Justice Challenge: We often think of our own families this week with the anticipation of joy and celebration centered around Jesus’ birth. However, there are so many in our families, in our communities, and across the world who have no one. Take time this week to remember in prayer those who don’t know the amazing gift of Jesus and those who are lonely, longing for love and belonging. We pray that Jesus would find the way into their hearts and lives this Christmas. What part do you play in that evangelization?
Feast of the Holy Family (Dec. 30)
Justice Challenge: During the Christmas season, we reflect on the prophetic peace images which would come when the Messiah arrived on earth. We hear about wolves and lambs lying down together and of swords being beaten into plowshares. January 1st is World Day of Peace, yet war and violence continue to shatter the peace for which the Old Testament prophets yearned. All of us as one global family are called to do our part to bring peace to our world. Your challenge this week is to be a peace-maker—in your family, with your friends and colleagues at work or school, in your community. How can you bring people together, encourage others to settle disputes without resorting to violence, or advocate for global peace?
2nd Sunday of Christmas (Jan. 6)
Justice Challenge: We celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord this week. This feast reminds us that Jesus came as a universal savior—for all people, not just the Jews. The Magi who brought special gifts to the infant Jesus came from distant lands. They recognized the Messiah in the tiny baby more than most of Jesus’ own people did. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that our Catholic faith is open to everyone. But the word “catholic” means universal—for everyone, everywhere, all the time. Your challenge this week is to give a special gift to someone who has been left out, someone who hasn’t been invited into the inner circle of friendship, someone who really needs an unexpected gift. It might be something material, but it could also be the gift of conversation, listening, paying attention.
Baptism of the Lord (Jan. 13)
Justice Challenge: This is National Migration Week. The observance was initiated over 25 years ago by the U.S. Catholic Bishops as a way for Catholics to appreciate the Church’s diversity and become aware of all the ways the Church serves migrants and refugees. Your challenge this week is to pray the prayer which the USCCB wrote for this special time:Lord Jesus, when you multiplied the loaves and fishes, you provided more than food for the body, you offered us the gift of yourself, the gift which satisfies every hunger and quenches every thirst! Your disciples were filled with fear and doubt, but you poured out your love and compassion on the migrant crowd, welcoming them as brothers and sisters. Lord Jesus, today you call us to welcome the members of God's family who come to our land to escape oppression, poverty, persecution, violence, and war. Like your disciples, we too are filled with fear and doubt and even suspicion. We build barriers in our hearts and in our minds. Lord Jesus, help us by your grace,
- To banish fear from our hearts, that we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister;
- To welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity, while responding to their many needs;
- To realize that you call all people to your holy mountain to learn the ways of peace and justice;
- To share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us;
We praise you and give you thanks for the family you have called together from so many people. We see in this human family a reflection of the divine unity of the one Most Holy Trinity in whom we make our prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Copyright © Center for Ministry Development, 2012. FashioningFaith.org. All rights reserved.
2nd Week in Ordinary Time (Jan. 20)
Justice Challenge: On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court made abortion legal in our country. Since then millions and millions of unborn babies have been killed. The most basic of all human rights is life. The most basic of all Catholic social teaching themes is the life and dignity of every person. Your challenge this week is to do something to promote life and dignity for all. Advocate for unborn babies, fight against euthanasia or the death penalty, and/or speak out for the rights of those whose dignity has been stripped from them.
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