Engaging Faith | Tue, May 3, 2011
Third Sunday of Easter [a]
May 8, 2011
Acts 2:14, 22-33
1 Peter 1:17-21
May 8: Mother’s Day
May 8: World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
However tiring, the road to Emmaus leads from a sense of discouragement and bewilderment to the fullness of Easter faith. … As the light of the risen Christ illumines the whole universe, we can only express solidarity with all our brothers and sisters in the Middle East who have been caught in a maelstrom of armed violence and retaliation. The roar of weapons must give way to the voice of reason and conscience: sincere concern for the legitimate aspirations of all peoples and the scrupulous observance of international law are the only way to bring the parties back to the negotiating table and to mark out a path of brotherhood for those peoples.
John Paul II, 18 April 2001
Peace must be built on the basis of justice in a world where the personal and social consequences of sin are evident.
US Bishops, The Challenge of Peace, #56
Like the disciples of Emmaus, believers, supported by the living presence of the risen Christ, become in turn the traveling companions of their brothers and sisters in trouble, offering them the word which rekindles hope in their hearts. With them they break the bread of friendship, brotherhood and mutual help. This is how to build the civilization of love. This is how to proclaim the hoped-for coming of the new heavens and the new earth to which we are heading.
John Paul II, Jubilee Day of Migrants and Refugees
Solidarity... is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.
John Paul II, Solicitudo Rei Socialis, 38
Thoughts for your consideration
It is no accident that the Risen Christ is discovered in the breaking of bread which takes place after the sharing of stories and questions on the road. The sharing of bread and the sharing of stories both bring people together. People begin to see things in a new way. In these experiences God is discovered. We discover God in new ways when we listen to the stories of people, especially those who are in any struggling or in need. We discover God when we share our own story. We discover God in the death of resurrection of Jesus and in the dying and rising of people today.
The gospel story is a story of discovery, of finding God in the unexpected. It challenges us to look for God in the unexpected – especially in welcoming the stranger and the needy. Maybe, now is the time for us to learn anew from the wars in which we are involved. Maybe now is a time for us to reflect on the needs of immigrants and people of other ethnic and national backgrounds. Maybe now is the time for us to learn from the religious experience of others and from their struggle for justice.
The social teaching of the church is concerned with the nourishment of all the people of the world – spiritually and also physically. Whenever we share the Eucharist – whenever we break bread together -- we cannot but be aware of all those who are hungry. We cannot but be aware that all human beings share a common story. We cannot but be aware of our need to share what we have. We cannot but be aware of the need for justice in the world.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
When have you see God in the Eucharist?
When have you experienced Christ in some other sharing of food?
How have you found God in an unexpected place or person?
Can you see God in some way in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Can you see God in the fighting in Libya?
What is God trying to say to us?
Actions – Links
Faith Advocates for Jobs
“Interfaith Worker Justice is organizing with the faith community to address the most damaging social crisis of our lifetimes: the crisis of unemployment. While there are some signs of a return to profitability for certain sectors of business, workers continue to face unemployment and underemployment at levels not seen since the Great Depression. While the entire society is reeling, the unemployment rate for African Americans, Latinos, youth, and people who live in particularly hard-hit cities and regions is disastrous, which in turn has led to huge increases in foreclosures, homelessness, crime, and despair. Faith Advocates for Jobs is a major new interfaith campaign initiated by Interfaith Worker Justice to address the severe suffering being endured by millions of unemployed workers. The campaign is organizing a nationwide network of congregations committed to supporting the unemployed and their families both spiritually and materially.” The Bishops’ Conference is participating in the effort. Get info about participating at http://www.iwj.org/index.cfm/employment
In the United States, Julia Ward Howe suggested the idea of Mother's Day in 1872. Howe, who wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, saw Mother's Day as a day dedicated to peace after having lived through the horrors of the United States' Civil War. She saw it as a world-wide protest of women against the cruelties of war. See http://www.peace.ca/mothersdayproclamation.htm .
75% of women in prison are mothers. Two-thirds of these women have children under the age of 18. (U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics)
Parents held in the nation’s prisons—52% of state inmates and 63% of federal inmates—reported having an estimated 1,706,600 minor children, accounting for 2.3% of the U.S. resident population under age 18. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=823
“An estimated 2 million young people under 18 have a parent in either prison or jail. Most have incarcerated fathers, but more than 116,000 are estimated to have a mother behind bars.”
Prayers of Intercession
Response: May we find Christ in the sharing of bread.
Let us remember those who are hungry today. We pray….
Let us remember those who are hungry for peace and an end to war. We pray….
Let us remember those who feel alone and without community. We pray….
Let us remember those who are in need of health care. We pray….
Let us remember all our mothers. We pray….
Let us remember all mothers who are separated from their children. We pray….
Let us remember those who are denied their human rights. We pray….
Let us remember refugees and immigrants. We pray….
Prayer and Meditation
An African prayer for refugees
O Brother Jesus, who as a child was carried into exile,
remember all those who are deprived of their home or country,
who groan under the burden of anguish and sorrow,
enduring the burning heat of the sun,
the freezing cold of the sea,
or the humid heat of the forest,
searching for a place of refuge.
Cause these storms to cease, O Christ.
Move the hearts of those in power
that they may respect the men and women
whom you have created in your image;
that the grief of refugees may be turned to joy,
as when you led Moses and your people out of captivity.
Prayer for Mothers from the Education for Justice Website http://www.educationforjustice.org
In Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe . . .
We give thanks for mothers everywhere.
When times are hard, in situations of suffering . . .
We give thanks for the sacrifices they make each day for their children.
For their examples of love, caring, and hope . . .
We give thanks for their generosity, their compassion and their hope for the future.
In the Congo, Iraq, Uganda, Palestine, Libya, Colombia . . .
We remember mothers in our global community who care for their children as guns of war are heard.
In Zimbabwe, India, Guyana, Belize, Botswana . . .
We remember mothers as sicknesses such as AIDS and malaria ravage their lands.
In Haiti, Burundi, Eritrea, Cambodia, Guatemala . . .
We remember mothers whose access to food and water is scarce.
In Sudan, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Afghanistan . . .
We remember mothers who bundled up their children, fled their homes, and became refugees.
Mary, Mother of God, embrace all mothers, give them strength and courage and mother their spirits so they can continue to heal the wounds of their children and of the world. We give thanks for mothers everywhere. Amen.