April 15, 2018: Third Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity and Care for God’s Creation
***Prepare to celebrate Earth Day next Sunday***
When we speak of the “environment”, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it. Recognizing the reasons why a given area is polluted requires a study of the workings of society, its economy, its behaviour patterns, and the ways it grasps reality. Given the scale of change, it is no longer possible to find a specific, discrete answer for each part of the problem. It is essential to seek comprehensive solutions which consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with social systems. We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature. (139) Laudato Si
First Reading: Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
Psalm: 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
Second Reading: 1st John 2:1-5a
Gospel: Luke 24:35-48
Catechism of the Catholic Church
He who believes in Christ becomes a son of God. This filial adoption transforms him by giving him the ability to follow the example of Christ. It makes him capable of acting rightly and doing good. In union with his Savior, the disciple attains the perfection of charity which is holiness. Having matured in grace, the moral life blossoms into eternal life in the glory of heaven. (1709)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Third Sunday of Easter, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Luke 24: 36
The promise of peace that runs through the entire Old Testament finds its fulfilment in the very person of Jesus. Peace, in fact, is the messianic attribute par excellence, in which all other beneficial effects of salvation are included. The Hebrew word “shalom” expresses this fullness of meaning in its etymological sense of “completeness” (cf. Is 9:5ff; Mic 5:1-4). The kingdom of the Messiah is precisely the kingdom of peace (cf. Job 25:2; Ps 29:11; 37:11; 72:3,7; 85:9,11; 119:165; 125:5, 128:6; 147:14; Song 8:10; Is 26:3,12; 32:17f.; 52:7; 54:10; 57:19; 60:17; 66:12; Hag 2:9; Zech 9:10; et al.). Jesus “is our peace” (Eph 2:14). He has broken down the dividing wall of hostility among people, reconciling them with God (cf. Eph 2:14-16). This is the very effective simplicity with which Saint Paul indicates the radical motivation spurring Christians to undertake a life and a mission of peace.
On the eve of his death, Jesus speaks of his loving relation with the Father and the unifying power that this love bestows upon his disciples. It is a farewell discourse which reveals the profound meaning of his life and can be considered a summary of all his teaching. The gift of peace is the seal on his spiritual testament: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). The words of the Risen Lord will not be any different; every time that he meets his disciples they receive from him the greeting and gift of peace: “Peace be with you” (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26). (491)
God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person but also the social relations existing between men. As the Apostle Paul teaches, life in Christ makes the human person’s identity and social sense — with their concrete consequences on the historical and social planes — emerge fully and in a new manner: “For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ” (Gal 3:26-28). In this perspective, Church communities, brought together by the message of Jesus Christ and gathered in the Holy Spirit round the Risen Lord (cf. Mt 18:20, 28:19-20; Lk 24:46-49), offer themselves as places of communion, witness and mission, and as catalysts for the redemption and transformation of social relationships. (52)
Do we question Jesus is expiation for not only our sins, but those of the whole world? The atonement offered for all inequities in every conceivable corner of the globe to potentially radiate joy on a vast milieu of faces. Goodness acclaimed not in frozen inaction of “thou shall not” but articulating commandments in the world by the anthesis of opening to perform blessings on humanity and oneself. A process of utilizing our creativity inspired by the Holy Spirit to manifest the positive power of the commandments to initiating goodness, respecting the sacredness of God’s creation, living and inert. Much more than knowing of or about Jesus and failing to act to act on concepts embedded in the commandments. Inaction boldly exclaims the lack of one’s understanding of truth Jesus proclaimed. For grasping and grappling with truth only manifests in love. A love embedded in living each stanza of the commandments initially written on stone and ultimately the truth Jesus offered on the cross to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as our self. But do we let ignorance get in the way of this love? Ignorance on our part to ask God for senseless demands that only perpetuate worldly injustice? Or like blind sheep following earthly leaders exclaiming holy glory while aligned with voices fostering divisiveness and fear. An unfathomable prerogative to a Savior who looks upon salvation for the whole world. So a reviling thought to look at salvation for only the spiritual elite, as the Lord’s face doesn’t shine on me, I, but us, all of us. Hearing our prayers in a collective stanza of humanity’s needs wrought with passion and security. A peaceful place to fall into the serene Divine embrace. Once we experience that reality, we can only retell the story as we journey the road of life and partaking of the broken, shared road of life. For there the Lord is with a greeting of peace proclaimed by the prophets, written in the Scriptures, fulfilled in the Passion. A peace that opens our minds beyond robotic obedience, where the love of God becomes truly perfected in one’s life. An acknowledgement of repentance and conversion that sins do not define one’s identity but wiped away we experience Divine filiation as a witness of Divine love.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
Read Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE, Rejoice and Be Glad
Share the document with five people and ask a link be placed in your parish bulletin and website.
Show your family’s commitment to care for God’s creation as a precept of faith. As a family, ask to read a stanza of Laudato Si before mass on Earth Day, April 22nd. Paragraphs 159 and 160 would make a meaningful reflection for the family to present:
The notion of the common good also extends to future generations. The global economic crises have made painfully obvious the detrimental effects of disregarding our common destiny, which cannot exclude those who come after us. We can no longer speak of sustainable development apart from intergenerational solidarity. Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others. Since the world has been given to us, we can no longer view reality in a purely utilitarian way, in which efficiency and productivity are entirely geared to our individual benefit. Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us. The Portuguese bishops have called upon us to acknowledge this obligation of justice: “The environment is part of a logic of receptivity. It is on loan to each generation, which must then hand it on to the next”. An integral ecology is marked by this broader vision.
What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? This question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal. When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind, we think in the first place of its general direction, its meaning and its values. Unless we struggle with these deeper issues, I do not believe that our concern for ecology will produce significant results. But if these issues are courageously faced, we are led inexorably to ask other pointed questions: What is the purpose of our life in this world? Why are we here? What is the goal of our work and all our efforts? What need does the earth have of us? It is no longer enough, then, simply to state that we should be concerned for future generations. We need to see that what is at stake is our own dignity. Leaving an inhabitable planet to future generations is, first and foremost, up to us. The issue is one which dramatically affects us, for it has to do with the ultimate meaning of our earthly sojourn.
Prayer: Prepare to celebrate Earth Day next Sunday
A Christian prayer in union with creation from Laudato Si
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!
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 12, 2018 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.