Engaging Faith | Thu, May 7, 2009
Fifth Sunday of Easter [b]
May 10, 2009
1 John 3:18-24
May 10: 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 15: Peace Officer Memorial Day
May 15: International Day of Families http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/family/IDF.html
Sophia-God is in solidarity with those who suffer as a mystery of empowerment. With moral indignation, concern for broken creation, and a sympathy calling for justice, the power of God's compassionate love enters the pain of the world to transform it from within.
Elizabeth Johnson, She Who Is, 270
In order to overcome today's widespread individualistic mentality, what is required is a concrete commitment to solidarity and charity. ... Sacred Scripture continually speaks to us of an active commitment to our neighbor and demands of us a shared responsibility for all of humanity. ... Too many people live, not in the prosperity of the Western world, but in the poverty of the developing countries amid conditions which are still "a yoke little better than that of slavery itself."
John Paul II, Centesimus Annus
The solidarity which binds all people together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference upon the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. The nations of the world are becoming more and more dependent on one another and it will not be possible to preserve a lasting peace so long as glaring economic and social imbalances persist.
John XXIII, Mater et Magistra
Globalization, a priori, is neither good nor bad. It will be what people make of it. No system is an end in itself, and it is necessary to insist that globalization, like any other system, must be at the service of the human person; it must serve solidarity and the common good.
John Paul II
Thoughts for your consideration
One of the central themes of Catholic Social Teaching is solidarity. "Catholic social teaching proclaims that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, wherever they live. We are one human family.... Learning to practice the virtue of solidarity means learning that 'loving our neighbor' has global dimensions in an interdependent world" (Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions--Reflections of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, p. 5).
In the reading from Acts, Saul is trying to establish his solidarity with the other disciples. This proves to be no easy task. In the letter of John, we are exhorted to be in solidarity by "love not in word or speech but in deed and truth." In the gospel, Jesus invites us to solidarity with God and with each other through the image of the vine and the branches. "Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing."
Today's scripture challenges to make this solidarity real in our interpersonal relationships and in our "global relationships." How we live as Americans affects people all over the world. How others live affects us. Economic justice is a global concern. To live the gospel, we must discern our connection with those around the world who suffer from food insecurity, who are burdened by excessive debt, who have no access to medical care, who are not connected to the technological resources of the developed world, who are discriminated against because of their race, gender, or ethnic background, or who are suffering from ecological problems. As with Saul in the first reading, solidarity is no easy task. Problems must be addressed to promote the common good.
In light of today's theme of solidarity, we might be drawn to reflect on our current economic crisis. On one level we are all connected. The financial problems in the housing markets in the United States can cause problems for people in China. On another level we are not all sharing the pain equally and equably. Some of the people who made the greatest profits from sub-prime mortgages seem to be the ones who caused the collapse of the system. Many other people have lost their jobs or even their homes. How can we create a more just and fair system that works for the common good?
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
In what concrete ways do you find yourself in solidarity with people in other parts of the world?
In what concrete ways do you find yourself separate or alienated from people in other parts of the world?
Acts tells us the Paul spoke boldly. The first letter of John reminds us that we have confidence in God. How do we need to use this confidence and boldness to address issues in our world?
Actions - Links
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 Children's Defense Fund encourages citizens to ask Congress to work to make sure that all children have access to health care. Participate at:
The Children's Defense Fund reports that "Every three hours in America, a child or teen is killed by a firearm."
The Sentencing Project reports that "The United States is the world's leader in incarceration with 2.1 million people currently in the nation's prisons or jails -- a 500% increase over the past thirty years."
The U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 75% of women in prison are mothers and about two-thirds of these women have children under the age of 18.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Risen Jesus, fill us with your life.
For all our mothers, we pray....
For all our children, we pray....
For all those mothers and fathers who are facing hard times, as they seek to raise their children, we pray....
For all those parents who are separated from their children, we pray....
For mothers and fathers whose children are caught up in our wars, we pray....
For all our families that we will be able to be one as we support and care for each other, we pray....
For our society and culture that it will support all parents with what they need, we pray....
For culture of justice and peace for the good of all of us, we pray....
Prayer - Meditation
A Prayer for Justice directed to the Mother of Christ by Pope John Paul II
Immaculate Heart of Mary, help us to conquer the menace of evil,
which so easily takes root in the hearts of the people of today,
and whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our modern world and seem to block the paths toward the future.
From famine and war, deliver us.
From nuclear war, from incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.
From sins against human life from its very beginning, deliver us.
From hatred and from the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us.
From every kind of injustice in the life of society, both national and international, deliver us.
From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us.
From attempts to stifle in human hearts the very truth of God, deliver us. From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us.
From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us.
Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the sufferings of all individual human beings, laden with the sufferings of whole societies.
Help us with the power of the Holy Spirit to conquer all sin: individual sin and the "sin of the world," sin in all its manifestations.
Let there be revealed once more in the history of the world the infinite saving power of the redemption: the power of merciful love.
May it put a stop to evil.
May it transform consciences.
May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of hope.