posted on: Thursday, March 19, 2015 by: renaebauer
Take a few minutes to gaze upon the image below. Hear the people
call out "Hosanna!" as they lay down their cloaks and palms for
Jesus as he enters Jerusalem.
- How have I prepared for Jesus this Easter and beyond?
- How have I shared His message of salvation with others?
posted on: Thursday, March 19, 2015 by: renaebauer
Dying and rising: Jesus models obedience to
God so that we may have salvation
by Sister Carolyn Zahringer
Raised in a Jewish family, Jesus was steeped in covenant
language. He probably read the Book of Jeremiah multiple times.
Jeremiah records a promise of a new covenant which will be written
upon the heart. There will no longer be a need to teach friends and
relatives HOW to know the Lord. (Jer. 31:33,34)
- What has happened to us that the covenant is NOT written deeply
on our hearts?
- Has it gotten stuck in our head as knowledge only, but not a
lived reality of the head and heart?
John's Gospel records Jesus' words for today: "... unless a
grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains just a grain
of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." Jn. 12:24
- Taking into account our personal age, how many cycles of dying
and bearing fruit have we experienced in our lifetime?
- Is now another planting cycle?
posted on: Thursday, March 12, 2015 by: renaebauer
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
posted on: Thursday, March 05, 2015 by: renaebauer
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?
posted on: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 by: renaebauer
Transfiguration: Taking up one's cross is
part of the journey to glory
by Sister Annette Koss
At my parish, we sometimes discuss where we should have a cross
placed in church:
on a wall, in a stand, among the people.
One Lent, each week the cross was moved to a different place among
Recently, I was asked to be a communion minister at Mass.
Then, I was asked, "Do you need a cross?"
I said, "I have a cross" -- meaning the one I was wearing.
Then, I said, "I am a cross."
I moved from the concrete cross to its inner symbolism.
With the experience of the transfiguration,
Mark clearly connects the transfiguration with the cross,
placing the transfiguration between passion predictions.
He was expanding the disciples' understanding of Jesus as a
to be obedient in the midst of not fully understanding,
to give hope in the resurrection in times of persecution.
The disciples stood in a cloud as they experienced mystery.
Jesus would be the new Moses and the new Elijah with a new
Peter preferred to build three tents and prolong the
The transfiguration was a call to discipleship:
"Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me."
The transfiguration confirmed the teaching on the cross.
It was an invitation to risk one's life.
The disciples were called to understand the choices before
to deny Jesus was to live but ultimately lose life,
to follow Jesus was to risk death but gain life.
- What has been a "mountaintop" experience for me?
- Did I want to stay there and prolong the experience?
- Did it lead me to service and maybe some suffering?
posted on: Thursday, February 19, 2015 by: renaebauer
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?
posted on: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by: renaebauer
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
posted on: Wednesday, February 04, 2015 by: renaebauer
The healing hand of Jesus Christ is within
your reach and mine
by Sister Charlene Hockers
Recently, I visited a friend at the nursing home. She had gone
through major surgery about three months earlier. She took the risk
of surgery rather than give up and die. She came through the
surgery which everyone believed was a miracle. She made good
progress in healing for a while. But the same day that I visited
her, she died.
Her story came to mind as I reflected on this Sunday's Gospel.
We hear how Jesus grasps the hand of Peter's mother-in-law and
heals her of her fever. In the evening, He heals many more. I
believe Jesus grasped my friend's hand at the time of surgery and
again when it was time to move into eternal life. Her suffering was
over. Jesus is always ready to grasp our hand. He is always ready
to heal us so we can get up and allow Him to work through us.
In the Gospel, what follows the healings is worthy of our
notice. "Rising very early before dawn, He left and went off to a
deserted place, where He prayed." In the midst of our service to
others, we need to go off to our deserted place and pray. Faith is
built on prayer. Our ability to help others heal spiritually is
dependent on our relationship with Jesus. Let Jesus grasp your hand
and take you to that deserted place to pray, and then go on to
continue your loving service in His name.
posted on: Thursday, January 29, 2015 by: renaebauer
Proclaiming the Good News requires prayer and
by Sister Laura Zelten
Today's Gospel gives us a glimpse into the culture of Jesus'
time and a deeper understanding of why he was such a powerful and
often-perceived disruptive figure. First, he teaches "as one having
authority," despite lacking the training or position considered
necessary. He is seen as bold and rebellious, yet his words and
actions ring with truth. Even the "unclean spirit" within the man
is aware of the power of Jesus' presence and reacts
Like Jesus, the power of our words must come from a deep faith
in a God who calls us to work for justice, to ask questions and to
speak up. Without the faith that calls us to ask questions, we
cannot be prophetic and speak with authority.
In a certain sense, the power of our words and actions can make
a difference in the world, driving out the evil spirits of
injustice, poverty, violence and selfishness, and inviting in the
good spirits of justice, peace, community and economic well-being
- When have you experienced someone who "taught with
- How did this impact you?
- Did this person have a "social-ethical message" that made a
posted on: Thursday, January 22, 2015 by: renaebauer
Jesus invites each of us to share in his
mission in a special way
by Sister Jacqueline Capelle
God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to deliver a message. He
thought it would take three days to go through the city but on the
first day the people heard the message and followed it.
Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee and called Simon,
Andrew, James and John to join him on his journey. These four
fishermen must have wondered where they were going with Jesus and
what He meant when He said, "You will be fishers of men."
Jesus invites you as He invited those in today's readings. To
what mission has He called you? Think of this! What a treasure
to receive this invitation to be a part of Jesus' mission and to
spread His word.
Take some time this week to hear clearly and journey forth to
carry the Word of God wherever you go.