Thursday, December 18, 2014
Rejoice! Jesus is with us -- always!
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
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
Thursday, December 11, 2014
How to 'rejoice always' -- even during
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!
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Do you hear what I hear? Prophets call us to
get ready for Jesus
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
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
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
Thank you kindly and a Blessed Christmas!
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Be watchful! Remain alert, for Jesus is among
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
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.
"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.)
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Joseph changes his mind after God changes his
by Sister Laura Zelten
On Sunday we light the fourth candle of the Advent
wreath. The circle of light is complete and we are only days
away from Christmas. The readings for the Fourth Sunday of
Advent call us to remain open to God and be surprised.
I think that is what happened to St. Joseph. In Sunday's Gospel
from Matthew we hear the birth of Jesus from Joseph's point of
view. Joseph is faced with a situation that he thinks he knows
the best and most just solution. But then an angel of the Lord
appears in a dream and tells Joseph that Mary has not been
unfaithful and that the child is from God. Joseph has to
rethink what is the proper course of action. Joseph is truly
an honorable man because of his willingness to trust in God and
take Mary as his wife.
Our faith tells us that God is always in the
picture. Sometimes we need to re-evaluate and reconsider our
actions as the Spirit works in our lives. On occasion we, like
Joseph, have to put aside plans to do the will of God. So as
we move through Advent toward Christmas we are reminded of God's
capacity to guide us to act in surprising ways.
How do situations look different once I put God in the
God, help us to always remember that you are at work in our
lives and in the lives of those around us.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Time of joyful waiting is also a time of
by Sister Renee Delvaux
Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday is a call to joyful waiting as we
ponder all that the birth of Jesus our Savior means for us at
Christmas and as we prepare for the Lord's second coming in glory
when He will lead us into His kingdom.
How can we joyfully await the coming of Jesus in a world
abounding with suffering and evil? The Letter of James is
helpful: "Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the
Lord." We are called to trust in God's promise that He will
come. Just as the farmer must have patience, waiting for the seed
to grow, we too must have patience, remembering that God is at
work, shaping the events of our wounded world into the coming
Along with patience we need to take action as the farmer does in
planting the seed. Our task is to plant seeds of justice,
compassion and forgiveness. There will be struggles and
disappointments in our efforts to plant the seeds and to keep them
growing, but we are called to continue in patience and trust as God
establishes the fullness of the kingdom.
Come, Lord Jesus. Come and
visit your people.
We await your coming. Come, O Lord.
Teach us patience as we wait for you.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
During Advent, what are you waiting for?
by Sister Rose Jochmann
Have you been able to take some time to remember what the Advent
season is about? We are celebrating that Jesus, the Son of
God, became one of us and came to live among us as a human
being. We are celebrating that Jesus continues to live with
each of us Christians!
The Church sets aside Advent as a time of preparation for the Feast
of Christmas. It is a time of WAITING. As Catholics, it
is difficult to maintain an Advent spirit, a spirit of
WAITING. It is especially difficult when some homes have been
decorated for Christmas since before Thanksgiving and when stores
have had Christmas merchandize displayed since mid-October.
Advent is a time of WAITING. Waiting calls us to the virtue
of patience. This season of Advent provides many
opportunities to practice patience: during heavy traffic, in
long times in stores, with children who become very excited about
Christmas. These moments of waiting could turn into times of
remembering what all the rush and excitement is really about.
It is a time to remember that Jesus came to live among us.
Jesus continues to live among us.
What can you do to remind yourself that it is the season of
Monday, November 25, 2013
Advent -- a time to prepare for the Lord --
is every day
by Sister Paulette Hupfauf
For most of my life, Advent was the sign of winter and the
prelude to Christmas -- the birth of Jesus. I admit the
anticipation of Christmas gift-giving and receiving occupied some
of my time.
In today's reading Isaiah says, "Come, let us climb the Lord's
mountain to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us
in his ways, and we may walk in his paths ... let us walk in the
light of the Lord!"
Then Paul tells us: "You know the time: it is the hour now for you
to awake from sleep. For salvation is nearer now than when we first
believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand ... put on the
Lord Jesus Christ."
Finally in Matthew we hear, "For you do not know on which day your
Lord will come ... So, too, you also must be prepared."
Christ comes to us each day if we are willing to welcome him.
These readings are great reminders that our lives (each day) are a
As I am getting nearer to the end of my life I think more about
heaven, not out of fear but out of great anticipation. My patron,
St. Paul says, "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard nor has it
entered the heart what God has in store for us."
Advent is a time of hope and anticipation! May this Advent be a
time of special grace for each of us!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
Were you ever given a gift but were told first to "Close your
eyes and open your hands?" You probably did that, trusting the
person would put something special in your hands. In our gospel for
the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Mary opens her heart and soul, saying
"yes" to God with total trust and a leap of faith. Her "yes"
brought God's greatest gift to her and to our world -- the gift of
Mary believed that "nothing was impossible with God" and she was
willing to do what God asked even if it seemed difficult or hard to
understand. She was open to possibilities and ready to take a
journey she hadn't planned on taking.
During this last week of Advent, as the world is filled with
busyness, may we find the space and time to close our eyes and open
our hearts to welcome the Lord in a new way ... to say "yes" to
whatever God asks of us ... to trust in God's grace and promise of
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
by Sister Carolyn Zahringer
At this point, we have passed through half of our Advent journey
to Christmas. How has it unfolded? How are the changes in the
mass catching our attention?
The readings this weekend urge us to be joyful. Each
text focuses us on "JOY." Isaiah proclaims: "I rejoice
heartily in the Lord…" The responsorial uses the song of
Mary's heart: "My spirit rejoices in God my Savior…" St. Paul
urges us to "Rejoice always…" John the Baptist in the Gospel
points to Jesus as the focus for our JOY. WOW!
I offer an Advent "Prayer Before Reading the Word" for your
preparation to break open God's Word each of these final days
leading to Christmas. It is written for the "I" to become an
"Sustain us, O God on our Advent journey as we go forth to
welcome the One who is to come. Plant within our hearts your
living Word of promise, and make haste to help us as we seek to
understand what we went out to see in the Advent wilderness:
your patience nurturing your saving purpose to fulfillment, your
power in Jesus making all things new.
We ask this 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. Amen." (Source: At Home with the Word,