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Lectionary Reflections: Fifth Sunday of Easter [b] May 3, 2015

Engaging Faith | Mon, Apr 27, 2015

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

Fifth Sunday of Easter [b]

May 3, 2015

Copyright © 2015 Center of Concern

Fifth Sunday of Easter [b]

May 3, 2015

Readings

Acts 9:26-31

1 John 3:18-24

John 15:1-8

Calendar

May 1: Feast of St. Joseph the Worker; International Workers’ Day

May 3: World Press Freedom Day

May 3: World Day of Prayer for Vocations

May 8: World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day

May 10: Mother’s Day in the US

Quotes

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

I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favors human beings. 

Pope Francs, Evangelii Gaudium, 58

True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness.

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 88

 

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 personal 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. Caring for the environment 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 seeking a safe place as immigrants or refugees, 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 openly and honestly to promote the common good.

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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 and especially the poor. Human behaviors affect the climate of the whole globe.

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?

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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?

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How have you reacted to the tragic deaths of hundreds and hundreds of people who were trying to make the dangerous trip from Africa or the Middle East to a safer place in Europe? Do you discern any call from God to our world in all of these tragic events?

Story

The Story of Mother Universe:

http://www.spiritual-short-stories.com/spiritual-short-story-109-Mother+Universe.html

“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:

http://www.childrensdefense.org/take-action/

The Jesuits and the Jesuit Refugee Service: “You can help Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and the Jesuit Conference by contacting your Senators and Representatives on key issues.” Go to: http://capwiz.com/jesuit/home/

Robert Reich on the wealthy and churches: What do you think?
http://www.alternet.org/robert-reich-colleges-churches-and-non-profits-doing-wealthys-dirty-work

“Crazy Facts”

On April 23, 2015, the New York Times reported: “The civil war in Libya has made it easier for smugglers to transport people through the country. As a result, the number of people fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea has surged since last year. In the last week, as many as 1,200 migrants may have drowned attempting the journey.”

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/20/world/europe/surge-in-refugees-crossing-the-mediterranean-sea-maps.html?_r=0

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 refugees and immigrants who have been forced to flee their homelands at great risk, we pray…

For a renewed commitment to respect our planet and to use our resources wisely for the common good, we pray…

For a 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

From Guerrillas of Grace by Ted Loden

Images

http://www.iran-daily.com/News/14496.html

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