Weekly Reflections

Reflection for Nov. 11, 2018

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Two little coins

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This week's Gospel focuses on giving our all to God

by Sister Laura Zelten

Almost no one noticed her. I mean, who would? As the rich entered the temple, their gifts clanged so loudly that every head turned to see who was putting in. That was the whole point, wasn't it? To be seen. To be seen as generous. To be seen as holy. To be seen at places of honor.

But her two little coins barely registered above the din of conversation taking place next to the large metal horn in which gifts were deposited.

Almost no one noticed her. Almost no one. The one who did knew the woman's coins were all she had to live on.  He recognized the enormity of her sacrifice as he contemplated giving his whole life on a cross.

The widow of the Gospel had a generous heart. She looked outward to the needs of others and gave all that she could. She shared because it was the right thing to do.

We rejoice in the message of Jesus. It challenges us to be the loving energy of God for the world, for those who are near and for those who are far away. We are the ones to show God’s care for creation, justice, peace and reconciliation and to give time to God in prayer – to ensure a space and time for God each day.


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Comments:

CommentBubbleI love the idea that no one noticed her. And she didn't do anything to be noticed. I can picture the noise the others made, making sure everyone noticed what they were doing. Wonderful. Jesus notices everything. So whatever I give, as long as I'm doing my best for the best of others, I will be noticed by the One who matters most. Thanks for your reflections. Always thought provoking. -- Kathy

CommentBubbleI could picture what you were saying, would that we could always be so generous. Your reflections are always good and to the point. Thank you. -- Irene Whatley

 

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Reflection for Nov. 4, 2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Two sides of a coin

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The greatest commandment is to love God and others

by Sister Rose Jochmann

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is asked “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replies, “The first is this: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Then Jesus went right on to say that the second commandment is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:29-31)

The message is clear. The commandments to love God and to love our neighbor are inseparable.  They are like two sides of one coin. In the First Letter of St. John we are asked, “How can we love God whom we have not seen if we do not love our neighbor whom we see?” (Paraphrased from 1 John 4:20)

Some suggestions for ways we can grow in our love of God and neighbor:

  • Set aside quiet time to be with God in prayer. Allow God to speak to us about loving our neighbor.
  • Take a moment to see the gift of each person, especially the person we find difficult to love.
  • Be fully present to the person speaking with us here and now.
  • Be present at this very moment, no matter where we are or what we are doing.

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Comments:

CommentBubbleSr. Rose, thank you for your thoughts for Sunday! Good ones to post on our mirror! -- Joan

 

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Reflection for Oct. 28, 2018

Thursday, October 25, 2018

'Jesus, son of David, have pity on me'

Bartimaeus asks for mercy and demonstrates discipleship to us

"Master, I want to see."

In Sunday’s Gospel, the blind man recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, the only one who can help him. In response, Jesus tells the man he needs no help; his faith is enough.

Reflection questions:
  1. How do I see Jesus?
  2. How does Jesus see me?
  3. Faith is enough. How do I express this through my words and actions?

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Comments:

CommentBubbleIf, in a certain sense, our faith begins with a personal request, "Master, I want to see," at what point does it become more cosmic in scope, as in, "Master, 'WE' need to see with deeper insight, with an ever-more expanding view, and with greater clarity in what it means to be One-in-You?"

"You are not (only) a drop in the Ocean, you are the entire Ocean in a drop.” ~Rumi

Or, as Mary said to the bed-ridden boy in the story/movie, "The Secret Garden," when she was describing to him what it's like when you really start to 'SEE,' "It's as if you've swallowed the whole universe, and the whole universe is living inside you!" -- Linda

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Reflection for Oct. 21, 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Wherever you go, whatever you do

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The missionary life is for all followers of Jesus Christ

by Sister Jane Riha

Do you consider yourself a person with a mission in life? As a follower of Jesus, we are each called to be a missionary disciple. As we celebrate Mission Sunday today, Pope Francis calls us to reflect on our vocation as individuals. “I am a mission on this Earth; that is the reason why I am here in this world.” (The Joy of the Gospel, #273)

This special day coincides with the Synod of Bishops’ gathering with many young people representative of the global community. As Church, we are of different generations, cultures, languages and perspectives. A faith community with such animation and inspiration can surely bring the Gospel to all whom we meet. 

