Reflection for Nov. 29, 2015

posted on: Friday, November 20, 2015 by: renaebauer

While we wait, let's say and do things that are pleasing to God

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by Sister Ann Rehrauer

Several feasts on our Church calendar are preceded by a period of special preparation. This week we begin Advent, which marks the beginning of a new Church year, a new liturgical time, and the four-week preparation period for Christmas.

These weeks invite us to evaluate our lives in light of the Scriptures and the ultimate purpose of our existence -- final union with God. When Christ comes at the end of time, or at the end of our lifetime on earth, we want to be alert and ready to meet him.

The passages offered for our reflection today describe that final time in humanity's history. I suspect that people throughout the last century read that description in Luke's Gospel and believed that they were living at that moment. World Wars I and II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and today the experience of terrorist attacks all fit the description of a time of "tribulation when powers are shaken, nations are in dismay, and many are frightened to death."

And in times like these, all of us long for the peace and security promised when Christ comes in his glory, to judge and rule the world with justice.

Our waiting for that time of fulfillment with hope and joy is active and intentional. We are invited to contribute to the coming of the Kingdom by conducting ourselves in a manner pleasing to God, practicing love for one another and for all, and being vigilant.

This Advent, as we light the candles of the Advent wreath, or open doors in  Advent calendars with our children, or pray about the ancestors of Jesus on the Jesse Tree, may our actions and our quiet reflection help us to focus on the gift of Christ's first coming at Christmas, to recognize his daily coming in the people and events of our lives, and to long for his final coming in glory when we will experience the true justice and peace of God.


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Reflection for Nov. 22, 2015

posted on: Thursday, November 19, 2015 by: renaebauer

Christ the King is our Eucharist and Thanksgiving

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by Sister Jane Riha

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and on Thursday we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Our American society stresses a democratic system of government. The concept of having a king is foreign to us. The Feast of Christ the King was instituted in 1925 at a time of great social and political unrest. The Church wanted to make a strong point with this feast that Jesus, the King, is one of us and identifies with our human condition.

The Gospel for today emphasizes the values of Jesus, the King. Jesus is the Suffering Servant who is willing to lay down his life for his people. He stands before Pilate, a powerful man of his time, and humbly answers his questions. He speaks the truth and is true to Himself.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, many of us are deeply grateful for the abundance in our life. On Thanksgiving Day, family and friends gather to celebrate that abundance and to thank God. The word Eucharist means "thanksgiving". What better way to begin our day of celebrating than to go to Mass to thank God for His wonderful gifts.

As followers of Jesus, we become more sensitive to those who do not have an abundance.   There are many in our own neighborhoods. Each of us is moved in different ways by those who live on the margins of society. Jesus, our King, is a kindly shepherd who invites us to reach out to those persons who experience such suffering.

May God bless your families in a special way at this time of year!   Let us pray for one another and for those who are in special need of our prayer and support.



Reflection for Nov. 15, 2015

posted on: Thursday, November 12, 2015 by: renaebauer

As the church year concludes where have you seen God's wealth?

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by Sister Carolyn Zahringer

The responsorial psalm this weekend is a small portion of Psalm 16. The refrain is "You are my inheritance, O Lord", as though to say our 'wealth' is the Lord, which is true!  The line in the psalm text that caught my eye is: "You will show me the path to life ..."  This is a promising statement to both ponder and unpack. A responsorial psalm is a scriptural response and an invitation to hear and respond more deeply to God's life-giving Word.

We are at the mid-point of the final month of the Church year. We might ask ourselves:

  • What have we gathered as the wealth or riches this year?
  • Where has the Lord's path led us, and where is it leading us in the remaining weeks?

Advent will soon arrive signaling a new beginning. Life is a constant ebb and flow of beginnings and endings.

  • How shall we end this liturgical year?
  • Where is God's grace drawing you and me in order to make it an "Alleluia Amen" closure?
  • What are the words we heard/experienced this year that echo?



Reflection for Nov. 8, 2015

posted on: Thursday, November 05, 2015 by: renaebauer

To be 'poor in spirit' we acknowledge the only richness -- found in God

"Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" are the words we will sing for Sunday's Gospel Alleluia.

Reflective questions:

  1. Is it difficult or humbling to hear Jesus say that regardless of our status in life we really have nothing to offer God that He hasn't already provided to us to share?
  2. Is it easier to imagine God's extravagant love when we give thanks for the gift of salvation, freely given to each of us because of Jesus' sacrifice?




Reflection for Nov. 1, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 by: renaebauer

All Saints -- both known and unknown -- loved as instructed by Jesus

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by Sister Laura Zelten

How many holy men and woman are recognized as saints by the Catholic Church? To answer this question I went to Google, after all we live in the digital age. According to the Catholic media site, the Catholic Church recognizes 12,304 saints -- people who lived with extraordinary virtue.

We tend to think of the saints as perfect and pious people. We picture them gazing into the heavens with halos above their heads. Actually, they are men and women just like us, who lived ordinary lives and made mistakes. What makes them saints is their unwavering love of God and God's people. Yes, there are more than 12,000 recognized saints, but there are probably as many if not more "saints" whose names we might never know, people who have blessed others by living the Gospel to the fullest.

