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Seventh Sunday of Easter [C]

By: John Bucki, SJ

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[In some dioceses the Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on this day. In others it was celebrated last Thursday.]

Readings
Acts 7:55-60
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20
John 17:20-26

Dates to Remember
May 25: Africa Day
May 26: First Day of Shavuot (Hebrew Pentecost)
This festival, sometimes called the Feast of Weeks, or of Harvest, or of the First Fruits, falls 50 days after Passover and originally celebrated the end of the seven-week grain-harvesting season. In later tradition, it also celebrated the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai.
May 30: Pentecost

Quotes
"Excessive economic, social and cultural inequalities among peoples arouse tensions and conflicts, and are a danger to peace."
Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, #76

"May Christ inflame the desires of all people to break through the barriers which divide them, to strengthen the bonds of mutual love, to learn to understand one another, and to pardon those who have done them wrong. Through Christ's power and inspiration may all peoples welcome each other to their hearts as brothers and sisters, and may the peace they long for ever flower and ever reign among them."
Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, #171

"The acquisition of worldly goods can lead people to greed, to the unrelenting desire for more, to the pursuit of greater personal power. Rich and poor alikeí¢â‚¬"be they individuals, families or nationsí¢â‚¬"can fall prey to avarice and soul stifling materialism. Neither individuals nor nations should regard the possession of more and more goods as the ultimate objective."
Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, #18-19

Thoughts for your Consideration
If one reads the scriptures in the context of the ongoing wars in Iraq, in other places in the Middle East, in Sudan, and in many other places around the world, one may find that the scriptures today challenge us to look again at war and all the things that lead us to war and violence.

In the first reading people cover their ears so as not to hear. They refuse to listen. Instead they throw stones and kill Stephen. Instead of listening to each other, instead of dialogue and understanding, there is killing. Instead of peace there is violence.

The gospel today is part of the concluding prayer of Jesus at the last supper. It is a prayer for unity and solidarityí¢â‚¬"that all may be one. It is an appropriate prayer in the context of remembering the causes and consequences of war. It is a prayer for healing and renewal. Christ wants a unity that can heal the divisions that lead to war and killing. Christ wants an end to all the things that divide and destroy us.

The second reading from Revelations is a vision of men and women coming together, being in solidarity, receiving the gift of life-giving water. It is a vision of those who come together in response to Christ's invitation to solidarity and peace.

The theme of the scriptures is solidarity. Our prayer today is a prayer for an end to all the wars that destroy that solidarity. Our desire is the desire of Jesus: that all will be one.

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group
Traditionally, the time between the Ascension and Pentecost is a time to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. We might ask ourselves: What gifts of the Spirit does our world community most need? What do we need from the Spirit today to address the problems of our world? What should we pray for?

Actions - Links

  • This weekend, The International Festival of Hope will be held during the International Council Meetings of Pax Christi, the international Catholic peace movement. Part of this festival is a consultation on global peacemaking issues entitled "From the War on Terrorism to Inclusive Security."
  • Pax Christi is asking people to call their Congressional Representatives and urge them to attend "Restoring Credibility: Perspectives from Abroad on the U.S. War on Terrorism," a congressional briefing sponsored by Pax Christi International, Pax Christi USA, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, and NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby. This briefing will take place on May 25.

Prayer
All-nourishing God, your children cry for help
Against the violence of our world:
Where children starve for bread and feed on weapons;
Starve for vision and feed on drugs;
Starve for love and feed on videos;
Starve for peace and die murdered in our streets.
Creator God, timeless preserver of resources,
Forgive us for the gifts that we have wasted.
Renew for us what seems beyond redemption;
Call order and beauty to emerge again from chaos.
Convert our destructive power into creative service;
Help us to heal the woundedness of our world.

Liberating God, release us from the demons of violence.
Free us today from the disguised demon of deterrence
That puts guns by our pillows and missiles in our skies.

Free us from all demons that blind and blunt our spirits;
Cleanse us from all justifications for violence and war;
Open our narrowed hearts to the suffering and the poor.

Abiding God, loving renewer of the human spirit,
Unfold our violent fists into peaceful hands:
Stretch our sense of family to include our neighbors;
Stretch our senses of neighbor to include our enemies;
Until our response to you finally respects and embraces
All creation as precious sacraments of your presence.

Hear the prayer of your starving children. Amen.

Prayer for a New Society, (c) Pax Christi USA, 1995

Type of content: Lectionary Reflections
Calendar: Lent/Easter