May 11, 2014: Fourth Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Our faith proclaims the sacredness of human life…”These (human) rights apply to every stage of life and to every political, social, economic and cultural situation…” Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, (154)
First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Psalm: 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Second Reading: 1st Peter 2:20b-25
Gospel: John 10:1-10
Catechism of the Catholic Church
“The Church is, accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep. (754)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
The Church moves further into the Third Millennium of the Christian era as a pilgrim people, guided by Christ, the “great Shepherd” (Heb 13:20). He is the “Holy Door” (cf. Jn10:9) through which we passed during the Great Jubilee of the year 2000. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn 14:6): contemplating the Lord’s face, we confirm our faith and our hope in him, the one Saviour and goal of history.
The Church continues to speak to all people and all nations, for it is only in the name of Christ that salvation is given to men and women. Salvation, which the Lord Jesus obtained “at a price” (1 Cor 6:20; cf. 1 Pet 1:18-19), is achieved in the new life that awaits the righteous after death, but it also permeates this world in the realities of the economy and labour, of technology and communications, of society and politics, of the international community and the relations among cultures and peoples. “Jesus came to bring integral salvation, one which embraces the whole person and all mankind, and opens up the wondrous prospect of divine filiation” (1)
One sheep or a multitude of sheep are still sheep. A definition of individuality and community encompassed in one word. A paradigm expressing the essence of faith and society. Where does systemic corruption, robbery and thievery nick or breach the potential for abiding in verdant pastures with restful waters to dwell in the house of the Lord? A house with a defined door and path to follow, not prioritized by pay, but concern for life in abundance. Abundance defined by a holistic goodness and kindness etched with the intonement of the Good Shepard’s voice.
Asking the questions to articulate systemic exploitation may cause some to not want to hear the Good Shepherd’s voice and repent from entering the sheepfold through the gate, but hop over the fence. This may seem an easy alternative from respectfully waiting in line, as community with others and realizing the equality of all sheep. But a jump over the fence is a leap into a false reality of enjoying the pasture out of perceived privilege instead of trusting in the promise. It steals the God given dignity of the sheep that wait to enter through the gate.
Where do we see systemic injustice that separates the sheep? Glass ceilings imposed on women, farm workers, that provide life through food, physically and economically exploited, children denied education, people loosing access to drinkable water, the homeless left to flounder on the streets, struggling to survive and unable to share their gifts. Just because we follow the Good Shepard and feel consoled and nurtured does not mean we must neglect looking around the herd to see who has jumped the fence and raise our voices to the robbery and thievery of human dignity.
Individual Reflection: John 10:1-10
Read about the global market for recycling trash:
How is trash recycled in your community? Is your trash “exported”? Are workers exploited in the recycling of your trash? How can you minimize your consumption to reduce your volume of trash?
Family Reflection: Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
On the Internet, read about the early history of Mother’s Day in America and the holiday’s roots in promoting peace. What will your family do to promote peace this week?
Spend 5 minutes in silence with the Psalm’s refrain, “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”
Blogs to Visit:
As we reflect upon Mary’s presence in the mysteries of the Rosary, we are blessed to know her. For her journey, a timeless trek, calls us to surrender, continuing conversion, humbleness and justice now.
Weekly lectionary reflections, for faith sharing groups, parish bulletins, newsletters or personal prayer, from the synergy of the Word we hear and the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.
Catholic Social Teaching offers seven principles for upholding life in our thoughts, decisions and actions.
How we do Catholic Social Teaching.
Creation sustainability ministry resources in the spirit of the St Francis Pledge.
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born April 25, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern