May 25, 2014: Sixth Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Call to Family, Community and Participation
“The sacredness and dignity of human life exists not in isolation, but affirmed through individuals growing in community and seeking together the well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable.”
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
When the Ascension of the Lord is celebrated on the Seventh Sunday of Easter, 1st Peter 4:13-16 and John 17:1-11a maybe used as the second reading and Gospel
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)
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)
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How does your parish address the needs of the systematically paralyzed and crippled in your community? Do the bus routes accommodate people getting to work or children needing safe transportation to school? Does your parish need to advocate for changes that could keep people from being paralyzed without transportation, so they could be gainfully employed or attend school regularly? Is your community systematically crippled by neighborhoods lacking recreational activities, so people, especially children sit home and watch TV? How might parks be enhanced with activity courses stressing aerobic exercise? Might your parish offer to help construct a course that could provide fun and healthful activities for citizens in the broader community?
In the daily nuances of living, systematic paralysis and crippling abound to rob people of accessibility to jobs or activities that enhance their quality of life. When you pause beyond the focus of your own existence, the views of systemic gaps are evident, clearly in view. How will you be a leaven for change, engage others, rouse your parish from focusing only on matters inside the chain link fence surrounding the parish? For a parish is not a prison to incarcerate our prayers, but a spiritual bakery infusing us to go forth as leaven for changing systematic inequalities in the world. If people doubt your hope for lending a hand, speaking out about a need or being a voice for the oppressed, always be ready to share why you are hopeful to help, give of your time, see the challenges of others as your challenges. A love of God to keep His commandments and the Advocate, the Spirit of truth that remains with you always. Not a faith of pride, but gentleness and reverence for doing good.
Individual Reflection: Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20
Read Mary of Nazareth, Prophet of Peace by Fr John Dear. As the Feast of The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on May 31st, how does Mary’s Magnificat speak to Gospel values of peace and justice and challenge you?
Family Reflection 1st Peter 3:15-18
Read about school truancy statistics in California. Do your neighborhood schools face similar statistics? What programs might your parish provide to address this issue and serve the broader community?
Lord, we pray that the Holy Spirit touches the lives of all believers to nourish and heal our Church. Let the Advocate help us bear witness to God’s tremendous deeds, the beauty of creation and the human dignity infused in each face of humanity. May the Spirit let us act for good with hope and consciences clear of desires to feed our fleeting fleshly sensations. Initially, the world may not see our rationale, but may an awareness and understanding of your freedom articulate your love for the world. 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 15, 2014 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern