Engaging Faith | Sun, Apr 27, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008 or Sunday, May 4, 2008
May 1: Usually the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker; International Workers’ Day
May 3: World Press Freedom Day
May 5: Cinco de Mayo in Mexico
May 8: World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
May 11: Pentecost
May 11: Mother’s Day
The true apostle is first of all a person who is "tuned in,” a servant ready for God's action.
John Paul II Athens, May 5, 2001
Look about you with Christ’s eyes, listen with his ears, feel and think with his heart and mind. Are you ready to give all as he did for truth and justice? … We must listen deeply. We must respond with a renewed social action that stems from the universal love that knows no bounds. In this way, we ensure that our works of mercy and justice become hope in action for others.
Benedict XVI, Address to Young People and Seminarians, 19 April 2008
The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.
Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes
Intense prayer, yes, but it does not distract us from our commitment to history: by opening our heart to the love of God it also opens it to the love of our brothers and sisters, and makes us capable of shaping history according to God's plan. …. A spirituality of communion means, finally, to know how to "make room" for our brothers and sisters, bearing "each other's burdens" (Gal 6:2) and resisting the selfish temptations which constantly beset us and provoke competition, careerism, distrust and jealousy.
John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte
We have a lot of work to do. Every time we reach out and assuage someone's hunger, and do that in memory of Jesus, a sense of Eucharist will bring to consciousness the Spirit and the real presence of Jesus - in us, through us, among us. That Spirit alone is capable of transforming us and the world.
Miriam Therese Winter, MMS
Thoughts for your consideration
In the first reading the followers of Jesus look to heaven.
The angels ask them “Why?”
It is as if the angels are saying:
“Why don’t you just look around? Maybe then you will see.”
Look around and you will see the presence of Christ.
Look around and you will hear the call of God.
Look around and you will know the Power of the Spirit.
Look around and you will be empowered.
Look around and you will be filled with joy.
You will be involved in the struggle for justice and peace.
You will hear the voice of God among the poor and needy of the world.
You will hear God speak in the struggle for peace and justice.
You will be led into life and grace.
God dwells in the world.
In a sense the Ascension experience sends the followers of Jesus into the world to “find God in all things.” The spirituality of Christ is not a spirituality that looks to get out of the world and its challenges. The spirituality of Christ is a spirituality connected to the world around us – the world of people and nature – a world with rich and poor, men and women, young and old, nature and grace, conflict and reconciliation, war and peace, human rights, conflicts in the law, and complexity in issues of justice.
The disciples are sent out not with a rigid ideology or a fully spelled out set of rules, but rather with a spirit – a spirit of openness – a spirit that proclaims “repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations.”
Even though our world today, on a certain level, is radically different than the world of 2000 years ago, Christ can still be found. Christ is still alive and present. The Ascension of the Lord allows all this to happen. As Jesus says: “It is better for you that I go, for if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will sent him to you.” (John 16:7) Catholic Social Teaching affirms and supports our involvement in the world and its problems – our involvement with all the richness, diversity, and mystery of human life. We can “find God in all things.”
Pope Benedict recently reminded young people on his trip to the United States: “We must listen deeply. We must respond with a renewed social action that stems from the universal love that knows no bounds. In this way, we ensure that our works of mercy and justice become hope in action for others.”
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
How have you been surprised by the presence of God in daily life?
How have you experienced the presence of God in a difficult human situation?
Actions - Links
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is a “Quaker Lobby for the Public Interest.” See http://www.fcnl.org. They are working to get the US Government to ban the use of cluster bombs. For info: http://www.fcnl.org/weapons/clusterlanding/clusters_landing9.htm. To send a letter on this issue to the US Senate on this issue, go to: http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=11024431&type=CO .
In talking about the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007, statistician Lars Johansen reports: "In the year 2005, the majority of college freshmen, 75 percent of them, said their primary objective was to be very well-off financially. However, back in 1970, the majority of the college freshmen, 79 percent, had as an important personal objective to develop a meaningful philosophy of life."
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Come Holy Spirit, guide us on the road to justice.
For the grace to find God in the challenges and problems of life, we pray….
For immigrants and refugees who have come to our nation, we pray….
For the people of Iraq and other troubled lands, we pray….
For the people of our nation who are without productive work or adequate income, we pray….
For children who grow up in poverty, we pray….
For our political leaders, that they may always seek the common good, we pray….
The following prayer for the Feast of the Ascension is from the “This is Church” website:
Christ, let me see You in others
Christ, let others see You in me
Christ, let me see.
You are the caller,
You are the poor,
You are the stranger
At the door.
You are the wanderer,
You are the homeless
With no bed.
You are the man
You are the child
Crying in pain.
You are the other
Who comes to me.
Open my eyes that