May 3, 2015: Fifth Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Solidarity
A Commitment to the Christian Life
The commitment to living the Christian life provides an essential element of the culture of witness. To those seeking answers to the increasing secularization, individualism, and materialism of society, a Christian life provides a powerful witness to the Gospel. The public profession of one’s faith through active participation in prayer, the sacraments, and especially Sunday Mass contributes to the sanctification of the world. Additionally, the works of charity and justice as well as the promotion of solidarity, justice, peace, and stewardship of creation build up the Kingdom of God.Increasingly, we recognize that generosity of spirit and commitment to charity and justice are vehicles to bring people into relationship with Jesus and his Church. Social justice and direct service opportunities provide powerful experiences with the person of Jesus, especially for adolescents and young adults. Service, when understood as serving Christ in others and as a means to share the Gospel, has the ability to bring the server and the one being served closer to Christ. From Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization, p. 14, USCCB
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.” “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: no references this week
Who will you introduce to your justice and peace ministry? Inviting people to outreach, sharing educational resources to impart fact not fear, they become part of God’s vine to bear fruit. Care must be taken to foster an intergenerational matrix to maintain the vine’s vitality and longevity. As branches on the vine, our objective should not be competition to see who can be the tallest, greatest to sap the vine of energy, but nurturing a supportive structure of collaboration that bears a diversity of fruits. Realizing fruits need to be complementary, not competitive sustains the Church guided in peace and growing in purpose. Fruits not in platitudes of speech, but blossoming in deeds and truth. For love expressed in words without deeds is a disciple without a heart, a hollowness of faith. Knowing Jesus and the love He has for us, we manifest His love to others to remain in Him. To hear His words, but refrain from action to foster justice and peace, we ignore His commandments by failing to engage ourselves in the daily reality of humanity. Pointing fingers and piercing the air with barbed words lacks love expressed in patience, kindness, gentleness and understanding. For the Spirit is not present in hatred, rivalry and jealousy to sap branches of forthright energy. Separated from the vine and vine grower, our efforts are futile and we can do nothing. Only when ministry is guided and sustained by the Holy Spirit, will a culture of welcome to engage involvement with a faith lived, not hypothesized, be an invitation for believers to live as disciples, remain in Jesus as He remains in us to bear much fruit.
Individual Reflection: Acts 9:26-31
Prayerfully reflect upon whom you might encourage to participate in justice and peace ministry.
Family Reflection: John 15:1-8
Visit a local arboretum or county park. Look at various vines and related them metaphorically to the Gospel reading.
As we continue to celebrate the Resurrection, may the hope fulfilled sustain us to be fruitful disciples. May we see the spirit of discipleship in others, to collaborate with them and not fear their involvement.
Let us be receptive to diversity to sustain discipleship in all the families of nations, now and for future generations. Only with the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we know this is possible. For apart from you, Jesus, and your Father, we cannot bear fruit. Thank you for letting us be a branch on your true vine. In your name, Jesus, 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, April 25, 2015 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.