Thursday, March 12, 2015
Who prefers the dark? Stepping into the light
of Christ is a daily decision
"God so loved the world that he
gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life."
by Carla Schommer, Director of St. Francis Convent
John 3:16 is often seen on signs, on billboards, and as a
motivational or inspirational quote. It's a message about our
Christian faith. God loves us so much he brought us Jesus,
and by believing in Jesus we are given eternal life.
This scripture passage is also the opening verse before this
Sunday's Gospel. What does it really mean to believe in
Jesus? It's tempting to think that believing in Jesus is
by affirming the belief statements of the creed and agreeing to the
truths that Jesus existed and worked miracles and died and rose
from the dead. Accepting these truths are important but there
is much more to believing. Even on our best days we have
encounters with sin -- in choosing to do wrong and failing to do
In the Gospel, John shares a keen observation about human
sinfulness: Jesus is the light that has come into the world, but
people prefer the darkness.
We stay in the darkness and attempt to hide our sins, even from
God. We must come out of the darkness of our lives and into
the light of Jesus. Jesus came into the world to reveal our
sins so that they may be forgiven. This is Good News!
Jesus took our sins and lifted them up through the cross so that we
may be forgiven and have eternal life. If our hope is eternal
life, we need the revealing light of Jesus each day. To
believe in Jesus means nothing less than to make his self-offering
love part of our own lives through unselfish, thoughtful concern
for others. God has great love for us and shows us mercy that
Thursday, March 05, 2015
Great Expectations: We hear Christ better
when we set aside our assumptions
by Sister Ann Rehrauer
The refrain from Psalm 19 runs through all three readings for
this Third Sunday of Lent: "Lord, you have the words of
In the reading from the book of Exodus, we hear God's
life-giving words to Moses and to the people of Israel in the form
of the Ten Commandments.
While we tend to resist mandates and the limitations that
external laws place on us, these "words of life" are not really
coming from the outside. Instead, if we look carefully, each
commandment is an expression of a basic sense God has planted
within us. In order to be truly human and in healthy
relationships with others, we need to be trustworthy and generous,
to honor those who gave us life, and to respect the life and rights
of others. To violate these laws is not an action outside
ourselves, but it is to erode the very fiber of who we are.
Each time I act with less than integrity, I am less of the person
God created me to be.
In Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he notes that Jews and
Greeks alike are looking for words of life. The Jews asked for
signs that Jesus' message was truly a word that would bring them
life and Greeks sought words of wisdom to bring them life.
But because the words and signs Jesus used were different from
what people expected, they missed the life-giving message that
suffering and sacrifice have positive value in life. And so
Jesus' words became stumbling blocks for them.
In cleansing the Temple, Jesus gave both signs and words of
life. The old will be destroyed and God will no longer dwell
with us within a Temple building, but in the very person of
This Lent you and I also look for life-giving words. Open
minds and open hearts are needed on this journey so we don't miss
- What are the stumbling blocks (in life and work, and even in
the Church) that keep me from seeing and hearing God's call to a
more faith-filled life?
- Jesus drove out the merchants from the temple. What in my life
do I need to get rid of so that God might dwell more visibly and
powerfully within me?
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Fasting, praying, almsgiving make room for
God in each of us
by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
On this First Sunday of Lent we journey with Jesus into the
desert of emptiness and temptation. During his 40 days in the
wilderness Jesus did not turn his heart away from his loving
Father. In the midst of being tempted by Satan, Jesus is
sheltered by God. God's angels minister to him and he is
secure among wild beasts. The heart of Jesus was strengthened
in knowing God was with him and would never fail him. His
experience alone with God opened his heart to embrace the
challenges in the journey he would undertake.
We know that Lent is a time to change our hearts through fasting,
praying and giving alms.
- Fasting: Do we appreciate the hunger of our
world and of our own hearts?
- Praying: Do we open our minds and hearts to
listen to God and respond in love and hope?
- Almsgiving: Do we see the needs of those
around us and give of ourselves?
- What is your heart seeking during this most holy season?
- What is God asking of you?
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
St. Paul: Our humble actions give glory to
Similar to our written reflections, image reflections invite us
to enter deeply into Sacred Scripture. Take a few minutes to gaze
upon the image below. Hear St. Paul teach the Corinthians that, as
Christians, our actions matter.
- How do my actions glorify God?
- This Lent, how will I bear my sufferings in a more Christ-like
- Whom do I need to love or forgive in order to better imitate
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
How much time can you make forJesus this
by Sister Agnes Fischer
"Could you not watch one hour with me?"
In today's reading of the Passion we hear Jesus ask this
question of his friends. During this Holy Week, he asks us the same
Are we planning to take some time on Holy Thursday evening to
commemorate and celebrate the day in which we received the great
gift of Eucharist and the commandment to love and serve one
Will we set aside a little time on Good Friday afternoon to walk
the Way of the Cross with Jesus and accompany him in the hour of
his crucifixion and death?
Can we forego a little sleep on Saturday night to celebrate the
vigil of Jesus' resurrection and recall the wonderful history of
And on Easter Sunday will we bring our whole family to church to
sing, "Alleluia, Jesus is risen"?
