Reflection for April 20, 2014

posted on: Wednesday, April 02, 2014 by: renaebauer

Alleluia! Jesus the Christ is risen!

by Sister Mary Kabat

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We have made the journey of Lent and completed the Easter Triduum. Now we join all the faithful in celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the opening prayer at Mass we hear, "Jesus has conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity." It is truly an Alleluia day!

As you hear and reflect on the Gospel story this Easter, with whom do you identify?

  • Mary of Magdala who goes at dawn with a heavy heart to be close to a deceased loved one only to be confused by the message of the angel.
  • Peter and John who remember Jesus' words and run in hope of seeing if Mary's news is true.
  • The disciples locked in the upper room and locked by fear about their future, and need the appearance of the risen Jesus to transform their grief.

All became believers in the resurrection and proclaimers of Jesus the Christ. We pray that you may know the comfort and joy, the peace and life-changing blessing of Easter, and that you will share the paschal mystery of death and life with all you meet along the journey of life.

This is the day the Lord had made.  Let us rejoice and be glad! -- Ps 118

 

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Reflection for April 13, 2014

posted on: Wednesday, April 02, 2014 by: renaebauer

How much time can you make forJesus this week?

by Sister Agnes Fischer

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"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 question.

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 another?

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 our salvation?

And on Easter Sunday will we bring our whole family to church to sing, "Alleluia, Jesus is risen"?

 

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Reflection for April 6, 2014

posted on: Wednesday, April 02, 2014 by: renaebauer

Jesus shows us that our earthly lives are part of God's plan

by Sister Laura Zelten

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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 real!

 

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Reflection for March 30, 2014

posted on: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 by: renaebauer

As Spring unfolds, so can and does our spiritual life

by Sister Carolyn Zahringer

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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 actively.

  • Where is Lenten healing happening in us?
  • Where are there signs of "spring" appearing in us, our family, our Church, our world?

Look closely.

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Reflection for March 23, 2014

posted on: Thursday, March 20, 2014 by: renaebauer

Jesus: 'Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst'

by Sister Renee Delvaux

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How scandalous, according to Jewish standards, is Jesus' behavior in today's Gospel as He meets the Samaritan woman at the well!  He totally disregards the Jewish law.  He dares to have a conversation with a woman, a Samaritan, and one married to five men.  She is considered an outcast.

What becomes evident is the universality of Jesus' compassion, love and open invitation to all to be part of the Kingdom.  He accepts without judgment this woman who is a questionable member (a sinner) of a subordinate group (women) of a despised people (Samaritans). She is the one whom Jesus approaches and to whom He reveals Himself as Messiah. Without rebuke He offers the woman "living water," and she who has been thirsting for meaning in her life, accepts the "living water" in gratitude and faith. She then proclaims the good news of Jesus to the townspeople and they go to meet Jesus.  What a profound moment -- the word of salvation takes root in the hearts of the despised and marginalized.

The message: Jesus is always reaching out to us, offering "life-giving water" as He did to the Samaritan woman, even as we are also sinners. He alone can satisfy our thirst.

The question: How do we treat those we consider "lowly and despised," the "sinners" in our lives?

Let us pray: Lord, give us "living water" to nourish our thirst for truth and meaning.   Fill us with Your love, compassion, and acceptance of all.

 

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Reflection for March 16, 2014

posted on: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by: renaebauer

Today's suffering can lead to tomorrow's glory

by Sister Sally Ann Brickner

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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 Gospel.

Looking up, may we see only Jesus through whom all things are made new.

 

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Reflection for March 9, 2014

posted on: Thursday, March 06, 2014 by: renaebauer

Jesus shows us who is at the center of his life and ours

by Sister Elise Cholewinski

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"It's not about you."  How often people seem to be making that statement, reminding the persons to whom they are speaking that their particular issue is not really about them; it's part of a much bigger picture.

"It's not about me."  That's what Jesus is saying to Satan, as He experiences the three temptations in the desert in this Sunday's Gospel.  Satan invites Jesus to turn stones into bread.  Jesus knows that it's not about becoming a social reformer; it's about nourishing people with the Word of God. Satan challenges Jesus to make an Olympic-scale jump from the pinnacle of the temple. Jesus understands that it's not about being a sensational champion and drawing the crowd's applause; it's about doing what God wants. Satan bargains with Jesus and offers Him all the kingdoms of the world if He would worship him only.  Jesus refuses; it's not about compromising, it's about serving only one God.

