Archive for Weekly Reflection

Reflection for the 26th Week in Ordinary Time

God asked his Son to give up everything so that he could rescue us. Imagine such love!  God traded his Son, whom he adored, to save a rebellious people lost in sin. His great loss was our great gain. Through his obedience and sacrifice on the cross, Jesus shows us what love, service, and obedience truly are.

 

Jesus calls all of us to take on this same attitude and mind.  He doesn’t want us to do good deeds just for the sake of doing good deeds.  He wants us to become like him — conformed after the pattern of Christ.  We need to serve God’s people, not because we want to be nice, but because we have begun to experience a share in Jesus’ love for the world.  God is not looking for hard work, but for Christ-likeness. He doesn’t want us to weary ourselves with service in the hopes that we will earn a place in heaven.  Are we willing to lose those things that we hold dear for the sake of sharing our love with others?

 

The chief priests and elders of Jesus’ time had done everything right outwardly, but they were lacking in love for God.  Jesus was after their hearts, and they gave him “service” instead.  In contrast,  those who followed Jesus did so because they had let God capture their hearts. Their lives demonstrated a real conversion to Christ, and this is what pleased Jesus most of all.

 

If we prepare a fitting dwelling place for God in our heart, then everything we do and say will reflect the love of God which resides there.

Prayer of a Faithful Spirit

Compassionate God,

I am here to give myself to you

and to your people.

It is through who I am and what I do

that others will come to know you.

I am here to bring peace

to a broken people,

and healing

to those in need.

I am here to witness

to the world,

that I live in response

to a desperate society

seeking truth,

equality,

and freedom.

 

Parent of the poor

and oppressed,

I ask for your help.

You have shown me

how to be faithful

in the midst of persecution.

You have taught me

to stand firm

in the pain that I experience

in my broken world.

Teach me to become

sight for the blind,

ears for those who are deaf

to hear your Word,

and hands

for those who refuse to work

at building a kingdom of love.

Amen.

 

Reflection for the 24th Week in Ordinary Time

One of Pope Francis’ recurring themes is God’s mercy.  God’s mercy knows no boundries.  Mercy is not just an abstract idea or a nice theory — it is a concrete reality.  It’s not just an experience that we can choose to live out when it’s convenient for us.  God’s mercy for us is meant to be at the heart of how we think and how we act toward each other.  It’s meant to be the characteristic that sets us apart in a world that is caught up in self-righteousness, division, and unforgiveness.   Forgiveness is the best way that we can reveal God’s love to ourselves and others.

 

Forgiveness is not about rules;  it doesn’t have a number attached to it.  Forgiveness blossoms into a life of hope where all relationships become possible and life-giving.  Forgiveness puts us into the heart of God.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God of all blessings,

source of all life, giver of all grace:

We thank you for the gift of life:

for the breath that sustains life,

for the food of this earth that nurtures life,

for the love of family and friends

without which there would be no life.

 

We thank you for the mystery of creation:

for the beauty that the eye can see,

for the joy that the ear may hear,

for the unknown that we cannot behold

filling the universe with wonder,

for the expanse of space that draws us

beyond the definitions of our selves.

 

We thank you for setting us in communities:

for families who nurture our becoming,

for friends who love us by choice,

for companions at work,

who share our burdens and daily tasks,

for strangers who welcome us into their midst,

for people from other lands

who call us to grow in understanding,

for children who lighten our moments with delight,

for the unborn, who offer us hope for the future.

 

We thank you for this day:

for life and one more day to love,

for opportunity

and one more day to work for justice and peace,

for neighbors

and one more person to love and by whom be loved,

for your grace

and one more experience of your presence,

for your promise:

to be with us,

to be our God,

and to give salvation.

Amen.                                                                               

 

Reflection for the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

St. Paul tells us today to “present our body as a living sacrifice — holy and acceptable to God.”  What is your reaction to that? Do you ever think about the fact that your body needs to be acceptable to God?  Our body is so valuable to God that, in fact, God sent his Son as a completely embodied human being to save us.  And his salvation includes the resurrection and glorification of our bodies.

 

When Jesus told his disciples to “follow me”, they had to physically stand up and walk after Jesus;  in doing so, they became the foundation of the Church.  And as they followed, they had to experience and do the things Jesus did before they could fully understand who he was.

