Engaging Faith | Tue, Apr 13, 2010
Third Sunday of Easter
April 18, 2010
Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
John 21:1-19 or 21:1-14
April 21: Administrative Professionals Day [formerly professional secretary’s day]
April 22: Earth Day http://www.earthday.org/
Catholic social teaching is built on a commitment to the poor. This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the Eucharist.
US Bishops, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions
“As individuals, as institutions, as a people, we need a change of heart to preserve and protect the planet for our children and for generations yet unborn.
US Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good
“Our nation has been blessed with great freedom, vibrant democratic traditions, unprecedented economic strengths, abundant natural resources, and a generous and religious people. Yet not all is right with our nation. Our prosperity does not reach far enough. Our culture does not lift us up; instead it may bring us down in moral terms. This new world we lead is still too dangerous, giving rise to ethnic cleansing and an inability to confront hunger and genocide. We are still falling short of the American pledge of “liberty and justice for all,” our declaration to defend the inalienable rights of the person--“life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
U.S. Bishops, Faithful Citizenship: Civic Responsibility for a New Millennium
In the Sunday Eucharist, the believing heart opens wide to embrace all aspects of the church. But ... far from trying to create a narrow "gift" mentality, St Paul calls rather for a demanding culture of sharing, to be lived not only among the members of the community itself but in society as a whole."
John Paul II
If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation.
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2010
Seeing creation as God’s gift to humanity helps us understand our vocation and worth as human beings.
Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of Prayer for Peace 2010
Thoughts for your consideration
The first reading tells the story of the members of the early church who are persecuted for their belief. They count the disgrace as a blessing. They are filled with courage. On fire with the presence of Christ, they “must obey God rather than human beings.”
In the second reading, John has an amazing vision. In the vision everything comes into perspective. John has a vision of the presence of Christ, the one who was slain, worshiped by all the creatures of the universe.
The gospel story is also a story about experiencing the presence of Christ. The seven disciples fish all night and catch nothing. Someone on the shore tells them to try again. They catch an abundance of fish. They share a meal on the shore. They realize that it is “the Lord.”
As Christians we believe that this presence of Christ is still with us today, especially in the struggle for peace and justice in our world.
All of the scriptures today seem to depict the presence of Christ in a vision of abundance – an abundance of food, of fish, of rejoicing, of creation, of courage and belief in the midst of opposition, of the spirit of God, of amazing things. The Risen Life which we share in Christ helps us to see the abundance of God’s Spirit that is present in the whole world and to share that abundance.
- As we look at our world today, we might reflect on the fact that we live in a world of great material abundance and yet there seems to be a serious injustice in they way this abundance is shared.
- As we look at the wonders of our planet and all the details of creation and as we look at all the human abuse of the planet, we might hear again the call of the creator to respect and care for the creation.
- We might reflect on the fact that over and over again our Christian vision gets shaken and challenged and even persecuted, yet, after 2000 years, there is still a Christian community trying to live out the vision of Jesus with abundant courage.
- We might reflect on the panic that people sometimes feel in the midst of the complexity of modern life and the struggle for justice, and yet somehow we keep on trying to be faithful to the values of Christ.
- We might reflect on the fact that sometimes we catch nothing and yet it is then that “the Lord appears.” God is with us as we “put out nets in the water” one more time.
- We might reflect on our need for Eucharistic experiences like the one experienced by the disciples on the shore. We need these experiences in church and also in our work to share food with those in need.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
In your life, do you tend to assume there will be an abundance or do you tend to assume that there will be a scarcity? When and where have you experienced abundance? When and where have you experienced a lack of abundance? When did you find the presence of Christ?
Actions – Links
Earth Day, which occurs annually on April 22, involves tens of thousands of events, from rallies and teach-outs to concerts and earth fairs throughout the world. See http://www.earthday.org/ for more info.
The Environmental Justice Program (EJP) of the United States Catholic Conference (USCC) “calls Catholics to a deeper respect for God’s creation and engages parishes in activities that deal with environmental problems, particularly as they affect the poor.” Find their resources on climate change and children’s health at http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/ejp/ .
“In 2006, the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change was launched with the support of both the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change supports and complements USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development (formerly, the Department of Social Development and World Peace) and the bishops’ Environmental Justice Program. The Coalition is a membership organization consisting of twelve national Catholic organizations that offers advice and assistance in implementing its programs.” http://catholicclimatecovenant.org/
Americans constitute 5% of the world's population but consume 24% of the world's energy. On average, one American consumes as much energy as 2 Japanese, or 6 Mexicans, or 13 Chinese, or 31 Indians, or 128 Bangladeshis, or 307 Tanzanians or 370 Ethiopians.
Prayers of Intercession
Response: God, help us all this day.
For the grace to find God’s presence and love in all things, we pray….
For the grace to respect the earth and to use our natural gifts well, we pray….
For the ability to use energy wisely and to work together to put an end to those behaviors that contribute to global warming, we pray….
For the ability to respect all the men and women of our world and to work to end the culture of violence and war, we pray….
For the poor of our world, that all men and women will share in the abundance of creation, we pray….
For our children, that we will leave them a world still filled with God’s abundant gifts, we pray….
Thanks for the abundance, help up to share
Thanks for the water that helps all to grow, help us to share
Thanks for the land that allows us to plant, help us to share
Thanks for the air that lets us all breath, help us to share
Thanks for the knowledge that lets us produce, help us to share it.
Thank for the seeds, that allow us to plant, help us to share them
Thanks for the harvest, that we have been given, help us to share it.
Thanks for the transportation that we may move our food, help us to share.
Two possible meditations in “the marketplace:”
1. Spend a half hour walking slowing through a large department store or a large grocery store with no money and no credit card. Look at what is available. Consider what you would like to buy. Afterwards, spend ten or fifteen minutes in quite prayer at home or in church or in some other peaceful place.
2. Pick out five items (food, clothing, other things) in your home and meditate with each of them.
Consider each item. Recall how you came to have this thing. Consider who made it and where. Consider what you do with this item.