by Sr. Barbara Markey, ND
We are a pretty simple people. Jesus knew that when he gave us this Sunday's message: "Whatever you did for one of the least sisters or brothers of mine, you did for me."
We want to be people of God. We want our ordinary, daily output to model what Jesus called us to be. Sometimes, however, we forget that and just carry on as though we had never heard of Jesus and the simple message he gave to us. Or, sometimes we get so annoyed at life or the people around us that we give them what we think they deserve and let the chips fall where they may.
Maybe, if we started our morning with a prayer that we would treat people we encountered that day with the respect we would give Jesus, we would be more pleased with how we handled that day. I don't mean that we would see the face of Jesus in each person (I just don't know how to do that) but we remembered that whatever respect we gave to anyone or everyone was what Jesus asked us to do. And who knows, we might even see some sign of Jesus in them.
by Juanita Harding, Notre Dame Associate
A reading from the Gospel of Matthew 25:14-30.
Today’s Gospel is the parable of the man going on a journey and entrusting his possessions to his servants. The master has the expectation that the servants will invest his talents wisely.
God has entrusted each of us with many gifts. He expects us to use these gifts to help each other spread the Word of God to the world, and to help each other reach His eternal Kingdom.
First we need to identify our own gifts and then recognize the gifts of others. Working together we can embrace this huge responsibility we have been given.
This beautiful world we live in is so diverse, and full of our brothers and sisters who hunger for what we already have in our faith. We are apostles of the Lord!
It isn’t an easy road to travel. Are we up to the challenge?
We must not be hesitant or afraid! GOD IS WITH US.
While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
By Lola Rone, Notre Dame Associate
With Mary’s consent the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she conceived.
Now nothing is impossible for God, so from Mary’s one cell seed and the one cell from the Holy Spirit combined to form the very beginning of the child who would grow into the full blown body of the man Jesus Christ!
Now those two seeds began to divide and grow, and form all the necessary parts of a full formed human being, Head, heart, lungs, hands, feet, all parts necessary including the bones and blood. Now the body needs nourishment to grow, so there is a multifunction mouth, to eat and communicate, there is also a brain in the head that pretty much energizes and controls all the body parts.
Now what would happen if some of the food taken in for nourishment was found to be useless and even toxic? Why it would need to be eliminated wouldn’t it? Therefore there needs to be a stomach and intestines to aid in the process of nourishment and elimination, yes? That is why we have kidneys, liver, pancreas and oh so many other parts that are very important, otherwise the body becomes sick, and weak and could eventually die!
No way!! You say?
Think about it and see if there is any reason that the liver should tell the heart or the head “I don’t need you” or the hand to tell the mouth “I don’t need you” and to top that all off where would the whole body be with out the bones and the marrow to make the blood?
Gotta have the heart to pump that blood all around the body to feed, energize and heal!!
WOW isn’t the body amazing?
And how wonderful when the body is healthy and strong!!!
So Church, what do you think?
Is there any part of the body any less important than the other?
Or are we better embracing all parts of the body, and be one even as Jesus is one with the Father and prays for us all to be one with Him
Wouldn’t that be a POWERFUL CHURCH ?
Another thought…what about the blood?
My thought is that all of us who are serving in this body, are the blood
"There Is Power In The Blood"
Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There's power in the blood.
Would you o'er evil a victory win?
There's wonderful power in the blood
There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the blood of the Lamb
There is power, power, wonder-working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb
Just saying :)
by Sr. Dorothy Rolf, ND
In today’s Gospel message, Matthew 22:34-40, the Pharisees ask Jesus “which commandment in the law is the greatest?” There are many laws stated in the books of Exodus and Leviticus, therefore they hope to catch Jesus in some practice that would delineate the rest. But Jesus answers: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with your entire mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
This challenges one to ask how I live this commandment. If I love God with my whole heart, soul, and mind, then my every thought, desire, and feeling will be to respond in love to God’s presence and invitations throughout the day. Are my first thoughts of the day about how I will live this love of God? My heart calls me to reach out in love, my soul calls me to desire the most good for the other and my mind gives me the courage and energy to do it. It almost seems natural that to love God is shown in love for our neighbor. Our neighbor is never far from us, always in our family, workplace, church, neighborhood, the homebound, the sick and the dying, the forgotten and the lonely and you can name the rest.
