In recent months, Pope Francis has encouraged Christians to embrace a life that seeks the betterment of our communities, especially lifting up the needs of the poor and most vulnerable.
The Roman Catholic tradition has a long and rich history of being on the forefront of advocating for matters of social justice. Guiding principles such as the dignity of life, care for God’s creation, encouraging civic participation and a preferential option for the poor shape how Catholics (and many others) think and act.
“The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. It offers moral principles and coherent values that are badly needed in our time. In this time of widespread violence and diminished respect for human life and dignity in our country and around the world, the Gospel of Life and the biblical call to justice need to be proclaimed and shared with new clarity, urgency and energy.”
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
In the coming weeks, we will be sharing a series of audio reflections connecting the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching and the Illuminations of the The Saint John’s Bible. Appropriately, we’ll begin next week with a reflection on the Option for the Poor and Vulnerable and will continue with the six other themes in the following weeks.
Connecting Scripture with the realities of the modern world has always been a fundamental priority for The Saint John’s Bible and all those who have worked to bring the project to life. “God’s commitment to the poor is embedded in Scripture,” said Abbot John Klassen, speaking of his hope that The Saint John’s Bible would speak for the poor and marginalized. “The deeper we are drawn into Scripture, the more we will be driven to address these issues in our lives.”
Our hope is that you’ll join us in reflecting on how we can live our baptismal call through these seven tenets of the Christian faith and that you might share them with your friends, family and coworkers. We look forward to “Illuminating Justice” together.
Peace and all good!
Barbara Sutton, D.Min.
Dr. Barbara Sutton is the Associate Dean for Formation and Outreach at Saint John’s School of Theology-Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota and the Director of the Seeing The Word curriculum project. She reflects on the Illumination “Pentecost” from Acts 2:1-8, 12 and the discipleship practice of Prophet.
Dinner at the Pharisee’s House
Jason Engel reflects on the discipleship practice of forgiver and the Illumination “Dinner at the Pharisee’s House” from Luke 7:36-50. Jason Engel graduated from Saint John’s University in 1995 with a degree in Peace Studies, and currently serves SJU as an Ambassador of the Saint John’s Bible. He lives in Streamwood, IL, with his wife and three sons, works as an IT specialist for a global services company, and co-teaches a high school religious education class at the nearby Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin.
Genesis 1:1-5, 1:31-2:3
Paul Krenzelok is the Director of Faith Formation at Church of the Holy Name in Minneapolis, MN. He has a Master of Divinity from Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry.
Elisha and the Six Miracles
2 Kings 4:42-43, 6:3-7
Corein Brown is the Communications and Research Associate for the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research. She is exploring what it means to be a neighbor with her intentional community in North Minneapolis as an Urban Neighbor. Corein reflects today on the discipleship practice: Neighbor and the Illumination “Elisha and the Six Miracles” from 2 Kings 4:42-43, 6:3-7.
Baptism of Jesus
Dr. Donald P. Richmond
The Very Rev. Dr. Donald P. Richmond, a widely published author and graduate of both the Maryvale and Robert E. Webber Institutes, is a Priest-Oblate with the Order of Saint Benedict and Reformed Episcopal Church. He reflects on the discipleship practice of “Worshiper” and the Illumination “Baptism of Jesus” from Mark 1:4-11
Life of Paul
Timothy Johnston received his MA in Liturgical Studies from Saint John’s School of Theology Seminary. He is currently the director of liturgy at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He reflects on the practice of discipleship: Witness and the Ilumination “Life of Paul” from Acts 22:10-16.
Sower and the Seed
Anne Kaese has been studying and working in calligraphy for over 30 years. Anne enjoys teaching calligraphy and watercolor and continues to be active in public education on the St John’s Bible.
She reflects on the Illumination “Sower and the Seed” from Mark 4:3-9 and the discipleship practice of “follower”.