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Category Archives: Sr. Rose’s Reflections

26 Apr

Second Sunday of Easter

Peace be with You!

“Peace be with you” is the most frequent greeting that the Risen Christ extends to whomever he meets. We are invited to extend this greeting of peace all who accompany us at each Mass we attend. 

In John’s Gospel this greeting is followed with a SENDING: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” We experience the Risen Christ in our midst every time we offer the greeting of peace, or extend peace filled action to others. Peace is a calming—a calming of fears, a healing of doubts, and an expression of our desire for all to be well. When have you felt peace most profoundly? When do you bring peace to others? Do you bring calm and compassionate healing to others? As we experience peace in our lives, we are also sent to extend that peace to others. Happy Easter-time!

19 Apr

Easter Sunday

Easter Alleluias

“Alleluia” is the one word we hear most often at the Easter Vigil and on Easter morning. Alleluia is another way of saying “praise the Lord.”

Easter invites us to use all of our senses in praising the Lord. We taste, touch, smell, feel and see Jesus throughout our Holy Triduum. In a matter of three days, we taste and see the goodness of the Lord in our reception of the Eucharist. We feel the sacrifice on the cross as we venerate the wood. We see the light of the fire taking us out of darkness. We dip deeply into the baptismal waters at the Easter Vigil and then get “sprinkled” with water throughout the Easter season. We smell the lilies—the new bursting blooms that signal new life in all forms.

All around us we witness newness in nature, in creation. What newness exists in us, in our bursting forth from our personal tombs? How are we witnessing Christ alive in each of us?

What does it mean to us to be an Easter people with “alleluia” as our song?

12 Apr

Palm Sunday

Will You BE THERE?

Palm Sunday initiates our observance of Holy Week. The liturgies of these holy days are filled with rich symbols and images that help us to remember. At the beginning of Lent this year, I invited all the RCIA candidates to find a cross and to keep it handy throughout Lent. This week we have the opportunity to accompany Jesus in his journey to the cross. We are invited to spend the week in a kind of retreat—a time to focus on how present we are to the events of Holy Week.

We carry palms, we raise them high. We reenact the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem as a prophet from Nazareth. We recognize the humility of an entrance on a donkey. We read the passion and participate as the crowd gathered. Do we identify with the words we speak? In what way? Are we like the apostles unable to stay awake and pray with Jesus in the garden? In what ways do we “fall asleep?”

When do we “wash the feet” of others? When do we “walk the way of the cross?” When have we felt lifeless, spiritless and deadened as if we were in a grave, a tomb? This week we retreat, as much as we are able, from regular activity to spend time in prayer and reflection. We can spend time thinking about all the people today who are experiencing their own way of the cross, suffering the most desperate situations—torture, total desperation, helplessness, bullying, physical abuse, and humiliation. We have the opportunity to BE THERE.

5 Apr

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Something New?

Are you having the BEST Lent ever? What is making it the best? What do you have to leave behind for it to be the BEST?

In the first reading from Isaiah, God says, “Remember not the things of the past, the things of long ago consider not, see, I am doing something new!”

Often we get so stuck on the habits and sins of the past that we just keep right on repeating them. Or we might let one great offense fester in us and grow instead of letting it go. Sometimes it is about how we see the sin in others, for example, the woman in the Gospel this weekend, that we forget about what is going on in us. 

Jesus reminds us that our sinful habits are the result of losing our focus. When sin or bad habits might condemn us, turning to Jesus we can hear, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

It is only in following Jesus that we can forget what lies in the past and yearn forward to the “new life”—leaving the darkness for the light of Christ! On this the fifth week of Lent, we come before Jesus, asking for healing and merciful love that changes our hearts. And we boldly ask God to create something new in us! Will we know it when it happens? Will we see it in each other? With God all things are possible! Easter joy and hope await us all!

29 March

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Welcome Home

The Gospel story of the Prodigal Son is well-known. We hear it often and each time, we probably pay attention to different details of the story. Today I invite you to reflect on one of the characters in the story and ask yourself which one you identify with the most? Why?

The father looked for his son, the one who had left home. His persistent looking and caring led to his running towards the “lost one.” He doesn’t wait for the son to come back hanging his head or asking forgiveness. Forgiveness was already there! 

When are we like that father? When do we embrace those who wrong us? Or how do we welcome those whom we perceive to be taking something away from us? 

No matter what we have done to stray from the path, the “coming home” is always available to us. And our “welcome home” messages to others are often the end of separation and the beginning of a new belonging that all of us crave. Are you having the BEST Lent ever?

22 March

Third Sunday of Lent

Just How Thirsty Are We?