A disciple proclaims Jesus wherever he/she lives and works. Some persons may be called to serve people in other lands or in the home missions of our own country. Some persons make temporary mission trips to assist those living in poverty. Most of us live ordinary lives with family and friends the majority of time. To live our personal vocation well with compassion, self-sacrifice, and outreach to those on the margins in our own area can be a great challenge.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us the way of humility. Jesus teaches us that embracing God’s call means that: “The cup that I drink of you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized.” Walking humbly with our God as we are “mission on this Earth” will be challenging, it will require sacrifice.  We will be blessed with God’s empowerment and an ever closer relationship with Jesus Christ.

Blessings to all our companions on  the journey!


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Reflection for Oct. 14, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The dimmer switch effect

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Awakening to the fullness of Jesus' call is a lifelong journey

by Sister Elise Cholewinski

In a book that I recently finished reading the author makes the distinction between the term “spiritual experience” and the term “spiritual awakening”. He explains a spiritual experience as a one-time event involving a sudden change. It can be compared to a person walking into a dark room and turning on the light switch. He describes a spiritual awakening as a gradual change. It’s like walking into a dark room and turning on the dimmer switch. A spiritual awakening eventually leads to a spiritual transformation.

In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus invites a man to give all his possessions to the poor and become a disciple. Later Jesus promises a reward to all those who leave family and home for the sake of the Gospel.

I thought I had lived the Gospel. When I entered religious life I left my family, my boyfriend, my teaching position, my bank account, and many of my clothes and other possessions. I truly wanted to follow Jesus. It was a one-time experience of letting go. However, as time went on, I realized a deeper call. Was I willing to let go of painful childhood memories that I had dragged into adulthood? Was I willing to let go of resentments that I carried from confrontations in my ministry? How possessive was I of my gifts and my time? Did I recognize the poor in the person right in front of me?

Living today’s Gospel is like turning on the dimmer switch. We gradually are enlightened to recognize that the poor are always with us, and that we are always on a journey that requires a process of letting go of what we would like to possess. How will we respond to this wake-up call? Do we really desire to be spiritually transformed?


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Comments:

CommentBubbleThanks Sister Elise for the most thoughtful and inspiring reflection. -- Millie

CommentBubbleJust a note of appreciation to Sister Elise for her beautiful reflection. She has inspired me to use a few of her thoughts in my weekend homily. God's Blessings to all the Dear Sisters & staff. -- Fr. Bill Jacobs

CommentBubbleI read and prayed with delight Sr. Elise’s distinction of spiritual experience and spiritual awakening. Using the metaphor of “dimmer effect” of a gradual turning to the Lord really struck me, as I look at my own religious transformation. Her questions for self-reflection were right on point.

In the Gospel, we hear the disciples pleading, “Then who can be saved?” “Who can stand?”- is possible for God, for all things are possible: even the lifting up of our broken bodies and souls, lifted up and freed gradually of our burdens, and freed of the “weights”we can’t release alone. So, we welcome the One who transforms us with His “dimmer light” in the darkness. Thanks, Sr. Elise! -- Sr. Anne Dorice DeFebbo, osf

 

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Reflection for Oct. 7, 2018

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Cherished, chosen and sent

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Respect Life Month theme touches on every facet and every sacrament of our lives

by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich

October, as we know, is Respect Life Month. The theme for 2018-2019 is: “Every life -- Cherished, Chosen, Sent". On this 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time we are reminded of the sacredness of marriage. The words from the theme apply so well not only to those united in the Sacrament of Marriage, but to all people. In our troubled world, we know the need for peace, justice and respect. We also know the power of love, compassion and tenderness. We are challenged to be bearers of the love that knows no boundaries and to bring about a world where all of life is truly cherished. How do we do this? 

