Weekly Reflections

Reflection for Aug. 27, 2017

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God'

Peter's perfect words are spoken through an imperfect life - just like yours and mine

A friend’s trust is worth more than gold. This Sunday, we hear Jesus declare his trust for Peter the Apostle. So trustworthy is Peter that Jesus describes him as the rock, the foundation, on which to build His church. Imagine how Simon Peter felt: Honored? Humbled? Overwhelmed?

But Peter was not perfect. In other readings, Peter declares that God should spare Jesus of suffering. Jesus admonishes Peter for suggesting to know better than God. Peter also denies knowing Jesus three times when Jesus is arrested.

Peter was not perfect. We are not perfect. But Jesus loves us just the same.

Reflection questions:
  1. Jesus asks: “Who do you say that I am?” How do I answer?
  2. When do I think my plan is better than God’s?
  3. Can I acknowledge my imperfections and accept God’s forgiveness?

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Reflection for Aug. 20, 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Keep the faith

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Canaanite woman's faith in Jesus shows us how to be persistent in our prayers

by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich

The power of faith. Jesus met up with a Canaanite woman who asked Him to heal her daughter. At first, He refused but upon seeing her deep faith and persistence He responded to her request and healed her daughter. It didn’t matter that this woman was not “one of the flock" or that she was a woman or a Jew or Gentile. What mattered was that she had a deep faith in Jesus! 

The faith of this woman brought about a miracle. Her daughter was not with her or even nearby, yet Jesus healed her. How often have we prayed for someone or have been asked to pray for someone? Jesus’ healing power extends to those we pray for in faith. 

Reflection questions
  1. Do we take seriously the power of faith? Our faith?
  2. Who needs our prayers today?

 

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Reflection for Aug. 13, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Not in the wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire

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Encountering the Lord can happen in unexpected ways

by Sister Carolyn Zahringer

What experiences have we had in our lives that have been deeply spiritual encounters with God?

In Sunday's first reading, Elijah encounters God in a tiny whispering sound.

The second reading from Romans poses a challenge to be truthful and to be guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit enlightens our journey and feeds our faith.

We have been fed thousands of times by the Eucharist. Where have we been drawn to go because we have been fed? Our eyes of faith allow us to see ways in which Christ is with us in both ordinary and extraordinary ways.

This weekend we as Community celebrate the Jubilee anniversary of seven of our Sisters. Congratulations to each on hearing the tiny whispering sound and accepting the challenge to live according to the Spirit. They have been strengthened by Eucharist to be persons of prayer, presence and hospitality in our Community and the world.

 

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Reflection for Aug. 6, 2017

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Mountaintop experiences

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Special moments with Jesus energize us to do His work

by Sister Elise Cholewinski

“Lord, it is good to be here.” Peter uttered these words when he, James and John witnessed Jesus being transfigured before them on top of a mountain. Jesus’ shining appearance gave them a glimpse of the Resurrection. Our Church celebrates this feast, the Transfiguration, in its liturgy this Sunday.

Jesus was transfigured on Mount Tabor, an oval-shaped mountain in northern Galilee, a few miles from Nazareth.  Several years ago I had the awesome opportunity to be on Mount Tabor.  We ascended the mountain from the very hot Jezreel Valley, and as we stood 2400 feet above the plain, a cool, refreshing breeze flowed over us.  Looking at the luxuriant landscape below, I understood exactly why Peter would have said those words.  I told myself that I could stay there forever.

At the bottom of one of the slopes of Mount Tabor is the village of Nain.  It is a small, quiet town.  We were told that it is one of the poorest places in all of Israel.  I remember the precious children begging American money from us as we entered the tiny church.

These two places symbolize the pattern of our lives. We have those special times of prayer, when we experience the splendor of Jesus, like when we are on a retreat, and we want to stay in the aura of His Presence. Then we hear the cry of the poor, and our commitment to Christ calls us to come down from our mountaintop experience and get involved doing the works of charity and justice. It’s because we’ve been to the top of the mountain that we have the motivation and the energy to descend to the base of it, bringing within us the Presence that we have beheld.

Reflection questions:
  • Where is your Mount Tabor?
  • Where is your village of Nain?
  • What part has each place played in your life?

 

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Reflection for July 30, 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A buried treasure, a pearl, and a fish

Sunday's parables remind us to be joyful, not judgmental, in our journey to the Kingdom of God

Three times we hear in Sunday’s Gospel, “The kingdom of heaven is like …”  First it is likened to a treasure found accidentally, then a sought-after pearl, and finally a fishing net that collects fish of every kind.

No two journeys of faith are the same. Whether we stumble upon God’s bountiful love or tirelessly seek it, God welcomes all who sincerely desire the Kingdom.

Reflection questions:
  1. How do you finish the sentence, “The kingdom of heaven is like …”
  2. How have you pursued the Kingdom of God? What has it “cost” you?
  3. What was your attitude toward the sacrifice?

