Reflection for Nov. 23, 2014

posted on: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 by: renaebauer

What will your new year's resolution be next week?

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by Sister Carolyn Zahringer

The end of another liturgical year is upon us!  Where did another year go? As we look back over the year, what will we discover?  How did we make use of the 365 days given to us by our God?

At the close of each calendar year, many people make resolutions that are soon tossed aside because they weren't practical. The close of the liturgical year is an opportunity to make a leap of faith, to do something transformative, with each day. We might ask at the beginning of each day for the Holy Spirit's help to see opportunities that need our compassion and mercy. We might choose to pray at the end of the day to see how we used the day.  How much compassion and mercy was shared by us in our workplace, with our family?

Pope Francis has said numerous times that our God is a God of mercy.  If we believe that to be true, wouldn't we be just a bit more merciful to another and to ourselves? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Pope Francis is challenging our Church and the world to spread mercy and love, not destruction and hatred.

There is a song that rings out:  "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." May this song be in our hearts and on our lips as we move closer to the beginning of a new liturgical year, beginning the last Sunday of November.

 

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Reflection for Nov. 16, 2014

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

Day after day, we need to show up & be ready for the Lord

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by Sister Elise Cholewinski

From as far back as I can remember, baseball has been my favorite sport.  I've had several heroes in the game, but one of my favorites is Cal Ripken Jr., who played for the Baltimore Orioles.  He wasn't a home run hitter and I don't think he ever won a batting championship, but he did set a record.  He played in more consecutive games than any other player in baseball history.  He simply showed up, day after day after day.

In this Sunday's reading from Matthew's Gospel we hear the parable of the talents.  The servant who received the one talent hid it, and was justly punished.  He had failed to use what was given to him.  In the first reading, from the Book of Proverbs, the worthy wife is praised.  What does she do?  She does the ordinary things of daily life, reaches out her hands to the poor, and is not deceived by charm or beauty.  She simply shows up, day after day after day.

The call for us in these readings is to assess our own gifts, and to humbly share them, not seeking to win some kind of honor or affirmation.  We are to use our gifts because we have been blessed with them.  We just need to show up, day after day after day.  After all, we never know when the Lord will show up!

Reflection questions:
  • What are your gifts?
  • How can you use them on a daily basis?

 

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Reflection for Nov. 9, 2014

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

Our holiness comes from the Spirit of God which dwells within

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by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich

"The holy dwelling of the Most High" (Psalm 46.5)

At the time of Jesus, the Temple was a most sacred place where the presence of God was revealed.  This Temple was being turned into a marketplace and needed to be cleansed.  Jesus did just that and swept the Temple clean.

St. Paul reminds us that we are the "temple of God -- God's building" -- where the Most High dwells! Imagine that -- WE are God's temple!  As God's dwelling place, we may need to be swept clean at times. When we are not our best selves, Jesus is with us to cleanse us and renew us. Jesus is with us to empower us to reveal God's presence in words and actions of selfless love and compassion.

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. This basilica is the oldest and ranks first among the four major basilicas of Rome.  It is also the oldest church in the West.  It is the "pope's church" where he presides.  Since it is the cathedral of the Pope it ranks above all other churches in the Catholic Church, including St. Peter's Basilica. The first structure was built in the 4th century and remained the church where popes were consecrated until the 14th century.

As we celebrate this feast, may we remember that we are the Church, the living Temple, constantly being made new by God's love.

 

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Reflection for Nov. 2, 2014

posted on: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 by: renaebauer

For National Vocation Awareness Week, may we all listen to God's call

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by Sister Laura Zelten

A young woman recently stated how clear the invitation to follow God is in Sacred Scripture. When I asked her what she meant, she said, "Samuel was awakened in the middle of the night, Paul was knocked down and blinded on the road, and Mary had an angel come to her. For them it seems so clear and direct. Why isn't it that way for me?"

I smiled in agreement.  Sometimes the invitation to follow Jesus can seem nebulous or inaudible. But maybe the people of Scripture were listening intently and were open to God's call no matter how it came.

To hear God we might be well served to silence the noise around us. It is so easy for us to fill our days and nights with activities. Connecting with the spiritual means a daily commitment to quality prayer time. God does speak to us through Scripture, Eucharist, nature, and the people and events in our lives. Can we be like the people of Scripture and listen closely for God?  Through prayerful discernment we discover that God wants only what is good for us -- what brings wholeness and leads to holiness.

 

 

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Reflection for Oct. 26, 2014

posted on: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 by: renaebauer

Today's "to-do" list: Love God and love neighbor

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by Sister Francis Bangert

Today Jesus, the Master Teacher, responds to a trick question put to him by a religious lawyer, "Which commandment in the law is the greatest?"

There were 600+ regulations in the law of Moses. Jesus narrows them down to simply two: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." To do these two is to carry out all the others.

So who is my neighbor, according to Jesus?  To name just a few:

  • the immigrant seeking a better life
  • the homeless child facing tremendous odds
  • the woman, man, or child trafficked right under our eyes
  • the person released from incarceration, genuinely wanting to "start over"
  • the elderly neighbor, isolated and lonely

How might Green Bay, Brown County, the state of Wisconsin, the USA, our world look different if all who call themselves a follower of Jesus would live these two laws ... both in word and in action.

 

 

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Reflection for Oct. 19, 2014

posted on: Thursday, October 16, 2014 by: renaebauer

Though hidden, God comforts and loves us each day

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by Sister Mary Kabat

Have you had those experiences when for no reason at all you remember something important you had forgotten, or you run into an old friend you haven't seen in a long time and he/she says something you needed to hear, or you hear a song on the car radio that resonates with your life and brings a tear to your eye or a smile to your heart?

If you think such moments are random or purely by chance, take some time with the first reading for this Sunday from the Prophet Isaiah 45:4,6.

I, the Lord, have helped you, called you, encouraged you, rescued you, loved you ... though you knew me not.

I believe God loves us beyond our comprehension and is near and ready to give help or comfort whether we ask for it or not. Much of the time we go through life unaware or weighed down by troubles and sorrow. Let us walk through this day with a heightened awareness that our God is with us and is blessing us with good from "the rising to the setting of the sun."

 

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Reflection for Oct. 12, 2014

posted on: Tuesday, October 07, 2014 by: renaebauer

Simple acts of kindness can ease affliction for others

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by Sister Agnes Fischer

"You have done well to share with me in my affliction." (Phil. 4:14, Sunday's second reading)

-- You paid for my prescription from the doctor.
-- You brought my family food when my husband was laid off.
-- You stood up for me when I was accused unjustly.
-- You visited me when I was sick.
-- You helped me find a job.
-- You gave me a ride to church and to the grocery store.
-- You found help for me to pay the gas bill.
-- You waited patiently until I could pay the rent.
-- You comforted me when my mother died.
-- You allowed me to work for you even though I had to bring my child along.
-- You carried my groceries to the car.
-- You raked the leaves in my yard and kept my sidewalk clean in winter.

"... God, in return, will supply all your needs." (Phil 4:19)

 

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Reflection for Oct. 5, 2014

posted on: Monday, September 29, 2014 by: renaebauer

Like our fall harvest, we are to be the good fruits of God's vineyard

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by Sister Ann Rehrauer

The Parable of the Vineyard in Matthew is one in a series in chapters 21 and 22, describing the Kingdom of God.  It's a perfect reading for this time of the year when all of us are focused on harvesting the vegetables from our gardens, or purchasing the fruits of others' labor at farmers' markets.  We know how hard we work to facilitate growth and how much we look forward to the good things we've planted and nurtured.  We also know how disappointed we are if drought or birds or bugs destroy our crops.

God planted a vineyard (Israel) and expected a fruitful harvest of justice and care for the poor.  Instead, the "tenants" of the vineyard gave back little.  When God sent the prophets and finally his own Son to call the people to greater responsibility, they treated the messengers badly and even killed some.  So God's promise and choice passed to a new people, the Church.

As members of this "new Israel," you and I are called to bring forth the fruits enumerated by Paul in his letter to the Philippians: being honorable, just and gracious -- doing what we have learned and seen and heard from the Scriptures and from the example of the apostles and all true believers.

This week as we enjoy fresh tomatoes, squash, and other garden produce, may it remind us that we are called to be the harvest of justice for God's Kingdom -- which includes graciously sharing what we have and who we are with those in need.

 

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Reflection for Sept. 28, 2014

posted on: Thursday, September 25, 2014 by: renaebauer

An open heart is the first step to integrating God's ways

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by Carla Schommer
St. Francis Convent Director

Jesus asks a question of faith, not one of social standing, character or reputation: Which son did the will of the Father?  Openness and repentance are the keys that lead us to the change of mind and heart drawing us ever closer to God. Which of the two sons are you more like? We are all sinners and perhaps we are a little bit like both.  Often we can be like the first brother, or like the tax collectors and prostitutes Jesus references, and openly say no with both our words and our ways.  Then, like them, we have a change of mind and heart, repent, and do the work God asks.  Other times we can be self-righteous like the second son, or the Pharisees, and pay lip-service to God's call.

Like it or not, we argue with God.  It is our human struggle.  We ask, "Lord, teach us your ways."  We pray, "Lord, Thy will be done."  Yet, often our actions say, "Lord, Thy will be changed!" because our words say "yes" but our lives say "no."  Our ways need to be God's ways.  Our attitudes need to be ones that exemplify the mind and heart of Jesus.  Our intimate self-interest is in loving others.

May our relationship with others be marked by unity, love, humility and consideration for the interests of others.  Peace in our families, communities and world, and eternal life with our God will be the fruits when our ways are God's ways.

 

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Reflection for Sept. 21, 2014

posted on: Thursday, September 18, 2014 by: renaebauer

God's peace and generosity is offered to all

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by Sister Jacqueline Capelle

Today's Gospel tells us the story of a peaceful and generous vineyard owner. When it was time to harvest the grapes, he went out many times during the day to hire workers. At the end of the day he paid all the workers the same amount. The people were overcome with amazement. The owner of the vineyard was a generous and peaceful person.

Sunday is International Day of Peace. We are seeing more and more violence in our world. To end this we start with ourselves -- each of us has to ask ourselves if we are leading a life of violence. If we say "yes" then we must unlearn the ways of violence and cultivate nonviolence. If we each do this, we can make steps to change our violent world. On International Day of Peace, find one way to bring nonviolence into your life, such as attending our Peace Vigil, and encourage those you know or live with to do the same.

Universal Peace Prayer

Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill my heart, my world, my universe.

 

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