Every life –- cherished, chosen, sent! We are challenged to take these words to heart and to believe them. “We are cherished, chosen, and sent by God to love one another as He loves us.  In doing so, we help build a culture that cherishes all human life” (excerpted from the USCCB Liturgical Resources for Observing Respect Life Month, 2018, MS-Word document)

The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops sponsors the Respect Life Program and has information on their website along with articles, prayers and other resources to encourage us in our efforts to spread the news that all life is precious.

 

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Reflection for Sept. 30, 2018

Thursday, September 27, 2018

All are called to be prophets

What is Jesus asking of you?

The message of Sunday’s readings is direct if not terse: It is imperative that we commit this life to proclaiming the Good News and conducting good works.

  • From the first reading: “If only all the people of the Lord were prophets!” (Numbers 11:29)
  • Second reading: “(Y)our gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days.”  (James 5:3)
  • Gospel: “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me.”  (Mark 9:39)

Imagine you and Jesus are sharing a meal. Which of the passages above would you want (or not want) to talk about? How would this impact how you pray and live each day?


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Comments:

CommentBubble“(Y)our gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;"

This speaks to me of hoarding and stockpiling, simply to have more than everybody else, versus sharing what we already have, for the sake of the common good; for the well-being, health, and betterment of all, especially those who are most in need.

What happens when all that has been hoarded goes to ruin, or waste - such as when stocks or the stock market crash - and money that supposedly had been there, is 'gone.' What 'good' did the accumulation of supposed wealth do, if it wasn't being used to educate, heal, house, employ, transport, affirm, and empower others with dignity and giftedness?

I would like to be talking with Jesus - and others around the table - about this. I would listen attentively to stories and examples Jesus and others might share, as well as any questions being asked, always wanting to hone in on the insight and wisdom being shared.

After listening, one of the questions I would ask Jesus is, "Can you help us form [become] just such a caring, non-hoarding community?" -- Linda

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Reflection for Sept. 23, 2018

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The way of peace is not always peaceful

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In accepting the Cross, Jesus demonstrates for us that sacrifice can bring change to our hearts

by Sister Sally Ann Brickner

Many times in our lives powerful emotions of anger and resentment lodge in our minds and hearts evoking disquiet and a lack of peace. Sometimes months or years elapse before we are able to respond to God’s grace to overcome rifts with family, friends or Sisters in Community. Why is peacemaking so difficult?

In the Gospel reading for Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace, we hear Jesus invite a despicable tax collector, Matthew, to follow Him, and Matthew immediately responds to the call. He and Jesus’ other followers learn from their Master what discipleship entails. Jesus makes costly discipleship clear in the Beatitudes that begin His Sermon on the Mount, the seventh of which is “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matt. 5:9). This Beatitude calls us to be actively engaged in the art of peacemaking.

We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus to fully plumb the depths of “shalom,” which means peace in Hebrew. Repeatedly, Jesus foretold His manner of suffering and death, as we hear in Mark’s Gospel for this Sunday.  His message for the disciples and for us: the way of peacemaking is the way of the Cross. Great peacemakers like Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and most especially Jesus Christ accepted the cross, taking suffering upon themselves rather than inflicting it on others.

In the second reading, St. James writes about the absence of shalom: “Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?” To counter our passions, St. James urges us to open ourselves to the gift of “wisdom from above which is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy, without inconstancy or insincerity. The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.” As followers of Jesus we must embrace the folly of the cross which proves to be the source of wisdom for those who would be peacemakers.