Sunday's Gospel reading invites us into the beatitudes, that wonderful litany of "Blessed are." In the beatitudes, holiness is equated with being poor in spirit, meek, mourning, hungering for righteousness, merciful, and clean of heart. Jesus is about reaching people's hearts, giving them reasons for hope and joy, and encouraging true and lasting conversion. Saints know this. They are women and men whose lives flow seamlessly from prayer to action. We need to hear their stories and be inspired by their witness. We need our saints.

Which saints, past or present, inspire you?



Reflection for Oct. 25, 2015

posted on: Thursday, October 22, 2015 by: renaebauer

'I want to see' God's love and I want others to see God's love in me

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by Sister Paulette Hupfauf

The opening antiphon sets a positive tone for today's scriptures: "Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice!" Then the responsorial Psalm continues, "The Lord has done great things for us, we are filled with joy." In the Gospel we hear of Bartimaeus, a blind man who sat by the roadside begging. Each of us is blind at times, not visually but we are blind (that is, closed) to God's great love and care for us. Jesus's response to Bartimaeus is, "What do you want me to do for you?" To which Bartimeaus says, "I want to see." Let us pray daily this week that we may see and hear what God is calling us to do, to show his love and care to others.



Reflection for Oct. 18, 2015

posted on: Thursday, October 15, 2015 by: renaebauer

Blunders along the path to the 'throne of grace' are opportunities to grow

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by Sister Mary Kabat

Can you picture it? Family or friends are gathered and someone says something that sparks tension. In the moment of quiet that follows, you wonder if a debate or argument will follow.  Read Sunday's Gospel and picture the scene of Jesus with his Apostles as James and John ask for seats to his right and left in the heaven, no less. Rather than throwing up his hands at another apostolic blunder, Jesus turns the tense moment into a teachable one: Whoever wishes to be great must be the servant, whoever wishes to come first must be the slave.  Why? Because we follow Jesus and are to do as he did.

Think of those moments in your life that Jesus has turned into teachable moments for you, helping you to know his truth and walk his way and share his life more fully. Be grateful for those moments and pray for openness to more. May our prayer be the words we hear this Sunday from the Letter to the Hebrews (4:16) - "Let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help."



Reflection for Oct. 11, 2015

posted on: Monday, October 05, 2015 by: renaebauer

With our sights set on heaven let us listen to Jesus' words

A man who observes God's Commandments asks Jesus if he, the man, will inherit God's Kingdom. Jesus tells him and us that the treasures of this world are not the treasures of heaven.

Reflective questions:

  1. Do I know and practice the Ten Commandments?
  2. Have I generously shared with others what God has entrusted to me?




Reflection for Oct. 4, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 by: renaebauer

Pope: St. Francis helps us hear & see God's goodness through nature

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by Sister Rose Jochmann

Sunday, Oct. 4, is a special day for us Franciscans.  It is the Feast of our community's patron, St. Francis of Assisi. Appropriately, this Sunday's first reading is from the Book of Genesis which states, "the Lord God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air ..." St. Francis had a great love and care for all creation. He saw creation as God's gift to us.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, recognizes St. Francis' love and care for creation in his recent encyclical letter, Laudato Si. The first line of this letter is "Praise to you, my Lord" which is taken from St. Francis' Canticle of Creatures.  Pope Francis dedicates a section of chapter 1 to St. Francis of Assisi.  He states, "Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness." In his letter, Pope Francis challenges us in many ways including saving natural resources, evaluating whether we are compulsive consumers, and learning how climate change affects the poor.

Reflection questions:
  1. How can I show a greater concern and respect for God's gift of earth and all creation?
  2. In what ways can I reuse rather than buy new and "throw away" the old?
  3. Am I planning to read Pope Francis' letter, Laudato Si, found at your local bookstore, on Amazon, etc.  NOTE:  it is very easy to read!



Reflection for Sept. 27, 2015

posted on: Thursday, September 24, 2015 by: renaebauer

Our lives are an opportunity to say 'thank you' for God's goodness

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by Sister Francis Bangert

"Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets. Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!" (Nm 11:29)

From the time of Moses in the Old Testament to the time of James and Mark in the New Testament, we hear the timeless message.  Avoid thoughts, words and actions that flow from a heart that is jealous, intolerant, unjust, arrogant and greedy, blocking the work of the Spirit. Be like the Holy One who, though just, also pours out loving kindness on those "who have their heart in the right place."

Reflection questions:
  1. In my family/home, in my workplace or school, in my social life, how do I build walls that create suspicion, separation and fear?
  2. How do I intentionally search for ways that reach out, pardon, include and understand the other?
  3. Am I as eager to forgive and show loving kindness to the other as the Spirit of Love does for me?
"For the love of God is broader than the measures of our mind
And the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind
If our love were but more simple we should take him at his word
And our lives would be thanksgiving for the goodness of our Lord."
("There's a Wideness in God's Mercy," verse 2)


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