Seventh Sunday of Easter [b]

Engaging Faith | Wed, May 16, 2012

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

Lectionary reflections for the seventh Sunday of Easter - May 20, 2012.

Seventh Sunday of Easter [b]

May 20, 2012 [In many dioceses in the US we celebrate Ascension on this date.]


Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26
1 John 4:11-16
John 17:11b-19


May 19-20: G8 summit at Camp David
May 21: Victoria Day in Canada
May 22:  International Day for Biological Diversity   
May 24: World Day of Prayer for the Church in China
May 27: Pentecost
May 28: 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

...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.
-- U.S. 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.

Involvement: 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 for help leads not to a getting out of the world but to an involvement in the world and its issues. 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.

Truth: 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 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  
This year’s theme is Marine Biodiversity.
Download the booklet for this year at:

Guns and Children
Children's Defense Fund’s Protect Children, Not Guns 2012 is a compilation of the most recent and reliable national and state data on gun violence in America. This report provides the latest statistics on firearm deaths by race, age and manner; highlights state gun violence trends and efforts to prevent child access to guns; dispels common myths about guns; and explains the significance of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gun ownership.
“In 2008, 2,947 children and teens died from guns in the United States and 2,793 died in 2009 for a total of 5,740—one child or teen every three hours, eight every day, 55 every week for two years. Six times as many children and teens—34,387—suffered nonfatal gun injuries as gun deaths in 2008 and 2009. This is equal to one child or teen every 31 minutes, 47 every day, and 331 children and teens every week.”

“Crazy Facts”

“470 prisoners in Pennsylvania are serving life without parole for crimes they committed as teenagers. In thirty-five years the state has gone from holding a small handful of juvenile lifers with no chance at release to holding the highest number in the country. Nationwide, the number stands at around 2,589.”

Prayers of Intercession

Response:  Lord, help us to be one.
For an end to the war and fighting in Afghanistan, we pray….
For an end to the various wars in so many places in Africa, we pray….
For an end to the violence and terror in Syria, 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 Pentecost Peace Novena can be found at the web site of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas at