Wednesday, May 24, 2017
'I am with you always, until the end of the world'
The sacrifices of Jesus and others demonstrate a selflessness that enriches our lives
by Sister Ann Rehrauer
The Scripture Readings this weekend and the commemoration of Memorial Day call us to remember the loss of ones we have loved and whose love enabled them to sacrifice their lives for others.
On Calvary, Jesus suffered and gave his life for the salvation of all people – for the friends and disciples who shared his life on earth, but also for those who would come after him. His love for us led him to great suffering, but his sacrifice ended in life eternal through the resurrection.
As he was returning to the Father, Jesus promised to send the Spirit, and commissioned his followers to do what he had done – to make disciples, to further the reign of God, and to teach others to live his example of love. And even though he was leaving the disciples, he promised to be with us always – until the end of time.
This, and every Memorial Day, we commemorate the sacrifice made by so many who gave their lives so that others might live in freedom and peace. They fought and died for family and friends, but also for all of us who would come after them. While their physical presence is no longer with us, their memory and their sacrifice lives on today in all that we enjoy.
This weekend, as we remember Jesus, our Savior, and all who died for others, we commit ourselves to live with gratitude and to work with the same dedication for the ideals of selflessness and sacrifice that Christ and our ancestors showed.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Jesus' promise at the Last Supper is alive today
He is with us and we are invited to be with Him
At the Last Supper, Jesus reassured His apostles that He would be with them always. This 2,000-year-old promise, heard in Sunday’s Gospel, is ours today. Jesus promises us an Advocate, a Spirit of truth. He promises to come to us. And He asks us to love Him and love others.
- To know and love Jesus is to know joy. Do others see this joy in me?
- As Christians, we have a reason to hope. How do I share this hope gently and reverently with others?
- Do I love Jesus and others? What, if anything, has it cost me?
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
We are mothers when we carry Christ
St. Francis: Others see Jesus' love through our holy activities
by Sister Francis Bangert
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and all women who serve as mother figures to the young. Thank you for all the ways you birth and nurture life in our children.
Offered for your reflection today is another way of being "mother". In his First Letter to the Faithful written in the early 13th century, St. Francis of Assisi exhorts women and men desiring to share in his Gospel way of life with these words: “We are mothers when we carry Him (Jesus) in our heart and body through a divine love and a pure and sincere conscience, and give birth to Him through a holy activity which must shine as an example before others."
What is this “holy activity”? To love the Lord with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength, to love our neighbor as ourselves, to be of goodwill to all, and to produce fruitful actions that will shine in the darkness. This “birthing,” this “holy activity” is the Spirit of Jesus, the dynamic principle of life that rests within us, makes its home and dwelling place among us, and propels us into loving union with the Father and the Son, and one another. As our Mother Mary was overshadowed and Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, so too, may this indwelling Spirit of life birth the fragrance of rich fruit in our lives.
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!
Wednesday, May 03, 2017
Do you hear His voice? And follow Him?
Discipleship -- from ordained to consecrated and lay -- requires listening to His words of life
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
This Sunday is commonly known as Good Shepherd Sunday. In the Gospel Jesus speaks about His sheep hearing His voice and following Him. In our fast-paced world, where life is very shallow and lived on the surface, we are reminded today to really take time for silence, to ponder the words that the Shepherd speaks, to listen to the Voice that leads us into the depths.
It is interesting to note that John’s Gospel is 20 chapters long. (The 21st chapter was added later.) If we go to the exact midpoint of that Gospel, we are at chapter 10, verse 10, which reads, “I came so that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” Let us then go to the center of our being, and in the core of our hearts listen intently, that we may know the richness of a life pastured by the Good Shepherd.
This Sunday is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We are asked to pray for an abundance of priests in the Church, who will guide God’s people with the love and compassion of Jesus, and to pray for an increase in the number of men and women who will devote themselves to the consecrated life, which is focused on a deep personal relationship with God, enriched through solitude and communal prayer. Let us pray that those who are being called will respond, and in their unique lifestyles will model the pattern of the Good Shepherd.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
In the presence of God
Our moments of joy and comfort are hallmarks of God's movement in our daily lives
by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
Have you looked at a sunset that took your breath away? Or sat with a friend as you both told stories and shared laughter? Or sat alone in the quiet and just listened? These experiences can be moments of grace when we clearly see that we live and move in God’s presence. Sometimes we can’t find the words to describe such experiences.
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus shared an indescribable encounter with the risen Lord. Once they realized they were in the presence of Jesus, their sorrow and grief disappeared and they were filled with great joy! They had seen the Lord and couldn’t wait to share that news with those they left behind. They clearly saw the glory of the Lord.
- When have you felt closest to God?
- What experiences have given you a glimpse of the glory of the Lord?
- Do you believe that Jesus is walking beside you on your journey through life?
Thursday, April 20, 2017
A whole ocean of graces
Divine Mercy Sunday invites us to take shelter in God's love
Inconceivable. Lately, a lot of the news seems inconceivable. If the news has you feeling a bit dismayed, take some time and consider something far more uplifting -- Christ’s inconceivable mercy.
Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday, a day in which we reflect on Jesus’ message: “Tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy.” This message was among many He gave to St. Faustina Kowalski (1905-1938) in a series of apparitions. Among them were, “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls" and "I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My mercy.”
- What does mercy mean to me?
- How can I better understand God’s mercy, realizing it is a “whole ocean” of graces?
- How can I allow God’s mercy to work through me as I encounter others throughout my days?
Thursday, April 13, 2017
This triumphant day
The good news of Easter -- God's reigning love -- continues through us today
by Sister Paulette Hupfauf
The journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday can seem long. But life always wins the day as the Easter Mystery transforms our lives. It shows us a compassionate God whose love and mercy triumph over evil.
The Easter celebration is a reminder of how far Love will go. The power of Jesus’ resurrection was shared with his followers. As followers of Jesus today, we have this same power available to us. We, as believers, can have the same victory over hatred, injustice and violence that Jesus did. Easter is the story of the resurrecting power of love and hope. Life and goodness are to be celebrated always. When we die we will experience the true power of Jesus’ resurrection. We will know forever the fullness of life and love.
“Easter is the experience of a new, majestic presence of the Christ. The power of grace grabs us by the sleeve and leads us to an empty tomb, invites us to the banquet of joy.”
Ashes to Easter, page 115
Thursday, April 06, 2017
Transform your heart, mind and life
Enter deeply into Holy Week and experience the living word as it unfolds
by Sister Mary Kabat
This weekend marks Palm Sunday. We begin the holiest week of the Church year with the Commemoration of the Lord Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. We will hear and perhaps participate in the Passion from the Gospel of Matthew. Day by day we will have the opportunity to walk along with Jesus, his Apostles, his Mother, his friends, bystanders and his enemies through the Paschal Mystery of the Last Supper, the Way of the Cross, the Crucifixion, the Death, the Burial and the Resurrection.
One way to pray the Gospel stories this Holy Week is to choose a character and experience the event through their eyes, their ears, their emotions. Enter the scene as fully as you can so the Gospel story no longer remains a written word but becomes a living word that can transform your heart, your mind, your life.
- Will you be Judas making a decision of betrayal for which you will deeply regret?
- Will you be one of the Apostles sitting at the supper table feeling confident that you will never let Jesus down?
- Will you be in the garden with Jesus oblivious to his inner turmoil and later abandoning him in fear?
- Will you be part of the crowd agreeing that this Jesus must have done something deserving of death?
- Will you be the centurion spending hours watching Jesus die and coming to realize who he truly is?
- Will you be Mary suffering every pain her child is enduring with overwhelming sorrow?
May this week be a holy one for you!
Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
'Lazarus, come out!'
Jesus sets Lazarus -- and us -- free even from the confines of death
by Sister Margaret Mary Halbach
Today we concentrate on the Raising of Lazarus. This is one of the key stories we share and include in our parish process called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, which welcomes new members to the Catholic faith. This story demonstrates the power of God through Jesus.
Jesus was a dear friend of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. He spent time with them every time He went to Bethany which was near Jerusalem. We hear in Sunday’s Gospel of how Lazarus had been dead for four days when Jesus came to the tomb. Lazarus’ sister, Martha, said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” This expression of her faith in Jesus is touching to read and reflect upon. Jesus ordered the stone to be rolled back from the tomb opening. Then “Jesus wept.” This is a remarkable statement to have in the Scriptures. Jesus grieved the loss of His friend like we do.
Then Jesus shouted: “Lazarus, Come out!” and he did, still bound in burial cloth. Jesus asked those who were near to “Untie him and unwrap him.” Many of them believed in Jesus at that time. What a marvel to have witnessed.
Maybe our lives have been “dead” to some extent at one time or another. We need help to become alive. The whole Community is needed to make a conversion to the Lord in openness.
- We need a “Martha” to call for the Lord to come to “our town”.
- We need members of the crowd to help “untie or unbind us”.
May God bless each of us to be open during this time of Lent that we may be unbound in whatever way we need.
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Believing is seeing
Sunday's readings illustrate how faith requires the heart -- not just the eyes, head or laws
by Sister Carolyn Zahringer
The readings for this weekend are packed with Lenten food for thought.
In the first reading the Lord directs Samuel to see with his heart; Samuel listens and identifies a young shepherd named David to be king.
In the second reading, St. Paul directs us to “live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.”
In the Gospel Jesus heals a blind man on the Sabbath. Work is forbidden on the Sabbath, but this healing act was more important for Jesus than the letter of the law. Jesus lived by the law of love and invites us to do the same.
The Communion Antiphon is a great summary of the Gospel reading -- “The Lord anointed my eyes: I went, I washed, I saw and believed in God.”
- How have I been anointed to see?
- How has God’s grace moved me to a new understanding or deeper belief?
- How have I responded to the law of love?
May we each continue the journey of Lent day by day, moment by moment, with open eyes.