Engaging Faith | Fri, Apr 12, 2013
Lectionary Reflections for Third Sunday of Easter
Posted April 4, 2013
Copyright © 2013, Center of Concern
Third Sunday of Easter [c]
April 14, 2013
Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
John 21:1-19 or 21:1-14
April 15: Income Tax Day in the United States
April 22: Earth Day http://www.earthday.org/
April 24: Administrative Professionals Day
“Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the Eucharist.”
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,
“Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions”
“As individuals, as institutions, as a people, we need a change of heart to preserve and protect the planet for our children and for generations yet unborn.”
USCCB, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good
“Our nation has been blessed with great freedom, vibrant democratic traditions, unprecedented economic strengths, abundant natural resources, and a generous and religious people. Yet not all is right with our nation. Our prosperity does not reach far enough. Our culture does not lift us up; instead it may bring us down in moral terms. This new world we lead is still too dangerous, giving rise to ethnic cleansing and an inability to confront hunger and genocide. We are still falling short of the American pledge of ‘liberty and justice for all,’ our declaration to defend the inalienable rights of the person – ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”
USCCB, Faithful Citizenship: Civic Responsibility for a New Millennium
“In the Sunday Eucharist, the believing heart opens wide to embrace all aspects of the church. But ... far from trying to create a narrow ‘gift’ mentality, St. Paul calls rather for a demanding culture of sharing, to be lived not only among the members of the community itself but in society as a whole."
Pope John Paul II
“With the eyes of faith, we too encounter the risen Lord in the many signs of his presence: the Scriptures, the Eucharist and the other sacraments, and the acts of charity, goodness, forgiveness and mercy which bring a ray of his resurrection into our world. May our faith in the risen Christ enable us to be living signs in our world of the triumph of life and hope over evil, sin and death.”
Pope Francis, April 3, 2013
“Seeing creation as God’s gift to humanity helps us understand our vocation and worth as human beings.”
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2010
Thoughts for your consideration
The first reading tells the story of the members of the early church who are persecuted for their belief. They count the disgrace as a blessing. They are filled with courage. On fire with the presence of Christ, they “must obey God rather than human beings.”
In the second reading, John has an amazing vision. In the vision everything comes into perspective. John has a vision of the presence of Christ, the one who was slain, worshiped by all the creatures of the universe.
The gospel story is also a story about experiencing the presence of Christ. The seven disciples fish all night and catch nothing. Someone on the shore tells them to try again. They catch an abundance of fish. They share a meal on the shore. They realize that it is “the Lord.”
As Christians we believe that this presence of Christ is still with us today, especially in the lives of those who are in need or feel left out, especially in the struggle for peace and justice in our world.
All of the scriptures today seem to depict the presence of Christ in a vision of abundance – an abundance of food, of fish, of rejoicing, of courage, of creation, of courage and belief in the midst of opposition, of the spirit of God, of amazing things. The risen life which we share in Christ helps us to see the abundance of God’s Spirit that is present in the whole world and to share that abundance.
- As we look at our world today, we might reflect on the fact that we live in a world of great material abundance and yet there seems to be a serious injustice in they way this abundance is shared.
- As we look at the wonders of our planet and all the details of creation and as we look at all the human abuse of the planet, we might hear again the call of the creator to respect and care for the creation.
- We might reflect on the fact that over and over again our Christian vision gets shaken and challenged and even persecuted, yet, after 2,000 years, there is still a Christian community trying to live out the vision of Jesus with abundant courage.
- We might reflect on the abundance of information which we experience in our digital age and how this seems to be both a blessings and a curse.
- We might reflect on the panic that people sometimes feel in the midst of the complexity of modern life and the struggle for justice, and yet somehow we keep on trying to be faithful to the values of Christ.
- We might reflect on the fact that sometimes we catch nothing and yet it is then that the Lord appears. God is with us as we put out nets in the water one more time.
- We might reflect on our need for Eucharistic experiences like the one experienced by the disciples on the shore. We need these experiences in church and also in our work to share food with those in need.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
In your life, do you tend to assume there will be an abundance or do you tend to assume that there will be a scarcity? When and where have you experienced abundance? When and where have you experienced a lack of abundance? When did you find the presence of Christ?
Some Hasidim of the Maggid of Mezheritz came to him. “Rebbe, we are puzzled. It says in the Talmud that we must thank God as much for the bad days, as for the good. How can that be? What would our gratitude mean, if we gave it equally for the good and the bad?”
The Maggid replied, “Go to Anapol.Reb Zusya will have an answer for you.”
The Hasidim undertook the journey. Arriving in Anapol, they inquired for Reb Zusya. At last, they came to the poorest street of the city. There, crowded between two small houses, they found a tiny shack, sagging with age.
When they entered, they saw Reb Zusya sitting at a bare table, reading a volume by the light of the only small window. “Welcome, strangers!” he said. “Please pardon me for not getting up; I have hurt my leg. Would you like food? I have some bread. And there is water!”
“No. We have come only to ask you a question. The Maggid of Mezheritz told us you might help us understand: Why do our sages tell us to thank God as much for the bad days as for the good?”
Reb Zusya laughed. “Me? I have no idea why the Maggid sent you to me.” He shook his head in puzzlement. “You see, I have never had a bad day. Every day God has given to me has been filled with miracles.”
Actions – Links
Tax Day (April 15)
Read “Catholic Social Teaching and Taxes” at
Earth Day (April 22)
Earth Day involves tens of thousands of events, from rallies and teach-outs to concerts and earth fairs throughout the world. See http://www.earthday.org/ for more info.
Join NETWORK, the Catholic social justice advocacy group, to speak up about humane immigration reform. http://capwiz.com/networklobby/issues/alert/?alertid=62518641
“With less than 5 percent of world population, the United States. uses one-third of the world’s paper, one quarter of the world’s oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper,” (Sierra Club’s Dave Tilford) reports. “Our per capita use of energy, metals, minerals, forest products, fish, grains, meat, and even fresh water dwarfs that of people living in the developing world.”
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, help us all this day
For the grace to find God’s presence and love in all things, we pray….
For the wisdom to know how to share our gifts and resources with one another, we pray….
For the ability to respect all the men and women of our world and to work to end the culture of violence and war, we pray….
For the poor of our world, that all men and women will share in the abundance of creation, we pray….
For our children, that we will leave them a world still filled with God’s abundant gifts, we pray….
For the grace to respect the earth and to use our natural gifts well, we pray….
For the ability to use energy wisely and to work together to put an end to those behaviors that contribute to climate change, we pray….
Thanks for the abundance, help up to share
Thanks for the land that allows us to plant, help us to share
Thanks for the air that lets us all breath, help us to share
Thanks for the knowledge that lets us produce, help us to share it.
Thank for the seeds, that allow us to plant, help us to share them
Thanks for the harvest, that we have been given, help us to share it.
Thanks for the transportation that we may move our food, help us to share.
Two possible meditations in “the marketplace:”
1. Spend a half hour walking slowing through a large department store or a large grocery store with no money or credit card in your wallet. Look at what is available. Consider what you would like to buy. Afterwards, spend 10 or 15 minutes in quite prayer at home or in church or in some other peaceful place.
2. Pick out five items (food, clothing, other things) in your home and meditate with each of them.
Consider each item. Recall how you came to have this thing. Consider who made it and where. Consider what you do with this item.