Weekly Reflections

Reflection for Feb. 22, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fasting, praying, almsgiving make room for God in each of us

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by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich

On this First Sunday of Lent we journey with Jesus into the desert of emptiness and temptation.  During his 40 days in the wilderness Jesus did not turn his heart away from his loving Father.  In the midst of being tempted by Satan, Jesus is sheltered by God.  God's angels minister to him and he is secure among wild beasts.  The heart of Jesus was strengthened in knowing God was with him and would never fail him.  His experience alone with God opened his heart to embrace the challenges in the journey he would undertake.

We know that Lent is a time to change our hearts through fasting, praying and giving alms.

  • Fasting: Do we appreciate the hunger of our world and of our own hearts?
  • Praying: Do we open our minds and hearts to listen to God and respond in love and hope?
  • Almsgiving: Do we see the needs of those around us and give of ourselves?
Reflection questions:
  1. What is your heart seeking during this most holy season?
  2. What is God asking of you?



Reflection for Feb. 8, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The healing hand of Jesus Christ is within your reach and mine

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by Sister Charlene Hockers

Recently, I visited a friend at the nursing home. She had gone through major surgery about three months earlier. She took the risk of surgery rather than give up and die. She came through the surgery which everyone believed was a miracle. She made good progress in healing for a while. But the same day that I visited her, she died.

Her story came to mind as I reflected on this Sunday's Gospel. We hear how Jesus grasps the hand of Peter's mother-in-law and heals her of her fever. In the evening, He heals many more. I believe Jesus grasped my friend's hand at the time of surgery and again when it was time to move into eternal life. Her suffering was over. Jesus is always ready to grasp our hand. He is always ready to heal us so we can get up and allow Him to work through us.

In the Gospel, what follows the healings is worthy of our notice. "Rising very early before dawn, He left and went off to a deserted place, where He prayed." In the midst of our service to others, we need to go off to our deserted place and pray. Faith is built on prayer. Our ability to help others heal spiritually is dependent on our relationship with Jesus. Let Jesus grasp your hand and take you to that deserted place to pray, and then go on to continue your loving service in His name.



Reflection for Jan. 18, 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Here I am. You called me. I'm eager to do your will!

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by Sister Mary Kabat

Doesn't it bring a smile and a swell of pride when you see your child or grandchild eagerly wanting to help you though the task is beyond his or her strength or ability?  Picture such a time when you hear the story from the First Book of Samuel of young Samuel waking to the Lord's call and eagerly running to Eli who he mistakenly thought was calling.  Picture such a time when you hear the story from the Gospel of John of the two disciples, one being Andrew, eagerly following Jesus and of Andrew bringing the news, "We have found the Messiah," to his brother Peter.

Jesus tells us we need to welcome and receive the Kingdom of God as a child does.  Let us listen, watch, and respond to the Lord's call each day -- eager to pray, eager to love, eager to serve, eager to offer our challenges and sufferings. As children, we will bring joy to our God.




Reflection for Nov. 17, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

No matter how hard the journey is, Christ is with us always


by Sister Margaret Mary Halbach

The past few weeks, the readings have been moving toward the "end times" in our Liturgy. Today, especially in the Gospel from Luke, a dismal picture is painted of these "end times" ... the Second Coming of Christ. The people ask Jesus, "Teacher, when will this happen? And what signs will there be when these things happen?" He tells them that there will be a terrible time of trial. This test "will lead to your giving testimony to what you believe." Jesus assures them and us that He will give us the wisdom in giving that testimony. The Gospel ends with this assurance, "By your perseverance, you will secure your lives."

Last Sunday's story about the seven brothers of the Maccabees family gave an example of how their beliefs caused them to die for what they believed. Their mother stood by praying for strength and courage for them. We might not be asked to go to such extent but in smaller ways we will be asked to do the same. What does Jesus mean to us? Would we die for all Christ means to us? As we ponder these questions, we need to remember that we do not walk this journey alone. Jesus is with us through the love of family, friends and Community.

We are in the last days of Ordinary Time in our liturgical year. Next Sunday we celebrate Christ the King of the Universe. We need to think about the Second Coming of Christ. This would be a good time to read a part of the Book of Revelation and meditate on the phrase in the Nicene Creed ... "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." Be confident in the Words of Scripture, "By your perseverance you will secure your lives."

A prayer from Henri Nouwen

"Dear Lord, There is no certainty that my life will be easier in the years ahead or that my heart will be any calmer. But there is certainty that you are waiting for me and will welcome me home when I have persevered in my long journey to your home."

