Lectionary Reflections: Fourth Sunday of Easter [c] April 21, 2013

Engaging Faith | Mon, Apr 15, 2013

By John Buckie, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary Reflections for Fourth Sunday of Easter

Posted April 21, 2013

Copyright © 2013, Center of Concern


 Acts 13:14, 43-52

 Revelation 7:9, 14b-17

 John 10:27-30



April 22:  Earth Day

April 24: Administrative Professionals Day 

April 30: Arbor Day 



“Sad to say, it is all too evident that large numbers of people in different countries and areas of our planet are experiencing increased hardship because of the negligence or refusal of many others to exercise responsible stewardship over the environment.” 

Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2010


“The life and words of Jesus and the teaching of his Church call us to serve those in need and to work actively for social and economic justice. As a community of believers, we know that our faith is tested by the quality of justice among us, that we can best measure our life together by how the poor and the vulnerable are treated.” 

United State Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Economic Justice for All,” #8


“One of the first steps toward freedom occurs when, usually through the dynamics of a questioning, supportive community, oppressed people awaken to their own dignity and worth and begin to exercise their own power.

Elizabeth Johnson, “She Who Is,” p. 253


“If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.” 

Pope Benedict XVI, “Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace,” 2010


“The ministries which exist and are at work at this time in the Church are all, even in their variety of forms, a participation in Jesus Christ's own ministry as the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep, the humble servant who gives himself without reserve for the salvation of all.” 

Pope John Paul II, “Christifideles Laici”


“[I]ntegral human development is closely linked to the obligations which flow from man’s relationship with the natural environment. The environment must be seen as God’s gift to all people, and the use we make of it entails a shared responsibility for all humanity, especially the poor and future generations.” 

Pope Benedict XVI, “Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace,” 2010

“I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”

Pope Francis, March 18, 2013


Thoughts for your consideration

In the gospel, Jesus says: “I give them eternal life.”  What does this mean? 

There are, of course, many levels of meaning. However, in light of the incarnation, we cannot focus simply on eternal life in some other future world.  Jesus is concerned with what promotes eternal life in the present. We might want to say that Jesus is expressing his concern for all the things that promote a full human life:

•Food, water, health care, decent housing

•Community, compassion, solidarity

•Spirituality, freedom, spirit

•Human rights, an end to all racism, a respect for every human person

•Justice, peace, righteousness, virtue

In the context of the first two readings, we must see this divine concern as a universal concern – a concern that goes out to all the men and women of our world.

In the context of Easter, we are called to feel the joy that is part of this divine concern. We hear today of the citizens of Antioch and the multitude in Revelation who are filled with life and filled with joy – not the joy of the consumer culture – not the joy of military victory or political control – not even the joy of a long life or perfect health. It is the joy of an eternal life that is beginning now and is shared with others.  Despite opposition, Paul and Barnabas are not discouraged.  They shake off the dusk and continue to share what they have been given.

Eternal life involves a joy and life that comes in solidarity with others and from a relationship with a loving shepherd. It is a life which comes together in Christ not because we possess a spirituality of rugged individualism or a religion of “knowing it all” or a spirituality of “being better than others.” Joy and life flow from relationship – relationship in community – relationship fostered and nourished by a Good Shepherd whose desire is to bring all the sheep together into the fullness of life – a relationship of justice and righteousness with people of “from every nation, race, people, and tongue.”

Pope Francis recently has captured the attention of many in the word by his gift of being able to symbolize the gospel message in so many actions of simplicity and solidarity with people in need. 

As Earth Day approaches, we may also want to recall his statements about concern for the environment and creation


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

What most gives you a spirit of life and joy?  

How do you share that spirit with the world?


Earth Day is tomorrow, April 22.

How does the scripture invite you to care for the life of our planet?

If we think of Christ as the Good Shepherd, how does Christ want us to take care of the planet?



A story and reflection about finding God in all things is found here:


Actions - Links

Earth Day, which occurs annually on April 22, involves tens of thousands of events, from rallies and teach-outs to concerts and earth fairs throughout the world. See 

The Environmental Justice Program (EJP) of the United States Catholic Conference (USCC) “calls Catholics to a deeper respect for God’s creation and engages parishes in activities that deal with environmental problems, particularly as they affect the poor.”  Find their resources on climate change and children’s health at

The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change was launched in 2006 with the support of both the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change supports and complements USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development (formerly, the Department of Social Development and World Peace) and the bishops’ Environmental Justice Program. The Coalition is a membership organization consisting of 12 national Catholic organizations that offers advice and assistance in implementing its programs. 

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. To make your voice heard on environmental issues go to:


“Crazy facts” 

“Yes, the stock market has rebounded. But only a small portion of Americans are affected by the rebound. The richest 1 percent own 35 percent of all shares of stock; the richest 10 percent own 90 percent.”  

Robert Reich

Most of the electricity in the United States is produced using steam turbines. Coal is the most common fuel for generating electricity in the United States. In 2011, 42% of the country's nearly 4 trillion kilowatthours of electricity used coal as its source of energy.”

“The Appalachian region is home to one of the oldest and most biologically diverse mountain systems on the continent. Tragically, mountaintop removal mining has already destroyed more than 500 mountains encompassing 1.2 million acres of central and southern Appalachia. Mining companies detonate approximately 2,500 tons of explosives daily, equal to a Hiroshima-strength atomic bomb on a weekly basis. After mountaintops are blasted apart, they are dumped into neighboring valleys, causing a whole host of damaging environmental impacts.


Prayers of Intersession

Response: Lord, lead us to the fullness of life.

For an end to all our wars and violence, we pray…

For an end to all of our violence and abuse of other human beings, we pray…

For an end to our overconsumption of the things of our world, we pray…

For an end to all our practices which abuse and destroy our environment, we pray…

For a total commitment to promote life in our society, we pray…

For a renewal commitment to be solidarity with those who are poor, we pray…

For a culture of justice, respect, and active nonviolence, we pray…



Prayer for the Environmental Common Good 


As we breathe the very air which sustains us,

We remember your love, God,

which gives us life.


Fill us with your compassion for Creation.

Empty us of apathy, selfishness and fear,

of all pessimism and hesitation.


Breathe into us solidarity

with all who suffer now

and the future generations who will suffer

because of our environmental irresponsibility.


Move us into action

to save our earth

and to build your sustainable Kingdom. Amen.


By Jane Deren,


O Virgin full of courage, 

may your spiritual strength

and trust in God inspire us,

so that we might know

how to overcome all the obstacles

that we encounter

in accomplishing our mission.

Teach us to treat the affairs

of the world

with a real sense of Christian responsibility

and a joyful hope

of the coming of God's Kingdom, and

of a “new heaven and a new earth.”

Pope John Paul II, “Christifideles Laici”