REFLECTION: There is comfort, strength in the story of Lazarus’ death

Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

As we try to listen deeply now to our Scripture lessons today, I think it’s important that we understand how in John’s Gospel, he uses what he calls seven signs, or miracles — big miracles or signs that make it clear who Jesus really is — and the passage that we heard today is the last of those signs and the most extraordinary.

If you want to try to understand what these signs are proclaiming, then it’s important to go back to a passage in Matthew’s Gospel where John the Baptist, imprisoned because he had spoken out against King Herod, was waiting his death [and] sent messengers to Jesus to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come? Or should we be looking for another?” So then Jesus, drawing from the 61st chapter of the book of Isaiah, says, “Go tell John what you have seen and heard: how the blind have been given new sight, the brokenhearted are healed, and the dead are brought back to life.”

'The_Raising_of_Lazarus',_tempera_and_gold_on_panel_by_Duccio_di_Buoninsegna,_1310–11,_Kimbell_Art_Museum

These are some of the signs that Jesus had been working. Remember a couple of Sundays ago, the story about the woman at the well, a woman who was deeply broken in spirit. Remember, she had had five husbands, broken relationships that must have left her a very wounded person, and Jesus brought her healing. He had made her a disciple. She went and told other Samaritans about him, and they came, and they, too, became believers as she had….

To read this entire article, click here.

NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT: PCUSA signs onto letter from Catholic communities on nuclear disarmament

nuclear-free-zonePax Christi USA has signed onto a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry which will be sent next week from the leadership of Catholic organizations and communities in the U.S. We are encouraging our local group, regional and other Pax Christi leaders to consider signing as well. You can send your name, title and organization/community by April 14 to marie.dennis@paxchristi.net.

The letter urges the United States to take specific steps toward nuclear disarmament during the UN meetings on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that will take place in New York from April 28-May 9. It is part of a broad effort by the World Council of Churches to send the same message to governments around the world that they will hear in New York. We hope that this collective public witness will have a positive impact on the NPT process.

Click here to see the entire letter.

IMMIGRATION REFORM: Pax Christi USA signs onto letter opposing private prisons

Pax Christi USA has added its endorsement to a sign-on letter being circulated from Grassroots Leadership. The letter expresses that the signatories oppose any additional funding for Bureau of Prisons-contracted “Criminal Alien Requirement” private prisons.  

“We, the undersigned organizations working to ensure civil liberties and human rights in our communities, urge that you do not appropriate funding for any additional Bureau of Prison ‘Criminal Alien Requirement’ (CAR) contract confinement beds beyond those that now exist,” the letter begins.

It goes on to say, “CAR prisons use taxpayer funds to incarcerate non-violent, ‘low security’ federal immigrant prisoners, primarily prosecuted for immigration violations through the highly controversial program, ‘Operation Streamline’ and related prosecution programs. These facilities are substandard, privately-owned, privately-operated segregated immigrant prisons. For the reasons set forth below, we call upon you to redirect funding from the wasteful prosecution and incarceration of low-level immigration violations and focus resources instead on correctional programs that will better prepare federal prisoners for constructive lives when they are released from confinement…”

For more information, visit http://grassrootsleadership.org/.

NATIONAL COUNCIL: Error on ballot – please read!

To all Pax Christi USA members,

It came to our attention that the ballot which was sent out for the National Council election contains an error which we missed before printing. The ballot states that one of the candidates, Sr. Rose Marie Tresp, RSM, is African American. It should read that she is Caucasian.

We apologize for the error and thank you for your understanding.

LENT 2014: Reflection for Palm/Passion Sunday, April 13

by Tom Cordaro
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

Mt 21:1-11 | Is 50:4-7 | Phil 2:6-11 | Mt 26:14—27:66 or 27:11-54

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  (Matthew 27:46)

Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane

Last Sunday’s reflection focused on the challenge of living every day without fear in the hope of the resurrection. Today’s passion reading reminds us that the call to practice resurrection is not some Pollyanna-ish walk in the park. The gospel clearly shows us that those who follow Jesus, who live like him and love like him, will most likely get nailed like him.

The daily practice of resurrection does not exempt us from the pain and suffering of this mortal life. For Jesus, this truth was spelled out in our second reading, “he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). And in the description of the faithful servant in our first reading from Isaiah, (50:6) we read, “I gave my back to those who beat me.”

We can spend our mortal life in a vain attempt to protect our wealth, prestige, or ideologies, or we can let go of these things, humble ourselves, and live in the freedom of God. By choosing this freedom we can go into any place and among any people without fear, because we will have nothing to lose or protect. “God is my help; therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame” (Isaiah 50:7).

  • Where in your life is God inviting you to let go of your need to control and protect in order to embrace the freedom of the resurrection?

This reflection was written by Tom Cordaro in this year’s Lenten reflection booklet, Embracing Possibilities: Reflections for Lent 2014, and is available as a download for purchase from the Pax Christi USA website.

PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL: 2014 Peace Award recipient named

pcilogonewfrom Pax Christi International

The 2014 Pax Christi International Peace Award has been granted to the Jesuit Refugee Service Syria (JRS Syria) for its outstanding dedication in providing emergency relief to Syrians since the war began in 2011.

Established in 1988, the Award is funded by the Cardinal Bernardus Alfrink Peace Fund and honours contemporary individuals and organisations who make a stand for peace, justice and non-violence in different parts of the world.

JRS Syria belongs to an international Catholic organisation with a mission to accompany, serve and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS programmes are found in more than 50 countries, providing assistance to refugees in camps and cities, individuals displaced within their own countries, asylum seekers in cities and to those held in detention centres.

In the Middle East and North Africa, JRS began its work in 2008 in response to the huge number of Iraqi refugees fleeing the conflict in their country. Following the violent events in Syria from 2011 onwards, JRS Syria is now mainly focusing on emergency relief to those in greatest need, medical support and educational activities to enhance reconciliation and co-existence amongst people of different socio-economic and faith backgrounds…

Click here for more information on the award.