Engaging Faith | Fri, May 3, 2013
Lectionary Reflections for Seventh Sunday of Easter
Posted May 3, 2013
Copyright © 2013, Center of Concern
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20
May 12: Mother’s Day in the United States, Canada and elsewhere
May 15: International Day of Families http://social.un.org/index/Family/InternationalObservances/International...
May 19: Pentecost
“Excessive economic, social and cultural inequalities among peoples arouse tensions and conflicts, and are a danger to peace.”
Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 76
“May Christ inflame the desires of all people to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who have done them wrong. Through Christ’s power and inspiration may all peoples welcome each other to their hearts as brothers and sisters, and may the peace they long for ever flower and ever reign among them.”
Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris 171
“According to the message of Christ, for which the people of the Old Covenant were to prepare humanity, salvation is offered to the whole of the human race, to every creature and to all nations.”
The Church and Racism: Towards a More Fraternal Society, Pontifical Commission Justice and Peace
“The acquisition of worldly goods can lead people to greed, to the unrelenting desire for more, to the pursuit of greater personal power. Rich and poor alike – be they individuals, families or nations – can fall prey to avarice and soul stifling materialism. Neither individuals nor nations should regard the possession of more and more goods as the ultimate objective.”
Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 18-19
“In the words of our Holy Father, we need a ‘moral about face.’ The whole world must summon the moral courage and technical means to say ‘no’ to nuclear conflict; ‘no’ to weapons of mass destruction; ‘no’ to an arms race which robs the poor and the vulnerable; and ‘no’ to the moral danger of a nuclear age which places before humankind indefensible choices of constant terror or surrender. Peacemaking is not an optional commitment. It is a requirement of our faith. We are called to be peacemakers, not by some movement of the moment, but by our Lord Jesus. The content and context of our peacemaking is set, not by some political agenda or ideological program, but by the teaching of his Church.”
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, The Challenge of Peace, #333
Thoughts for your consideration
War continues in Afghanistan, Syria, and other nations.
Acts of terrorism continue to happen or to cause fear in the world.
Preparations for war, or defense efforts, continue in most every nation.
In light of all of this, we may find that the scriptures today challenge us to look again at war and all the things that lead us to war and violence.
In the first reading, people cover their ears so as not to hear. They refuse to listen. Instead they throw stones and kill Stephen. Instead of listening to each other, instead of dialogue and understanding, there is killing. Instead of peace and growth, there is division and violence.
The gospel today is part of the concluding prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper. It is a prayer for unity and solidarity – that all may be one. It is an appropriate prayer in the context of remembering the causes of and consequences of war. It is a prayer for healing and renewal. Christ wants a unity that can heal the divisions that lead to war and killing. Christ wants an end to all the things that divide and destroy us.
The second reading from Revelations is a vision of men and women coming together – being in solidarity – receiving the gift of life-giving water. It is a vision of those who come together in response to Christ’s invitation to solidarity and peace.
The theme of the scriptures is solidarity.
Our prayer today is a prayer for an end to all the wars that destroy that solidarity.
Our desire is the desire of Jesus - that all will be one.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Traditionally, the time between the Ascension and Pentecost is a time to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. We might ask ourselves:
What gifts of the Spirit does our world community most need?
What do we need from the Spirit today to address the problems of our world?
What should we pray for?
A parable about peace shared by Megan McKenna:
Mother's Day was originally started after the Civil War, as a protest to the carnage of that war, by women who had lost their sons. The original Mother's Day Proclamation from 1870 and some background can be found at http://www.peace.ca/mothersdayproclamation.htm
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
Julia's Voice is the modern voice of Julia Ward Howe, the abolitionist, suffragist and poet. Also check out the group’s efforts to celebrate Mother’s Day and peace at http://juliasvoice.org/
The Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, taken together, will be the most expensive wars in U.S. history – totaling somewhere between $4- to $6 trillion. This includes long-term medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replenishment and social and economic costs. Learn more at
See a graph that illustrates U.S. defense spending trends between 2000 and 2011 at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:U.S._Defense_Spending_Trends.png
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Lord, help us to be one.
For an end to the war and terror in Syria, we pray….
For an end to the war and fighting in Afghanistan, we pray….
For an end to the wars in Africa, we pray….
For an end to all the dozens of wars that divide our world, we pray….
For an end to terrorism, we pray….
For an end to all the kinds of violence that show 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 healing for all those hurt by war, terrorism, and torture, we pray….
For the grace to listen to one another, we pray…
For the grace of reconciliation and understanding, we pray….
For Spirit to come and lead us on the road to peace, we pray….
All-nourishing God, your children cry for help
Against the violence of our world:
Where children starve for bread and feed on weapons;
Starve for vision and feed on drugs;
Starve for love and feed on videos;
Starve for peace and die murdered in our streets.
Creator God, timeless preserver of resources,
Forgive us for the gifts that we have wasted.
Renew for us what seems beyond redemption;
Call order and beauty to emerge again from chaos.
Convert our destructive power into creative service;
Help us to heal the woundedness of our world.
Liberating God, release us from the demons of violence.
Free us today from the disguised demon of deterrence
That puts guns by our pillows and missiles in our skies.
Free us from all demons that blind and blunt our spirits;
Cleanse us from all justifications for violence and war;
Open our narrowed hearts to the suffering and the poor.
Abiding God, loving renewer of the human spirit,
Unfold our violent fists into peaceful hands:
Stretch our sense of family to include our neighbors;
Stretch our senses of neighbor to include our enemies;
Until our response to you finally respects and embraces
All creation as precious sacraments of your presence.
Hear the prayer of your starving children. Amen.
Prayer for a New Society, (c) Pax Christi USA, 1995