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.

 

1 comment


Reflection for Aug. 17, 2014

posted on: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 by: renaebauer

Mom's persistence says volumes about her faith in Jesus

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by Sister Paulette Hupfauf

The scriptures this Sunday display differing aspects of Jesus' ministry.

Isaiah says, "Observe what is right, do what is just for my salvation is about to come. Foreigners join themselves to the Lord… will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all my people."

Then in Matthew we hear the story of Jesus and the Canaanite woman (a foreigner) begging for healing for her daughter. Initially, the disciples suggest to Jesus that he send her away. It is the determination of the woman, who says, "Lord, help me."  Jesus says, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." Her daughter was healed.

What a great example the Canaanite woman is for us! She persists as she has great faith that Jesus is kind and merciful. She does not give up in adversity. When we have a need and ask Jesus in prayer, we can follow her example and, with determination, persist. Our God is a loving God!

 

5 comments


Reflection for Aug. 10, 2014

posted on: Thursday, August 07, 2014 by: renaebauer

Keeping our eyes on the Lord helps us navigate life's storms

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by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich

Our Gospel for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time brings us to the sea.  Jesus invited Peter to walk on water to come to him.  Peter believed he would be able to do that and he stepped out of the boat to join Jesus.  As long as he looked to Jesus, he walked on the water.  When he focused on the strong winds and the waves, he sank.  He looked to Jesus for help and Jesus' hand brought him to safety.  He knew that Jesus had the power to save him and he did just that.

We celebrate with our Jubilarians who, like Peter, took a risk to follow the Lord.  They left the security of their homes and all that was familiar to them to step out and join Jesus.

In good times and not so good times, they have tried to keep their focus on the Lord.  In the storms of life and the calm moments, they have given their all.  They, like Peter, know that Jesus has taken them by the hand through all the experiences of their lives.  They also know that Jesus continues to walk with them as they journey through this life.

Let us thank our God for these women who have served God's people and have given us all a wonderful example of faith, dedication and selfless love!

 

5 comments


Reflection for Aug. 3, 2014

posted on: Thursday, July 31, 2014 by: renaebauer

God's infinite mercy is woven throughout the ages

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by Sister Carolyn Zahringer

Sunday's readings are wonderfully complementary. They invite, respond, bless and surprise!

Isaiah's words invite us to come -- come heedfully to the Lord and listen - so that we may have life. To what depth of life do these words summon us?

The responsorial psalm states:  "The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs." How does this happen in the everyday moments of our lives?

In St. Paul's letter to the Romans, Paul tries to calm all questions with his conviction ... "For I am convinced that ... nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." How convinced are we of God's everlasting love for us?

The Gospel is Matthew's version of the feeding of the 5,000 (not counting women and children). Jesus has been spiritually feeding everyone with his teachings. The people gathered are physically hungry.  The disciples have five loaves and two fish only.  What is that for so many?  They learn it is enough when blessed and shared.  The surprise twist is they gather up 12 baskets of leftovers!  What marvelous "meal(s)" have we experienced recently?

 

3 comments


Reflection for July 27, 2014

posted on: Thursday, July 24, 2014 by: renaebauer

Longing for God can inspire pearls of wisdom

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by Carla Schommer
St. Francis Convent Director

When the Lord told Solomon in a dream to ask Him for anything and it will be given, Solomon did not ask for riches, or a long life, or the life of his enemies. Solomon asked God for an understanding heart.  He asked God for the wisdom of an understanding heart to judge God's people and to know right from wrong. Solomon asked God for wisdom to govern God's people well.

Our faith teaches us that wisdom is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1845).  St. Paul refers to wisdom as a virtue in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 12:8-10), and clarifies the difference between worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom (1 Cor 1:17-31).  Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.  It involves an ability to control one's emotions and to understand people, things, events and situations.

Looking at the events of the world, the discourse in government, and even of our daily life, I wonder if any of us are asking for the gift of wisdom as did Solomon?  I wonder if what we often want most is selfish and self-serving: possessions, security, power, pleasure, comfort?

In our Gospel Jesus likens the kingdom to a merchant who sells all he has in order to buy one really valuable pearl.  What would our world be like if the one really valuable pearl would be the wisdom Solomon asks for?  Perhaps we would understand our enemies, have world peace based on justice for all, care for the poor, be in communion with each other and learn to live in Christ Jesus.  For Christ gives us something far greater than the wisdom God gave Solomon.  For each of us open to Christ, Christ gives us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and everlasting life with the Lord.

 

6 comments


Reflection for July 20, 2014

posted on: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by: renaebauer

Seeds vs. weeds: Which one is thriving in your faith garden?

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by Sister Mary Kabat

Are there changes you wish to make in your life -- exercise regularly, eat healthier, improve a relationship, take more time for prayer, read a good book?  We all know there are changes that would be good for us and we wonder why we just don't do them.  There are also things we are doing that we know would be better for us not to do.  They aren't necessarily hard changes; we just don't do them.

That comes to mind as I reflect on the Gospel of this Sunday.  Jesus gives us three parables.  Each one gives us the opportunity to identify with something in the story or to let the lesson sink into our heart and change us.

I am staying with the parable of the man who sowed good seed in his field only to discover weeds growing with the wheat.  I can identify.  There is "good seed" in me, but there are "weeds" as well.  The parable says that it could do more harm than good to pull out all the weeds as the good seed is growing.  However, I think I could pull one or two of my weeds and put a good seed in their place.  I have a few weeds in mind.  Do you?

 

4 comments


Reflection for July 13, 2014

posted on: Wednesday, July 09, 2014 by: renaebauer

Tender care of our hearts and minds allows God's seeds to bear fruit

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by Sister Agnes Fischer

In Sunday's Gospel, Jesus talks about seeds eaten by birds, dried up by the sun, choked by thorns, and about seeds that produce good fruit.

Watch out for the birds, the drying sun, the thorns ...

  • With so many soap operas telling us that marriage triangles are normal, how does our own fidelity to our vows bear fruit among our extended family members?
  • With so many commercials telling us what to buy, how is the responsible use of our family resources an example to others?
  • With so much violence in movies, TV and video games, how do we teach our children to live in peace with themselves and those around them?
  • With so much acrimony among our elected officials, how do we exercise our rights and duties as informed citizens?
  • With so much mistrust of those different from us, what do we do to welcome immigrants, people of other religions, sexual orientation, color, ethnicity, etc. into our lives?

... so that the seeds of God's Word can take root and bear fruit.

 

8 comments


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