Thursday, December 11, 2014
How to 'rejoice always' -- even during
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!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
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
"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,
Thursday, October 27, 2011
by 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
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?