The Samaritan woman is alienated from her community. The Jews considered the Samaritans less than human. Her relationships with others are all messed up. She needs water and to avoid contact with others, she goes to the well in the heat of mid-day. There she encounters a man who asks her for a drink. Men aren’t supposed to speak to women in public. It is Jesus who acknowledges her presence and her need. And he tells her that he needs her. Imagine! He asks her for a drink. 

What follows is a dialogue. The woman is curious. She questions and she persists in her wonder about this man who is speaking to her, understands her and reveals himself to her in a way she least expected. No longer feeling marginated, she instead experiences belonging. She leaves the well excited, rushes home and boisterously, boldly tells the story of her experience. She has been promised living water. Out of her vulnerability—the dryness and the brokenness of her life—she has experienced the revelation that Jesus is the Messiah. Because of her and the telling of her story, many came to believe.

What’s dry and parched in our lives? For what are we thirsting? Do we seek the water that leads to eternal life? 

Who are the alienated among us, who seek belonging? How do we use dialogue and presence, curiosity and persistence in understanding those who are not like us? Just how thirsty are we? What are we willing to risk in order to receive “living water?”

15 March

Second Sunday of Lent

Me, Transfigured?

What really happened on that mountain top? We read that Jesus took his companions to the mountain to pray. And what happened is described as a glimpse of eternal life, the glory of God, and the life of the world to come. It reminds us of our purpose on earth—to know, love, and serve God AND to be happy with God in heaven.

This gospel coincides with the Period of Purification and Enlightenment in the RCIA process. The whole Church joins in a season of asking for insight into what in our lives need “enlightenment” or focus. What needs to be purified? What do we wish to see more clearly? What are the hungers and thirsts in our lives? What keeps us bound and unfree?

This weekend we are invited to reflect on a time(s) in our lives when we entered the clouds and fogs of life and found clarity and hope. Notice the many ways we ask for that clarity in our prayer at Mass this weekend and throughout our 40-day observance of Lent. When Jesus’ followers looked at the transfigured Jesus, what did they see? In our praying, in our spending time in the silence of Lent, are we beginning to see ourselves as the beloved daughters and sons of God? Are we paying attention and listening? Are we too preparing to be happy with God in heaven?

8 March

First Sunday of Lent

Full and Hungry Too

When do you experience temptation? What do you do to resist? Can you resist? Do you have a proven strategy? What would you most need in order to not give in to temptation?

“Be with me Lord when I am in trouble.” That’s my usual go to prayer when I am tempted. I usually know when I am in trouble. Sometimes, I simply say, “Lord, help me!”

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus gives us the example in his encountering temptations. Eleanor Stump explains both the temptations and Jesus’ ability to resist in this way:

Jesus’ rejection of Satan’s urging gives us a pattern for our lives. In our suffering, when those things we think we need in order to live are denied us, we do not have to be desperate. When we are hungry for what we do not have because our Father God has not given it, we still have the Word of God, which comes into us and can fill us. Jesus, who is the cornerstone of the Church, is our bread at the same time. And so we can be like him: full—even when, in the stony parts of our lives, we are hungry, too.

1 March

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

What’s in Your Heart?

The Gospel for this Sunday ends with these words: “from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”

The other Scripture readings remind us that “the fruit of a tree shows the care it has had, so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind.”

I am very fond of words. Words can be very powerful. Words can be used for good or for evil. Words can praise and words can hurt. We often use the expression “Actions speak louder than words.” But that doesn’t erase the power of words.

Our words say so much about us. What will your words say about you this week? Are the words you speak coming from what is in your heart? 

And so we pray: Holy God, help me to examine the words I use in conversation with my family, my friends, my co-workers, and anyone you place in my path.

22 Feb

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Choosing Love Instead of Hate

When you refuse to escalate the violence, you are, in fact, “doing good to those who hate you.”

What does it look like to “refuse to escalate the violence?” It is hard to imagine that, isn’t it, since we have so many media images of the opposite. We see and perhaps even experience violence of all kinds—gun violence, drug violence, domestic violence, hate crimes. 

Doing good to those who hate is quite challenging. No one says it is easy. But Jesus did offer some difficult and practical advice about how to do unto others as God does to us. And we have modern day examples of persons who modeled that there is power in non-violence. Martin Luther King, Jr., St. Oscar Romero, Sister Dorothy Stang, and Pope Francis are among the persons who come to mind.

Studying how they preached and more importantly how they lived, offers us insight into what Luke’s gospel is calling us to in loving our enemies.

Many years ago I had the opportunity to visit The King Center in Atlanta. There I learned Martin Luther King, Jr.’s six principles of nonviolence. 

  • Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
  • Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
  • Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.
  • Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.
  • Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
  • Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.

I have those principles hanging on the wall. Some of them I know by heart. Others are slowly converting my heart. Will we choose love over hate?