Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day Ten of Lent for Me : Lifestyle and Social Sin

A 1971 document by Pope Paul VI concludes with the warning that transformation of the world is a constitutive element of the Gospel.

"People want to come to church to be comforted," admitted the speaker, but "the reign of God must be preached also," citing Scripture and tradition.

This crowd "came to do penance during Lent," said a surprised Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton.

Laughter met the humble bishop's claim for such a large audience last night at Saint Ronald Catholic Church in Clinton Township, MI., just north of its neigboring City of Detroit that soaks in poverty.

A reverent silence seemed to pervade the listening hundreds.

Quiet reigned.

After urging participants to pay attention and to be informed about social sin in the world and at home here, the retired auxiliary bishop who grew up on Detroit's west side, and was born in 1932,  answered a question and ticked off a list of those among whome, one may be named the successor to Pope Benedict XVI who retires February 28.  A 1:30 pm holy hour this Thursday is set at the Cathedral of the Most Blessd Sacrament in Detroit. Visit www.aod.org for more.

Structures of economic systems are the cause of injustices in Haiti, said the speaker. He cited examples of how Guatamala and El Salvador, even South Africa, once upon a time, among other countries live in dire injustice or apartheid due to economic practices.

Systems press people into poverty and exclude them, he concluded.

He urged the faithful to be aware of, and, involved in the political process.

"We're used to personal sin and know what it is, but social sin is not so front and center," responded Bishop Gumbleton to one animated participant who blamed the Vatican and she concluded the pope knows of the poverty.

According to Catholic Charities USA, 46 million people living in poverty is unacceptable.

Urging the audience to embrace the 'reign of God' that Jesus preached in Luke's Gospel and the prophet Isaiah, the gentle bishop showed a DVD about Pax Christi's work in Haiti.  Pax Chrisi, means, the Peace of Christ, and aims for peacemaking and nonviolence in that poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Lifestyle and simple living was proposed in the world-known peacemaker's talk.

A rousing applause at Bishop Gumleton's lecture sent them into the social hall for more communion with each other. 

People there sat for over an hour eating snacks and drinking tea, for example, among other beverages and foods.

A pleased Deacon Franz Hoffer, who introduced the bishop, said, overlookng the crowd that arrived by 7 pm, "This is what Church should be!"

A few participants said they told Gumbleton that they were voting for him to be pope.

"What a kingdom of God Church we'd be, if he was pope," voiced a former pastoral associate, JoAnn Loria, who also read the passage from the Letter of St. James about faith with works, at the 6 pm sung liturgy of the hours.

"I voted for him also," she said, alerting people to www.adoptacardinal.org.

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