April 28, 2013: Fifth Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first. Themes from Catholic Social Teaching, USCCB
First Reading: Acts 14:21-27
Psalm: 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-5a
Gospel: John 13:31-33a, 34-35
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“The Law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive choice between the “two ways” and to put into practice the words of the Lord…The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the “new commandment” of Jesus to love one another as he has loved us.”(1970) From the Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
“The definitive salvation that God offers to all humanity through his own Son does not come about outside of this world. While wounded by sin, the world is destined to undergo a radical purification that will make it a renewed world, finally becoming the place where righteousness dwells. In his public ministry, Jesus makes use of natural elements…The Lord puts nature at the service of his plan of redemption. He asks his disciples to look at things, at the seasons and at people with the trust of children who know that they will never be abandoned by a provident Father. Far from being enslaved by things, the disciple of Jesus must know how to use them in order to bring about sharing and brotherhood.” (453)
“The Church, sharing in mankind’s joys and hopes, in its anxieties and sadness, stands with every man and woman of every place and time, to bring them the good news of the Kingdom of God, which in Jesus Christ has come and continues to be present among them. In the midst of mankind and in the world she is the sacrament of God’s love and therefore, of the most splendid hope, which inspires and sustains every authentic undertaking for and commitment to human liberation and advancement. The Church is present among mankind as God’s tent of meeting, “God’s dwelling place among men”, so that man is not alone, lost or frightened in the task of making the world more human, thus men and women find support in the redeeming love of Christ. As a minister of salvation, the Church is not in the abstract nor in the merely spiritual dimension, but in the context of the history and of the world in which man lives. Here mankind is met by God’s love and by the vocation to cooperate in the divine plan.” (60)
Do our mouths, attitudes and actions let the world know God is dwelling with the human race? A God that is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The Lord who is good to all and compassionate, asks us to love as he loves us, so all will know we are His disciples. Do our ministries embody these characteristics? Will building bridges or walls predominate our tasks? Can ministry leadership foster community? Love stifles hostility. Love seeks consensus. Love absolves fear. Love frees a spirit of complaining into action. Love affirms the Lord’s Easter greeting, “Peace be with you” — even when people try to isolate themselves from the world behind proverbial doors locked with rhetoric.
Individual Reflection: John 13:31-33a, 34-35
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Reflect on how you can better acknowledge the interconnectedness of Catholic Social Teaching in word and action.
Family Reflection: Revelation 21:1-5a
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How does Mary’s example of embracing “God dwelling with the human race” support our journey now?
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born April 14, 2013 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concerns.