May 6, 2018: Sixth Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community and Participation
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; Gal 4:6-7). (39) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
Psalm: 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
Second Reading: 1st John 4:7-10 or 1st John 4:11-16
Gospel: John 15:9-17 or John 17:11b-19
***With the Ascension of the Lord celebrated on the Seventh Sunday of Easter, the Second Reading and Gospel from the Seventh Sunday of Easter maybe read on the Sixth Sunday of Easter,***
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Charity is the soul of the holiness to which all are called: it “governs, shapes, and perfects all the means of sanctification.”297
If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn’t lack the noblest of all; it must have a Heart, and a Heart BURNING WITH LOVE. And I realized that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT’S A UNIVERSE OF ITS OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE – IT’S ETERNAL! (826)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Cycle B
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The immediate purpose of the Church’s social doctrine is to propose the principles and values that can sustain a society worthy of the human person. Among these principles, solidarity includes all the others in a certain way. It represents “one of the fundamental principles of the Christian view of social and political organization”.
Light is shed on this principle by the primacy of love, “the distinguishing mark of Christ’s disciples (cf. Jn 13:35)”. Jesus teaches us that “the fundamental law of human perfection, and consequently of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love” (cf. Mt 22:40, Jn 15:12; Col 3:14; Jas 2:8). Personal behaviour is fully human when it is born of love, manifests love and is ordered to love. This truth also applies in the social sphere; Christians must be deeply convinced witnesses of this, and they are to show by their lives how love is the only force (cf. 1 Cor 12:31-14:1) that can lead to personal and social perfection, allowing society to make progress towards the good. (580)
This document is an act of service on the part of the Church to the women and men of our time, to whom she offers the legacy of her social doctrine, according to that style of dialogue by which God himself, in his only-begotten Son made man, “addresses men as his friends (cf. Ex 33:11; Jn 15:14-15) and moves among them (cf. Bar 3:38)”. Drawing inspiration from the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, this document too places “man considered whole and entire, with body and soul, heart and conscience, mind and will” as the key to its whole exposition. In this perspective, the Church is “inspired by no earthly ambition and seeks but one solitary goal: to carry forward the work of Christ himself under the lead of the befriending Spirit. For Christ entered this world to bear witness to the truth, to save and not to sit in judgment, to serve and not to be served” (13)
The love that inspires Jesus’ ministry among men is the love that he has experienced in his intimate union with the Father. The New Testament allows us to enter deeply into the experience, that Jesus himself lives and communicates, the love of God his Father — “Abba” — and, therefore, it permits us to enter into the very heart of divine life. Jesus announces the liberating mercy of God to those whom he meets on his way, beginning with the poor, the marginalized, the sinners. He invites all to follow him because he is the first to obey God’s plan of love, and he does so in a most singular way, as God’s envoy in the world.
Jesus’ self-awareness of being the Son is an expression of this primordial experience. The Son has been given everything, and freely so, by the Father: “All that the Father has is mine” (Jn 16:15). His in turn is the mission of making all men sharers in this gift and in this filial relationship: “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (Jn 15:15).
