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.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
'I am He, the one speaking with you'
In what ways do we resist Christ's call to believe in Him?
The journey to deep, abiding faith is rarely easy. It takes work and openness to Jesus. In Sunday’s Gospel, the woman at the well personifies some of the ways we resist Jesus. When Jesus asks for a drink of water, she references cultural norms (Jesus, a Jew, should not talk to her, a Samaritan). When Jesus invites her to experience “living” water she claims to have enough drinking water because of Jacob’s generosity. When Jesus expresses the depth to which he knows her sins –- and continues to invite her to believe -- she starts to understand that Jesus is the Messiah.
As you look at the painting here:
- Consider a time in which Jesus invited you to His living water. Did you respond? If so, how?
- Consider the obstacles to faith. Who can remove them?
- Consider Jesus’ confirmation that he is the Messiah: “I am he, the one speaking with you.” What is Jesus saying to you today?
Thursday, March 09, 2017
Shining like the sun
When the Lenten journey takes us into the unknown or requires change, remember Jesus' words: 'Do not be afraid'
by Sister Madonna Swintkoske
“Lord, it is good that we are here.”
This Gospel reading brings back memories of my first day in the convent. On the bulletin board were the words, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” I thought it should say, “Lord, is it good for us to be here?”
Maybe it was part of me that didn’t want to change. Lent is an opportunity for us to change our lives –- to be transformed. Change is not easy. It costs.
The event in today’s Gospel happened just prior to Jesus’ passion and death. Jesus was helping the Apostles to see what the outcome would be after all of the suffering they and Jesus were about to face in Jerusalem. Suffering involves movement toward one form or another of transformation. In time, after the Apostles' suffering they would experience the glory of the Lord.
This Lent, let’s keep in mind the outcome presented to us in the Gospel –- the glory of the Lord. Let us continue to look up and see Jesus and listen to Him as we continue our journey of Lent.
Thursday, March 02, 2017
Daily habits can give glory and praise to God
What mindset or gesture would you add to this list?
by Sister Agnes Fischer
St. Paul tells us that, though Original Sin was bad news for us, through Jesus we are justified. What does Jesus ask of us during Lent in order to participate in His good news at Easter?
- a little more patience, understanding and loving words for a spouse ...
- a little more quality time, companionship, and interest in our parents' problems ...
- a little more attention to our elderly, perhaps a visit, some chocolate and a smile ...
- a little more respect for the waitress, the secretary, the bus driver, the janitor, the teacher ...
- a little more fun with our children ...
- a little more care for all created things including our own bodies ...
Then, we will be able to say with Jesus, “I will adore the Lord my God and God only I will serve.”
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Keep your eyes on the prize
God knows us, loves us and provides for us like no one here on earth
Could a mother or father forget a child or love one more than another? It’s hard to imagine answering yes but even if a parent could we can trust in God’s perfect love. Isaiah 49:15 says, “I will never forget you.” This passage coupled with other readings for this Sunday reminds us of the importance of keeping our attention on God’s kingdom. God loves us, knows us, and provides for us.
- “Never” is a strong word; yet, God promises never to forget us. Never. How easy (or difficult) is it to accept God’s promise?
- The second reading instructs us to forego judgment. God will “bring to light what is hidden in darkness.” How can I live St. Paul’s words to be trustworthy and unconcerned about giving or receiving judgment?
- God cares for all creation – birds, wildflowers and us. When I worry, who do I believe is in charge? Can I embrace God’s instruction: “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.”