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. 11, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


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)


Reflection for Oct. 30, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Swintkoske_Madonna_Sister2012-100pxby Sister Madonna Swintkoske

"Jesus spoke to the crowds and the disciples, saying, 'The Scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.  Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you ...'" -- Gospel of Matthew

We could almost think that Jesus is commending the Scribes and Pharisees until he continues,   "... but do not follow their example."

As far as the Scribes and Pharisees taught reverence and love for God and respect and love for all individuals, their teachings are to be observed.  However, their whole outlook on religion with their thousands upon thousands of rules and regulations made it an intolerable burden.  Religion is meant to lift us up not to drag us down.  It is to be a joy not a depression.  Religion exists to help us not to haunt us.

From today's Gospel we see that the way of the Pharisees was to dress and act in such a way as to draw attention to themselves and how good they were.  As Christians we see that following the law is not the problem but how and why we live that law is the key. Do we do "good" for the praise we get or do we live the law out of love of God and each other?