Weekly Reflections

Reflection for Sept. 13, 2015

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Authentic discipleship is to surrender what is valued here for what is valued by God

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by Sister Annette Koss

Mark is writing to his Christian community about the true Messiah and what it means to be a servant disciple. Messiahs were common and often political against Rome and the wealthy Jewish class that supported Rome. So, Jesus raised the question, "Who do you say that I am?"

Jesus lived in a climate of political unrest and social disharmony. He walked headlong into situations of confrontation. What was different is that Jesus chose the path of a non-violent servant. By being powerless, a new power emerged from within -- that of non-violent resistance. By taking this posture of non-violence, Jesus maintained his spiritual power and ransomed future victims from the same violence. To gain one's self is to put one's self at risk to interrupt the flow of violence.

This is a threshold moment in Mark's Gospel. The disciples slowly acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and the true identity of Jesus is slowly revealed. Jesus is not a political messiah but a non-violent servant who reveals what it means to be a disciple.

In the remainder of the Gospel, Mark defines the way of discipleship -- to deny oneself, to take up the cross, and follow Jesus.

Reflection questions:
  1. Who is Jesus for me?
  2. How do I follow?

 

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Reflection for Sept. 6, 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

How can we better respond to Jesus' blessings in our lives?

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by Sister Agnes Fischer

Sunday's Gospel tells us that Jesus opened the ears and loosened the tongue of the deaf mute. We pray:

  • Lord, loosen our tongues ...
  • In defense of someone we hear being defamed or being blamed for something they did not do
  • To speak a word of forgiveness when we have been offended
  • To pronounce the magic words "pardon me" when we have offended
  • To speak words of gratitude and praise to our children and/or employees
  • ... and open our ears ...
  • To the trusting voices of children
  • To the silent complaints of our immigrant families
  • To the call for help of the hungry and homeless
  • To the clamor for justice of the oppressed
  • To the hopeful voices of those looking for work
  • To the Word of God proclaimed in our church and whispered in the street

You who make the deaf hear and the mute speak, hear our prayer.

 

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Reflection for Aug. 23, 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How do you answer Jesus' question: 'Do you also want to leave?'

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by Sister Margaret Mary Halbach

Sunday's first reading from Joshua and the Gospel from John have a common theme. They are both about serving the Lord.

Joshua tells the Tribes at Sheckem to "decide today whom you will serve. ... As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." We all know that serving the Lord is important. Growing up in a German family, our attending Mass and receiving the Sacraments were vital. As for our family, "we will serve the Lord together."

When I grew older and attended the Convent, the Gospel of John was read, taken apart, discussed and more thoroughly explained. We were taught how the Word of the Lord was to be deep in our hearts and lived with truth and enthusiasm. Sometimes, like the disciples, I complained about how hard it was to live the Word of the Lord but making the effort has enriched my life.

Some of Jesus' followers left Him because of their lack of belief. Jesus gave them a choice, "Do you also want to leave?"  Peter, who was the spokesperson, answered Him. "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the Words of Eternal Life. We have come to believe and are convinced you are the Holy One of God."

This weekend, as you hear the readings proclaimed, consider the depth of your faith in Christ. Is your faith strong enough to wholeheartedly accept the Words of Eternal Life and commit to them in your life? Picture the Lord asking you, "Do you also want to leave?" Is your response, "Lord, to whom shall we go?" He is our God and our All and we will cling faithfully to Him.

I will remember you each in my prayers this week as you reflect on the powerful readings of this Sunday.  Blessings be yours.

 

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Reflection for Aug. 16, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Jesus: 'Whoever eats this bread will live forever'

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by Sister Jacqueline Capelle

Jesus told the crowds, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

What is the "flesh" that comes to the world? It is a gift from God, given to us in bread and wine. But they are more than symbols. When consecrated they are the Real Presence of Jesus, our sustenance for everlasting life -- the heart of our Catholic faith.

Reflection question:

Being fed by the Real Presence, how are you called to share Jesus with others?

