Archive for the ‘Reflections’ category

Reflection: Monday, Octave of Easter

April 5, 2010

Mass: Monday, April 5, 2010
First Reading: Acts 2:14, 22-33
Responsorial: Ps 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
Gospel: Mt 28:8-15

We continue our week-long celebration of Easter Sunday, a time when we are filled with unbounded joy — let the Church say, “Amen!” Jesus is risen from the tomb—let the Church say, “Amen!” Christ has conquered death with resurrection to new life—let the Church say, “Amen!” Now that was one way to get our worship community to show that this morning is no longer Lent!

So, just to recap the events of the past few days, while we were celebrating Easter, the following events happened, as taken from recent news headlines: Bombs set off in Pakistan and Russia. Church abuse scandal in Europe. 17-year old shot in chest Easter Sunday. Woman killed in hit-and-run on I-35 in San Antonio. And, of course, Lakers lose by 19 to Spurs.

Okay, except for the last one, all of those headlines include stories of death, pain, suffering, violence and anger. And while we celebrated appropriately with joyful singing, feasting and cracking cascarones over our heads, the world continues to cry out for the Good News of the Gospel message.

So what can we do about it? Today’s Gospel gives us a clear message from the Risen Jesus’ own words, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers…” This means Jesus sends us forth as witnesses of this great news to share with others: that sin, death and the cross do not have the final word, but that the resurrection follows. That’s what we do with Easter joy: share with others.

The first reading also reflects this sentiment through the example of Peter. Yes, this is the same Peter who didn’t have enough faith to trust he could walk on water, who was told by Jesus to “get behind me, Satan,” and denied that he even knew Jesus three times.

But, something clicked; the resurrection changed his life. He realized that, despite his humanity, sins and weaknesses, he was forgiven! And now, what to we see him doing in the first reading: sharing this with others.

The refrain from today’s psalm, “Keep me safe, O Lord,” reminds us that God always is present in our lives. This is important to remember that the following of Christ means we also carry the cross—the challenges of life that come to us in many forms. Despite these “crosses,” we are reminded that resurrection, light and joy always awaits.

To be a disciple means to share with one another the good news of God’s love for us. That may come in the form of an insight gained in prayer, a talent that is meant to be shared, an opinion or a fraternal correction that is needed for our personal growth in community—which is a big aspect of our Marianist vocation.

One way we can do that is through committing ourselves daily to the vision of our founder, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, in support of Mary’s mission. Let us to do this by reciting our prayer of dedication.

Reflection: Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

March 26, 2010

Today’s Scripture: Jeremiah 20:10-13 ~ Psalm 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7 ~ John 10:31-42

“Sing Praise to the Lord for he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked”

 I’m sure it’s no accident that Jeremiah’s words come to us just one week before Good Friday. He speaks of betrayal , of false accusation, of darkness.

 But just when we are about to get lost in despair, he speaks of the love and loyalty of God.

 Today’s first reading is like a prelude to the passion of Christ. We see that even as we place our trust in God, the world can deal us a difficult, painful, and even terrifying lot, but we are reminded that even the darkest night ends at sunrise. Jeremiah trusts in God. He knows that God will deliver him from harm. Though he doesn’t know how, or what it will look like, he knows that the sun of justice will dawn, and God will be there to save.

I wonder if Jesus knew completely what surrendering his will to the will of God would ultimately mean. While he was being betrayed, falsely accused, beaten, humiliated, and crucified, was he able to trust that his Father would carry him through it and deliver him from his suffering?

 He trusted God’s will… and he died on a cross. 

 He trusted God’s will… and he rose from the dead!

 Perhaps our call today is simply to trust God’s will, even in darkness and uncertainty. We don’t know how, or what it will look like, but we must trust that God will bring us from adversity into the light of his love. We are called to know that our Lent ends with Christ’s Easter.

 We are called to trust the will of God, and to know that he will save us from the hands of the wicked.

