Reflection for July 5, 2015

posted on: Friday, June 26, 2015 by: renaebauer

Respond to the Holy Spirit's call even when questions prevade

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by Sister Donna Koch

As I pondered the Scriptures for this Sunday my mind kept going back to the recent encyclical of Pope Francis titled " Laudato Si." His words regarding the environment challenge all of us to make choices which will serve the needs of the poor and provide for the needs of future generations. So often we can get caught up in our own wants of the here and now and harden our hearts to what is the decision for the greater good. We may also feel that our actions can't make a difference so why bother.

The prophet Ezekiel in today's first reading is essentially told to go where the Spirit sends him, speak God's word, and not worry about what someone else thinks or does. Likewise, St. Paul is told that no matter what difficulties come his way, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness."

Not everyone in today's Gospel agrees with Jesus. They question the source of His wisdom, His teachings and His deeds. Even He is amazed by their lack of faith, acceptance and understanding.

Each of us might ask: When have I experienced lack of acceptance and understanding? How did I respond? What choices is the Spirit calling me to make? How am I responding to the needs of others and creation so that future generations may live in a healthy environment?

 

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Reflection for June 28, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 by: renaebauer

Jesus became poor to be among us and to give us God's richness

When you have a few minutes, gaze upon the image below which features one of the stained-glass windows at our Motherhouse. Then consider one or each reflective question.

Reflective questions:

  1. In the first reading from the Book of Wisdom, we hear that God formed us to be imperishable. How does this alter your outlook on death?
  2. The second reading describes Jesus as once rich but became poor for us. Do you see yourself as rich because of your faith?
  3. In Mark's Gospel, Jesus instructs us not to be afraid but rather to have faith, then he awakens a child who everyone believes is dead. Does this comfort you as you reflect on the death of a loved one?

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Reflection for June 21, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, June 17, 2015 by: renaebauer

As Jesus calms the stormy seas he, too, calms life's rough waters

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by Sister Madonna Swintkoske

Whenever I read this Scripture passage of Jesus calming the storm, I think of the time our family walked to my grandmother's in the winter.  When we came to the river, I would not cross the ice until my mother said, "Would your father take you anywhere that would harm you?"  My fears were calmed and I crossed to the other side with my family.

The event of this Scripture account is not something which happened once; it is something which still happens and which can happen for us.  In the presence of Jesus we can have peace even in the wildest storms of life.  Jesus gives us peace in the storms of anxiety.  Enemies of peace are worry and fear.  But Jesus tells us of a Father who will never cause us to fear or worry.  In the storm of anxiety Jesus brings us the peace of a loving Father.

For Father's Day we thank God for our earthly fathers and for God our heavenly Father.

 

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Reflection for June 14, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 by: renaebauer

Even the smallest seed of faith can grow and great things

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by Sister Francis Bangert

In these early summer days when we are taken up with planting seeds, watching mysterious growth and anticipating a fruitful harvest, we hear in both the first and third Scripture readings for Sunday how growing God's reign is like planting a new shoot or a tiny mustard seed.

The Reign of God is living in the spiritual realities of truth, justice, goodness, and love. And like a tiny mustard seed that grows into maturity providing shelter for the birds of the sky, so the growing Reign of God reaches out and welcomes all to live in peace and harmony.

All of us are mustard seeds. With time and proper nourishment, we grow into adulthood, living more fully in the truth of who we are, living in right relationship with others and with Mother Earth, living in the goodness that is God, living in the spirit of loving one another.

As we tend our flowers and gardens these days, consider the following:  How am I using the precious gift of time to create harmony through nonviolence in my relationships with others, especially with those who look, speak, think differently than I? With Mother Earth?

 

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Reflection for June 7, 2015

posted on: Thursday, June 04, 2015 by: renaebauer

Simple bread and wine seal God's covenant with us through Jesus

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by Sister Laura Zelten

Today's readings have two threads running through them: blood and covenant. The first reading is a dramatic scene from Mount Sinai. In the aftermath of the exodus, God summoned the people into a covenant relationship: He would be their God, and they His people. Being in God's special protection, Israel was called through the commandments to proclaim God's holiness to the nations (Lev 19:2). This covenant relationship was sealed with the blood from sacrificial animals -- "the blood of the covenant" -- symbolic of the force and energy of life. Half of the blood was sprinkled on the altar representing God's presence, and half on the people. God and Israel were united and committed to one another.

In Mark's version of the Last Supper Jesus breaks bread and pours out wine -- actions of his self-giving love on the cross -- and offers them to his friends as his Body and Blood. Jesus calls it "my blood of the covenant," echoing the words of Moses. Through Christ's loving self-gift, God invites all of us into a special relationship with Him, into "a new covenant." We are to bear witness to God's holiness and love. As the end of today's responsorial psalm suggests, we are to be a Eucharistic people in the presence of all.