During this first week of Lent, we are celebrating National Catholic Sisters Week. Women who live in religious communities and have publicly professed vows of poverty, celibacy and obedience give a striking witness to Jesus' response to temptation.  While working intensely for social justice, they invite God's people to look beyond, to that kingdom that is still to come. Although they may perform outstandingly in their ministries, they commit to a life of deep humility, seeking the glory of God.  In a culture of mixed messages and values, they exemplify what life in abundance is really all about. Women who live the consecrated life authentically put a face on today's Gospel.

So listen closely. If you are not married and are discerning where God is leading you on your journey of life, you may need to enter the desert for a while and confront not only the same temptations, but a call to the consecrated life in the Church.  This time it really could be all about you.

 

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Reflection for March 2, 2014

posted on: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 by: renaebauer

When things and attitude get in the way of God

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by Sister Annette Koss

Mammon is a neutral reference to property or anything of value. In the Gospel, mammon is presented forcefully by Matthew as a false idol, an obstacle to an intimate relationship with God. When we are engrossed with the acquisition of material goods, we are possessed by them. There is not enough room in our hearts to be possessed by God and mammon; so it is far better to be possessed by God. When I focus too much on security issues, I'm really serving a master; I am giving service to a false God that can never bring fulfillment.

Jesus invites us to trust and not to worry. To worry is to have split attention, to have a divided concern. Worry is the way we protect ourselves from getting hurt. It is also the way we look ahead to solve problems and imagine solutions.

Not to worry about material goods is to gain freedom. God is asking me not to let externals drive my choices and anxieties. I won't be able to attend to the poor and oppressed if caught up in my own needs.

"The grass of the field" is a common phrase that means something is worthless. Something we might possess is breathtaking beauty but it is only transitory. In the end it is insignificant, thrown into the fire and used for fuel. If God lavishly clothes the grass that in the end will be used for fuel, how much more will he lavish his treasures on us.

Reflection questions:
  • What are my reoccurring worries?
  • How do I deal with them?
  • What helps me to trust?

 

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Reflection for Feb. 23, 2014

posted on: Friday, February 14, 2014 by: renaebauer

Do I forgive when I am hurt?

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by Sister Rose Jochmann

In today's first reading, we receive the message that God gave to Moses, "Cherish no grudge against any of your people.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Jesus goes even further in the Gospel, "I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father."

These lines in today's Scripture can be challenging. Jesus invites us to love those who are difficult to love. It is easy to hold grudges against those who don't appreciate us, who say hurtful things, who insult us, who betray us, who exclude us. These are small "persecutions."  How do we handle them?  Do we forgive and forget?  How can we say we love God when we don't love the person next to us?

 

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Reflection for Feb. 16, 2014

posted on: Thursday, February 13, 2014 by: renaebauer

God's laws are about what to do as well as what not to do

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by Sister Ann Rehrauer

As someone who often works with Church law, today's Gospel is a gentle but clear reminder that law, even Church law, provide us with guidelines for living, but they are not the maximum for which we strive - they only give us the "bottom line."

That's true if we simply read the words of the law.  But if we look beyond the words to the values that underlie the law we see much more. "Thou shalt not kill" prohibits the intentional taking of someone's life by murder or reckless driving.  But the spirit of the law includes positive encouragement to safeguard and promote life; to help others to obtain the basic necessities of life; and the responsibility to care for our own health and person.  The commandment reminds us that all life is precious.  

In our day, we have become aware that abortion, violence, and physical abuse are threats to human life.  More recently the issue of human trafficking of vulnerable people for sexual or economic profit has come to our attention - even here in the State of Wisconsin.  Women and men, children and elders, and immigrants are trafficked and exploited sexually or economically or both, for the profit or pleasure of others.

The USCCB Committee on Immigration designated February 8, the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, as a national day of prayer for survivors and victims of human trafficking.  Our prayer should also lead us to a greater awareness and to join in action to combat this threat to life.  For more information visit the USCCB website:  www.usccb.org/stopslavery.

When we bring our gift to the altar this week, we also bring our prayer, concern, and action on behalf of the vulnerable members of our community.

 

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