Weekly Reflections

Reflection for Aug. 6, 2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Mountaintop experiences

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Special moments with Jesus energize us to do His work

by Sister Elise Cholewinski

“Lord, it is good to be here.” Peter uttered these words when he, James and John witnessed Jesus being transfigured before them on top of a mountain. Jesus’ shining appearance gave them a glimpse of the Resurrection. Our Church celebrates this feast, the Transfiguration, in its liturgy this Sunday.

Jesus was transfigured on Mount Tabor, an oval-shaped mountain in northern Galilee, a few miles from Nazareth.  Several years ago I had the awesome opportunity to be on Mount Tabor.  We ascended the mountain from the very hot Jezreel Valley, and as we stood 2400 feet above the plain, a cool, refreshing breeze flowed over us.  Looking at the luxuriant landscape below, I understood exactly why Peter would have said those words.  I told myself that I could stay there forever.

At the bottom of one of the slopes of Mount Tabor is the village of Nain.  It is a small, quiet town.  We were told that it is one of the poorest places in all of Israel.  I remember the precious children begging American money from us as we entered the tiny church.

These two places symbolize the pattern of our lives. We have those special times of prayer, when we experience the splendor of Jesus, like when we are on a retreat, and we want to stay in the aura of His Presence. Then we hear the cry of the poor, and our commitment to Christ calls us to come down from our mountaintop experience and get involved doing the works of charity and justice. It’s because we’ve been to the top of the mountain that we have the motivation and the energy to descend to the base of it, bringing within us the Presence that we have beheld.

Reflection questions:
  • Where is your Mount Tabor?
  • Where is your village of Nain?
  • What part has each place played in your life?

 

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Reflection for July 30, 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A buried treasure, a pearl, and a fish

Sunday's parables remind us to be joyful, not judgmental, in our journey to the Kingdom of God

Three times we hear in Sunday’s Gospel, “The kingdom of heaven is like …”  First it is likened to a treasure found accidentally, then a sought-after pearl, and finally a fishing net that collects fish of every kind.

No two journeys of faith are the same. Whether we stumble upon God’s bountiful love or tirelessly seek it, God welcomes all who sincerely desire the Kingdom.

Reflection questions:
  1. How do you finish the sentence, “The kingdom of heaven is like …”
  2. How have you pursued the Kingdom of God? What has it “cost” you?
  3. What was your attitude toward the sacrifice?

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Reflection for July 23, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Don't worry about the weeds

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Perfection is not the point; being open to God's goodness is

by Sister Renee Delvaux

In Sunday's scripture, Psalm 86 proclaims that the Lord is always good and forgiving, merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. This applies well to today’s three parables in the Gospel of Matthew (13:24-43).

Look at the patience, love and forgiveness shown by God:

  • When the householder lets the wheat and weeds grow together until harvest. God accepts us with the wheat and weeds entangled in our lives.  He sees the invasive weeds in our lives and is merciful and forgiving.
  • When the mustard seed, rejected by most,  is nurtured and allowed to grow to maturity.  God’s love encompasses all and reaches out to those who are rejected, broken, depressed, homeless, addicted.  No matter how much mustard seed we have growing in our lives, God reaches out to us in love and forgiveness.
  • When the woman mixes the yeast with the flour and it becomes leaven bread.  The Spirit is always at work in our lives, seen and unseen as the yeast in the flour and dough, quietly and patiently nudging and transforming us as we strive to be open to God’s grace. Truly, the Spirit comes to our aid in our weakness.

God’s love and forgiveness are freely given and cannot be earned. How can we respond to such an incredible loving God who is always abounding in kindness? Our humble response can be an openness and gratitude to God, and in turn, reaching out to others with the same love, mercy and forgiveness.

 

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Reflection for July 16, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What's in your garden?

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God's goodness takes root in tilled hearts and minds

by Sister Mary Kabat

As I go for walks I am fascinated to see where a dandelion, a maple tree seed or a wild flower will manage against great odds to sprout. There it is thriving in a crack in the sidewalk, in the gravel on the side of the road and even in the gutters on someone’s home.

Such sightings give me great personal encouragement and come to mind as I reflect on this Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 13:1-23) of the sower casting seeds which land on every type or lack of soil.  In the story the sower casts the seed abundantly.  We know in our story, our Sower casts the seed abundantly again and again.

If you garden, as I do, you know that soil can be tilled, softened, fertilized, cleared of rocks and watered to make it a welcoming place for seeds to grow.  Do your part with the soil of your heart and soul, and trust that God will abundantly sow the seed of his love and word and give it growth.  It will “achieve the end for which (God) sent it.”  (Isaiah 55:11)

May the Word of God fall on good ground in our hearts and bear much fruit.

 

 

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Reflection for July 9, 2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Where we will find rest

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Letting go of pride and resentment are only possible with God's help

by Sister Jane Riha

We sense God’s peace and a lack of anxiety as we listen to the Word of God in the Scriptures this Sunday. Our world seems to be in a chaotic state at this time in history.   In the midst of that chaos, the Lord speaks to us tenderly about meekness and humility.  

Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves." Jesus invites us to learn both meekness and humility, a pair of virtues that belong together. Meekness includes the acceptance of difficulties without bitterness, anger or resentment. Humility, its partner, calls us to a genuine sense of self as loved by God. It leads to a powerful restfulness in the Lord as we journey through life.  

