Thursday, September 10, 2015
Authentic discipleship is to surrender what
is valued here for what is valued by God
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
- Who is Jesus for me?
- How do I follow?
Thursday, September 3, 2015
How can we better respond to Jesus' blessings
in our lives?
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
- To speak words of gratitude and praise to our children and/or
- ... 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
You who make the deaf hear and the mute speak, hear our
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
How do you answer Jesus' question: 'Do you
also want to leave?'
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
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
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
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Jesus: 'Whoever eats this bread will live
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
Being fed by the Real Presence, how are you called to share
Jesus with others?
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Prayer, community life and ministry all begin
"So be imitators of God -- and live
in love." (Ephesians 5:1)
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
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
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Jesus invites us today to take, eat and
Gaze upon the image below for a few minutes. Then consider one
or each reflective question.
- Jesus took time from his ministry to enter into Passover. Do
- How do I do God's work of creating abundance in times or places
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Tired of giving? Jesus continued to give even
when he wanted to rest
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
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.
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.
Thursday, July 9, 2015
No GPS needed: Jesus' traveling instructions
lead us to perfect love
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
As you reflect on your journey of love this week ask
- Who supports me as I travel with Jesus?
- Who do I support and how do I show that support?
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.
- 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
- The second reading describes Jesus as once rich but became poor
for us. Do you see yourself as rich because of your faith?
- 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
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
'I shall not leave you orphans' is Jesus'
promise to us
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
Alleluia! We rejoice in Jesus' Ascension! Alleluia!