Engaging Faith | Thu, May 15, 2014
Sixth Sunday of Easter [a]
May 25, 2014
Copyright @ 2014, Center of Concern
Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
1 Peter 3:15-18
May 26: Memorial Day in the United States
May 29 or June 1: Ascension of the Lord (depending on diocese in the US)
If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.
- St. Clement of Alexandria
Flagrant inequalities exist in the economic, cultural and political development of the nations: while some regions are heavily industrialized, others are still at the agricultural stage; while some countries enjoy prosperity, others are struggling against starvation; while some peoples have a high standard of culture, others are still engaged in eliminating illiteracy. From all sides there rises a yearning for more justice and a desire for a better guaranteed peace in mutual respect among individuals and peoples.
- Pope Paul VI, Apostolic Letter of 14 May 1971, (#2)
Love of neighbor is an absolute demand for justice, because charity must manifest itself in actions and structures which respect human dignity, protect human rights, and facilitate human development. To promote justice is to transform structures which block love.
- 1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World
Life is like a voyage on the sea of history, often dark and stormy, a voyage in which we watch for the stars that indicate the route. The true stars of our life are the people who have lived good lives. They are lights of hope. Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true light, the sun that has risen above all the shadows of history. But to reach him we also need lights close by—people who shine with his light and so guide us along our way.
- Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, 49
Let us read the Gospel, a small section each day. This way we will learn what is most essential in our lives: love and mercy.
- Pope Francis@Pontifex May 13, 2014
A society which abandons children and the elderly severs its roots and darkens its future.
- Pope Francis@Pontifex May 6, 2014
Thoughts for your consideration
If one is aware of world problems, one can feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Justice for the poor, peace between nations, food for all the hungry, housing for the homeless, equal rights for all men and women, an end to human trafficking, basic income equality, human rights for the oppressed, and an end to war and violence, can all seem to be impossible.
The first reading talks of joy and healing. Catholic Social Thought must not fall into the trap of discouragement and guilt. God is calling us and our world to healing and even joy. Good things can happen with the power of the Spirit. We must not lose hope.
The second reading speaks of hope. The healing that God wants for our world can happen. Good can overcome evil. We must not lose hope.
The gospel speaks of a relationship of love and solidarity between the Father and Jesus and then with all of us. This unity and solidarity can be made real, not just in our hearts or not just in an interior feeling, but also in the way people are treated and in the way love is expressed in action for justice and peace. We must not lose hope. We must put our faith into practice.
As people of faith we are more aware than ever of countless world problems and examples of injustice. As people of faith we are more aware than ever that we want an end to all the injustice. As people of faith we believe more than ever that with God’s help we can offer something better to our world and its people.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
In the midst of world problems, what signs of hope do you see?
What things give you hope?
The scriptures today talk about the Spirit.
Where is the Spirit working in your world / your life?
Where is the Spirit working in the world that you see around you?
Nagarjuna and the Thief: Spiritual Story by Anthony de Mello
The great Buddhist saint Nagarjuna moved around naked except for a loincloth and, incongruously, a golden begging bowl gifted to him by the King, who was his disciple.
One night he was about to lie down to sleep among the ruins of an ancient monastery when he noticed a thief lurking behind one of the columns. "Here, take this," said Nagarjuna, holding the begging bowl. "That way you won't disturb me once I have fallen asleep."
The thief eagerly grabbed the bowl and made off -- only to return the next morning with the bowl and a request:
"When you gave away this bowl so freely last night, you made me feel very poor. Teach me how to acquire the riches that make this kind of lighthearted detachment possible."
Actions – Links
Rainforest Action Network
“Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is headquartered in San Francisco, California with office staff in Tokyo, Japan, plus thousands of volunteer scientists, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens around the world. We believe that a sustainable world can be created in our lifetime, and that aggressive action must be taken immediately to leave a safe and secure world for our children.”
Read more: About RAN | Rainforest Action Network http://ran.org
Take action online at http://ran.org/take-action-online
“350.org is building a global climate movement. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are coordinated by a global network active in over 188 countries.” Get more info and find out how to get involved at http://350.org
Children’s Defense Fund
Find out more at http://www.childrensdefense.org
Take action online about issues important to children at http://www.childrensdefense.org/take-action/online.html
The following are from the Stand up for Children Leadership Center:
* More than 1.2 million U.S. students drop out of school every year.
* Of the 13 million children growing up in poverty today, only 1 in 10 will graduate from college.
* Close to 50 percent of students in low-income communities will not graduate from high school by the time they're 18 years old.
The following facts are from The Broad Foundation: http://broadeducation.org/about/crisis_stats.html
* After World War II, the United States had the #1 high school graduation rate in the world. Today, we have dropped to # 22 among 27 industrialized nations. (OECD, 2012)
* American students rank 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading compared to students in 27 industrialized countries.(OECD, 2012)
* By the end of the eighth grade, U.S. students are two years behind in math compared to their peers in other countries. (OECD, 2009)
* The U.S. ranks behind 13 other countries in terms of the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds who have completed some college coursework. (OECD, 2012)
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Loving God, give us a new Spirit for justice and peace.
For all who are sick, especially those without insurance, we pray….
For all our children, especially those with a quality education, we pray….
For all workers, especially those who find themselves without a living wage or enough work, or any work at all, we pray…..
For all those who are living in nations without true political freedom and guarantees of human rights, we pray….
For all people caught up in places of war, we pray….
For our planet earth, especially for those parts of our planet that are threatened by the effects of global warming, we pray…..
A Christian Prayer for Peace
Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS,
for they shall be known as
the Children of God.
But I say to you that hear,
love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you,
pray for those who abuse you.
To those who strike you on the cheek,
offer the other also,
and from those who take away your cloak,
do not withhold your coat as well.
Give to everyone who begs from you,
and of those who take away your goods,
do not ask them again.
And as you wish that others would do to you,
so do to them.
Prayer for Refugees and Victims of War
Lord God, no one is a stranger to you and no one is ever far from your loving care. In your kindness, watch over refugees and victims of war, those separated from their loved ones, young people who are lost, and those who have left home or who have run away from home. Bring them back safely to the place where they long to be and help us always to show your kindness to strangers and to all in need Grant this through Christ our Lord.