May 21, 2017: Sixth Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Life and Dignity of the Human Person
It is from the inner wellspring of love that the values of truth, freedom and justice are born and grow. Human life in society is ordered, bears fruits of goodness and responds to human dignity when it is founded on truth; when it is lived in justice, that is, in the effective respect of rights and in the faithful carrying out of corresponding duties; when it is animated by selflessness, which makes the needs and requirements of others seem as one’s own and intensifies the communion of spiritual values and the concern for material necessities; when it is brought about in the freedom that befits the dignity of men and women, prompted by their rational nature to accept responsibility for their actions. These values constitute the pillars which give strength and consistency to the edifice of life and deeds: they are values that determine the quality of every social action and institution. (205) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
Psalm: 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
Second Reading: 1st Peter 3:15-18
Gospel: John 14:15-21
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Because the Holy Spirit is the anointing of Christ, it is Christ who, as the head of the Body, pours out the Spirit among his members to nourish, heal, and organize them in their mutual functions, to give them life, send them to bear witness, and associate them to his self-offering to the Father and to his intercession for the whole world. Through the Church’s sacraments, Christ communicates his Holy and sanctifying Spirit to the members of his Body. (739) From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
John 14:16, 26
The documents referred to here constitute the milestones of the path travelled by the Church’s social doctrine from the time of Pope Leo XIII to our own day. This brief summary would become much longer if we considered all the interventions motivated, other than by a specific theme, by “the pastoral concern to present to the entire Christian community and to all men of good will the fundamental principles, universal criteria and guidelines suitable for suggesting basic choices and coherent practice for every concrete situation”.
In the formulation and teaching of this social doctrine, the Church has been, and continues to be, prompted not by theoretical motivation but by pastoral concerns. She is spurred on by the repercussions that social upheavals have on people, on multitudes of men and women, on human dignity itself, in contexts where “man painstakingly searches for a better world, without working with equal zeal for the betterment of his own spirit”. For these reasons, this social doctrine has arisen and developed an “updated doctrinal ‘corpus’ … [that] builds up gradually, as the Church, in the fullness of the word revealed by Christ Jesus and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 14:16,26; 16:13-15), reads events as they unfold in the course of history”.(104)
John 14:21, 23-24
The Church has the right to be a teacher for mankind, a teacher of the truth of faith: the truth not only of dogmas but also of the morals whose source lies in human nature itself and in the Gospel. The word of the Gospel, in fact, is not only to be heard but is also to be observed and put into practice (cf. Mt 7:24; Lk 6:46-47; Jn 14:21,23-24; Jas 1:22). Consistency in behaviour shows what one truly believes and is not limited only to things strictly church-related or spiritual but involves men and women in the entirety of their life experience and in the context of all their responsibilities. However worldly these responsibilities may be, their subject remains man, that is, the human being whom God calls, by means of the Church, to participate in his gift of salvation.
Men and women must respond to the gift of salvation not with a partial, abstract or merely verbal acceptance, but with the whole of their lives — in every relationship that defines life — so as not to neglect anything, leaving it in a profane and worldly realm where it is irrelevant or foreign to salvation. For this reason the Church’s social doctrine is not a privilege for her, nor a digression, a convenience or interference: it is her right to proclaim the Gospel in the context of society, to make the liberating word of the Gospel resound in the complex worlds of production, labour, business, finance, trade, politics, law, culture, social communications, where men and women live. (70)
Are you always ready to tell your story? The particulars of your life woven with profound exclamations of belief. Aspects of your life that cultured meaning, purpose and hope, so you no longer just existed, but started to live. By telling anyone that asks you to explain the basis of your hope, faith ceases to root in theological doctrines and becomes relational. Your relationship to God flowing into a relational conversation with others. You explain transformation without drawing listeners into theological jargon. The my experience invites others into your story. How comfortable would you be telling your story to anyone that asked for the reason of your hope and joy? Could you even talk with clarity to your closest family and friends? Do we really need to be able to verbalize our story, let it escape our inner being, for it to really become our story? Otherwise is it just percolating, brewing to venture forth in the future, for we have not taken ownership of our story thru expression?
As we gain voice to tell our story, we must also listen to others’ stories. Taking the time to listen without judging, acknowledging their courage and struggles for where they are at the present moment. So the tape measure of religiosity or piety pinnacles have no place in our conversation. In telling and listening to stories, we accompany one another on the journey of faith, the essence of life. There the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth’s presence honors the dialogue. A place where we declare what God has done for us, refused not our prayers, lavished us with kindness and we express our love for God by keeping His commandments in the stories of our lives.
Individual Reflection: 1st Peter 3:15-18
Read a biography, the story, of your confirmation saint. Ask their intercession for the strength to tell your story.
Family Reflection: Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16-20
Ask someone that is a role model for your family to share their story with you. If they would agree, make a video to share on your social media
Prayer: Prayerfully in praise, thank God for your faith journey
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.
Social Ministry Resources Engaging Parishes: Monthly and liturgical seasons resources for use with parish websites, bulletins and newsletters
List one or two upcoming events, legislative action alerts or social justice websites
By Barb Born April 30, 2017 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.