Weekly Reflections

Reflection for Dec. 21, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

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

Thursday, December 11, 2014

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

Thursday, December 4, 2014

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

Thursday, November 20, 2014

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 Dec. 22, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Joseph changes his mind after God changes his heart

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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.

Reflection question:

How do situations look different once I put God in the equation?

Prayer:

God, help us to always remember that you are at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

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Reflection for Dec. 15, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Time of joyful waiting is also a time of loving action

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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 kingdom.

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.

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Reflection for Dec. 8, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

During Advent, what are you waiting for?

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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.

Reflection question:
What can you do to remind yourself that it is the season of Advent?

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Reflection for Dec. 1, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Advent -- a time to prepare for the Lord -- is every day

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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 constant Advent.

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!

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Reflection for Dec. 18, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

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Related article:
Advent Minute

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 Jesus!

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 everlasting love.

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Reflection for Dec. 11, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

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Related article:
Advent Minute

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 "us".

"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, LTP)

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