Celebrating the 'Year of Faith'

Prayer -- God Calls Us to Pray: The Foundations of Prayer


About this series

Chapter 35, US Catholic Catechism for Adults

by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich

Prayer is a source of strength for us - we connect with God in our hearts and minds -- praising God, thanking God, asking God for help for ourselves or others, expressing our sorrow over our failings, or simply telling God of our love for him.

  • What is your favorite prayer?  Why do you like this prayer?
  • Where do you like to pray?

Take a few minutes each day in quiet -- let God enfold you in love and peace.  Rest in God's love and find strength for your journey through life.


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Reflection for Oct. 27, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Prayer tip -- Remember how much God loves you


by Sister Madonna Swintkoske

The Gospel for this Sunday is a story of two individuals, a Pharisee and a tax collector, who went to the temple to pray.  There was a difference in their prayer.  The difference was in their attitude and in their focus.

The Pharisee was focused on himself.  God was not the center of his prayer.  He reminded God of all that he (the Pharisee) did for God. "I fast twice a week and I pay tithes on my whole income."  He forgot that God's love is the source of all.  He did not need to be pious and devout and loving to win God's love. He was to be pious, devout and loving because God already loved him.

The tax collector understood this. He left the initiative to God. "Have mercy on me." It all starts with God and the love God has for all of us.

Questions for reflection:
  1. How do you understand God's love?
  2. Have you ever thought you needed to earn God's love?
  3. Who helped you to know you were unconditionally loved by God?

Celebrating the 'Year of Faith'

Moral Life -- Embrace Poverty of Spirit


About this series
DID YOU KNOW: The first Three Commandments concern love and fidelity to God, while the other seven speak of love and forgiveness of neighbor as an expression of God's love.

Chapter 34, US Catholic Catechism for Adults

You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.
Tenth Commandment

by Sister Mary Kabat

The Tenth Commandment - You shall not covet your neighbor's goods - completes the Ninth Commandment by focusing on the intentions of the heart. While we all need to acquire earthly goods for the care and well-being of ourselves and our families, there are forces that motivate us to become overly attached to money and possessions.  Greed and envy can become rooted in our hearts.  The desire for what another has or to have more and more possessions becomes our life goal.  

Living the Tenth Commandment brings us to trust in the providence of God.  In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us that poverty of spirit enables us to inherit the Kingdom of God.  The commandment calls us to a healthy detachment from material things and a generosity of heart.  It enables us to adopt a simplicity of life, a love for the poor, a care for creation and a witness to justice and peace in the world.

"For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."

Mt 6:19-21


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Reflection for Oct. 20, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pray always -- especially when you're discouraged


by Sister Carolyn Zahringer

In the first reading from the Book of Exodus, Moses stands with hands raised to affect a favorable outcome. Raised hands is a prayer posture. Eventually, Moses grew tired and needed assistance to support that posture longer than he could under his own power. How many times have you or I depended upon support of the faith community to remain in a prayer posture beyond our own strength?

In the Gospel, Jesus speaks of a widow receiving a just judgment because of her persistence. That was totally against the culture of the day.  Women in general and a widow in particular had very few, if any, rights. What is Jesus' message for us regarding justice for the vulnerable in our society?

There is a message in the readings that challenges us to not become discouraged.  Persistence in prayer speaks of us "showing up" to pray each day and trusting God to guide our decisions.

Words to ponder from the weekend liturgy:

Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. -- Psalm 121

Celebrating the 'Year of Faith'

Moral Life -- Practice Purity of Heart


About this series
DID YOU KNOW: The first Three Commandments concern love and fidelity to God, while the other seven speak of love and forgiveness of neighbor as an expression of God's love.

Chapter 33, US Catholic Catechism for Adults

You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
Ninth Commandment

by Sister Mary Kabat

The Ninth Commandment is not limited to specific actions.  It challenges us to a way of life, a life with a pure heart and an attitude of modesty.  The grace of Baptism purifies us from sins, but a tendency to sin remains.  So we must consciously practice purity of mind, heart and body with daily vigilance.  To do this we need to rely on the grace of God and on prayer, the practice of chastity and a purity of intention.

It is especially difficult to live this commandment in a culture which prizes sexual permissiveness and immediate erotic satisfaction. Christ calls us to live the Gospel fully and be signs of contradiction by the witness of our lives. Such a life keeps us from exploiting others and from losing the mystery of our very person.

St. Maria Goretti, Patroness of Modern Youth, is a great model of spiritual and physical purity and a model of concern for the spiritual welfare of others as well as oneself.

"Lord, set aflame my heart and my entire being with the fire of the Holy Spirit,
that I may serve you with a chaste body and pure mind."

Daily Roman Missal