Fifth Sunday of Easter [b]

Engaging Faith | Wed, May 2, 2012

By John Bucki, S.J.
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary reflections for the fifth Sunday of Easter -- May 6, 2012.

Fifth Sunday of Easter [b]

May 6, 2012


Acts 9:26-31
1 John 3:18-24
John 15:1-8


May 5: Cinco de Mayo
May 8: World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
May 13: Mother’s Day


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 the ongoing economic problems of our world.  On one level we are all connected.   The financial (debt) problems in the poorer nations of Europe cause problems over the whole continent and ultimately the whole world.  The unjust wages paid in the sweat shops of the developing world distort the economic wellbeing of all the nations.  The destruction of the environment in part of the world has a serious impact on people in other places. 

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?


The Story of Mother Universe:
“As a matter of fact, whatever you do to any least part of it, you do that to Me.”

Actions – Links
The Children’s Defense Fund encourages citizens to ask Congress to work to make sure that all children’s needs are part of our budget priorities. Participate at:

“Crazy Facts”

“Over the past 30 years, global corn and wheat production has decreased 3 to 5 percent in response to climate warming” according to a Stanford University study.

The Sentencing Project reports that “The United States is the world's leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation's prisons or jails -- a 500% increase over the past thirty years. These trends have resulted in prison overcrowding and state governments being overwhelmed by the burden of funding a rapidly expanding penal system, despite increasing evidence that large-scale incarceration is not the most effective means of achieving public safety.”

Prayers of Intercession

Response: Risen Jesus, fill us with your life.
For the wisdom to overcome our divisions, we pray.
For the grace to forgive those who have hurt us and others, we pray.
For an end to racism, stereotyping, and all forms of discrimination, we pray.
For an end to hunger and homelessness in our nation and all nations, we pray.
For an end to all violence and war, we pray.
For culture of justice and peace for the good of all of us, we pray….

Prayer - Meditation

O God of fire and freedom,
deliver me from my bondage
to what can be counted
and go with me in a new exodus
toward what counts . . .
but can only be measured
in bread shared
and swords become plowshares;
in bodies healed
and minds liberated;
in songs sung
and justice done;
in laughter in the night
and joy in the morning;
in love through all seasons
and great gladness of heart;
in all people coming together
and a kingdom coming in glory;
in your name being praised
and my becoming an alleluia,
through Jesus the Christ.
Go with Me in a New Exodus

-- Guerrillas of Grace, Ted Loden
And found in the current Center Focus