Weekly Reflections

Reflection for June 8, 2014

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Are you ready for the New Evangelization? The Holy Spirit will help!

Rehrauer_Ann_Sister2012-100px

by Sister Ann Rehrauer

Recently Bishop Ricken issued a pastoral letter on the New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay.  The term "evangelization" comes from evangelium -- the Latin word for Gospel. Each Christian is called to live according to the Gospel and to preach the Gospel in a variety of ways.

In the readings for the feast of Pentecost -- the Church's first major evangelization event -- my eyes focused on the first phrase in the first reading: "when the time for Pentecost had been fulfilled" ...

The Scripture describes three aspects needed for a time of "fulfillment" or readiness:

  1. An audience open to hearing the message
  2. Preachers "on fire" with the love of Jesus
  3. The power and presence of the Holy Spirit who provided what was needed to get the message across to the listeners

We know there was a readiness in the listeners because they were devout people who had come to worship in Jerusalem. They were already people of faith and engaged. The apostles were on fire with love for Jesus -- but they lacked the tools needed for effective preaching.  And the Holy Spirit provided the gifts of language and words that moved hearts.

Today is also a time of readiness. There is a hunger for the message of the Gospel and people seek Jesus -- whether or not they know it is He whom they seek. They may describe their search as "a reason to hope," or looking for "deeper meaning" or "something more in life." We know that only a relationship with Jesus will truly satisfy their deepest desires. Today there are believers "on fire" with love for God -- but they may not know exactly how to go about the task of sharing their faith. And though we don't hear the sound of a "driving wind" or see "tongues as of fire," we know that the Holy Spirit continues to live and move and breathe within us, giving whatever we need to witness and to share our faith.

We've been invited by our Bishop to participate in a six-year process of prayer, preaching and teaching, and growing in faith that we might become effective instruments in the work of salvation.

In the 1970s a Redemptorist seminarian named Jerry Welti wrote a Pentecost Hymn. Perhaps we might use the chorus as we pray to respond to that invitation with zeal:

"Spirit move this weary world, fill us with desire.
Light all creation with your love's pure fire.
Spirit make us strong once more, let your winds blow free,
Create us in your wind and fire, make us all we're meant to be."

 

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Reflection for Nov. 6, 2011

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Cholewinski_Elise_Sr_2012-100pxby Sister Elise Cholewinski

Early one Sunday afternoon, as I was getting out of the pool at the "Y", I had an opportunity to chat briefly with the lifeguard.  He was a bit frustrated.  His shift was over and he was anxious to get home for the Packer game, but his replacement was not there to relieve him of his responsibilities.  It can indeed be very frustrating when people are not responsible, when they don't show up, when they expect someone else to cover for them.

This is the situation in the parable about the ten virgins that Jesus tells in today's Gospel.  Five virgins were ready; they had enough oil for their lamps.  The other five didn't bring enough oil and expected the others to rescue them.  When the bridegroom arrived, they had disappeared from the scene, off to obtain the oil for their lamps.  They had missed the moment.

As we now move toward the conclusion of the liturgical year, it might do us well to take a personal inventory.  In what ways have we stalled in our relationship with God?  In what ways have we prevented the light of the Holy Spirit from burning brightly within us?  In striving to live our faith, when have we expected others to cover for us and take on our responsibilities?  Where were we when Jesus was coming to meet us?

In the final analysis, how eager and excited are we to meet Him Who is the Bridegroom?

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