Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Touch His side and believe
Because of Thomas, we hear Jesus proclaim to him and us, 'blessed are those who believe'
by Sister Margaret Mary Halbach
Today is an important day for our Community. We are commemorating Founders' Day during our 150th celebration year. The Scriptures for this weekend are appropriate in my reflection on Community.
The first reading on this Second Sunday of Easter is from the Acts of the Apostles. It speaks of the Apostles and their beginning of the Church and how they lived what Christ taught them: "The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the Resurrection of the Lord, and great favor was accorded to them all." (4:32-33)
As I reflect on that statement I realize that, as each Sister lives in the spirit of Community, we can be and do more in Community than we can be or do alone. This thought has become a great part of our Sisters’ spiritualty. We give witness to the love of Jesus Christ, lived in Community. We possess all things in common and then share all in a joyful attitude.
In the Gospel (John 20:19-31) Thomas the Apostle comes to the fore after not being present with the others when Jesus came to the Upper Room to reveal Himself. In a way Thomas is representative of all of us. We were not present in the Upper Room yet we are to have faith and believe. Jesus challenged Thomas to put a hand into His side "and to not be unbelieving but believe. ... Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
We are challenged, too. We are called to touch not only Jesus' wounds but all those we meet in our wounded world. Try to spend time today praying over the following thought: Who needs our gentle touch in their wounds? How can we help reveal Jesus?
Be not afraid. He is with us.
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Happy Founders' Day and blessings for many more years!!! - Claire
Thank you, Sisters, for your gentle healing touch over these 150 years of service. Celebrate Jesus' endless goodness witnessed through you in endless ways! Thank you for building a loving community.-Ellen
The experience of living in community is rich, indeed, but notice how the Gospel (John 20: 19-31) goes on to tell of the very first 'fearful' community of believers. Two weeks in a row, Jesus comes to his followers, who have locked themselves in, barred the door, out of fear. Both times Jesus enters, appears with a message, a pronouncement of "Peace," dispelling their fears to move outward. Jesus appears, and 'breathes new life upon them and within them.' Not just once, but twice. Not only does Jesus gift the believers with "Shalom," but he extends his very own wounded-ness to them, that they, too, will come to recognize their own wounds, and the ways they have wounded others, including Jesus. This is metanoia - conversion - repentance and healing at work - just what disciples need to be authentic preachers of 'new life' and to become wounded healers, themselves, in the Example of "the Wounded Healer," Jesus. Your celebration is on Mercy Sunday. How fitting for these times! The psalm, too, so rich .... as each and every believing household and disciple-ed community can sing out, "The Mercy of God endures forever!" -- Linda
I pray for the blessing of God to be with each of the Sisters as they commemorate & celebrate the 150th Founders Day! - Michael V
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
So much more than an Easter bonnet
Among your garments include the joy, light and peace of our Risen Lord
by Sister Jane Riha
Are you wearing your new Easter clothes on Sunday? It is common for people to don something new on Easter. Those from a certain era will remember this portion of a song, “In your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it ..." We don’t wear bonnets nowadays but we might wear a special decorative hat.
The garments that persons of all ages are called to wear during this Easter Season are garments that are full of light, joy and peace. Christ, our Risen Lord, the Light of the World, is in our midst. The Gospel of John tells us about three persons, witnesses to an empty tomb. Mary of Magdala came in the early morning when it was still dark. Surprised she runs to tell Peter and “the other disciple” whom we believe was John. They go into the tomb together and then this beautiful phrase follows: "He saw and he believed." This "other disciple" believed. He did not just look but he saw the significance of what had taken place. White burial garments were left behind because the Risen Jesus was robed in light and glory.
All three -- Mary of Magdala, Peter and John -- were faithful disciples. I believe they all "saw and believed." I invite you to enter into this Gospel and place yourself there. Pray the Gospel and wait for the Risen Lord to reveal His presence to you. The garments of joy, light and peace will reveal themselves. Most of all may these garments remain deep within your heart. You are ready now to go out as a disciple and share the Good News of the Gospel.