Reflection: 4th Wednesday of Lent

March 17, 2010

Scripture: Isaiah 48: 8-15 ~ Psalm 145: 8-9, 13-14, 17-18 ~ John 5:17-30

Today’s readings are rich with meaning; I was a little overwhelmed trying to figure out what I should talk about. In prayer I kept coming back to the last phrase of the Gospel, “I do not seek my own will, but the will of the one who sent me.”

This is a radical statement for a society that places great importance on individuality and independence. We live in an “it’s all about me” kind of world. To hear Jesus say “I do not seek my own will, but that of my father,” can seem very foreign and very uncomfortable. Weird and stupid.

I know in my own life, I had a very strong idea about what path I would walk down. I clung to this will very hard, for a very long time. I pursued my chosen path tenaciously, but I never got anywhere, and I never really felt fulfilled.

After a while, I got tired, I had tried so hard to make it without God, and it just wasn’t working.  So I stopped running away, and tired to accept God’s call to something I had been refusing to consider. Suddenly I felt fulfilled, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. There are still things I always thought I would do, that I may not get to, but I’m okay with that. I’m working on it every day, and slowly, God’s will for my life, is becoming MY will for my life.  And I’m finding now, that I have experienced things that I would never have experiencedhad I followed my own path.

I think we are all called to do this: to accept, a little more each day, that God’s will for us is the greater will, and to ask him to conform our will to his. Jesus came to call sinners because his Father sent him to do it. He accomplished this mission because he surrendered his will to the will of his Father. Just think of the things God could accomplish through us if we let go of our own selfish wants and allow his will to come into our lives.

Reflection: 4th Tuesday of Lent

March 16, 2010

Mass: Tuesday, March 16, 2010
First Reading: Ez 47:1-9, 12
Responsorial: Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
Gospel: Jn 5:1-16

Reflection

If an Academy Award were given for today’s set of readings, the “best supporting character” award would go to…water. After all, the common theme shared with the first reading and Gospel is water—for its life-giving, life-sustaining and healing properties.

Nearly 3/4 of our planet is made up of water. Similarly, our bodies are made up of about 70 percent of water.

I would suspect that throughout history, many cultures would… 

Continue reading the original post.

Reflection: 3rd Monday of Lent

March 8, 2010

Mass: Monday, March 8, 2010
First Reading: 2 Kgs 5:1-15ab
Responsorial: Psalm 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4
Gospel: Lk 4:24-30

A prophet is one who has been identified as “an individual who is inspired to proclaim the will of God in a visionary and new way.”

Inspired by the readings for today, my thoughts focused on the role of prophets in our world. In the Gospel, Jesus remarks that prophets often have been identified as the crazy ones who are the misfits, rebels, troublemakers—particularly in their native place.

The world would have been better off if it had listened to these prophets, rather than rejected them. So, if a genuine prophet of God were to enter our chapel at this moment, would we be ready? Would we be open to the prophet’s message? Can we discern how the prophet may invite us to deeper understanding of God’s presence in our daily life?

And while it is important to be vigilant and wary of those ‘false prophets’ whose thoughts are not inspired by God, I think there is some wisdom in this train of thought:

  • The Church is a prophetic voice in our world.
  • Religious orders, such as the S.M. and FMI, are prophetic voices in the Church.
  • A local community within the S.M. can be a prophetic voice in the order.
  • An individual Marianist can be a prophetic voice in the community…who then also can be a prophetic voice to the order, the Church and the world.

By virtue of the gifts that each one of us have been blessed with, along with our desire to follow Christ in a unique lifestyle that is rooted in faith—seeing how God is present in all parts of our daily lives—I believe that everyone in this chapel is called to be a prophetic voice in our world.

What makes this vocation truly Marianist is that it is done together with one another—and that is what we value as the gift of community.

We each are blessed with different gifts, personalities, abilities and other talents that we have yet to develop. By combining those gifts, we are better able to discern how God calls us to be prophetic and respond to the needs of others.

