Engaging Faith | Tue, Apr 2, 2013
Lectionary Reflections for the second Sunday of Easter [c] April 7, 2013
Second Sunday of Easter [c]
April 7, 2013
Revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
April 7: Divine Mercy Sunday
April 7: World Health Day http://www.who.int/world-health-day/en/
April 11: Pope John XXIII issues Pacem in Terris in 1963
April 11: President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act in 1964
April 15: Income Tax Day in the United States
“What do we want the Church to do? We don't ask for more cathedrals. We don't ask for bigger churches of fine gifts. We ask for its presence with us, beside us, as Christ among us. We ask the Church to sacrifice with the people for social change, for justice, and for love of brother. We don't ask for words. We ask for deeds. We don't ask for paternalism. We ask for servanthood.”
“We may all be tempted by the disbelief of Thomas. Suffering, evil, injustice, death, especially when it strikes the innocent such as children who are victims of war and terrorism, of sickness and hunger, does not all of this put our faith to the test? Paradoxically the disbelief of Thomas is most valuable to us in these cases because it helps to purify all false concepts of God and leads us to discover his true face: the face of a God who, in Christ, has taken upon himself the wounds of injured humanity.”
Benedict XVI, Urbi and Orbi Message, Easter 2007
“The Old Testament prophets emphasize that worship and prayer are not pleasing to God unless they are accompanied by practical works of justice and charity. Following the Great Jubilee, we must acknowledge the call to commit ourselves ever more generously to working for justice and the liberation of the oppressed. The experience of the Jubilee should inspire the members of the Church to draw on her rich heritage of social teaching, and to put it into practice by promoting a greater spirit of solidarity, generosity and fraternity in society and in the international community. May all Christians open their hearts to the needs of others and put into practice the words of the Book of Deuteronomy: "you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother or sister, but you shall open your hand to him or her." (15:7-8).
Pope John Paul II, General Audience, January 10, 2001
“He rejected violence for any reason. His whole teaching, in his word and in his actions was, we transform the world into the reign of God through the power of love and nothing else – not through violence, not through war, not through killing, but only through love.”
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Thoughts for your consideration
The experience of resurrection results not simply in a good feeling but in the transformation or renewal of our life and action. Resurrection is not just about some future day after we die. It is also about the world today – the world of things, people, creation, and beauty – the world that experiences both sin and evil as well as justice and peace – the world with all its struggles and its possibilities. If we believe in resurrection, then we should expect to see some signs of it.
Community is formed. Fear is dispelled.
Reconciliation becomes real. The work of justice and peace takes place.
Society is transformed. There is a new heaven and a new earth.
Today’s scriptures give us some of these signs.
* In Revelation, John receives a call to write down the message and share it.
* In Acts, a growing community gathers in Solomon’s portico.
* Signs and wonders occur in the early church.
* In the gospel, Thomas and later a great number of people come to faith.
* Many are healed.
* Bad spirits are driven out.
* The message is “Do not be afraid.” and “Peace be with you.”
* The Spirit is given for the forgiveness of sin.
What signs and wonders do we see today?
What signs of faith?
What signs of faith expressed in deeds?
What signs of the forgiveness and reconciliation?
What signs of the forgiveness of social sin?
What signs of reconciliation between peoples and nations?
What signs of work for justice and peace?
What signs of community and solidarity?
The experience of Thomas in John’s gospel invites us to consider issues of faith and issues of inclusion. Thomas seems to be troubled because he has not enjoyed the experience of the rest of the disciples. We might say that he desires to be included. Thomas experiences doubt and uncertainty. We might apply this to our personal struggle to be included and our personal effort to come to faith. However, we might also apply it to the broader level of nations and to all the structures and institutions of the international community. Not only do individuals struggle with questions of inclusion, but whole nations, cultures, and classes of people do as well. In our world we find stereotypes, racism, xenophobia, sexism, and many other forms of discrimination and exclusion. As peoples experience injustice, they can feel excluded. Our faith might in some way move into doubt as we find ourselves isolated and divided by injustice. We might find that it is hard to believe in a God of resurrection and new life unless we are committed to a faith that works for justice in our society. Jesus says, “Do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What evidence of resurrection have you experienced in your life?
In your community?
Does the inclusive welcoming spirit of the scriptures have anything to say to us about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered brothers and sisters?
A Hasidic tale:
The Jews of a small town in Russia were eagerly awaiting the arrival of a rabbi. This was going to be a rare event so they spent a lot of time preparing the questions they were going to put to the holy man.
When he finally arrived and they met with him in the town hall, he could sense the tension in the atmosphere as all prepared to listen to the answers he had for them. He said nothing at first; he just gazed into their eyes, and hummed a haunting melody. Soon everyone began to hum. He started to sing and they sang along with him. He swayed and danced in solemn, measured steps. The congregation followed suit. Soon they became so involved in the dance, so absorbed in its movements that they were lost to everything else on earth; so every person in that crowd was made whole, was healed from the inner fragmentation that keeps us from the truth. It was nearly an hour before the dance slowed down to a halt. With the tension drained out of their inner being everyone sat in the silent peace that pervaded the room.
Then the rabbi spoke the only words he pronounced that evening: “I trust that I have answered your questions.”
Actions - Links
National Child Abuse Prevention Month
April is national Child Abuse Prevention month. Get more info at:
Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an environmental action group that combines “the grassroots power of 1.3 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists and other professionals.”
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
The United States is one of only seven nations that have not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, also known as CEDAW. Get more info and sign the petition at
From the Washington Post athttp://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/feature/wp/2013/03/22/gun-deaths-shaped...
Gun deaths are shaped by race in the United States. Whites are far more likely to shoot themselves, and African Americans are far more likely to be shot by someone else.
The statistical difference is dramatic, according to a Washington Post analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A white person is five times as likely to commit suicide with a gun as to be shot with a gun; for each African American who uses a gun to commit suicide, five are killed by other people with guns.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Risen Jesus, lead us to new life.
For a deeper faith that will be lived in the works of justice and peace, we pray….
For a powerful faith that will lead our world to an effective respect for life, we pray….
For an end to the death and suffering that follows from our wars and fighting, 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 renewed human community, healed of all divisions, we pray….
Prayer for Justice and Peace
God, source of all light,
we are surrounded by the darkness of
the injustices experienced by your people,
the poor who are hungry and who search for shelter,
the sick who seek relief,
and the downtrodden who seek help in their hopelessness.
Surround us and fill us with your Spirit who is Light.
Lead us in your way to be light to your people.
Help our parish to be salt for our community
as we share your love with those caught in the struggles of life.
We desire to be your presence to the least among us
and to know your presence in them as we work through you
to bring justice and peace to this world in desperate need.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
From the Communities of Salt and Light Parish Resource Manual