Weekly Reflections

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!



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!



Reflection for Jan. 19, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jesus is the new light and lamb for all nations


"Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." -- John 1:29
"I will make you a light to the nations." -- Isaiah 49:6

by Sister Charlene Hockers

We just completed the Christmas season and celebrated the Baptism of Jesus, and now we move into Ordinary Time. But John the Baptist is still at the forefront of today's Gospel. As John sees Jesus coming toward him, he proclaims Jesus to be the Lamb of God. Those words are so familiar to us from the liturgy everyday, but how do we live that statement in our own life? The Lamb comes to us in a gentle, simple way, opening our hearts to people with a breath of peace. He breaks down the walls of fear, aggression, violence and sin. We can grow in the spirit of love if we allow Him to come into the sacred space within us. John the Baptist is calling people to be attentive to the quiet voice and presence of Jesus. We are called to be gentle followers of the Lamb.

John also admitted, "I did not know Him." Do we know Jesus? The Holy Spirit invites us to see Jesus by opening our eyes and our hearts. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus each morning.

In the reading from Isaiah we hear, "I will make you a light to the nations." Those nations can be far and wide, but we can be a light to the far reaches of the human spirit as well. How aware are we of the lonely, desperate, the rejected, the hopeless and the poor? I can be the light of Christ by making Jesus known to others through my quiet voice and constant presence of Jesus in my life.

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us, grant us peace.


Reflection for Jan. 12, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Baptism: An invitation to go about 'doing good' in response to God's love


by Sister Agnes Fischer

"You are my beloved Son." -- Matthew 3:17

On the day of your baptism and mine no one saw anything extraordinary, but in reality the sky did open and the Spirit of God did come upon us and say, "You are my beloved son/daughter."

Our baptisms weren't very different from that of Jesus'. What might be different is what happened after. Jesus "went about doing good." (Acts 10:38)

The majority of us have to keep asking ourselves if we are doing good. Fortunately, we can begin each day as though we are newly baptized. And there is so much good we can do. Each of us continues to be God's beloved son/daughter.



Reflection for Dec. 4, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cholewinski_Elise_Sr_2012-100pxby Sister Elise Cholewinski

"The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (Mark 1:1)

With these words, which are really a Resurrection statement, Mark summarizes the whole Gospel that he writes.  We know this is a Resurrection statement because Mark refers to Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God.  Only after receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost did the disciples understand that Jesus was truly the long-awaited Messiah and Lord.  Mark uses this declaration about Jesus at the beginning to indicate that everything that Jesus does in the Gospel will reveal Him as Messiah, climaxing in the final act, His death on the cross.  We need to read the Gospel of Mark, then, with "Resurrection eyeglasses."

In the rest of this Sunday's Gospel we hear the prophetic cry of the Advent season, "Prepare the way of the Lord."  It's not a matter of getting ready for Christmas; it's a matter of preparing for the birthing of Christ in today's world.  We can only do that by living in the desert as John the Baptist did, by spending time in solitude and silence, by focusing on the Word of God instead of all the material products that the culture sets before us, by allowing the mountains of self-seeking to be leveled and the valleys of complacency to be filled, by letting Jesus live and rise in us.  Then the Word of God can again take on flesh in us.  Then we can point a finger toward ourselves and say, "Here begins the good news of Jesus Christ."  People will have to read us with "Resurrection eyeglasses."


  1. How are you preparing the way for celebrating the birth of Jesus?
  2. In what ways is Jesus living and rising in you?