May 18, 2014: Fifth Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
“We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic and ideological differences…Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict. Themes from Catholic Social Teaching, USCCB
First Reading: Acts 6:1-7
Psalm: 33:1-2, 4-5, 181-9
Second Reading: 1st Peter 2:4-9
Gospel: John 14:1-12
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.”20 The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. the faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.” (1546)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fifth 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)
Fostering a social and political culture inspired by the Gospel must be an area of particular importance for the lay faithful. Recent history has shown the weakness and radical failure of commonly held cultural perspectives that prevailed for a long time, especially on the social and political levels. In this area, particularly in the decades following the Second World War, Catholics in different countries have been involved at high levels, which shows with ever greater clarity today the consistency of their inspiration and of their heritage of values. The social and political involvement of Catholics, in fact, has never been limited to the mere transformation of structures, because this involvement takes place at the foundations of a culture that receives and listens to the reasoning made by faith and morality, including them as the basis and goal of concrete planning. When this awareness is lacking, Catholics themselves are condemned to cultural dispersion and their proposals are rendered insufficient and limited. An urgent priority today is also found in the need to present the patrimony of Catholic tradition, its values and content, and the entire spiritual, intellectual and moral heritage of Catholicism, in culturally up-to-date terms. Faith in Jesus Christ, who described himself as “the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), prompts Christians to commit themselves with firm and ever new resolve to building a social and political culture inspired by the Gospel (555)
The benevolence and mercy that inspire God’s actions and provide the key for understanding them become so very much closer to man that they take on the traits of the man Jesus, the Word made flesh. In the Gospel of Saint Luke, Jesus describes his messianic ministry with the words of Isaiah which recall the prophetic significance of the jubilee: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19; cf. Is 61:1-2).Jesus therefore places himself on the frontline of fulfilment, not only because he fulfils what was promised and what was awaited by Israel, but also in the deeper sense that in him the decisive event of the history of God with mankind is fulfilled. He proclaims: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). Jesus, in other words, is the tangible and definitive manifestation of how God acts towards men and women. (28)
What type of stone are you in the kingdom of God, your size and texture? A pebble just awakening to their baptismal priesthood. An average size stone that fits nicely in a line, plumb with the cornerstone. A stone that fills in the crevasses to unite stones distanced by gaps of inclusivity. Is your texture smooth, honed by living waters that has seen the Father’s kingdom alive and flowing in the reality of everyday life and in the process burrs of unbelief smoothed into faith? Or texture formed in the fire of trials and suddenly cooled by the waters of baptism, like lava rock, to leave air holes that are open channels to receive the Word of God? Or maybe layered sandstone, a faith deposited over time, through family, the Sacraments and an active life in the parish community? Whatever type and size of stone we are, our hearts must not be troubled by thinking we are not a perfect stone. For in the Father’s house there are many rooms to accommodate a diversity of believers. This should be an affirmation of God’s quest for unity in his kingdom. Not a separation over primacy of mission, so continuous groups live in different houses, but residing in the same dwelling, unified in mission with a variety of tasks for all disciples.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
Review the thoughts in the book Energy, Justice and Peace by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Family Reflection:1st Peter 2:4-9
Discuss what type of living stone each family member is to be a disciple in God’s kingdom.
Jesus, thank you for the mercy of showing us you are the way, the truth and the life. As we place our trust in you, let us chant praises of your love for justice and the right. Let us see your kindness, which fills the earth and our hearts, even when division obscures a common vision of your kingdom. Preserve us Lord, when we encounter the parchedness of famine surrounding us, by people seeking to be right instead of cooperating in the Spirit of your Word. In Jesus’ dear name we pray, Amen
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 May 1, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern