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.

 

 

4 comments


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.

 

5 comments


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.

 

2 comments


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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Reflection for Sept. 14, 2014

posted on: Thursday, September 11, 2014 by: renaebauer

Holy Cross Feast celebrates historical, spiritual significance

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by Sister Renee Delvaux

This Sunday is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which celebrates three historical events: the finding of the true cross by St. Helena, the dedication of the basilica built on Calvary by Constantine, and the restoration of the true cross to Jerusalem.

The spiritual celebration of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is a remembrance and celebration of God's greatest work:  His Son Jesus' saving death on the cross and His resurrection.  The holy cross is the symbol of salvation, divine love and compassion:  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life." (Jn 3: 16)

How do we respond to this awesome outpouring of love? We fall on our knees and humbly pray:

"We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,
because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world."

 

2 comments


Reflection for Sept. 7, 2014

posted on: Thursday, September 04, 2014 by: renaebauer

Sunday's readings have much to say about human trafficking

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by Sister Annette Koss

Wisconsin is the third highest state in the U.S. for human trafficking, according to local police. Milwaukee and Highway 41 increase this corridor of evil.

On September 11, a group of 11 persons, our sisters and members of Holy Spirit Parish, Darboy-Kimberly, will attend the 2014 Women's Fund Annual Luncheon at the Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton. This awareness and fund-raising event will be filled to capacity with 1,000 people in attendance! The featured speaker is Rachel Lloyd, trafficked at 16 and a now survivor and leader. In 1998, at just 25, she founded GEMS, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services. Rachel made an indelible impact to shift the perception of trafficked girls from criminals to victims and now to survivors and leaders. She co-produced the documentary "Very Young Girls," and wrote the book "Girls Like Us." Rachel has advocated for survivors at the White House, the United Nations and before Congress. The GEMS training program will coming to the Fox Cities this year.

In our readings for the 23rd Sunday, Ezekiel strongly encouraged us to warn the wicked, the psalmist says that we should harden not our hearts, Matthew tells us to gather together in the name of Jesus, and Paul makes it clear that love does no evil to the neighbor.

Reflection questions:

  1. What can I do to become educated and increase awareness about human trafficking?
  2. How can I be supportive and take action against it?
  3. How can we gather and go forth on the promise of Jesus to be with us in all the circumstances of our lives?

 

5 comments


Reflection for Aug. 31, 2014

posted on: Thursday, August 28, 2014 by: renaebauer

Paradise in our Father's house requires dispensing of this world

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by Renae Bauer
Communications  Director

Self-preservation is instinctual, which is probably why Sunday's readings are so challenging.  They speak of losing everything "here" in return for everything "there." Why does Jesus ask us to sacrifice so much?

The full answer isn't necessarily ours to know. After saying, "(W)hoever loses his life for my sake will find it," Jesus explains, "For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father's glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct." We are not to conform to this age; we are to prepare for something more to come. Yet, none of us knows what exactly heaven or eternal life is like.

Perhaps we'd be more willing to give up everything if we understood exactly what we will receive in return. But that's not going to happen, as far as I know. I'd like to believe that the sweetness of eternal life is not ours to know today because our minds can't comprehend how amazing it is. Even so, Scripture hints at what heaven is like: Our Father's house (John 14:2); paradise (2 Cor. 12:4); and a dimension that is free of tears, pain and death (Rev. 21:4).

When, because of my faith, I feel "duped" or the "object of laughter" (as described in Jeremiah) I need to remember another passage from Jeremiah: "The Lord  is with me, like a mighty champion" (20:11). His aid alone makes all things possible.

3 comments


Reflection for Aug. 24, 2014

posted on: Thursday, August 21, 2014 by: renaebauer

Time reveals and deepens the answer to 'Who do you say that I am?'

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by Sister Margaret Mary Halbach

Our Gospel for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time gives the question of "Who do you say that I am?"

I remember reflecting on this question many times during my annual retreat. Our answer grows in us as we grow older and have various experiences. Everything we do and are is a result of listening to the Lord in our lives and speaking His words in our ministry.

This year a very dear friend of ours celebrated her 75th jubilee as a Sister in our Community. She has been a part of my life since I entered. I asked her if she answers the question, "Who is Jesus?" differently today than when she first entered. She said she answers it the same but over the years it has deepened in her heart. Experience gave her a greater perspective of the Lord being a close part of her life's journey. She said she appreciates all the Lord has done for her.

Peter answered the Lord by listening to the Spirit in his heart. Peter proclaims Jesus as the "Messiah, the Son of the living God." In return, Jesus makes Peter "the rock" or foundation on which the Church continues to grow. May your answer to who Jesus is deepen in your hearts and proclaim it wholeheartedly.

 

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