April 2, 2017: Fifth Sunday of Lent
Catholic Social Teaching: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
“In your school you take part in various activities that habituate you not to shut yourselves in on yourselves or in your small world, but to be open to others, especially to the poorest and neediest, to work to improve the world in which we live. Be men and women with others and for others, real champions in the service of others. To be magnanimous with interior liberty and a spirit of service, spiritual formation is necessary. Dear children, dear youths, love Jesus Christ ever more! ” Pope Francis remarks to Jesuit Schools June 7, 2013
From USCCB Pope Francis quotes:
First Reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14
Psalm: 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
Second Reading: Romans 8:8-11
Gospel: John 11:1-45
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Christ will raise us up “on the last day”; but it is also true that, in a certain way, we have already risen with Christ. For, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, Christian life is already now on earth a participation in the death and Resurrection of Christ:
And you were buried with him in Baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead . . . . If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (1002)
From the Daily Roman Missal, Introduction to the Fifth Sunday of Lent, Cycle A
Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church:
Romans Chapter 8
The salvation offered in its fullness to men in Jesus Christ by God the Father’s initiative, and brought about and transmitted by the work of the Holy Spirit, is salvation for all people and of the whole person: it is universal and integral salvation. It concerns the human person in all his dimensions: personal and social, spiritual and corporeal, historical and transcendent. It begins to be made a reality already in history, because what is created is good and willed by God, and because the Son of God became one of us. Its completion, however, is in the future, when we shall be called, together with all creation (cf. Rom 8), to share in Christ’s resurrection and in the eternal communion of life with the Father in the joy of the Holy Spirit. This outlook shows quite clearly the error and deception of purely immanentistic visions of the meaning of history and in humanity’s claims to self-salvation. (38)
In her social doctrine the Church offers above all an integral vision of man and a complete understanding of his personal and social dimensions. Christian anthropology reveals the inviolable dignity of every person and places the realities of work, economics and politics into an original perspective that sheds light on authentic human values while at the same time inspiring and sustaining the task of Christian witness in the varied areas of personal, cultural and social life. Thanks to the “first fruits of the Spirit” (Rom 8:23), Christians become “capable of discharging the new law of love (cf. Rom 8:1-11). Through this Spirit, who is ‘the pledge of our inheritance’ (Eph 1:14), the whole man is renewed from within, even to the achievement of ‘the redemption of the body’ (Rom 8:23)”.In this sense the Church’s social doctrine shows how the moral basis of all social action consists in the human development of the person and identifies the norm for social action corresponding to humanity’s true good and as efforts aimed at creating the conditions that will allow every person to satisfy his integral vocation. (522)
Do we imprison ourselves in the tombs of sin, bound hand and foot letting a stone laden with iniquities inhibit our encounter with the mercy of God? Or do we let the Lord’s forgiveness open our self-imposed graves and rise us to an awareness of life-giving redeeming kindness where He imparts the Spirit upon us? Why would we desire to be entombed? What good does it render us or anyone else that interacts with us? Who do we serve by sheltering ourselves from the world by living in a proverbial tomb?
Seeing the futility of sheltering ourselves from God’s grace, to come forth at Jesus’ call of our name, we give glory to God. Our venturing forth proclaims our belief in Divine providence and manifests in our actions and demeanor. Secluded in a tomb provides no life to ourselves or others, a life lived in darkness dwelling in the flesh, void of the Spirit.
Jesus offers us abundant grace, freely, but like Mary, Lazarus’ sister and her companions, do we perturb Jesus by our lack of belief? He entered our humanity, to the point of weeping with Lazarus’ family and friends. In every action He offers us the opportunity to see the glory of God. But do we wrap ourselves in self-pity, focus on our immediate needs, fail to see the scope of humanity, so we can only weep to wash away belief?
Jesus was not afraid to venture through the consequences of hostile territory, the land of Judea, the reality of possible stoning, for He knew the ultimate importance was not to shelter HIs life from the world, but glorify God. An act of faith and trust, He asks us to take in our lives to speak words of power in the face of despair, comfort the mourning into newness of life, all ventures wrought with potential obstacles, impediments, challenges. But if we journey in faith, as light to the world exposing the failings and hinderances of darkness, we can only move forward propelled by the Spirit. A journey where we might have to encourage others to join us, so they see first hand what a living faith means. Moving forth from a prayerful posture to integrate faithful discipleship keen to the world, attuned with life in our mortal bodies and to heaven and eternal realities.
Individual Reflection: John 11:1-45
How does the Eucharist bring us out of tombs of indifference to a life of service?
Family Reflection: John 11:1-45
Reflecting on media sources the family uses, discuss who is entombed today? What are some actions the family can take to address these people’s needs?
How might you adapt the Maryknoll Stations of the Cross in your community?
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 March 20, 2017. Feast of St Joseph, St Joseph pray for us. The reflection maybe used in parish bulletins, newsletters or for faith sharing groups without copyright concern.