Engaging Faith | Mon, Mar 25, 2013
Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Colossians 9 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
John 20:1-9 or Mark 16:1-7 or Luke 24:13-35
March 31: Easter Sunday
April 7: World Health Day http://www.who.int/world-health-day/en/
April 7: World Health Day http://www.who.int/world-health-day/en/
“Genuine progress does not consist in wealth sought for personal comfort or for its own sake; rather it consists in an economic order designed for the welfare of the human person, where the daily bread that each person receives reflects the glow of human love and the helping hand of God.”
Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio
“The power of the Spirit, who raised Christ from the dead, is continuously at work in the world. Through the generous sons and daughters of the Church likewise, the People of God is present in the midst of the poor and of those who suffer oppression and persecution; it lives in its own flesh and its own heart the Passion of Christ and bears witness to his resurrection.”
Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 74
“The Risen Christ signals the paths of hope along which we can advance together towards a world more just and mutually supportive, in which the blind egoism of the few will not prevail over the cries of pain of the many, reducing entire peoples to conditions of degrading misery.
May the message of life proclaimed by the angel near the stone rolled back from the tomb overturn the hardness of our hearts; may it lead to removing unjustified barriers and promote a fruitful exchange between peoples and cultures.
May the image of the new human being, shining on the face of Christ, cause everyone to acknowledge the inalienable value of human life; may it encourage effective responses to the increasingly felt demand for justice and equal opportunity in all areas of society; may it impel individuals and states to full respect for the essential and authentic rights rooted in the very nature of the human person.”
Pope John Paul II, Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter, April 23, 2000
“By immersing ourselves into the death and resurrection of Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism, we are moved to free our hearts every day from the burden of material things, from a self-centered relationship with the ‘world’ that impoverishes us and prevents us from being available and open to God and our neighbor.”
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for Lent 2011
“Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.”
Pope Francis, March 22, 2013
Thoughts for your consideration
An understanding of resurrection which does not address issues of justice is shallow and not consistent with the spirit of Jesus who lived, died, and rose to bring an end to all oppression and injustice. To use the recent words of Pope Francis, Christ calls us “… to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced!”
The data of Good Friday is not complete.
Another way of looking at things is possible.
The reality is different than first expected.
The death of Jesus is not the last word or the end of the story.
Resurrection is the ultimate word of God about life and death.
In a world with lots of death, we are called to share Resurrection today.
Today’s letter to the Corinthians reminds us that something new is possible: “Let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” In the midst of awesome human problems, great social sins, all kinds of violence, extreme economic inequalities, destruction to our planet, and serious injustices of all kinds, we believe something more is possible. We affirm life. We believe that resurrection is possible.
Change is possible. Growth is possible. Peace and reconciliation are possible. Something new is possible. Healing of relationships is possible. Liberation for the poor and oppressed is possible. Social change is possible. Nations can work together for justice and peace. People can stand up and demand human rights. Society can provide health care for all. There is enough food so that everyone can eat if we only learn how to distribute it. All our children can have access to a good education. All people can have meaningful employment. We can live in a way that does not destroy the planet. We can work to end war and violence. We can live in solidarity.
Our world knows the tragedy of divisions and hatreds between peoples and nations. Our world knows the scandal of poverty and economic injustice. Today large parts of our world still struggle with the effects of a serious recession. We live in a world where the system is structured to increase economic inequalities between people. Meanwhile, the developing world has been dealing with an ongoing recession for a long time. More than ever, the world needs to experience resurrection.
More than ever we need a spirit that will help and heal the death, violence, and injustice of the world. More than ever we need to create a world where people are not oppressed by sinful structures. Peter in Acts reminds us that Jesus “… went about doing good and healing all those oppressed ….” We are called to do the same.
An understanding of resurrection which does not address issues of justice is shallow and not consistent with the spirit of Jesus who lived, died, and rose to bring an end to all oppression and injustice.
Pope Francis reminded us on Palm Sunday: “Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but from having encountered a person: Jesus, in our midst; it is born from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable, and there are so many of them!”
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
In today’s letter to the Corinthians we read: “Let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Name the malice and wickedness you see around us. Name the places of sincerity and truth.
When have your experienced the cycle of death and resurrection in your own ministry?
A miser had accumulated five hundred thousand dinars and looked forward to a year of pleasant living before he made up his mind how best to invest his money, when suddenly the Angel of Death appeared before him to take his life away.
The man begged and pleaded and used a thousand arguments to be allowed to live a little longer, but the angel was obdurate. "Give me three days of life and I shall give you half my fortune," the man pleaded. The angel wouldn't hear of it and began to tug at him.
"Give me just one day, I beg of you, and you can have everything I accumulated through so much sweat and toil."
The angel was adamant still.
He was able to wring just one little concession from the angel—a few moments in which to write down this note: “Oh you, whoever you are that happen to find this note, if you have enough to live on, don't waste your life accumulating fortunes. Live! My five hundred thousand dinars could not buy me a single hour of life!”
Actions – Links
Catholic Confront Global Poverty
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) call on Catholics in the United States to confront global poverty. Advocate with us to end hunger, disease, conflict, and other issues that affect the lives of our brothers and sisters worldwide. Get more information at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/poverty/gl...
The Poverty Line
“The Poverty Line is a project examining what it means to be poor in different countries.
“The number of suburban residents living in poverty rose by nearly 64 percent between 2000 and 2011, to about 16.4 million people, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of 95 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.”
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Risen Jesus, lead us to new life.
For an end to the death and suffering that follows from our wars and fighting, we pray….
For an end to the death and suffering that follows from poverty and economic injustice, we pray….
For an end to all our policies and practices that do not respect life, we pray…..
For an end to all the distortions caused in our economic system that are caused by human greed, we pray….
For a new spirit of care and respect for every human person, we pray….
For a new spirit of joyful acceptance of our diversity, we pray….
For a new era without war and the preparations for war, we pray…..
For a renewed human community, healed of all divisions, we pray….
Lord Jesus, our Peace,
Word made flesh two thousand years ago,
who by rising from the dead have conquered evil and sin,
grant the human family of the third millennium
a just and lasting peace;
Bring to a happy outcome the talks undertaken
by people of good will who,
despite so many doubts and difficulties,
are trying to bring an end to the troubling conflicts in Africa,
the armed clashes in some countries of Latin America,
the persistent tensions affecting
the Middle East, vast areas of Asia,
and some parts of Europe.
Help the nations to overcome old and new rivalries,
by rejecting attitudes of racism and xenophobia.
May the whole of creation,
inundated by the splendor of the Resurrection,
rejoice because “the brightness of the eternal One
has vanquished the darkness of the world.”
Urbi et Orbi message of Pope John Paul II, Easter, April 23, 2000
“God's Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not wreck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
is now bare, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs -
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Copyright © 2013, Center of Concern