in civic life while unwaveringly upholding our faith. Our faith should not remain confined to our places of worship but should serve as the guiding force inspiring all of our actions.

I encourage us to seek to understand these readings but also to apply the principles of CST in the many ways we interact with others. We must ponder how these teachings resonate with our unique experiences and how they guide us to pursue justice and dignity actively.

We implore God to help us to be champions of justice, advocates for the marginalized, and proponents of the sanctity of all life. We ask that He help us acknowledge our achievements, knowing we have journeyed far but remembering our work is far from complete. The fight for justice and equality persists. We must not let the trials we've faced and continue to face be forgotten, ignored, or whitewashed. Just as the Pharisees sought to ensnare Jesus, there are those who seek to undermine our progress and perpetuate injustice. We must possess the discernment and wisdom of Jesus when responding to those who aim to divide us. Our unity has always been our greatest strength, and we must protect it with unwavering resolve. We must remain active citizens, participating fully in the political process and relentlessly pursuing equal rights and opportunities for all.

Lord, help us embrace the wisdom of Isaiah, the faith of the Thessalonians, and the teachings of Christ. Let us draw strength from our faith, deepen our bonds of love, and maintain our unwavering hope for a brighter future. Help us be the models of the strength and power that comes from the diversity within the unity of our love of you. Together, there is no challenge we cannot overcome, and we have the power to bend the moral arc of the universe closer to justice.

May the Almighty continue to bless us all, and may He guide our footsteps on this journey toward a more just and equitable society.

Author: Deacon James M. Summers Jr, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend at St. Pius X in Granger, Indiana. Deacon Summers is the Pastoral Care Coordinator for St. Pius X, infusing Catholic Social Teaching principles into each ministry and facilitating coordination with community organizations.

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