April 24, 2016: Fifth Sunday of Easter
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
If we ignore the poor in vulnerable in our world, we do not live as Jesus’ disciples, for we fail to love one another.
“… In Christ the Lord, the Church indicates and strives to be the first to embark upon the path of the human person, and she invites all people to recognize in everyone — near and far, known and unknown, and above all in the poor and the suffering — a brother or sister “for whom Christ died” (1 Cor 8:11; Rom 14:15).”
(105) Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
First Reading: Acts 14:21-27
Psalm: 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13
Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-5a
Gospel: John 13:31-33a, 34-35
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive choice between “the two ways” and to put into practice the words of the Lord. It is summed up in the Golden Rule, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; this is the law and the prophets.”
The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the “new commandment” of Jesus, to love one another as he has loved us. (1970)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
The definitive salvation that God offers to all humanity through his own Son does not come about outside of this world. While wounded by sin, the world is destined to undergo a radical purification (cf. 2 Pet 3:10) that will make it a renewed world (cf. Is 65:17, 66:22;Rev 21:1), finally becoming the place where “righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13).
In his public ministry, Jesus makes use of natural elements. Not only is he a knowledgeable interpreter of nature, speaking of it in images and parables, but he also dominates it (cf. the episode of the calming of the storm in Mt 14:22-33; Mk 6:45-52; Lc 8:22-25; Jn 6:16-21). The Lord puts nature at the service of his plan of redemption. He asks his disciples to look at things, at the seasons and at people with the trust of children who know that they will never be abandoned by a provident Father (cf. Lk 11:11-13). Far from being enslaved by things, the disciple of Jesus must know how to use them in order to bring about sharing and brotherhood (cf. Lk 16:9-13). (453)
Not only is the inner man-made whole once more, but his entire nature as a corporeal being is touched by the redeeming power of Christ. The whole of creation participates in the renewal flowing from the Lord’s Paschal Mystery, although it still awaits full liberation from corruption, groaning in travail (cf. Rom 8:19-23), in expectation of giving birth to “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev 21:1) that are the gift of the end of time, the fulfilment of salvation. In the meantime, nothing stands outside this salvation. Whatever his condition of life may be, the Christian is called to serve Christ, to live according to his Spirit, guided by love, the principle of a new life, that brings the world and man back to their original destiny: “whether … the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor 3:22-23). (455)
The Church, sharing in mankind’s joys and hopes, in its anxieties and sadness, stands with every man and woman of every place and time, to bring them the good news of the Kingdom of God, which in Jesus Christ has come and continues to be present among them. In the midst of mankind and in the world she is the sacrament of God’s love and, therefore, of the most splendid hope, which inspires and sustains every authentic undertaking for and commitment to human liberation and advancement. The Church is present among mankind as God’s tent of meeting, “God’s dwelling place among men” (cf. Rev 21:3), so that man is not alone, lost or frightened in his task of making the world more human; thus men and women find support in the redeeming love of Christ. As minister of salvation, the Church is not in the abstract nor in a merely spiritual dimension, but in the context of the history and of the world in which man lives. Here mankind is met by God’s love and by the vocation to cooperate in the divine plan. (60)
How do we open doors of faith? Open ears to hear people knocking at the doors of faith, desiring to ask questions, inquire, dialogue. If we ignore the knocking, we keep the doors tightly shut pretending only people securely inside the doors are deservedly faithful. We deny our faith’s essence of journey, the path winding and serendipitous. The experiences defining the essences of conversion. Without the experiences, the ability to knock at the door would be impossible, unfathomable. So be joyful when people knock, don’t fear engage them, welcome their desire to enter, don’t be ambivalent to their presence, feeling so smug of our faith that it isolates us from where we have been.
Open eyes to see people coming thru the doors, seeing their particulars and roadblocks from inclusion. From seeing the journey of others, we see the glorious splendor of God’s kingdom. Each cell of humanity and creation fashioned by God presents an opportunity for us to see like God. Will we be good to all and compassionate towards all His works? Do we grasp the word all with God’s eyes? Or do we let tunnel vision separate us from others and even from seeing our relationship to creation?
With Judas gone, Jesus defined His disciples, not a litmus test of theology, how many prayers one recites or religious observances upheld, but succinctly in a short word: love. Not love of self, money, position or power, but love for one another. So if we hear knocking on the door, may the Year of Mercy teach us to open the door, not to scream at or rebuke those outside, but in love invite them in. With eyes of love, see their journey as our own. Only by our love will the world know us, as Jesus’ disciples. Anything less than love, we defame our faith, mock the healing, hope and mercy of love. Each day may we hear the Lord’s exhortation to love instead of judge, love instead of fear, love instead of reek in anger, love instead of decry secularism, relativism. Words that separate, from our mouth or media sources, show we need the refreshment of the Holy Spirit to see God dwells with His people and will always be with them as their God. To ignore that, we deny His love, mercy and great kindness is for all people, but we should participate as conduits to open the door of faith.
Individual Reflection: John 13:31-33a, 34-35
Now that we are about half way into the Year of Mercy, read the Declaration of the Year of Mercy again. How has living the Year of Mercy opened your soul to being a loving disciple of Jesus?
Family Reflection: Acts 14:21-27
In this Year of Mercy, visit a church in your diocese designated as a pilgrim church. Reflect, pray and discuss how individually and collectively your family is living the Year of Mercy.
Prayer: Do lectio divina with the Communion Antiphon for the Fifth Sunday of Easter: John 15:1, 5
I am the true vine and you are the branches, says the Lord. Whoever remains in me and I in him bears fruit in plenty, alleluia.
Lord, help us to see if we deny the word all, we cannot be a branch on the vine to bear fruit.
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 11, 2016 The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.