If God had wanted all of us to be the same, why would God make each one of us uniquely different? And that gift also is the challenge—to combine our individual uniqueness into “a community of one heart and mind.”

So what does it take to listen and learn from the prophetic voices in our midst? Disposition of openness, willingness to dialog / staying at the table, fidelity to prayer, patience, and the humility to remember we always are in God’s midst when “two or three are gathered in God’s name” as promised in scripture; and this means not only in chapel, but also at the dinner table, in our community and office meetings, our upcoming consultations for different stages of formation, and even our fun nites!

As we prepare to receive the Eucharist this evening, let us pray in gratitude for the prophetic voices in our world that have moved us forward, and for the faithfulness to recognize those in our midst.

Reflection: 1st Tuesday of Lent

February 23, 2010

Mass: Tuesday, February 23, 2010
First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-11
Responsorial: Psalm 33:4-7,16-19
Gospel: Matthew 6:7-15

I encountered someone this weekend who takes exception to the last lines of today’s Gospel. In his mind, a God that is all loving and all forgiving would not hold us to human standards. An all loving God would forgive and forget, even if we don’t. He says that God forgives our short-comings, no questions asked.

So I thought about that for awhile.

And while it is true, that by the grace and mercy of God, our sins are forgiven as soon as we ask; how can we expect to benefit from God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance, if we ourselves remain hateful, conniving, and vengeful, and do not forgive those who hurt us?

Do the Gospel’s not also warn of the hypocrites who profess faith with their mouths, but do nothing of good works to demonstrate that faith to others?

It seems to me that God is not asking for perfection, he created us, and he knows the weakness of our human condition; but he also knows what we are capable of if we place ourselves in his hands. God knows that it is hard for us to forgive others, hard to trust them again, and hard to forget the pain we felt. He is simply asking that we trust Him enough to try.

Perhaps God is saying to us “give me the pain, the hurt, and the distrust, and I will show you how to love, heal, accept, and forgive. I will give that to you, so you can give it to others. I can only show you true love and forgiveness if you are willing to pass my love on to others.”

In the Gospel Today Jesus teaches us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Could this be a reminder that as people of God, we are called to love as God does? We ask God’s forgiveness, mercy, and love, and He grants it to us. Then we must take this “daily bread” and use it the way God does; to love, forgive, and accept unconditionally.

Those last lines may not be an admonishment so much as a reminder that God’s forgiveness is an opportunity. An opportunity to let God to show us how to spread his love, grace, and mercy to those around us.

Reflection: 6th Monday in Ordinary Time

February 15, 2010

Mass: Monday, February 15, 2010
First Reading: Jas 1:1-11
Responsorial: Psalm 119:67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 76
Gospel: Mk 8:11-13

Do you ever wish that life was like an interstate highway? Gliding along at a decent speed taking in the beauty around you, and God giving you clearly marked, well lighted signs along the way that tell you exactly what to expect, when to expect it, and which way to turn when you get there.

We pray, we meditate, we may even fast. We seek God’s guidance and all we ask in return is a giant flashing neon arrow from heaven saying “DO THIS” “GO HERE” “THIS IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO”

This is what the Pharisees want in today’s Gospel: Proof. They don’t want to have to trust God. They want God to accept their doubt and give heed to their human desires. And Jesus says “NO”

James warns us against this in the first reading too. He says that when times get rough, and they will, we should not have doubt. That is not the time to ask God for an obvious sign. It is instead, the time to ask God for the wisdom and perseverance to see the small subtle signs that are all around us. God comes softly, and he ALWAYS answers our prayers. But if we’re gliding along, letting the scenery pass us by and only looking for the big, directional signs, we’ll miss all the little ways that God reveals himself to us along the way.

Like St. James says, we must persevere in our faith, if we ask God simply to give us what we need in order to show us the way, he will.

We don’t need neon signs; we need faith, perseverance, and trust in God’s love for us.