Lectionary Reflections: Fifth Sunday of Easter [a] May 18, 2014

Engaging Faith | Fri, May 9, 2014

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Fifth Sunday of Easter [a] 

May 18, 2014

Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern


Acts 6:1-7

1 Peter 2:4-9

John 14:1-12



May 19: Victoria Day in Canada

May 21: World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (UN)

May 22:  International Day for Biological Diversity - 

May 26: Memorial Day in the United States



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.

- US Bishops, Economic Justice for All,  (#120)


It is in keeping with their dignity as persons that human being should take an active part in government.

- Pope John XXIII, Peace on Earth,  (#73)


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 of 14 May 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 of 14 May 1971, (#48)


I ask everyone with political responsibility to remember two things: human dignity and the common good. 

- Pope Francis@Pontifex May 1


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. Faith is connected to our behavior. 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 of the whole community – not just a responsibility for the apostles. Deacons are appointed. The whole community is involved in these local needs. (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 people.)

In the gospel Jesus reassures his disciples that he wants to see them taken care of. He speaks of a house with many dwelling places. We may think of this image as some vision of heaven where everyone will have a fine mansion. We might also think of the vision of Jesus as speaking to our world here and now. 

Might not Jesus envision a world where all God’s people have decent, safe, and affordable housing here today? Might not Jesus envision a world where refugees find a safe home and those who come out of prison are welcomed back to the community? Might not Jesus envision a world in which all men and women enjoy a sense of belonging and community wherever they live? Is this not what the early community is trying to create as they appoint deacons to make sure that everyone is included in the resources of the whole? Is this not what we all want to be about? Are we not all called to focus on the “common good?”


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

How does your local community delegate and share responsibility for those in need? Does it fall on the efforts of a few or is it more the responsibility of the whole community? Is there a concern for creating a structure that promotes justice?


Is decent and affordable housing an issue in your part of the world? If so, how is this need being addressed? How is the community working together to address this need?



An American tourist went to Cairo to visit the famous Polish rabbi Hafez Ayim. The tourist was surprised to see that the rabbi lived in a simple, book-lined room, in which the only pieces of furniture were a table and a bench. ‘Rabbi, where’s all your furniture?’ asked the tourist. ‘Why, where’s yours?’ retorted Hafez.

‘Mine? But I’m just passing through.’

‘So am I,’ said the rabbi.




Actions - Links

Environmental Justice

“Earthjustice is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.”  

Find out more at

Consider taking political action online at


In This Together

In This Together is a project of Faith in Public Life and supported by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, the Franciscan Action Network, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Conference for Mercy Higher Education, Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Conference of Major Superiors of Men and many others.  

Get info and get involved at 


“Crazy Facts”

“We’ve turned our backs on poor kids, 42 percent of whom will still be in poverty as adults – a higher percent than in any other advanced nation.”  

Source: Robert Reich on Facebook at


We’ve turned our backs on poor kids, 42 percent of whom will still be in poverty as adults – a higher percent than in any other advanced nation.”  

Source: Robert Reich on Facebook at


“Today’s minimum wage is 25 percent below what it was in 1968.”  Source: Robert Reich on Facebook at


Prayers of Intercession

Response: May God lead us on the road to justice in the world.

For the poor of our world, especially those who are struggling because of rising food prices, we pray….

For those in our country who are struggling to get by on low salaries and with poor benefits, we pray….

For the billions of people around our world who still struggle to live on less than two dollars are day, we pray….

For those in our world who live in places where war is waging, we pray….

For those suffering from the actions of terrorists in so many lands, especially the girls who have been kidnapped in Nigeria, we pray…..

For our planet which continues to suffer from our misuse and abuse, we pray….

For those who are excessively rich and powerful, we pray….



Prayer for Justice 

Father, you have given all peoples one common origin.

It is your will that they be gathered together

as one family in yourself.

Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love

and with the desire to ensure justice for all.

By sharing the good things you give us,

may we secure an equality for all

our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

May there be an end to division, strife and war.

May there be a dawning of a truly human society

built on love and peace.

We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.




St. Francis's Canticle of the Sun

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name. 

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs. 

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.