  • Does my life reflect the joy of knowing and receiving the gift of God's love poured forth through Jesus' offering of his Body and Blood?
  • Do I appreciate that the Eucharist makes me part of a community, the very body of Christ?
  • Do I bring this gift to others?

Today is a wondrous feast. Let us celebrate it with joy and thanksgiving (the meaning of the word "Eucharist"). And let us share with others the amazing gift we receive every time we gather to hear God's Word and come to the Lord's Table.

 

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Reflection for May 31, 2015

posted on: Thursday, May 28, 2015 by: renaebauer

Fix your heart on God for we are His heirs

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

Reflective questions:

  1. Keep God's commandment, says Moses to the people. Is God's law my law?
  2. The Holy Spirit leads us to God's great glory. Have I proclaimed this?
  3. "Go make disciples," Jesus instructs the faithful. Whom have I welcomed?

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Reflection for May 24, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 by: renaebauer

Pentecost nudges us to remember the Holy Spirit is with us

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by Sister Rose Jochmann

Sunday we will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. We have been celebrating Easter for 50 days. What has life been like for you during these six weeks?

Pentecost celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Some call this feast the "Birth of the Church". Today's first reading states that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit enabled them to preach the mighty acts of God. After the coming of the Holy Spirit the disciples had the courage to preach about Jesus' mission, life, death and resurrection to everyone.

Do you depend on the Holy Spirit? I do. How do I recognize the Spirit? When I receive little nudges to do or say something good, when I get inspirations and new insights, I realize that they do not come from me. I credit those inspirations to the Holy Spirit. I like to think of the Holy Spirit as the "Wow" God.

So, this week, be open to the little nudges of the Holy Spirit in your life. According to the alternate reading from Galatians, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

 

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Reflection for May 17, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 by: renaebauer

'I shall not leave you orphans' is Jesus' promise to us

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by Sister Renee Delvaux

Did you know that the Ascension of the Lord is not one isolated event, and that Jesus did not float up into the sky on a white cloud? When we read in Acts that "a cloud took him from their sight" and in Mark's Gospel that the "Lord Jesus ... was taken up into heaven" it means that Jesus is totally and forever reunited with His Father. In Scripture a cloud is very often a symbol for God, so God the Father took His incarnate Son back to Himself.

The Ascension is a part of the Paschal mystery in which Jesus' death, Resurrection, Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit form one single movement. The Church highlights these events so we can celebrate each profound mystery throughout the 50 days, from Easter Sunday until Pentecost (which is next Sunday).

The beauty of Jesus' Ascension, His triumph and glorification is that it is a promise that with Jesus we will have everlasting life in God. Jesus promises that He has prepared a place for us and we will join Him. Moreover, He assures us with "I shall not leave you orphans" (Jn 14:3). He is with us now and we will join Him later. What total gift, what self-giving love! What reason we have for joy!

Alleluia! We rejoice in Jesus' Ascension! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

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Reflection for May 10, 2015

posted on: Tuesday, May 05, 2015 by: renaebauer

Remembering and imitating God's profound love is our call

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by Sister Laura Zelten

On Sunday we will celebrate Mother's Day, so it is very fitting to hear Jesus' commandment to love one another -- a love that is like God's love. "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love." (John 15:9)

We are called to be like God -- the God who has a passion for love and justice, the God who is concerned for all of creation, the God who has a special concern for the poor.

Throughout chapter 15, John calls our attention to the fundamental theme of all the gospels: Love. Jesus invites us to fall in love, to live in love.  To know, taste and feel the strength of love -- all in the midst of our humanity. Yes, just as we are, Jesus calls us to love one another.

Reflection questions:
  1. Have you met a person who loves everybody in an all-inclusive way? How has this person's love affected you?
  2. Have you experienced the love of a mother figure in your life? How has this experience helped you to love other people?

 

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Reflection for May 3, 2015

posted on: Thursday, April 30, 2015 by: renaebauer

With whom do you eat bread?

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by Sister Agnes Fischer

In Sunday's second reading St. John reminds us to love one another, not in words only but in deeds. We can practice that love by dedicating a little of our time to accompany someone in need. "Accompany" comes from the Latin "eat bread together". The bread might be hard and bitter or soft and delicious, but either way it should be eaten in fraternity. "Accompany" indicates a good heart and a great spirit. "Accompany" may mean:

  • Drive a sick person to the doctor -- and stay with her
  • Invite a friend to church
  • Visit a senior who is homebound or hospitalized
  • Offer solidarity to an unemployed acquaintance
  • Lend a hand to someone blind or incapacitated
  • Give aid (with a smile) to a homeless man
  • Invite a lonely person to dinner
  • Attend the wake of a co-worker's relative
Prayer:

Almighty ever-living God, constantly accomplish the Paschal Mystery within us, that those you were pleased to make new in Holy Baptism may, under your protective care, bear much fruit and come to the joys of life eternal. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

(from the collect for the 5th Sunday of Easter. ©2010 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.)

 

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