Engaging Faith | Fri, May 22, 2009
Sixth Sunday of Easter [b]
May 17, 2009
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
1 John 4:7-10
May 21: Ascension Thursday
(In many parts of the US, the celebration of Ascension is transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 28.}
May 22: International Day for Biological Diversity http://www.cbd.int/idb/2009/
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 a 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 men and women - 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.
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?
Actions - Links
Oxfam America is asking Americans to contact Congress in support of the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act ("AgJOBS") which would support farm workers and help them get a living wage. To participate go to:
The charity WaterAid, relying on data from the World Health Organization and UNICEF, reports that "884 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in eight of the world's population. 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, this is almost two fifths of the world's population. 1.4 million children die every year from diarrhea caused by unclean water and poor sanitation - 4,000 child deaths a day or one child every 20 seconds. This equates to 160 infant school classrooms lost every single day to an entirely preventable public health crisis." http://www.wateraid.org/
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 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
Lord, Jesus Christ, who reached across the ethnic boundaries between Samaritan, Roman and Jew, who offered fresh sight to the blind and freedom to captives, help us to break down the barriers in our community, enable us to see the reality of racism and bigotry, and free us to challenge and uproot it from ourselves our society and our world. Amen