Sunday, April 27, 2014
Second Sunday of Easter
They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Acts 2: 42-47
1 Pt 1: 3-9
Ps 118: 2-4, 13-15, 22-24
JN 20: 19-31
Social and Economic Justice
This week’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles demonstrates the way in which the first generation of Christians chose to respond to the Jesus message. In Jesus’ teachings on love and justice, the early Christians heard the call to provide for the needs of all in common and those with more freely shared what they had so that those with less could also thrive. In heeding Jesus’ call, the early Christians provided an example of social and economic justice that radically differed from the model that had been set forth by the society in which they had been raised where wealth was honored as a blessing in acknowledgement of a virtuous life and poverty as a punishment for sin. Instead, all people were viewed as children of God and equally sacred and that wealth had been given to some to share so that all may be provided for.
How does our Western culture reflect the preference of materialism over justice?
How are you living Jesus’ call to social and economic justice?
This week, you are invited to engage in the practice of Examen – a process through which we reflect on our behaviors in light of the scriptural message. Over the course of the next week, reflect on the following questions:
- Where are you tempted to buy into the Western cultural paradigm that says that happiness and fulfillment come through money, power, fame, wealth and the accumulation of things?
- Where do you find yourself acquiring more than you need to survive and thrive?
- Where do you find yourself wasting valuable resources or forgetting to recycle and reuse?
- Where do you entertain fears around money?
- Where are you tempted to worry about what others think because of the kind of house you live in, clothes you wear, job you have or car you drive?
- Where are you tempted to indulge in the Western paradigm by giving your time or energy to movies, tv shows, commercials, magazines, books, that promote lifestyles based in riches, excessive wealth, and power?
- Where are you tempted to buy the “Big name” and “more expensive” product when you can get the same or better for less?
- Where are you giving your time, talent, resources to support those who have less?
- Where are you giving your time, talent, resources to support programs that help those who have less?
- Where are you giving of your excess so that those who have less might have more?
In Authentic Freedom we talk about the fear “there is not enough” as the cause of materialism. When we live in the fear that there is not enough – money, love, time, fame, power, success, things, etc. the non-loving behavior that arises out of this fear is gluttony. When indulging in gluttony, we take more than what we need or we deprive ourselves of the things we need to survive. When through prayer and the reception of grace, we are healed of the fear that there is not enough, our gluttonous behaviors cease and we are able to experience a life of temperance. In this week’s reading, the early Christians were able to overcome the fear that there is not enough and lived temperance to the point of ensuring social and economic justice for all members of their community.
Where do you struggle with the fear, “there is not enough?”
How do you see this fear as driving behaviors of acquisition or deprivation?
How can you invite God to heal you of this fear?
How might your behaviors change if you were no longer afraid?