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Comments:

CommentBubbleI appreciate your beautifully written reflection, Sister. -- Blessings, Father Bill Jacobs

CommentBubbleDear Sisters: I appreciate so much Sr. Sally’s reflection on peacemaking and “folly” of the Cross. Attaching our suffering to the redemption of Jesus on the Cross can be a powerful means for me to “let go” of strife, anger, hurt which brings me to the wisdom of Jesus, and true peace of heart. I read this weekly as I ‘m receiving chemotherapy. Your reflections gives me the pause that “refreshes “my soul. Thank you, Sisters! -- Sr. Anne Dorice DeFebbo, osf

CommentBubbleThank you for the beautiful reflections on peace making. It gave me something to think about in my life. -- Irene

CommentBubbleYes, and as the first reading describes, the spirit of peace enables us to see the truth of: "one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph.4:1-7) And vice-versa: the vision of One-ness, which is the gift of Holy Spirit, enables us to be formed into peace-makers.

Interestingly - and importantly - Sunday's gospel ends with Jesus affirming the 'littleness' of children, once again. "Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, 'Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.'” (Mk.9:36-37)

In these Times when indifference and callousness toward the suffering of others is bearing down upon us, my 'power' and 'strength' to speak up and act for conversion, is largely motivated by knowing all 'little ones,' who have no voice or power in this world, are not only JESUS-in-disguise, as Mother Teresa was fond of saying, but they are also our 'hidden God,' wanting to be revealed to us anew. -- Linda

 

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Reflection of Sept. 16, 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018

To know Christ is to forget oneself

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We are called to give our lives to the Gospel and to model Jesus' redemptive love

by Sister Annette Koss

O Christ, you so loved the world that you set your face like flint and gave your back to those who beat you. You are the essence of love; love gets its meaning from you.

Set our faces flint-like toward that love. Open our hearts and let us hear the cry of the poor. You ask us over and over, in our joy and pain, "Who do you say that I am?"

Let us know who you are. Help us to know the truth. Let us find what we lose as we give our lives away for you.


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Comments:

CommentBubbleThank you for sharing prayer with us, Sr. Annette, and for giving us this opportunity to all pray together. Even though we are all at different locations and experiencing very different events and happenings, yet the spirit of Prayer brings us and binds us together. And wherever two or more agree in the spirit of Prayer, so is the Power-and-Presence-of-God.

And in this prayer, I hear, too, that Jesus asking us, "Who do you say I-AM?" is like us asking Jesus, "When did I/we see you hungry, Lord? When did I/we see you naked; homeless; suffering; tortured?"

Yes, in this prayer, I see that each of these questions is the 'other side' or 'other half' of the other. Jesus, The I-AM, is one-and-the-same-with-the-suffering-of-the-world. -- Linda

 

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Reflection for Sept. 9, 2018

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Healing, wholeness and peace

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Sunday's readings illustrate that Jesus fulfills all our dreams and helps us see the needs of others

by Sister Agnes Fischer

In Sunday's Gospel we hear of Jesus restoring a man's ability to hear and speak.

Jesus, you who make the deaf hear; open my ears:

  • To the pleas for justice of our indigenous neighbors
  • To the immigrants who long to belong
  • To the just claims of the poor and oppressed
  • To the voices of those looking for work

Jesus, you who make the mute speak; loosen my tongue:

  • To speak up when someone bad mouths a colleague
  • To speak kindly to one who has offended me
  • To ask pardon when I have offended
  • To praise my children and/or employees and offer them encouragement
  • To speak the truth to my spouse, parents, employer, when it is necessary to right a wrong

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Comments:

CommentBubbleThank you, Sister, for reminding all of us that all we have to do is pray and we will receive for GOD is always at our side. -- Emma

CommentBubble"Ephphatha" indeed; beautiful reflection and important reminders in our current cultural climate. Thank you! -- Michelle

CommentBubbleLord, Jesus, if you will speak "Ephphatha! ... Be opened!" over my heart, it will be done. This is what I ask of you today, and every day, Lord, Jesus. Speak "Ephphatha!" upon and within my heart. Amen. -- Linda

CommentBubbleNice work, Aggie. These are words and thoughts that are much needed in this “me first” society we find ourselves in today. Always good to be reminded of the goodness of Jesus and the better side of ourselves. -- Bette

 

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