For Jesus, recognizing the Father’s love means modelling his actions on God’s gratuitousness and mercy; it is these that generate new life. It means becoming — by his very existence — the example and pattern of this for his disciples. Jesus’ followers are called to live like him and, after his Passover of death and resurrection, to live also in him and by him, thanks to the superabundant gift of the Holy Spirit, the Consoler, who internalizes Christ’s own style of life in human hearts. (29)
The Church journeys along the roads of history together with all of humanity. She lives in the world, and although not of the world (cf. Jn 17:14-16) she is called to serve the world according to her innermost vocation. This attitude, found also in the present document, is based on the deep conviction that just as it is important for the world to recognize the Church as a reality of history and a leaven in history, so too is it important for the Church to recognize what she has received from history and from the development of the human race[. The Second Vatican Council gave an eloquent demonstration of solidarity, respect and affection for the whole human family by engaging in dialogue with it about many problems, “bringing the light kindled from the Gospel and putting at the disposal of the human race the saving resources which the Church has received from her Founder under the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It is man himself who must be saved; it is human society which must be renewed”. (18)
“God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34; cf. Rom 2:11; Gal 2:6; Eph 6:9), since all people have the same dignity as creatures made in his image and likeness. The Incarnation of the Son of God shows the equality of all people with regard to dignity: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28; cf. Rom 10:12; 1 Cor 12:13, Col 3:11). (144)
1st John 4:8
Jesus Christ reveals to us that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8) and he teaches us that “the fundamental law of human perfection, and consequently of the transformation of the world, is the new commandment of love. He assures those who trust in the love of God that the way of love is open to all people and that the effort to establish a universal brotherhood will not be in vain”. This law is called to become the ultimate measure and rule of every dynamic related to human relations. In short, it is the very mystery of God, Trinitarian Love, that is the basis of the meaning and value of the person, of social relations, of human activity in the world, insofar as humanity has received the revelation of this and a share in it through Christ in his Spirit. (54)
1st John 4:10
With the unceasing amazement of those who have experienced the inexpressible love of God (cf. Rom 8:26), the New Testament grasps, in the light of the full revelation of Trinitarian love offered by the Passover of Jesus Christ, the ultimate meaning of the Incarnation of the Son and his mission among men and women. Saint Paul writes: “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?” (Rom 8:31-32). Similar language is used also by Saint John: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins” (1 Jn 4:10). (30)
(39) See Catholic Social Teaching theme above
1st John 4:11-12
Meditating on the gratuitousness and superabundance of the Father’s divine gift of the Son, which Jesus taught and bore witness to by giving his life for us, the Apostle John grasps its profound meaning and its most logical consequence. “Beloved, if God so loves us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us” (1 Jn 4:11-12). The reciprocity of love is required by the commandment that Jesus describes as “new” and as “his”: “that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (Jn 13:34). The commandment of mutual love shows how to live in Christ the Trinitarian life within the Church, the Body of Christ, and how to transform history until it reaches its fulfillment in the heavenly Jerusalem. (32)
Why should we fear the world? Jesus was sent into the world by His Father, walking amongst people, conversing on the most diverse and challenging subjects of the day. A process of drawing in the most incredulous persons not to dump scorn or reap praise on their opponents. So why would we retreat today to the cozy cushion confines of a pew to fool ourselves that we are holy just because we show up, drop an envelope in the collection basket and kneel at the appointed times. As the Easter season closes, with the glory of the Resurrection in our rear view mirror, we travel to the reality of the Assumption on the horizon. With Divine fervor, Jesus sent the disciples of 2000 years ago and us today into the world. To hunker down in our regular Sunday pew with no intention of going forth, after fed with the Word of Truth and Bread of Salvation is to deny we are Christians, for we deny the mission God gave Jesus and was handed down to us by the Spirit. A mission void of judgment, rooted in love is the only path that will give us life. Anything else saps us from the Divine vine. For when we love one another, God remains in us and HIs love is brought to perfection in us. Jesus admonishes us charitably to grasp His love emulating the Father. We only separate ourselves from this perfect love if we ignore, disown the Lord’s commandments. A love precipitating joy. Joy complete without tainted expectations of only if or when this happens. A freedom beyond a door mat enslaved relationship with God and others, to serve others while respecting our inherent dignity as friends of the Lord. For Jesus withholds nothing from us that he experienced in Divine exchange with the Father. Knowing we are loved in Divine proportions, we readily accept the appointment Jesus gives us to go and bear fruit that will remain. Do we grasp we are not ordered but named through appointment? Will we accept this appointment in love, with joy? Or mumble despairingly, “Oh what is the Lord asking me to do now?”, so more like snails void of enthusiasm, with our heads in our shells, we avoid interacting in the world?May we remember, Jesus never asks us to undertake anything that is futile, worthless or a waste of time, for the fruit He asks us to bear forth will have remaining substance. An act of going forth into the world lovingly with joy. When we cease going forth or never take the first step, we separate ourselves from God and others. Without Divine and human interactions, we cease to be able to live the commandments Jesus invites us into, never knowing the love God has for HIs Son or the love Jesus has for us.
Individual Reflection: 1st John 4:7-10
How can you share USCCB resources with your parish to raise awareness of poverty in America:
Family Reflection: John 15:9-17
Each day this week watch and discuss one of the videos from the USCCB website. At the end of the week plan how you might make a video about poverty in your community to share with your parish:
Prayer: Collect for the Sixth Week of Easter
Grant, almighty God, that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy, which we keep in honor of the risen Lord, and that what we relive in remembrance we may always hold to in what we do. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
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, 2018 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.