People of prayer and faith know that the God of meekness and humility is a powerful source of strength. The Lord invites us to take on the gentle yoke of His love and to accept life’s circumstances. All of us carry some sort of burden. Sometimes the burden is very heavy, sometimes it is short-lived. We are assured in the Gospel that God will give us rest if we are open to trust God’s unfailing presence with us.

Let us pray this week for a gentle more peaceful relationship among the peoples of the world. Let us pray for our country and our leaders that they may learn God’s message as they carry a yoke that may be at times very heavy. Let there be peace on earth!

 

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Reflection for July 2, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017

'Let us arrange a little room ... for him'

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Hospitality and compassion toward a person in need are ways in which we serve Christ

by Sister Charlene Hockers

In this Sunday’s first reading, when Elisha went to Shunem, he met this woman of influence who invited him to dine with her and her husband. And eventually he was able to stay with them overnight in a room especially provided for him. Elisha rewarded the woman with a promise of a baby son to be born to her. Her hospitality was rewarded. Do we practice hospitality without needing a reward? Can our hospitality be a part of our everyday life?

Our generosity is to be a response, a reflection of the good that God has done for us. We give generously so that we can show the world what God’s generosity looks like.  We go out of our way for people because we want to bring His love to them. Think about how you can give more to the poor, be kind to the people you live with or are near to you. Be a more loving witness to those around you. Just a smile for someone is a blessing!

Recently, the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross met together and chose to revise their charism statement to include the following:

            “... we compassionately respond to the needs of our times through prayer, presence and hospitality.”

May our witness of this in our lives also be reflected in yours.

Lord, show me how to be a witness of your generous love. Amen.

 

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Reflection for June 25, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How precious you and I are to God

Our words and actions express our gratitude

What are you zealous about? Your family? A sports team? A favorite TV show? Jesus Christ? This Sunday’s readings instruct us to sing the Lord’s praises, to acknowledge our heavenly Creator, to have zeal for God’s house.   

Reflection questions:
  • When did I first recognize my zeal for Christ? Do I recognize Christ’s zeal for me?
  • How do I nurture this love?
  • Jesus says, “What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light.” When do I do this best?

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Reflection of June 18, 2017

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jesus: Our abiding companion on the journey

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Feast of Corpus Christi highlights God's gifts through the ages

by Sister Laura Zelten

Companionship, self-sacrifice and teaching the faith. We celebrate these gifts twice on Sunday – once for Father’s Day and again for the Feast of Corpus Christi.

The Feast of Corpus Christi draws our attention to Jesus’ abiding Eucharistic presence for us. Each scripture reading refers to a meal that is shared and its effects.

  • The manna reminded the people of the Exodus that they were not alone on their journey. They needed God. They needed the community. They were on a journey of liberation that was bigger than themselves.
  • In the second reading, the Eucharist reminded the Corinthians that they shared one bread and, thus, were one people. The meal called them to unity and solidarity.
  • In the Gospel, the dialogue with Jesus reminds us that we are nourished for the "life of the world.”  The Eucharist sends us forth for a mission of liberation. Our Eucharist celebrates and challenges our sharing and our relationship with each other. We celebrate God’s love for us, God’s desire to be with us every day in the most intimate way possible when we say “Amen.”

Does my life reflect the joy of knowing and receiving God’s gift of love poured forth through Jesus’ offering of his Body and Blood? Do I appreciate that the Eucharist makes me part of a community, the very body of Christ?

Lord Jesus, help me to say “yes” to your presence in the sacrament of the Eucharist so I may also say “yes” to your presence in me and in all those I encounter day by day.  Amen.

 

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Reflection for June 11, 2017

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Creating and sharing love

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To know the Father, Son & Holy Spirit is to know one amazing love

by Sister Annette Koss

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” (John 3:16-16) The doctrine of the Trinity affirms God as loving and knowing, giving and receiving. We profess that God could not be God without the “other” (the Son) and the eternal bond of their relationship with (the Spirit).

The river of life and love and gratitude flows between the Father and the Son and creates a fire, an energy called the Holy Spirit. To have that flow go through us is to know God. Two of the Trinity love one another; their love becomes the third. The sharing of these three makes one.

“We can only stand in awe-struck silence before such love that is enriched in boldest expectation, beyond all telling.” (Karl Rahner)

Prayer

“In the name of the Father ..." with us from our beginnings, you so loved the world that you gave your Son.

“And of the Son ..." who came to live among us, your everlasting gift of yourself.

“And of the Holy Spirit ..." with us now in our hearts, always: our soul mate.

Open us to you, O Lord. Help us walk with you and keep your company within your Trinity of love. Make us one in your Holy Spirit. Make love our instinct. Let us be Godly with each other and in you.   Amen.

 

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Reflection for June 4, 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Come, Holy Spirit

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How do you embrace these gifts? How do you share them with others?

by Sister Agnes Fischer

Come, Holy Spirit, with your gifts:

  • Wisdom: to give wise counsel to young people who look to us for guidance
  • Understanding: to discern what is true and false in what we see and hear
  • Knowledge: to give earthly things their true value as means rather than ends
  • Counsel: to resolve conflicts and strengthen family bonds
  • Piety: to confide in God as true sons and daughters
  • Fear of the Lord: to refrain from doing what might offend another or cause her to doubt
  • Courage: to continue defending our and others’ rights without fear of criticism

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful and enkindle in us the fire of Your Love.

 

 

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