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Thursday, March 22, 2018
From joy to hatred
On Palm Sunday we hear the people's proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah deteriorate into calling for his death
by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
Imagine the excitement of welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem as the people waved palm branches and sang “Hosanna! (meaning “save now”). The crowds shouted out their belief that Jesus was “the one” who was coming to save them. Their joy could not be contained.
Now imagine the change in tone as we listen to the proclamation of the Passion of the Lord. “Hosanna” is replaced with “Crucify him”! The crowds shouted their disbelief in Jesus as the Messiah. Their hatred could not be contained.
As Jesus heard and felt the change from adoration and joy to anger and disbelief, he also underwent unbelievable physical, emotional and spiritual suffering. Many of those who supported him as he entered Jerusalem suddenly deserted him. Many of those who had followed him hid out of fear. Imagine how he felt.
- What does the suffering and death of Jesus mean to you?
- Jesus’ journey to Calvary begins on Palm Sunday and continues through this most solemn week – Holy Week. Will you journey with him?
Thursday, March 15, 2018
A journey of the heart
Just as a seed gives way to fruit, we live more fully in Jesus when we say 'no' to ourselves and 'yes' to Him
by Sister Carolyn Zahringer
The Responsorial Psalm for this Sunday revisits the refrain and verses of Psalm 51 proclaimed on Ash Wednesday. There is value in revisiting a Psalm of invitation five weeks into Lent.
Lent is a journey of the heart for each believer who experiences Lent with a measure of seriousness. This year we began our Lenten journey on Valentine’s Day -- what a coincidence!
Our journey of faith begins at baptism and lasts a lifetime. This journey will challenge us and cause us to die to ourselves. Jesus says in Sunday's Gospel, “Amen, Amen I say to you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single grain. But if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn.12:24). “Whoever serves me must follow me, says the Lord; and where I am, there also will my servant be” (Jn12:26).
As part of the new evangelization efforts in our diocese, each of us is asked to share the Good News wherever we go. To where will the journey lead us as we approach Holy Week? Palm Sunday falls on the Feast of the Annunciation. What will we “hear” being announced? How will we share it?
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
"For God so loved the world that ..."
The rest of John's chapter 3 spells out where we will find truth and where we will find evil
Do you walk in the light or in the dark?
As we reach the midpoint of Lent on Sunday, we hear Jesus discuss with Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, the choice to live in the light of Jesus Christ or to hide in the dark with wickedness and evil. Nicodemus freely acknowledges that Jesus is sent by God; yet, he seeks out Jesus at night. Did Nicodemus use the dark to hide his visit with Jesus? What did he fear? The words and the actions of Nicodemus can speak to our own lives. What does his journey say about yours and mine?
Thursday, March 1, 2018
'He told me everything I have done'
by Sister Mary Kabat
For when he asked the Samaritan woman for water to drink,
he had already created the gift of faith within her.
(excerpt from Preface: The Samaritan Woman)
Have you been caught in or been the witness of a “he said, she said?” It can end in a rift in a relationship. In Sunday’s Gospel from John (proclaimed in parishes with candidates and catechumens preparing to be initiated into the Catholic Church), Jesus’ simple request, “Give me a drink,” leads to a lengthy back and forth between Jesus and the unnamed Samaritan woman. It begins a volley of questions and theological and historical answers which must have brought Jesus a smile and raised the ire of the woman who showed such spunk, knowledge and faith.
Then came the request that brought the debate to a halt: “Go call your husband.” This required an answer of personal truth. This was a line in the sand that must be crossed for the encounter to deepen. The woman must have taken a deep breath and then revealed the truth of her life to Jesus, “I do not have a husband.” Then, when she references the Messiah, Jesus did some truth telling of his own: “I am he, the one speaking to you.”
