Weekly Reflections

Reflection for Oct. 13, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Through God we are made whole ... just for the asking

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"His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy."

2 Kings 5:14-17

"'Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!' ... As they were going they were cleansed."

Luke 17: 11-19

by Sister Sally Ann Brickner

Within Israelite society purity laws carried great significance. Persons who had certain physical diseases, such as leprosy, were considered unclean and were segregated from the community. They lacked wholeness and therefore were ritually impure.

Our culture also possesses standards of physical (and moral) cleanliness and those who do not meet the standards are often shunned. They are not welcome in certain establishments. They may be turned down for employment. They are considered "unfit."

Having been cleansed of his leprosy, Naaman returned to Elisha with profound gratitude. Likewise, the Samaritan who was healed of leprosy returned to Jesus with humble thanksgiving. Having been cleansed through God's mercy, these individuals could resume normal relationships within their community.

At times we also are in need of physical or moral healing.  If we seek God's boundless mercy, God makes us whole again. Like Naaman and the Samaritan, we are able to reintegrate joyfully with our community.


Celebrating the 'Year of Faith'

Moral Life -- Applying the Seventh and Eighth Commandments

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About this series
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 31 & 32, US Catholic Catechism for Adults

Do Not Steal; Act Justly.
Tell The Truth.

by Sister Laura Zelten

Reflecting on the Seventh and Eighth Commandments, the most essential factor in making good decisions is to follow Christ, to put Christ first in all moral decisions. St. Francis de Sales put it this way, "One of the most excellent intentions that we can possibly have in all our actions is to do them because our Lord did them."

"Truth, beauty, and goodness reflect the nature of God,
and through them, we participate in the life of God."

Study Guide for the U.S. Catholic Catechism

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Reflection for Sept. 4, 2011

Friday, September 02, 2011

by Sister Jane Riha

Riha_Jane_Sr_2012-100pxIn reflecting on the readings for this Sunday, I was reminded of the stories of individuals and families who live on the margins in the gang world of some of the neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Stories of their struggles to find God and to have some kind of redeeming experience are recounted in the book Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle, S.J.  Fr. Boyle started Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention program in Los Angeles.

Our response to psalm 95 is: "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."     It reminds us to look at our heart and ask whether it has become hardened from holding within anger or pain; or whether it is soft and gentle through an outpouring of kindness and compassion.  We may consider those who live on the fringes of society such as the homeless, gang members, criminals, the imprisoned, etc, as hardened by life.  Yet within each one is a human heart throbbing just like ours.

The theme of love of others is woven throughout all of today's readings.    The Gospel focus is on reconciliation, forgiveness, and prayer.    There is an emphasis on listening and giving the other more than just a second chance.   If a person doesn't listen the first time, invite others to join in conversation.  The Gospel concludes by making the point that where two or three are gathered in prayer or agree on anything for which they pray, their prayer will be granted.   The final phrase "there am I in the midst of them," is an affirmation that instills hope and confidence.

The Scriptures challenge us to conversion of heart and mind.   Within the sacred words we find the presence of God who does not give up on us.   God gazes at us with love and hopes for the best.  During your personal reflections on the readings, perhaps you will choose to tattoo some message on your heart.

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