Engaging Faith | Wed, May 9, 2012
Lectionary reflections for the sixth Sunday of Easter -- May 13, 2012.
Sixth Sunday of Easter [b]
May 13, 2012
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
1 John 4:7-10
May 13: Mother’s Day 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
May 17: Ascension Thursday
(In many parts of the US, the celebration of Ascension is transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 20.)
According to the Christian message, therefore, out relationship to our neighbor is bound up with our relationship to God; our response to the love of God, saving us through Christ, is shown to be effective in his love and service of people. Christian love of neighbor and justice cannot be separated. For love implies an absolute demand for justice, namely recognition of the dignity and rights of one's neighbor. Justice attains its inner fullness only in love. Because every person is truly a visible image of the invisible God and a sibling of Christ, the Christian finds in every person God himself and God's absolute demand for justice and love.
-- 1971 Synod of Bishops, Justice in the World, 34
What are less than human conditions? The material poverty of those who lack the bare necessities of life, and the moral poverty of those who are crushed under the weight of their own self-love; oppressive political structures resulting from the abuse of ownership or the improper exercise of power, from the exploitation of the worker or unjust transactions.
What are truly human conditions? The rise from poverty to the acquisition of life's necessities; the elimination of social ills; broadening the horizons of knowledge; acquiring refinement and culture. From there one can go on to acquire a growing awareness of other people's dignity, a taste for the spirit of poverty, an active interest in the common good, and a desire for peace. Then people can acknowledge the highest values and God Himself, their author and end. Finally and above all, there is faith—God's gift to people of good will—and our loving unity in Christ, who calls all to share God's life as sons and daughters of the living God, the Father of all people.
-- Paul VI, Populorum Progresssio, 21
But any kind of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion, must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design.
-- Vatican II, The Church in the Modern World, #29
Thoughts for your consideration
In today’s gospel, Jesus presents the commandment to love one another - a love that is like God’s love. "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.”
Catholic Social Teaching reminds us that this love is a love that goes beyond an affection for family and friends - a love that goes beyond romantic love or sexual passion – a love that is more than a nice sentiment – a love that is concerned in a very concrete way with people – a love that is involves respect for and learning from other people who might be different than ourselves -- a love that is concerned with justice and peace for all God’s people – a love that longs to create a world of justice for all.
In the first reading Peter comes to see that the Spirit is can be found in all people. "In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him." The love that Jesus “commands” leads us to an openness to find God in all people and all situations. The love that comes from God is not limited to any one group or class of people. Racism, xenophobia, and all kinds of discrimination can have no part in the vision of Jesus. An economic system that leaves out the majority of people is not part of the vision of Jesus. Any economic system that destroys the environment is not part of the vision of Jesus. Any economic system that fails to keep people first is not worthy of our Christian spirit.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Have you met some person who stands out as someone who loves everyone in an all-inclusive way? How has this person’s love affected you?
Have you had an experience of love through the love of a mother? How has this experience helped you to love other people?
There are some temples where God is worshipped as Mother. In one of these, in the state of Bengal, She is represented by a large stone image. The sculptor has carved in stone his idea of the Mother of the Universe, and many pious people, finding it attractive and inspiring, go there to pay their respects or make offerings.
One day an old monk who used a cane came into the temple. Approaching the altar he said, speaking aloud to God, "Mother, you are said to be God; tell me the truth: are you solid like stone — this image? Or are you formless, indescribable and impossible to touch?"
"Take your cane," the monk heard a soft voice saying, "and strike my body on the left side." He did, and the cane hit the stone with a clack. "Now strike me from the other side," She said. When the cane reached the sculpture it passed right through it as if it were air.
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
The Sierra Club is work for the passage of the Safe Chemicals Act. Consider taking action at:
“The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is dedicated to ensuring human rights protections and access to justice for all immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.” Consider supporting their campaign to save the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) at http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5967/p/dia/action3/common/public/?ac...
Learn about the “girl effect” and the problem of poverty at: http://www.girleffect.org/
While women perform 66% of the world’s work and produce 50% of the food, they only earn 10% of the income and own 1% of the land. http://trickleup.org/poverty/women.cfm?gclid=CLfd68ax8q8CFSWFQAodP2XFUg
Intimate partner violence is increasingly seen as an important public health problem.
* In 48 population-based surveys from around the world, 10-69% of women reported being
physically assaulted by an intimate male partner at some point in their lives.
* In large national studies, the range is between 10-34%.
* Most victims of physical aggression are subjected to multiple acts of violence over extended periods of time.
* Physical violence in intimate relationships is often accompanied by psychological abuse, and in a third to over a half of cases by sexual violence.
* Partner violence also accounts for a significant number of deaths among women. Studies from a range of countries show that 40-70% of female murder victims were killed by their husband or boyfriend, often during an ongoing abusive relationship.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Risen Jesus, fill us with new life.
For the people of our world who struggle to have enough food to eat, we pray…..
For the people of our world who do not have access to safe water or proper sanitation, we pray….
For those children of the world who still do not have access to education, we pray….
For mothers who do not have what they need to love and nourish their children, we pray….
For all those who do not have access to quality health care, we pray….
For the people of our nations who have lost jobs or homes in our recession, we pray…..
For all people whose nations are torn apart by war and violence, we pray…..
For all the people of the world who desire to live in peace and harmony, we pray….
For all of us that we may learn what it means to love one another, we pray….
Prayer - Meditation
Prayer for Mothers (Education for Justice)
In Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe . . .
We give thanks for mothers everywhere.
When times are hard, in situations of suffering . . .
We give thanks for the sacrifices they make each day for their children.
For their examples of love, caring, and hope . . .
We give thanks for their generosity, their compassion and their hope for the future.
In the Congo, Iraq, Uganda, Palestine, Colombia . . .
We remember mothers in our global community who care for their children as guns of war are heard.
In Zimbabwe, India, Guyana, Belize, Botswana . . .
We remember mothers as sicknesses such as AIDS and malaria ravage their lands.
In Haiti, Burundi, Eritrea, Cambodia, Guatemala . . .
We remember mothers whose access to food and water is scarce.
In Sudan, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Afghanistan . . .
We remember mothers who bundled up their children, fled their homes, and became refugees.
Mary, Mother of God, embrace all mothers, give them strength and courage and mother their spirits so they can continue to heal the wounds of their children and of the world. We give thanks for mothers everywhere. Amen.