Reflection for April 26, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 by: renaebauer

The Good Shepherd always cares for His flock

We invite you to take a few minutes and gaze upon the image below. Consider one or each reflective question.

Reflective questions:

  1. When have I heard the Good Shepherd call to me? How did I respond?
  2. Jesus says the Good Shepherd protects the sheep when danger looms whereas the hired hand runs away. When have I been like the hired hand? When have I been like the shepherd?
  3. Jesus says, "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd." What does this mean to me?

2015-04-26 Good Shepherd

 

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Reflection for April 19, 2015

posted on: Thursday, April 16, 2015 by: renaebauer

Yesterday, today, forever: Jesus' resurrection is part of God's loving plan

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by Sister Mary Kabat

Alleluia!  The celebration of Easter continues, and we joyfully hear the stories of Easter proclaimed week by week.  Do you have a favorite -- Jesus with Mary Magdalene in the garden, Jesus with the apostles in the locked upper room, or Jesus walking with the disciples to Emmaus?

The Scripture readings this Sunday of Easter remind us that the story of Easter is a definitive moment in God's great plan of salvation.  Peter's words from the Acts of the Apostles remind us that our God is "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, and the God of our fathers." (Acts 3:13)  In the Gospel, Jesus comforts and opens the minds of the disciples by explaining "that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled." (Luke 24:44)

As you reflect on the Easter stories, hear the fulfillment of salvation history in the Resurrection of Jesus and the unfolding of the resurrected life to this moment in our personal and communal salvation story.  Rejoice in God's plan of love that has been, that is ongoing to this moment of time and look forward to one day sharing fully in the resurrected life and fullness of God's love.

 

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Reflection for April 12, 2015

posted on: Thursday, April 09, 2015 by: renaebauer

When all hope appears to be gone, Jesus proves otherwise

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by Sister Carolyn Zahringer

The setting for today's Gospel is the evening of the first day of the week when the disciples (though not all) were together in a locked room. Jesus has been put to death. Why isn't Thomas with them? Do you wonder what he was doing? What was he thinking? Whatever pushed him to be out "searching" in the darkness of evening for "something"?

Jesus enters the locked room and stands in their midst. He didn't knock to get their attention, he merely appears. What would that have felt like to be there that evening?  Jesus comes and stands in the circle of their fear and wishes them peace.

Today is the second Sunday for us to celebrate the "EASTER" event, we practice becoming brave to move out from behind our own locked doors to celebrate the fact that Jesus is ALIVE! We are surrounded by the love and mercy of God in the person and gift of Jesus. Through Jesus' wounds we are healed and made whole -- a miracle in time.

Jesus comes to visit us in our "Thomas" moments of questioning and searching. In each Eucharistic moment, may we find the courage and grace to utter with Thomas: "My Lord and My God."

 

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Reflection for April 5, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 by: renaebauer

Proclaim Alleluiah with 'great-fulness' this Easter

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by Sister Rose Marie Buscemi

Resurrection means ... the Breaking of Bread, sharing Christ's life and learning to love one another.

Resurrection is ... God's gift of nature, the singing of birds, the smell of green grass and colored flowers -- with warm sunshine chasing the chill.

Resurrection means ... forgiveness and the ability to say, "I am sorry.'

Resurrection is .. the joy of laughing children searching for colored eggs, Easter baskets and family get-togethers.

Resurrection is ... God's love in friendships, a feeling of togetherness and laughter shared.

Resurrection is ... that time to remember God has called each of us by name.

Easter, the greatest Feast of all feasts, is a time to give thanks and praise to God, for the glory of Christ's Resurrection. With "great-fulness" for the gifts He has bestowed upon us, we say, "Thank you, God!"

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Reflection for March 29, 2015

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

Palm Sunday

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.

Reflective questions:

  1. How have I prepared for Jesus this Easter and beyond?
  2. How have I shared His message of salvation with others?

2015-Palm-Sunday-Reflective-Image-440px

 

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Reflection for March 22, 2015

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

Dying and rising: Jesus models obedience to God so that we may have salvation

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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?

 

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Reflection for March 15, 2015

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

Who prefers the dark? Stepping into the light of Christ is a daily decision

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"God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life." (John 3:16)

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 good.

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 never ends.

 

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Reflection for March 8, 2015

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

Great Expectations: We hear Christ better when we set aside our assumptions

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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 everlasting life."

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 Jesus.

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 the message.

Reflection questions:
  1. 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?
  2. 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?

 

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Reflection for March 1, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 by: renaebauer

Transfiguration: Taking up one's cross is part of the journey to glory

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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 the assembly.
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 suffering servant,
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 message.
Peter preferred to build three tents and prolong the experience.

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 them:
to deny Jesus was to live but ultimately lose life,
to follow Jesus was to risk death but gain life.

Reflection questions:
  1. What has been a "mountaintop" experience for me?
  2. Did I want to stay there and prolong the experience?
  3. Did it lead me to service and maybe some suffering?

 

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Reflection for Feb. 22, 2015

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

Fasting, praying, almsgiving make room for God in each of us

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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?
Reflection questions:
  1. What is your heart seeking during this most holy season?
  2. What is God asking of you?

 

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