Thursday, June 15, 2017
Jesus: Our abiding companion on the journey
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.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Creating and sharing love
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)
“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.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Come, Holy Spirit
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.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
'I am with you always, until the end of the world'
The sacrifices of Jesus and others demonstrate a selflessness that enriches our lives
by Sister Ann Rehrauer
The Scripture Readings this weekend and the commemoration of Memorial Day call us to remember the loss of ones we have loved and whose love enabled them to sacrifice their lives for others.
On Calvary, Jesus suffered and gave his life for the salvation of all people – for the friends and disciples who shared his life on earth, but also for those who would come after him. His love for us led him to great suffering, but his sacrifice ended in life eternal through the resurrection.
As he was returning to the Father, Jesus promised to send the Spirit, and commissioned his followers to do what he had done – to make disciples, to further the reign of God, and to teach others to live his example of love. And even though he was leaving the disciples, he promised to be with us always – until the end of time.
This, and every Memorial Day, we commemorate the sacrifice made by so many who gave their lives so that others might live in freedom and peace. They fought and died for family and friends, but also for all of us who would come after them. While their physical presence is no longer with us, their memory and their sacrifice lives on today in all that we enjoy.
This weekend, as we remember Jesus, our Savior, and all who died for others, we commit ourselves to live with gratitude and to work with the same dedication for the ideals of selflessness and sacrifice that Christ and our ancestors showed.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Jesus' promise at the Last Supper is alive today
He is with us and we are invited to be with Him
At the Last Supper, Jesus reassured His apostles that He would be with them always. This 2,000-year-old promise, heard in Sunday’s Gospel, is ours today. Jesus promises us an Advocate, a Spirit of truth. He promises to come to us. And He asks us to love Him and love others.
- To know and love Jesus is to know joy. Do others see this joy in me?
- As Christians, we have a reason to hope. How do I share this hope gently and reverently with others?
- Do I love Jesus and others? What, if anything, has it cost me?
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
We are mothers when we carry Christ
St. Francis: Others see Jesus' love through our holy activities
by Sister Francis Bangert
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and all women who serve as mother figures to the young. Thank you for all the ways you birth and nurture life in our children.
Offered for your reflection today is another way of being "mother". In his First Letter to the Faithful written in the early 13th century, St. Francis of Assisi exhorts women and men desiring to share in his Gospel way of life with these words: “We are mothers when we carry Him (Jesus) in our heart and body through a divine love and a pure and sincere conscience, and give birth to Him through a holy activity which must shine as an example before others."
What is this “holy activity”? To love the Lord with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength, to love our neighbor as ourselves, to be of goodwill to all, and to produce fruitful actions that will shine in the darkness. This “birthing,” this “holy activity” is the Spirit of Jesus, the dynamic principle of life that rests within us, makes its home and dwelling place among us, and propels us into loving union with the Father and the Son, and one another. As our Mother Mary was overshadowed and Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, so too, may this indwelling Spirit of life birth the fragrance of rich fruit in our lives.
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Do you hear His voice? And follow Him?
Discipleship -- from ordained to consecrated and lay -- requires listening to His words of life
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
This Sunday is commonly known as Good Shepherd Sunday. In the Gospel Jesus speaks about His sheep hearing His voice and following Him. In our fast-paced world, where life is very shallow and lived on the surface, we are reminded today to really take time for silence, to ponder the words that the Shepherd speaks, to listen to the Voice that leads us into the depths.
It is interesting to note that John’s Gospel is 20 chapters long. (The 21st chapter was added later.) If we go to the exact midpoint of that Gospel, we are at chapter 10, verse 10, which reads, “I came so that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” Let us then go to the center of our being, and in the core of our hearts listen intently, that we may know the richness of a life pastured by the Good Shepherd.
This Sunday is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We are asked to pray for an abundance of priests in the Church, who will guide God’s people with the love and compassion of Jesus, and to pray for an increase in the number of men and women who will devote themselves to the consecrated life, which is focused on a deep personal relationship with God, enriched through solitude and communal prayer. Let us pray that those who are being called will respond, and in their unique lifestyles will model the pattern of the Good Shepherd.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
In the presence of God
Our moments of joy and comfort are hallmarks of God's movement in our daily lives
by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
Have you looked at a sunset that took your breath away? Or sat with a friend as you both told stories and shared laughter? Or sat alone in the quiet and just listened? These experiences can be moments of grace when we clearly see that we live and move in God’s presence. Sometimes we can’t find the words to describe such experiences.
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus shared an indescribable encounter with the risen Lord. Once they realized they were in the presence of Jesus, their sorrow and grief disappeared and they were filled with great joy! They had seen the Lord and couldn’t wait to share that news with those they left behind. They clearly saw the glory of the Lord.
- When have you felt closest to God?
- What experiences have given you a glimpse of the glory of the Lord?
- Do you believe that Jesus is walking beside you on your journey through life?
Thursday, April 20, 2017
A whole ocean of graces
Divine Mercy Sunday invites us to take shelter in God's love
Inconceivable. Lately, a lot of the news seems inconceivable. If the news has you feeling a bit dismayed, take some time and consider something far more uplifting -- Christ’s inconceivable mercy.
Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday, a day in which we reflect on Jesus’ message: “Tell the whole world about My inconceivable mercy.” This message was among many He gave to St. Faustina Kowalski (1905-1938) in a series of apparitions. Among them were, “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls" and "I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the Fount of My mercy.”
- What does mercy mean to me?
- How can I better understand God’s mercy, realizing it is a “whole ocean” of graces?
- How can I allow God’s mercy to work through me as I encounter others throughout my days?
Thursday, April 13, 2017
This triumphant day
The good news of Easter -- God's reigning love -- continues through us today
by Sister Paulette Hupfauf
The journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday can seem long. But life always wins the day as the Easter Mystery transforms our lives. It shows us a compassionate God whose love and mercy triumph over evil.
The Easter celebration is a reminder of how far Love will go. The power of Jesus’ resurrection was shared with his followers. As followers of Jesus today, we have this same power available to us. We, as believers, can have the same victory over hatred, injustice and violence that Jesus did. Easter is the story of the resurrecting power of love and hope. Life and goodness are to be celebrated always. When we die we will experience the true power of Jesus’ resurrection. We will know forever the fullness of life and love.
“Easter is the experience of a new, majestic presence of the Christ. The power of grace grabs us by the sleeve and leads us to an empty tomb, invites us to the banquet of joy.”
Ashes to Easter, page 115