 

 

 

 

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Reflection for Aug. 9, 2015

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Prayer, community life and ministry all begin with love

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"So be imitators of God -- and live in love." (Ephesians 5:1)

by Sister Elise Cholewinski
Golden Jubilarian

One of the highlights of the summer for our Sisters is the celebration of Jubilee Day.  As we participate in this joyous occasion, we are invited once again to consider the meaning of the commitment we have made. St. Paul says it very well in Sunday's second reading: religious life is a life of love.

A Sister in her 90s enters the convent chapel in the evening and kneels on the floor before the tabernacle. She spends the last few minutes of her day in communion with her Beloved.  Religious life involves a deep, intimate, personal love of Jesus Christ. Personal prayer is at the heart of a Sister's daily routine.

A Sister attends her mother's funeral two weeks before Christmas. She spends several days at the convent during the holiday season, praying, visiting, sharing meals with the Sisters, and repeating her story yet one more time. As she drives home to her mission, she tells herself, "I feel so loved."  Religious life is about sharing joys and dreams, burdens and pain, with a group of women who inspire and encourage, befriend and support each other.  Being bonded with her Community, a Sister is assured that she never has to walk the journey alone.

A Sister returns home after school and announces that although she has reached the retirement age, her parish will do anything to keep her there. She has made such an impact on the children and their families that the administrator will create a new position for her. A Sister serves in many ways, through education, healing, and related ministries, but her presence goes far beyond the particular work that she does. She is remembered primarily for the love she has shown.

Prayer, community life, ministry -- these are the pillars of religious life and they are all dimensions of that one commitment to love. Jesus is the center of that one dedication. As a Sister moves into the future, her only goal is to fall more deeply in love. Why? Because she knows that God has first loved her with an everlasting love.

 

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Reflection for July 26, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jesus invites us today to take, eat and share

Gaze upon the image below for a few minutes. Then consider one or each reflective question.

Reflective questions:

  1. Jesus took time from his ministry to enter into Passover. Do I?
  2. How do I do God's work of creating abundance in times or places of scarcity?

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Reflection for July 19, 2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tired of giving? Jesus continued to give even when he wanted to rest

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by Sister Renee Delvaux

Can you remember a time when you were so very exhausted after a long day, being involved with many people and tasks, that you just needed a break?  Finally, about to sit down for a rest, someone called or found you and needed your help.  What was your response?

In the Gospel today we find Jesus and the apostles so involved in preaching and healing that they had no time to rest or even eat. Jesus invited them to get away to a quiet place to rest, but the crowds pursued them and even got to the place before Jesus and the apostles did.   Instead of being frustrated and angry with the crowds who followed, Jesus' "heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things" (Mk. 6:34).  Jesus was generous with his time, always open to the needs of others.

Although this Sunday is not officially called Good Shepherd Sunday, the message certainly is about being a good shepherd. As disciples of Jesus we are called to be good shepherds as he was. The Christian call is to a life of sacrifice for others, not counting the cost. It is a life of commitment and service with heart-felt love and concern for all of God's people.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, Good Shepherd, thank you for your love especially shown in your ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Help us to be flexible and open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and generous in our response to the needs of others, putting aside our plans and giving without counting the cost.

 

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Reflection for July 12, 2015

Thursday, July 9, 2015

No GPS needed: Jesus' traveling instructions lead us to perfect love

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by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich

People traveling by plane these days know they need to prepare carefully for their journey. Summer travelers hoping to "camp out" must also be prepared for just about any emergency or visit from nature's residents.

In Sunday's Gospel, Jesus gives the Twelve some travel instructions for their ministry. He tells these ordinary people to "travel lightly" -- take a walking stick only -- no food, no extra clothes and no money! They did as he suggested and were able to bring God's healing to the sick and those in need.

Over 2,000 years later, Jesus continues to call ordinary people to travel with him. What would Jesus suggest we take along on this journey of love? The walking stick of faith, the tunic of compassion, and the joy and hope that nourishes body and soul will help us to travel lightly and follow the example of the Lord of Love.

As you reflect on your journey of love this week ask yourself:
  • Who supports me as I travel with Jesus?
  • Who do I support and how do I show that support?

 

 

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Reflection for June 28, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

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 May 17, 2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

'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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