Thursday, July 6, 2017
Where we will find rest
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!
Thursday, June 29, 2017
'Let us arrange a little room ... for him'
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.
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.
- 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?
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.