Lectionary Reflections: Seventh Sunday of Easter [b] May 17, 2015

Engaging Faith | Thu, May 14, 2015

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

Seventh Sunday of Easter [b]

May 17, 2015 [In many dioceses in the US we celebrate Ascension on this date.]

Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern


Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26

1 John 4:11-16

John 17:11b-19



May 18: Victoria Day in Canada

May 22: International Day for Biological Diversity:

May 24: Pentecost

May 25: Memorial Day Observed in the United States



“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, defend the rights of those who have nothing. Speak up and judge fairly, and defend the rights of the poor and needy."

- Proverbs 31:8-9


“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.”

- John Paul II, General Audience, Jan. 10, 2001


“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.”

- Paul VI, Call to Action, #48


“We need courage if we are to be faithful to the Gospel.”

- Pope Francis @Pontifex · 5 Nov 2013


“...internationally accepted human rights standards are strongly supported by Catholic teaching. These rights include the civil and political rights to freedom of speech, worship, and assembly. A number of human rights also concern human welfare and are of a specifically economic nature. First among these are the rights to life, food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, and basic education. These are indispensable to the protection of human dignity. ... All persons have a right to security in the event of sickness, unemployment, and old age ... the right to healthful working conditions, to wages, and other benefits sufficient to provide individuals and their families with a standard of living in keeping with human dignity, and to the possibility of property ownership.”

- US Bishops, Economic Justice for All, #80

Thoughts for your consideration

Today’s readings connect with Catholic Social Teaching in at least two ways:  (a) involvement with the issues and concerns of the world and (b) commitment to the truth.


In Acts, the early disciples place their trust in God. They identify two followers who are qualified, they pray, and then they draw lots. In the letter of John, the vision is rooted in God’s love and in God’s gift of the Spirit.  In the gospel, Jesus’ prayer is directed to heaven and appeals to a help that will come from above.  All of this “looking up to heaven” and all of this prayer for help leads not to a getting out of the world but to an involvement in the world and its issues and struggles.  Jesus explicitly prays that his followers will “not be taken out of the world.”  The love of God is “brought to perfection in us” and in our involvement in the things of the world.

The important issues of our world may be messy and challenging, but we are called to get engaged with those issues and to get involved.  The second Vatican Council in Gaudium et Spes expressed it well:  “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”


In the gospel, Jesus prays: “Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth."  As Christians we are committed to the truth and are willing to explore the important issues of the world and all its people and cultures.  We need not be afraid of discovering the truth. We need not be afraid of asking questions. We need not be afraid of speaking up for the truth. 

Questions are the friend of faith.  Challenges often contain the call of God to new life. The second Vatican Council in Gaudium et Spes expressed it well:  “The Church has always had the duty of scrutinizing the signs of the times and of interpreting them in the light of the Gospel.”


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

What important world issues do you find difficult to deal with?  

What issues do you want to run away from?


How are local people in your community involved in local actions for justice?

Who are the people who are speaking up?



From the Song of the Bird by Anthony DeMello SJ:


A handful of wheat, five thousand years old, was found in the tomb of one of the kings of ancient Egypt. Someone planted the grains and, to everyone’s amazement, they came to life.

An enlightened person’s words are like seeds of life and energy. They can remain in the form of seeds for centuries until they are sown in the fertile soil of a receptive heart. I used to think the words of scripture dead and dry.


Actions - Links

May 22:  International Day for Biological Diversity - Find out more at 

This year’s theme is Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.  

This year’s theme reflects the importance of efforts made at all levels to establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda for the period of 2015-2030 and the relevance of biodiversity for the achievement of sustainable development. Get more info at: 


Climate Change

Climate Change and the Common Good, A Statement Of The Problem And The Demand For Transformative Solutions 29 April 2015 by The Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences can be found at: 

Read the final declaration at: 


“Crazy Facts”

“Women produce over 50% of the world’s food but own only 2% of the land.” 

“For the first time on record in human history, the monthly global average concentration of carbon dioxide — the most important global warming pollutant that takes centuries to be removed from the atmosphere — surpassed 400 parts per million in March of this year, according to government data.” 

In the United States, 1 in 5 children live in poverty.


Prayers of Intercession

Response:  Lord, help us to be one.

For an end to the violence and terror in Syria, we pray….

For an end to the war and fighting in all the places of the Middle East, we pray….

For an end to the various wars in so many places in Africa, we pray….

For an end to all the dozens of wars that divide our world, we pray….

For an end to the violence that shows up all over our world, we pray….

For an end to all the preparations for war, we pray….

For an end to the world’s spending for war and weapons, we pray….

For the grace to listen to one another, we pray…

For the grace of reconciliation and understanding, we pray….

For the Spirit to come and lead us on the road to peace, we pray….


Prayer - Meditation

When God calls, don’t panic, relax.

When God calls you, don’t worry; you will be led into the fullness of life.

When God invites you to reflect on the struggles of the world, that God is wisdom.

When God invites you to enter into the struggles of the world, that God too is struggling.

When God calls, don’t worry about resources; assume that there is an abundance.

When God calls, don’t worry about taking a lot of baggage.

When God calls you to be at peace, know that the peace is a gift.

When God calls you to renounce violence, know that there is a more powerful way.

When God calls you into new places, know that God will be there in the new places and new people.


When God invites you into the mystery of poverty, know that God desires liberation for the poor.

When God calls you to speak out for justice, trust that you are not alone, that the Spirit will be there too.

When God calls, don’t panic, relax.

A prayer service about nonviolence and the earth can be found at the web site of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas: 

Find more prayers at: