Engaging Faith | Fri, May 5, 2017
Fifth Sunday of Easter [a]
May 14, 2017
1 Peter 2:4-9
May 12: International Nurses Day
May 14: Mother’s Day in the United States and Canada
May 15: Anniversary of Rerum Novarum (1891)
May 15: International Day of Families
May 17: World Telecommunication and Information Society Day
May 21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
May 22: International Day for Biological Diversity (http://www.cbd.int/idb/2011)
Christians must be conscious of their specific and proper role in the political community; they should be a shining example by their sense of responsibility and their dedication to the common good; they should show in practice how authority can be reconciled with freedom, personal initiative with solidarity and the needs of the social framework as a whole, and the advantages of unity with the benefits of diversity.
-Vatican II, The Church in the Modern World, 75
Every citizen also has the responsibility to work to secure justice and human rights through an organized social response.
-U.S. Bishops, Economic Justice for All, 120
In teaching us charity, the Gospel instructs us in the preferential respect due to the poor and the special situation they have in society: the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others.
-Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Letter, May 14, 1971, 23
Let everyone examine themselves, to see what they have done up to now, and what they ought to do. It is not enough to recall principles, state intentions, point to crying injustice and utter prophetic denunciations; these words will lack real weight unless they are accompanied for each individual by a livelier awareness of personal responsibility and by effective action.
-Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Letter, May 14, 1971, 48
Unless citizens control political power – national, regional and municipal – it will not be possible to control damage to the environment.
-Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, 179
Mothers are the strongest antidote to our individualistic and egotistic tendencies, to our lack of openness and our indifference. A society without mothers would not only be a cold society, but a society that has lost its heart, lost the “feel of home.” … I have learned much from those mothers whose children are in prison, or lying in hospital beds, or in bondage to drugs, yet, come cold or heat, rain or draught, never stop fighting for what is best for them. Or those mothers who in refugee camps, or even the midst of war, unfailingly embrace and support their children’s sufferings. … Where there is a mother, there is unity, there is belonging, belonging as children.
-Pope Francis, January 1, 2017
Thoughts for Your Consideration
The gospel of Jesus is not simply a “personal interior message or experience” which changes the way we feel. Genuine belief leads to works. Spirituality is connected to action. As Jesus says in today’s gospel, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these.”
The work of the gospel is reflected in the concern of the early church for the poor. In today’s example from Acts, it is reflected in a concern for the widows in the community. The work of the gospel is about service and especially service to those who are most in need. It is a responsibility for the whole community – not just a responsibility for the apostles. Deacons are appointed. The whole community is involved in this very local need. [In some way this story reflects the principle of subsidiarity which is one of the key principles of Catholic social teaching.] The apostles also seek to create a structure for responding to the needs for the long term. [This too is important in Catholic social teaching, for we desire to offer more than charity to respond to some immediate need but to create structures of justice that empower all people.]
To read the rest of this reflection from John Bucki, S.J., as well as his reflection questions, faith in action links, prayers of intercession, and prayer meditations, become a member of Education for Justice: http://www.coc.org/EFJ-New.
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