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.
How do the centrality of the human person and the common good influence the choices I make, especially when I vote?
Genesis 1: 27 In the divine image God created humanity.
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!
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?
Luke 24: 13-35 “Were not our hearts burning within us…?”
Links for September 2016
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P6K.HTM
- Pope Francis’ Address to the United Nations, September25, 2015: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2015/september/documents/papa-francesco_20150925_onu-visita.html
- Pope Francis’ Address to the U.S. Congress, September 24, 2015: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2015/september/documents/papa-francesco_20150924_usa-us-congress.html
- Pope Francis’ Message for World Mission Day 2015: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/missions/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_giornata-missionaria2015.html
- U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ leaflet “Eucharist: Body of Christ, Broken for the World”: http://www.usccb.org/about/justice-peace-and-human-development/upload/eucharist-social-mission.pdf