Reflection for Dec. 21, 2014

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

Rejoice! Jesus is with us -- always!

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by Sister Rose Jochmann

Can you believe it? Christmas is just a few days away!  How is your Advent preparation going? Have you had some time to remember what the season is about?  

Christmas is the culmination of our Advent preparation. We celebrate that Jesus, the Son of God, came to live among us, to take on our humanness. That means Jesus knows our human suffering, our human pain, our challenges with relationships. But, Jesus also knows our human joy, our human happiness, and the beauty of relationships. More than that, at Christmas we celebrate that Jesus continues to live with each of us. Jesus promised us, as recorded in Matthew's Gospel, that he will be with us always, until the end of time.

So, as you finish your preparations for Christmas, don't let yourself get stressed and anxious.  Remember that the Lord is near -- the Lord is with you. Rejoice!  Bring that good news to all those you meet on Christmas and throughout the Christmas season.

 

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Reflection for Dec. 14, 2014

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

How to 'rejoice always' -- even during difficult times

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by Sister Madonna Swintkoske

In the letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, he tells us to "Rejoice always." As we hear the news and talk with others, it may seem impossible to rejoice, because we hear about riots, killings, war, abuse, sickness, death.  

To rejoice always does not necessarily mean to feel happy; but more finding our source of joy and expressing thanks.  Today we rejoice in preparation for Christ who is both coming again and is already here among us.  To find our source of joy is to find God in our lives, to rejoice in God's love and to place our hope in Him.

In all the struggles and stress that we encounter it helps that we accompany each other, helping one another.  Rejoicing is something we do by reaching out to each other. In the Gospel John the Baptist identifies Jesus as the Messiah, the one anointed by the Spirit, who brings glad tidings to the poor, heals the brokenhearted and brings liberty to captives.  We have reason to rejoice -- The Lord is near!

 

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Reflection for Dec. 7, 2014

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

Do you hear what I hear? Prophets call us to get ready for Jesus

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by Sister Mary Ellen Lowney

It is my privilege to reflect with you on the readings for the Second Sunday of Advent. I find it helps to have a setting for the readings. Today the first reading is from Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet. The second is from Peter -- New Testament. The Gospel according to Mark is about John the Baptist and his message to us.

Isaiah firmly believed the Word of God at the time of the fall of Adam and Eve when he said, "I will send the promised one, the Messiah." What is God saying to you and me about proclaiming the Word of God during this Advent season? To paraphrase Isaiah, "Speak tenderly, give comfort, cry out the Good News."

St. Peter says, "With God there is no time," an often repeated statement. How do I control my time? Do I hoard my time or do I easily give my time to those in need? Do I spend time in prayer and in providing for family and neighbor and in thanksgiving for all that is?

Mark's Gospel announces that Jesus, the Messiah, is here, and his cousin John urges us to change those ways that distance us from Jesus. Let's you and I ask for the grace to listen carefully to the words of God proclaimed in the Gospel.

I'm searching to know my areas for repentance. How about you?

Thank you kindly and a Blessed Christmas!

 

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Reflection for Nov. 30, 2014

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

Be watchful! Remain alert, for Jesus is among us!

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by Sister Sally Ann Brickner

Early Christians experienced sadness after Christ's Ascension, and longed for Him to reappear in all His glory. They remembered Christ's promise to return and anticipated that His Second Coming was imminent. Surely it would happen in their lifetime, and therefore they watched and waited eagerly.

Today, many people believe that wars, natural disasters, diseases and other catastrophes fulfill certain prophesies about the End Time and Jesus's Second Coming. Like the early disciples they expect that Christ will soon reappear, perhaps even within their lifetime.

Jesus does invite us to be watchful, to be alert to His manifestation. However, we know that His coming is not a future event but an ever-present reality. Jesus is both within and among us even though He hides His face from us. During this time of Advent we "wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 1:7). Will we see Him disguised in those who are poor, who are hungry, who are suffering, who are ignorant, whom we consider to be our enemies? We need to be attentive, watchful, and alert for Christ who is among us even now.

Prayer

"Grant your faithful, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at His coming." (from the collect for the 1st Sunday of Advent. ©2010 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.)

 

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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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