The woman sets down her water jar – how this encounter began – and runs to not only proclaim the good news of Jesus but to bring the people of her town to Jesus and Jesus to her town for a two-day stay. How bewildered the disciples were! How filled with faith the townspeople were for having come to know the “savior of the world.”
- What conversation would you like to have with Jesus?
- What truth do you want to share with Jesus or a person in your life?
- Can you set down your “water jar” to lead someone to the good news of Jesus?
Thursday, February 22, 2018
How will His Transfiguration change you?
These 40 days are a time to let Christ's love overcome fears, judgments & excuses
by Sister Francis Bangert
This Sunday's powerful Transfiguration passage from Mark’s Gospel follows Jesus’ teaching on discipleship: that following Him would lead to misunderstanding, suffering, and even death. It’s a basic truth of human life … no pain, no gain. No cross, no resurrection. Think of some examples: regular exercising to lose weight; years of practice to reach the Olympics; rigorous study to obtain a degree; day after long day of struggling with an addiction to achieve sobriety/inner freedom.
To teach the Apostles that following Him will be worth the effort, Jesus invites Peter, James and John into an indescribable experience of the Mystery of Trinity. He becomes Pure Light – then a Cloud comes and a Voice is heard, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.”
It is into this mystery that they and we are welcomed to contemplate, to listen for guidance and to be strengthened for the long haul; to work for Gospel peace, not the false peace of control; to respect every human being as an image of God; to care for Earth and stand in awe at her interrelated beauty; to exchange personal comfort and complacency for the challenge of building the reign of God.
As we listen to the beloved Son during these Lenten days, how are we being called into a deeper awareness of being loved unconditionally by Him? What fears, judgmental attitudes, selfish interests, excuses, do we need to let go of in order to grasp the depth of living in the Trinitarian Mystery? It’s worth the effort.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
God's everlasting covenant
For the First Sunday of Lent, we are invited to set our eyes on God's enduring love and truth
by Sister Sally Ann Brickner
Today’s Scripture readings set the tone for our entire Lenten journey, which centers on our covenantal relationship with God. The passage from Genesis describes God’s fidelity to Noah and his family (and to us as well). God establishes a covenant and promises never again to destroy the earth and all it holds.
In his first letter, St. Peter assures us that God’s covenant is renewed with us through our baptism when we are plunged into the life-giving waters – not of a flood – but of Christ’s own resurrection. We are assured that in and through Christ we can overcome the powers of evil, whether they come from within ourselves or assail us from without.
St. Mark relates that before beginning His public ministry Jesus spent 40 days in the desert wrestling with temptations from Satan. By walking with our Risen Lord during these 40 days the grace of the Spirit will enable us to be true to our baptismal promises – to reject evil and the lure of Satan and to walk in newness of life.
- What witness does Jesus provide for us in resisting evil, in casting out demons from our hearts?
- How true are you to your promises?
- What graces do you most deeply desire so that your covenantal relationship with God can be renewed?
Thursday, February 8, 2018
'Be made clean'
In a move deemed risky by our standards, Jesus heals the leper; Can we take a risk for Him?
Jesus changed everything. In Sunday’s readings, the Old Testament describes what a leper must do – be declared unclean by a priest, live apart from others, and, if encountering others, cry out, “Unclean, unclean!”
Not so with Jesus. He takes pity on the leper. He touches the leper and heals him. Jesus then is the one who dwells in deserted places, apart from others.
One encounter illustrates what Jesus is willing to do for us. What will we do for Him and others?
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Verbal and nonverbal communications
Preaching the Gospel at all times takes on many forms; here are a few ideas
by Sister Agnes Fischer
In today’s second reading St. Paul tells us, “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.” So how do I do this?
- I live my matrimony in such a way that I witness to those around me a true image of God’s love.
- As a parent I show my children and grandchildren cause to really call God “Our Father”.
- At home, school, factory, office, or business my enthusiasm to be a Christian is caught by those around me.
In other words, as Jesus says in today’s Gospel: “Let us go to nearby villages and preach there also.”