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Reflection for July 23, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Don't worry about the weeds

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Perfection is not the point; being open to God's goodness is

by Sister Renee Delvaux

In Sunday's scripture, Psalm 86 proclaims that the Lord is always good and forgiving, merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. This applies well to today’s three parables in the Gospel of Matthew (13:24-43).

Look at the patience, love and forgiveness shown by God:

  • When the householder lets the wheat and weeds grow together until harvest. God accepts us with the wheat and weeds entangled in our lives.  He sees the invasive weeds in our lives and is merciful and forgiving.
  • When the mustard seed, rejected by most,  is nurtured and allowed to grow to maturity.  God’s love encompasses all and reaches out to those who are rejected, broken, depressed, homeless, addicted.  No matter how much mustard seed we have growing in our lives, God reaches out to us in love and forgiveness.
  • When the woman mixes the yeast with the flour and it becomes leaven bread.  The Spirit is always at work in our lives, seen and unseen as the yeast in the flour and dough, quietly and patiently nudging and transforming us as we strive to be open to God’s grace. Truly, the Spirit comes to our aid in our weakness.

God’s love and forgiveness are freely given and cannot be earned. How can we respond to such an incredible loving God who is always abounding in kindness? Our humble response can be an openness and gratitude to God, and in turn, reaching out to others with the same love, mercy and forgiveness.

 

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Reflection for July 16, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What's in your garden?

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God's goodness takes root in tilled hearts and minds

by Sister Mary Kabat

As I go for walks I am fascinated to see where a dandelion, a maple tree seed or a wild flower will manage against great odds to sprout. There it is thriving in a crack in the sidewalk, in the gravel on the side of the road and even in the gutters on someone’s home.

Such sightings give me great personal encouragement and come to mind as I reflect on this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 13:1-23) of the sower casting seeds which land on every type or lack of soil.  In the story the sower casts the seed abundantly.  We know in our story, our Sower casts the seed abundantly again and again.

If you garden, as I do, you know that soil can be tilled, softened, fertilized, cleared of rocks and watered to make it a welcoming place for seeds to grow.  Do your part with the soil of your heart and soul, and trust that God will abundantly sow the seed of his love and word and give it growth.  It will “achieve the end for which (God) sent it.”  (Isaiah 55:11)

May the Word of God fall on good ground in our hearts and bear much fruit.

 

 

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Reflection for July 9, 2017

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Where we will find rest

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Letting go of pride and resentment are only possible with God's help

by Sister Jane Riha

We sense God’s peace and a lack of anxiety as we listen to the Word of God in the Scriptures this Sunday. Our world seems to be in a chaotic state at this time in history.   In the midst of that chaos, the Lord speaks to us tenderly about meekness and humility.  

Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves." Jesus invites us to learn both meekness and humility, a pair of virtues that belong together. Meekness includes the acceptance of difficulties without bitterness, anger or resentment. Humility, its partner, calls us to a genuine sense of self as loved by God. It leads to a powerful restfulness in the Lord as we journey through life.  

People of prayer and faith know that the God of meekness and humility is a powerful source of strength. The Lord invites us to take on the gentle yoke of His love and to accept life’s circumstances. All of us carry some sort of burden. Sometimes the burden is very heavy, sometimes it is short-lived. We are assured in the Gospel that God will give us rest if we are open to trust God’s unfailing presence with us.

Let us pray this week for a gentle more peaceful relationship among the peoples of the world. Let us pray for our country and our leaders that they may learn God’s message as they carry a yoke that may be at times very heavy. Let there be peace on earth!

 

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Reflection for July 2, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017

'Let us arrange a little room ... for him'

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Hospitality and compassion toward a person in need are ways in which we serve Christ

by Sister Charlene Hockers

In this Sunday’s first reading, when Elisha went to Shunem, he met this woman of influence who invited him to dine with her and her husband. And eventually he was able to stay with them overnight in a room especially provided for him. Elisha rewarded the woman with a promise of a baby son to be born to her. Her hospitality was rewarded. Do we practice hospitality without needing a reward? Can our hospitality be a part of our everyday life?

Our generosity is to be a response, a reflection of the good that God has done for us. We give generously so that we can show the world what God’s generosity looks like.  We go out of our way for people because we want to bring His love to them. Think about how you can give more to the poor, be kind to the people you live with or are near to you. Be a more loving witness to those around you. Just a smile for someone is a blessing!

Recently, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross met together and chose to revise their charism statement to include the following:

            “... we compassionately respond to the needs of our times through prayer, presence and hospitality.”

May our witness of this in our lives also be reflected in yours.

Lord, show me how to be a witness of your generous love. Amen.

 

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Reflection for June 25, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How precious you and I are to God

Our words and actions express our gratitude

What are you zealous about? Your family? A sports team? A favorite TV show? Jesus Christ? This Sunday’s readings instruct us to sing the Lord’s praises, to acknowledge our heavenly Creator, to have zeal for God’s house.   

Reflection questions:
  • When did I first recognize my zeal for Christ? Do I recognize Christ’s zeal for me?
  • How do I nurture this love?
  • Jesus says, “What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light.” When do I do this best?

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