Reflection of the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary time…January 27, 2019by Theresa Homan, Notre Dame Associate
"Do not be saddened this day for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength."
The people were weeping as they heard Ezra read the word of God's law. Maybe they were saddened at how poorly they were keeping the law, or maybe because it seemed too hard to keep. But Ezra told them where to find their strength -- not in guilt or in fear but in rejoicing in the LORD.
Today it seems like fear, especially, is tearing our world apart. If we are all one body and what happens to each of us affects all of us, then how am I being called to help the poor, the captives, the blind and the oppressed? There are so many ways to bring glad tidings, give sight and set free.
What fears do I need to work at letting go of so that I can find my strength rejoicing in the LORD and answer that call?
Reflection for January 20, 2019…Second Sunday of Ordinary Time by Juanita Harding, Notre Dame Associate
A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians: 12-4-11.
In today’s reading, St. Paul writes about the different kinds of Spiritual gifts; the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, mighty deeds, prophecy, discernment of the spirits, varieties of tongues, interpretation of tongues.
“One and the same Spirit distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.”
How awesome that each one of us is chosen to receive certain gifts to help others and spread the word of God. It’s a reminder of who we are as Christians and why we are here.
After reading this scripture, I prayed about what gifts I have been given, and asked myself, “Am I truly using them to the best of my ability as God intends?”
As I was preparing to write these reflections, news broke in our diocese that one of the priests who is very dear to me, turned himself in to the State Patrol, admitting that he had sexually assaulted a young woman in his parish. His long battle with alcoholism had brought him to this lowest point of his life.
My heart is heavy as I pray for this young woman-victim of a life changing trauma, for our priest, for his brother priests who carry the shame of “guilt by association,” and for our wounded church community. My feelings jump around from anger and disgust to deep sorrow, to bewilderment. I am moved to prayer and reflection on the question of: “How does God—our Abba, who loves each hurting daughter and son—look at all of this?”
The psalms cast some light into this dark space, especially Psalm 51, as I pray in particular for my priest friend.
Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;
In your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.
Thoroughly wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sins
For I know my transgressions: yes, my sin is always before me.
Against you have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your eyes.
Behold, you delight in truth in my innermost being;
There you teach me wisdom when I bare my shame and truth before you.
Turn away your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.
A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit.
I offer you a contrite heart; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not turn away.
So, what does this have to do with today’s liturgy, commemorating the Baptism of Jesus?
Jesus stepped into the Jordan River to receive the baptism of John, who was preaching repentance. Jesus stepped into the Jordan as an act of solidarity with all who sin, not to participate in our sinfulness, but to share with us the way out.
Psalm 139 tells us that wherever we are, whoever we are, no matter how we try to evade the love and mercy of God, God is there to meet us. In his baptism, Jesus asks us to let him enter the murky waters of our hearts, and to let him bring grace and healing to whatever is hidden and painful there. And then, to rise out of the waters to live life full of a peace that comes from the very core of our being.
“Come, Lord Jesus!”
by Sr Marie Alice Ostry ND
Epiphany – this means manifestation. We just celebrated the coming of the Christ at Christmas. What does this mean in our lives? What did it mean in the lives of those who lived in Mary and Joseph’s time? God came to share in our life. This Sunday we celebrate God’s coming with a “different slant” – manifestation. Christ came to manifest – show – who God is within our human existence.
God is manifesting in all of Creation. We hear in the Gospels that in the words of Jesus and he came for ALL. To me all means “all of creation,” simply because God is the One from Whom all creation came. As I reflected on manifestation I realized that God could only begin to reveal the meaning of “God-life” through the various creations that abound in not only our world but the whole of the universe. And yet, the Whole of the God-life is still not FULLY manifested.
So, what does this mean in our lives? I cannot answer for you, but for me it is living with the amazing and awestruck realization that everyone I meet and everywhere I go IF I am “awakened to the Spirit” I am encountering God’s life. Since the Trinity is a reciprocal experience, I in turn need to respond, respect with the Spirit of the God-life within me to all and everything each day. This is daunting and I take courage in knowing that “God walks with me” each day. Let us be a manifestation of God’s life throughout this New Year.