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Jesus shows us that our earthly lives are
part of God's plan
by Sister Laura Zelten
In this week's Gospel, we see Jesus perform another miracle --
raising Lazarus from the dead. This miracle may seem to contradict
what the Gospel tells us in previous weeks and what we tell
ourselves as we make our Lenten sacrifices: that this earthly world
and all of the things of it are surpassed by the heavenly afterlife
awaiting us. But if this is true, why does Jesus bring Lazarus back
to life? Jesus knows heaven. Yet, he still weeps when he hears of
Lazarus' death, his departure from the physical world.
It is through this miracle we are reminded that our physical
presence is important and even necessary in order to achieve God's
will. We can say the same for Jesus, who came in human form in
order to fulfill God's plan of eternal life for all people. Would
these Gospels read the same if Jesus had not become physically
present here on earth? No, Jesus' life lived as a human being in a
human body is what makes his sacrifices and love for us so
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
As Spring unfolds, so can and does our
by Sister Carolyn Zahringer
Spring has recently arrived, according to the calendar. We all
know it takes time for spring to arrive in its fullness. Lent is
the Church's "springtime." Just as in nature, spring is a time for
"buds" to prepare anew for a new season of life and growth.
The Gospel of John tells of a man born blind, who now can see
because of his encounter with Jesus, the Lord. The communion
antiphon for the day is pulled from the Gospel message. It is the
core message. "The Lord anointed my eyes: I went, I washed, I saw
and I believed in God." (Jn. 9:11, 38)
We are touched by God and we are empowered to respond
- Where is Lenten healing happening in us?
- Where are there signs of "spring" appearing in us, our family,
our Church, our world?
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Today's suffering can lead to tomorrow's
by Sister Sally Ann Brickner
God knows us and transforms us in times of darkness.
The readings for the second Sunday of Lent certainly provide
examples for us. In Genesis, God promises that Abram will become
the father of a great nation, a holy people. He will be a blessing
to many peoples. How true this has been for Jews, Christians, and
Muslims alike. In the Gospel, John recounts vividly a peak
experience with Jesus on Mount Tabor. Peter, James and John are
granted a vision of Jesus' glory when he will be raised from the
dead. Like Abram, through God's promise the trio is confirmed in
faith for the difficult journey of discipleship. Paul exhorts
Timothy (and us) to bear our share of hardships for the sake of the
Looking up, may we see only Jesus through whom all things are
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Dishonest at first, the master's steward
makes right his wrongs
by Renae Bauer
Dishonest or clever?
That's the question we might ponder after reading Sunday's
Gospel, the parable of the "dishonest" steward. Here's a guy who
squanders what his master entrusted to him and then is praised by
the master for collecting only a portion of debts still owed by
several merchants. What is going on?
Let's focus on the last few verses where Jesus says, "The person
who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in
great ones." How does this relate to the dishonest steward?
One thing we can certainly say is that the steward made some bold
decisions when he lost his job. He contacted the master's
debtors and reworked their debts to reflect only the amount owed to
the master (forgoing the steward's commission).
Ah-ha. Facing a crisis, the steward moves heaven and earth to
return to the master what is his. Is he trustworthy in small
matters? The master thinks so.
- How can I be more resourceful with what God has entrusted to
- What more can I do to bring the Kingdom of God to others?
'Year of Faith'
Moral Life -- Applying the Fifth and Sixth
|DID YOU KNOW:
The first Three Commandments concern love and fidelity to God,
while the other seven speak of love and forgiveness of neighbor as
an expression of God's love.
Chapters 29 & 30, US Catholic Catechism for
by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
You Shall Not Kill.
You Shall Not Commit Adultery.
The Fifth and Sixth Commandments call us to a love and respect
for all people. As Catholics, we are challenged to bring
these commandments to life by our witness of non-violence,
compassion and just treatment of others.
- How do our words and actions destroy or "kill" another person's
spirit, reputation, etc?
- What will you do this week to be a "life-giving" person?
- What does being "chaste" mean to you?
- What does it mean to be a "non-violent" person?
Thursday, February 16, 2012
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
The season of Lent has begun. On this first Sunday of Lent
we hear about Jesus being led into the desert for forty days.
Did Jesus spend time there doing penance in order to develop
greater self-disciplilne, or did He stay there for another
reason? His time in the desert preceded His entry into public
ministry so we might assume that this was rather a time of
preparation for what He would experience in the future.
As we begin this holy season, we might ask ourselves why we do the
special things we do during Lent. Are we simply trying to
develop self-discipline, or are we refining the choices we make on
a daily basis in order to more appropriately proclaim the
Kingdom of God? Perhaps we could take a little inventory
of those choices:
- Do I pay more attention to my physical needs than my spiritual
- Do I offer people hope for a future beyond this world as much
or more than I strive to see that their temporal needs are
- Do I look for various forms of entertainment when I come
to worship God?
- Do I think that the Church must offer some kind of spectacular
event in order to attract new members?
- Do I seek prayer experiences that give me an emotional
- Do I readily compromise my beliefs or religious practices in
order to fit in with the culture?
- Do I have false gods that I regularly "worship"?
Why do we do what we do during Lent? In the end, isn't
it always, first and foremost, about preparing for the
proclamation of the Kingdom of God? Isn't it always
about developing authenticity?