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Fifth Sunday of Easter [C]
John 13:31-33a, 34-35
Dates to Remember
May 9: Mother's Day in the United States
May 15: 113th anniversary of Rerum Novarum (1891)
May 15: International Day of Families
" . . . we are objects of undying love on the part of God. We know that God's eyes are always open on us, even when it seems to be dark. God is our father; even more God is our mother. God does not want to hurt us, but only to do good for us, all of us. If children are ill, they have additional claim to be loved by their mother. And we too, if by chance we are sick with badness and are on the wrong track, have yet another claim to be loved by the Lord."
Pope John Paul I
"The human experience of giving birth, with its physical and psychic relations, is an analogy that hints at the unfathomable depths of divine love . . . Sophia pitches her tent in the midst of the world. This is profoundly good news for persons who are poor, denigrated, oppressed, struggling, victimized, and questing for life and the fullness of life, the majority of whom are women and their dependent children . . . God as mother is dangerous language. It summons those 'born of God' to maternal thinking as a moral project."
Elizabeth Johnson CSJ, She Who Is
"The Christian message does not inhibit men and women from building up the world, or make them disinterested in the welfare of their fellow human beings: on the contrary it obliges them more fully to do these very things."
Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, #34
"The Old Testament prophets emphasize that worship and prayer are not pleasing to God unless they are accompanied by practical works of justice and charity. Following the Great Jubilee, we must acknowledge the call to commit ourselves ever more generously to working for justice and the liberation of the oppressed."
Pope John Paul II, General Audience, January 10, 2001
Thoughts for your Consideration
The Book of Revelations proclaims: "God's dwelling is with the human race." God is involved with the diverse things of the world. The Christian life is not simply about the next world. God is concerned with our daily life and our relationships. God is concerned with works of justice and peace--with the work of social transformation and liberation for all men and women.
On this Mother's Day, we might reflect on how this involvement with the things of the world takes on a special character in the lives of mothers and in the lives of all the women of our world. They mediate in a special way the loving care of God for the world.
In the gospel, we are reminded that the Glory of God appears even as Jesus is about to be betrayed. In Acts, we see the glory of God appearing again and again as Paul and Barnabas travel around and commend many communities to the power of God's Spirit. God is involved in the complexity and struggle of life. There is something wonderfully maternal about the spirit of God. God is involved as a mother is involved with her children--she is with them in their successes and failures, in their hopes and dreams.
Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Have you ever thought of God as "mother?" Is that a helpful image for your understanding of God? What are examples of maternal behavior that remind you of God?
Actions - Links
- In the United States, Julia Ward Howe suggested the idea of Mother's Day in 1872. Howe, who wrote the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic, saw Mother's Day as a day dedicated to peace after having lived through the horrors of the United States' Civil War. She saw it as a world-wide protest of women against the cruelties of war.
- The Center of Concern's, Global Women's Project approaches questions of women's human rights and equity through a long tradition of research, theological reflection, advocacy, outreach, popular education and coalition building. In all of its programs, the Global Women's Project uses the lenses of gender, race and class to analyze the effects of political, economic and social policies on women and to advocate for change. Questions pertaining to women, and economic security, poverty, violence, power, and human rights are central to this work. The Project's ethical perspective reflects a feminist evolution of Catholic Social Thought.
- Women produce 60 to 80% of the food in many developing countries. In 1950 women performed almost 40% of all agricultural work throughout the world; today the figure is close to 50%. In sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, women provide 80% of staple foods, in Asia they perform 90% of the work in rice fields. For details and background visit the Future Harvest Web Site.
- Each year on the weekend of Mother's Day, the Justice Works Community in Brooklyn, NY, sponsors a "Mothers in Prison, Children in Crisis" campaign to call attention the situation of women who are mothers of young children and are in prison. Most are nonviolent offenders from poor communities. For information, visit the Justice Works Web Sites.
May humanity find in you, O Lord, the courage to oppose
in solidarity the many evils that afflict it.
In particular, may it find the strength to face the inhuman,
and unfortunately growing, phenomenon of terrorism,
which rejects life and brings anguish and uncertainty
to the daily lives of so many hard-working and peaceful people.
May your wisdom enlighten men and women of good will
in the required commitment against this scourge.
May the work of national and international institutions
hasten the overcoming of the present difficulties
and favor progress towards a more effective
and peaceful world order.
May world leaders be confirmed and sustained
In their efforts to resolve satisfactorily the continuing conflicts
that cause bloodshed in certain regions of Africa,
Iraq and the Holy Land.
You, firstborn of many brothers and sisters, grant that all
who consider themselves children of Abraham
may rediscover the unity that they share
and that prompts in them designs of cooperation and peace.
May the temptation to seek revenge
give way to the courage to forgive;
may the culture of life and love
render vain the logic of death;
may trust once more give breath to the lives of peoples.
Pope John Paul II, Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter Sunday, April 11, 2004
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