Engaging Faith | Tue, Apr 13, 2010
Second Sunday of Easter [c]
April 11, 2010
Revelation 1:9-11a, 12-13, 17-19
April 11: Pope John XXXII issues Pacem in Terris in 1963
April 11: President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act in 1964
April 11: Divine Mercy Sunday
April 15: Income Tax Day in the USA
April 22: Earth Day http://www.earthday.org/
We may all be tempted by the disbelief of Thomas. Suffering, evil, injustice, death, especially when it strikes the innocent such as children who are victims of war and terrorism, of sickness and hunger, does not all of this put our faith to the test? Paradoxically the disbelief of Thomas is most valuable to us in these cases because it helps to purify all false concepts of God and leads us to discover his true face: the face of a God who, in Christ, has taken upon himself the wounds of injured humanity.
Benedict XVI, Urbi and Orbi Message, Easter 2007
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. Following the Great Jubilee, we must acknowledge the call to commit ourselves ever more generously to working for justice and the liberation of the oppressed. The experience of the Jubilee should inspire the members of the Church to draw on her rich heritage of social teaching, and to put it into practice by promoting a greater spirit of solidarity, generosity and fraternity in society and in the international community. May all Christians open their hearts to the needs of others and put into practice the words of the Book of Deuteronomy: "you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother or sister, but you shall open your hand to him or her." (15:7-8).
John Paul II, General Audience, 10 January 2001,
What do we want the Church to do? We don't ask for more cathedrals. We don't ask for bigger churches of fine gifts. We ask for its presence with us, beside us, as Christ among us. We ask the Church to sacrifice with the people for social change, for justice, and for love of brother. We don't ask for words. We ask for deeds. We don't ask for paternalism. We ask for servanthood.
He rejected violence for any reason. His whole teaching, in his word and in his actions was, we transform the world into the reign of God through the power of love and nothing else -- not through violence, not through war, not through killing, but only through love.
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Thoughts for your consideration
The experience of Resurrection results not simply in a good feeling but in the transformation or renewal of our life and action. Resurrection is not just about some future day after we die. It is also about the world today – the world of things, people, creation, and beauty – the world that experiences both sin and evil as well as justice and peace – the world with all its struggles and its possibilities. If we believe in Resurrection then we should expect to see some signs of it.
Community is formed. Fear is dispelled.
Reconciliation becomes real. The work of justice and peace takes place.
Society is transformed. There is a new heaven and a new earth.
Today’s scriptures give us some of these signs.
§ In Revelation, John receives a call to write down the message and share it.
§ In Acts, A growing community gathers in Solomon’s portico.
§ Signs and wonders occur in the early church.
§ In the gospel Thomas and later a great number of people come to faith.
§ Many are healed.
§ “Bad spirits” are driven out.
§ The message is “Do not be afraid.” and “Peace be with you.”
§ The Spirit is given for the forgiveness of sin.
What signs and wonders do we see today?
What signs of faith?
What signs of faith expressed in deeds?
What signs of the forgiveness and reconciliation?
What signs of the forgiveness of social sin?
What signs of reconciliation between peoples and nations?
What signs of work for justice and peace?
What signs of community and solidarity?
The experience of Thomas in John’s gospel invites us to consider issues of faith and issues of inclusion. Thomas seems to be troubled because he has not enjoyed the experience of the rest of the disciples. We might say that he desires to be included. Thomas experiences doubt and uncertainty. We might apply this to our personal struggle to be included and our personal effort to come to faith. However, we might also apply it to the macro level of nations and to all the structures and institutions of the international community. Not only do individuals struggle with questions of inclusion, but whole nations, cultures, and classes of people do as well. In our world we find stereotypes, racism, xenophobia, sexism, and many other forms of discrimination and exclusion. As peoples experience injustice they can feel excluded. Our faith might in some way move into doubt as we find ourselves isolated and divided by injustice. We might find that it is hard to believe in a God of resurrection and new life, unless we are committed to a faith that works for justice in our society. Jesus says, “Do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
In light of our ongoing experience of war, the appearance of Jesus in the gospel certainly reaffirms God’s desire for peace and reconciliation. The risen Jesus again and again says “Peace be with you.” The risen Jesus shares the power to forgive, a power much needed by the early community after some in the community had betrayed and denied Jesus and after they had seen Jesus suffer and die. God wants us to apply this spirit to our own world situation as we try to work for peace and promote a new era of nonviolence and forgiveness. Pope Benedict expressed this in his Easter message last year: “Reconciliation – difficult, but indispensable – is a precondition for a future of overall security and peaceful coexistence.”
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
What evidence of Resurrection have you experienced in your life?
In your community?
Actions - Links
Justice and Peace
The Office of Justice & Peace of the Diocese of Richmond has a website providing resources to catechists, youth ministers, Catholic educators and other faith formation leaders for integrating Catholic social teaching into their lessons, activities and prayer. Check it out at http://www.richmonddiocese.org/cst/
National Child Abuse Prevention Month
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Get more info at:
Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an environmental action group, “combining the grassroots power of 1.3 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists and other professionals.”
“For each dollar of federal income tax we paid in 2009, the government spent about: 33¢ on Pentagon spending for current & past wars. …. The percentage of your federal income tax dollars spent on current and past wars went from 43% in 2008 down to 33% in 2009 because of economic recovery and bailouts. Military spending still consumed the greatest portion of your tax dollars in the 2009 tax year. Based on the president’s budget proposals, the amount of your tax dollars devoted to war in 2011 will rise to 39%.”
Prayers of Intercession
Response: Risen Jesus, lead us to new life.
For a deeper faith that will be lived in the works of justice and peace, we pray….
For a powerful faith that will lead our world to an effective respect for life, we pray….
For an end to the death and suffering that follows from our wars and fighting, we pray….
For a new spirit of care and respect for every human person, we pray….
For a new spirit of joyful acceptance of our diversity, we pray….
For a renewed human community, healed of all divisions, we pray….
Prayer for Justice and Peace
God, source of all light,
we are surrounded by the darkness of
the injustices experienced by your people,
the poor who are hungry and who search for shelter,
the sick who seek relief,
and the downtrodden who seek help in their hopelessness.
Surround us and fill us with your Spirit who is Light.
Lead us in your way to be light to your people.
Help our parish to be salt for our community
as we share your love with those caught in the struggles of life.
We desire to be your presence to the least among us
and to know your presence in them as we work through you
to bring justice and peace to this world in desperate need.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Found at the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities website at http://www.accunet.org/paj/display.asp?article=20 which took it from the Communities of Salt and Light Parish Resource Manual