 

So it is with us.  It is through our body that we follow Jesus.  It is through our body that we experience Jesus today.  Blessed Mother Teresa was fond of saying: “Keep giving Jesus to your people, not by words, but by your example — by being in love with Jesus, by radiating his holiness and by spreading his fragrance of love everywhere you go. You belong to him.”

 

Give yourself — you hands, your heart, your feet — every part of you — to God.  May you become the person that God has called you to be.  In doing that you become the living sacrifice that God wants of you.

Prayer for a Blessing on Our Work

O Lord, my God,
Creator and Ruler of the universe,
it is Your 
Will 

that human beings

accept the duty of work.
May the work I do

bring growth in this life to me
and those I love

and help to extend the Kingdom of Christ.

Give all persons work

that draws them to You
and to each other

in cheerful service.
I unite all my work

with the Sacrifice of Jesus
that it may be pleasing to You

and give You glory.

I beg Your Blessing 

upon all my efforts.
With Saint 
Joseph 

as my example and guide,
help me to do the work

You have asked
and come to the reward

You have prepared.

Amen

 

Reflection for the 21st Week in Ordinary Time

Keys are a sign of power.  Whether we actually turn a key in a lock, punch in a code, type in a PIN, or swipe a plastic card, we have power with keys.  Keys allow us access to what is denied to others.  They provide security — when our belongings are locked up — and freedom — when we can use our car to give us mobility.  Keys can indicate status.  Sometimes we even equate our keys with our self-worth.  People who leave a job, or sell a home often times have difficulty when it comes to “handing in their keys”.

 

When Peter is given the symbolic keys to the kingdom of heaven, he is invested with authority and power — the power and life of Christ.  But how was he instructed to use that authority?  Jesus’ life and example provide the answer — the disciples are to use power to help the powerless.  They are not to lord it over others — rather they are to be servants.

 

Reflect on your keys today.  How many do you have?  What power do they give you?  How are you using the powers you have to serve the powerless?

Blessings of Teachers and Students

Blessing of our teachers:

 

O Lord God,

in your wisdom and love

you surround us

with the mysteries of the universe.

You sent us your Son

to teach us by word and example

that true wisdom comes from you alone.

 

Send your Holy Spirit upon our teachers.

Fill them with your wisdom and blessings.

Grant that they may devote themselves

to their calling to be teachers,

and share what you have given them

and what they have learned from others.

Amen.

 

Blessing of Students:

 

O Lord God,

your Spirit of wisdom fills the earth

and teaches us your ways.

Look upon these students.

Let them enjoy their learning

and take delight in new discoveries.

Help them to persevere in their studies

and give them the desire to learn all things well.

 

Grant that they may follow in your path,

learning the lessons of truth and love,

and may they share with others,

the truths that they have learned,

their energy for life

and the goodness of their hearts.

Amen.

 

Reflection for the 19th Week in Ordinary Time

We can certainly identify with Elijah hiding in his cave and with Peter sinking in the water. At times we do both. When life becomes challenging, we know all-too-well how to retreat from our responsibilities and our relationships, seeking refuge in a cave of our own making.  Or we make a few daring steps and then, like Peter, lose heart — not merely regressing, but descending even more deeply into chaos and uncertainty.  Fear wraps itself around us, immobilizing us, tripping us up, plunging us into despair.  We look for a security blanket, but there is none.

 

There are two ways out of this dangerous state.  In the first, God takes the initiative and approaches us;  the voice comes:  “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Feebly, we try to explain, only to recognize the divine whisper caressing us as we grumble.  In the second, we cry out:  “Lord, save me!”  And, miraculously, the risen Christ stretches out his hand and catches us before we drown.  In the presence of God, we need neither caves nor life jackets.   But do we trust or care enough to seek or to call out?

Prayer to Mary

O Mary
bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life:
Look down,

O Mother,
upon the vast numbers
of babies not allowed to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women
who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed
by indifference

or out of misguided mercy.


Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of life
with honesty and love
to the people of our time.

Obtain for them the grace
to accept that Gospel
as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude
throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely,

in order to build,
together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise

and glory of God,
the Creator,

and lover of life.

Amen.

                                                                                — St. Pope John Paul II