April 29, 2018: Fifth Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
Just as you cannot understand Christ apart from the kingdom he came to bring, so too your personal mission is inseparable from the building of that kingdom: “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Mt 6:33). Your identification with Christ and his will involves a commitment to build with him that kingdom of love, justice and universal peace. Christ himself wants to experience this with you, in all the efforts and sacrifices that it entails, but also in all the joy and enrichment it brings. You cannot grow in holiness without committing yourself, body and soul, to giving your best to this endeavour. (25)
It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others, to want peace and quiet while avoiding activity, to seek prayer while disdaining service. Everything can be accepted and integrated into our life in this world, and become a part of our path to holiness. We are called to be contemplatives even in the midst of action, and to grow in holiness by responsibly and generously carrying out our proper mission. (26)
Could the Holy Spirit urge us to carry out a mission and then ask us to abandon it, or not fully engage in it, so as to preserve our inner peace? Yet there are times when we are tempted to relegate pastoral engagement or commitment in the world to second place, as if these were “distractions” along the path to growth in holiness and interior peace. We can forget that “life does not have a mission, but is a mission”. (27)
GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE, Pope Francis
First Reading: Acts 9:26-31
Psalm: 22:26-27, 28, 30, 31-32
Second Reading: 1st John 3:18-24
Gospel: John 15:1-8
Catechism of the Catholic Church
By this power of the Spirit, God’s children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear “the fruit of the Spirit: . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”129 “We live by the Spirit”; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we “walk by the Spirit.”
Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God “Father” and to share in Christ’s grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory. (736)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
John chapters 15-17
The salvation offered by God to his children requires their free response and acceptance. It is in this that faith consists, and it is through this that “man freely commits his entire self to God”, responding to God’s prior and superabundant love (cf. 1 Jn 4:10) with concrete love for his brothers and sisters, and with steadfast hope because “he who promised is faithful” (Heb 10:23). In fact, the divine plan of salvation does not consign human creatures to a state of mere passivity or of lesser status in relation to their Creator, because their relationship to God, whom Jesus Christ reveals to us and in whom he freely makes us sharers by the working of the Holy Spirit, is that of a child to its parent: the very relationship that Jesus lives with the Father (cf. Jn 15-17; Galatians 4:6-7). (39)
Discipleship exists in community. A process of honoring gifts bestowed on each believer. No gift bigger or better than other gifts, but the collective sum serving God. As faithful disciples, we must cultivate our gifts, while supporting and affirming the gifts of others. Bringing all into the fold, even when others question their faith, scorn their presence, cannot see beyond their past to the present moment of grace. Allowing the Holy Spirit to hone the gifts of attentive, faithful disciples, in service to the Church, produces peace. For to suppress gifts from coming to fruition stifles the Holy Spirit, generates friction between the movement of the Spirit and authority possessed by control rooted in myopic vision centered on spiritual legality instead of rejoicing in forgiveness and joy of the Lord. Human endeavors only mock the Holy Spirit in pseudo religiosity flaunting holiness but lack substance to authentically build up the Church. The Holy Spirit is spiritual glue to bond every aspect of discipleship in a cohesive voice to proclaim the Gospel in word and action. Now and to coming generations, the justice the Lord has shown and we should emulate. We know in this we belong to the truth for our hearts do not condemn us and we have confidence in God to do what pleases Him. An expression of discipleship to believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another just as He commanded us through the Spirit He gave us. Where Jesus is the vine and God the vine grower, desiring a bountiful vine with lush foliage. Branches not bearing fruit, deadwood pruned and those bearing fruit also are pruned to increase their bounty. A pruning for all, as a nurturing opportunity for all to participate more fully in God’s creation. A realization of not just hanging out absorbing the beauty and bounty, but supporting the growth of a strong vine with far reaching branches. We are already pruned by the Word Jesus spoke to us. Letting the Word remain in us and we in Him, we bear much fruit. Not just a sliver of the Word, a fraction of the Word, but the Word complete, 100 percent. If we chose to prune the Word by focusing on a select phrase and neglecting the Word in entirety to take root in our heart, we do not remain in Him. A vine with only branches on the top or a few on the right or left is a struggling vine, with void portions, not the lush bountiful vine flourishing with a community of discipleship. We do not fully accept our discipleship to only resonate or morphed a selected passage while disowning, disavowing, the totality of the Word. An act of pruning ourselves, instead of divine pruning.
Individual Reflection:: 1st John 3:18-24
Read the Center for Migration Studies newsletter and reflect with your community of discipleship how migrants can be better supported and utilized their gifts.
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Family Reflection: John 15:1-8
Take a walk and look at vines in your neighborhood, at a park or arboretum. Relate what you see to the words of the Gospel.
Prayer: April 25th is the Feast of St Mark. Prayerfully reflect on the first reading for that day, 1st Peter 5:5b-14, especially the words, “Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for 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 25, 2018 Feast of St Mark, St Mark, Pray for us. The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.