25th Week in Ordinary Time
Justice Challenge: St. Vincent de Paul’s Feast Day is September 27. This saint once wrote, “I am for God and the poor.” In mid-life, Vincent underwent a transformation which caused him to dedicate the rest of his life to those in need. He taught his followers that we encounter Christ in the needs of our poor neighbors, stating that “The poor are your masters, and you are their servants.” Your challenge this week is to interview someone in poverty and let them tell you what they most need. You might consider serving at a soup kitchen or shelter to find your “master”, the person to whom you are going to listen. Then really do listen—with your heart as well as your head—to this person’s wisdom and experience. Try your best to do what he/she recommends helping the poor get out of their situation.
26th Week in Ordinary Time
Justice Challenge: October 4th is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis is one of our most beloved and familiar saints. One of his greatest passions was care for God’s creation—nature, animals, the solar system. Francis saw God’s love reflected in all created things. Your challenge this week is to choose one part of God’s creation which is threatened by human greed, neglect or abuse. Commit to taking one action to preserve and treasure this God-given resource. For example, you might choose water and then make a plan for using less water when you shower or brush your teeth. You might choose animals and make a donation or volunteer time at your local animal shelter. Whatever you choose, include a prayer of gratitude to God for this special part of God’s creation.
27th Week in Ordinary Time
Justice Challenge: On October 11 we honor Blessed John XXIII. This is the pope who shepherded the Second Vatican Council. He also wrote several encyclicals, one in his last year of life in which he focused on war and peace. In Pacem in Terris (or Peace on Earth), Pope John wrote that the root cause of war is people not getting the resources they need to live a life of dignity. We know that there are enough resources in the world to support all of God’s people. But some have too much while others don’t have the barest necessities of life. Your challenge this week is to ask yourselves (as individuals and households) if you have too much, if you over-use resources while people around the globe are starving or living in despair. If you answer yes to this question, choose one thing you have which you can donate to someone in need. Drop it off at the St. Vincent de Paul Society or a local shelter to take one step toward ensuring lasting peace in our world.