Pedro Arrupe, former Superior General of the Jesuits, wrote “nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in Love in a quite absolute final way. What seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how your spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”
This week: take time to examine the ways you love each day.
by Linda Cernik, Notre Dame Associate
“Repay to Caesar what belongs to him” - the coin with Caesar’s image. “Repay to God what belongs to God” - the human person stamped with God’s image. All that we are and have belongs to God. We are called to give ourselves to God and to God’s people. We can do this by loving and serving especially the least among us, as Jesus did. If we rely on God’s power and the Spirit’s guidance we can accomplish this challenge.
Jesus is also reminding us it is our duty as Christians to pay taxes and influence elected officials through frequent contacts. It is our Christian duty to make sure our officials maintain law and order and promote the welfare of our citizens without violating God’s laws. In this day and age, a huge challenge indeed.
The collect for Sunday –“Almighty ever-living God, grant that we may always conform our will to yours and serve your majesty in sincerity of heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
In so praying, we ask to be in the midst of the economy of God’s salvation, offering ourselves as coinage carrying God’s image.
by Mary Toline, Notre Dame Associate
Matthew 22: 1-14
Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come.” A second time he sent other servants. Saying, “Tell those invited: Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.” Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them and killed them.
Whenever I’m invited to a wedding or something special, I consider it an honor that I received an invitation. I’m sure like the king there has been so much planning and preparation to get everything ready for this big event. It usually is a wonderful time and so happy I attended.
Now look at being invited to the big party in heaven. Everything has been planned out for this big event, all we need to do is say yes and go. But most think they are too busy, and have better things to do now.
It has always been that we put God first in our lives, but how much of that is true now days? When we watch the news lately, we have forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and more hurricanes. Is God trying to wake us up and tell our world that we are not putting him first? We all need wake up calls from time to time. Are we ready to go to God’s banquet?
by Sr. Rosalee Burke, ND
Today’s readings are pretty clear that building a grape yard is hard work. And finding honest, hardworking people to care for the grape yard is also difficult. In the Gospel parable the tenants are not faithful workers. They kill the owner’s servants who come to collect the owners share. What will the owner do? If he comes, how will he be treated?
We are all good at knowing what bad things will happen in a story. We are not as good at knowing what undeserved good things might happen. God points out what bad things can happen to both the vineyard and to the workers. But we also know what good things might happen. The owner may replace his workers with new people who are honest, hard workers. They and he might both be rewarded with wonderful, tasty grapes and wine.
Seldom in life do we receive great results without some work on our part. Let us thank God for teaching us the right ways to live.
by Dick Connealy, Notre Dame Associate
Jesus asks a question (Matthew 21:28-32)
A very easy question is asked in today’s gospel. The harder question is why?
I believe the answer the first son would have given to that question is the same one Jesus gave, “I must be about my father’s business”.
I was very fortunate to have a father who did not just tell me, but showed me what our business was here. If someone needed help on the side of the road we stopped and helped them. It did not matter if we were on the way to church, school, or our own work. We helped because that was our business.
It did not matter if it made us late. If people did not understand, then they do not understand why we are here. We are here to help one another. It is really that simple. I try in my feeble way to do that every single day. It is OUR business.
by Sr. Barbara Ficenec, ND
Today’s thoughts are reflections of St Matthew’s Gospel regarding the parable of Jesus about a generous landowner. (Matthew 20:1-16a)
In hiring laborers for his vineyard, the owner agreed with them for the usual daily wage. Interestingly, all workers did not begin to help at the same hour; there was quite a discrepancy in the time frame among them.
So, when evening came and the laborers were summoned and each received the same wage, there was dissatisfaction with the landowner who replied, “My friends, I am not cheating anyone. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? ...Am I not free to do as I wish? …Are you envious because I am generous?”
Over my years it took me some to get the lesson Jesus taught here. I knew life is not fair; all my young years there were rules for fair games results and for having the same privileges as other kids.
Gradually, my mother’s oft repeated and sincere response brought me an important insight. LIFE isn’t always fair, but LOVE is.
Love is incredible; it causes good things to happen. It makes us happy. It lightens every carried burden. Above all, it’s the basic important request of Jesus for each of us, “LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.”
Any effort to define LOVE and to understand it is difficult. (Try it - okay. It is so worth the effort.) God bless us all!