by Rod & Connie Determan, Notre Dame Associates
The readings over the past couple of weeks have been deep in meaning. It would be easy to take the message of the gospel and feel like this is our world today: wars, famines, earthquakes, and hatred. There seems to be so much hatred and divisiveness in our world.
But Jesus teaches us to not be terrified and continue to lean on Him. We continue to sing praise to the Lord so we can continue to find Him in our every day. Seek gratitude in everything we do – He is present in our lives working everyday miracles. He will keep His promise “a hair of your head shall not perish”. He will give us wisdom – keep looking to Him and keep Him close to your hearts.
by Cindy Wenninghoff, Notre Dame Associate
How can we live for heaven – in a world where we are so busy? Busy with work, and meetings, and a society that tells us all the things we “need”, and judges our way of life, making us unsure. How can we keep our focus on Christ’s resurrection with its promise of eternal life? How to find the time to spend with God, to know that we can put all our trust in Him. In the first reading, the brothers show complete faith in the world to come, they understand that God’s kingdom is not here on earth and they willingly die for this promise of heaven. This reading reminds us to take time to look at our day to day life.
Not many are called to be martyrs of the faith, but we are called to sacrifice in our own way, to keep our focus not in today’s world but in the world to come. It may be a need to sacrifice more for our family, or more in prayer, or in our generosity to the poor, or in our work. But we can take comfort that each sacrifice we make will lead us to an eternal, joyful relationship with God.
by Sr. Dorothy Rolf, ND
The Gospel message for the past Sunday conjures up within one some questions about how we look for Jesus and why. Sometimes one may feel like Zacchaeus, trying to see Jesus from a distance because one isn’t worthy to come closer.
Maybe our lack of concern for another, our selfish ways, no time for prayer etc. can keep us at a distance and prevent us from revealing oneself.
Somehow Jesus always finds us and wants to come to our hearts. We share our burdens and what do we promise?
by Juanita Harding, Notre Dame Associate
The Gospel reading, Luke 17: 5-10
In today’s gospel the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have the faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be up rooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
Faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
As Christians, God has given us faith. This faith makes us servants of the Lord. Faith opens our eyes and hearts to our many gifts. It gives us strength and perseverance.
Faith also opens our eyes and hearts to the needs of others. We are called to serve! Embrace your faith. Be thankful. Trust and be confident that you have the gifts to serve and make a difference.
We have all heard the story Jesus told of a rich man who was hosting one of his many extravagant banquets. Outside his door lay Lazarus, a poor man covered with sores, who would have been satisfied with simply the scraps that fell from the table. In the end, we know the tables were turned. Lazarus was enjoying his everlasting reward while the rich man was not doing well at all.
Thinking of Lazarus always kind of haunts me. It brings to mind people holding home-made cardboard signs along the street saying: “PLEASE HELP or H0MELESS VETERAN, or WILL WORK FOR FOOD or HUNGRY” or simply standing there in obvious need of something. It would be simpler ‘not to see’ as seemed to be the case of the rich man. How easy it is for our judgmental minds to shift into high gear.
Of all of the people in need I have seen, one incident is unforgettable. I was driving down the street. The street light directly ahead of me was red so I stopped. On my left was a man with a sign somewhat askew so not obvious. I did not want to ignore him. Having no idea of how he would respond, I rolled down the window, greeted him and offered him a banana. He was pleased. Peeling it immediately, he ate it with delight. As the light turned green I began to move and saw his sign. It said, “Everybody has a story.” What a message! How I wish I would have had time to hear his story.
I often recall this incident. Everybody Has A Story. People don’t just suddenly turn into a certain type of person. They are shaped by past experiences. They have stories we most often never know and sometimes could not even imagine. Lazarus had a story as we do. So too, all the suffering people both near and far. They may be suffering with physical and mental illnesses, depression, addictions; they may be immigrants, abused, trafficked, living in squalor; victims of discrimination due to race, religion, sexual orientation, and on and on. How privileged and challenged we are to hear their stories. The reality is, whatever we experience, we can never `unexperience’. We are called to respond. That is truly the challenge of the Gospel!
Reflection for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time…September 22, 2019by Linda Cernik, Notre Dame Associate
Today we have guest reflections from the 8th grade religion classes at Neumann High School.
You can't put ANYTHING before God.
When the parable says you need to be trustworthy with yours and others belongings, it doesn't mean just material things
-- it is referring to how we use the gifts God gave us.
Being trustworthy is something that everyone on earth struggles with. Every time we sin we break our trust bond with God. Luckily through God's mercy we can get it back by going to confession and being faithful.
Be kind to everyone and share your wealth with the poor.
You cannot serve 2 masters. It's like having 2 left-handed gloves on! It doesn't work!
Reflection for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time…September 15, 2019by Dot Connealy, Notre Dame Associate
Exodus 32:7-11, 13-14 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-32
The story of the Good Shepherd presents one of my favorite images of God. Being a small lamb helpless and confused about who and where I am is something I can relate to (at least at times). These feelings seem to be present more often as I grow older.
I find stories like these presented in the Gospel today, to be helpful to me when I meditate about God’s goodness and about how he often “holds us in His hand,” much like the coin in the 2nd story. We belong to our God and when we “spend” ourselves it should be on God’s behalf.
The wayward son (daughter) is also a story that resonates. Who among us has not felt at some point that we let those around us “down.” And, who, also, hasn’t felt like the “good” child who feels wronged when others around us seem to get all the “good stuff” and we are left with naught.
The important thing to remember (I believe) is the final statement the father makes to his son who stayed home. “My son (daughter), you are here with me always; everything I have is Yours.”
Let us remember how Good God is!
Reflection for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time…September 8, 2019 by Theresa Homan, Notre Dame Associate
The book of Wisdom tells us that the deliberations of mortals are timid and our plans unsure. How often do I get a whiff of inspiration or an insight into needed action, only to back off, if ever so slightly, from the full action due to timidity or second guessing myself.
When Love invites me to receive myself or another whom I have held in the bondage of guilt or resentment, do I set that one free or, more timidly, just offer a few more privileges?
We mortals are timid. When we count the cost it can be very frightening. The world seems to come at us with 10,000 troops to our 100. Prudence has its place, but we also need the examples of St. Joan of Arc, St. Oscar Romero and Jesus of Nazareth. We need to take the extra step to embrace ourselves and all others as dear members of our family. That step may look different for each of us. God help us to discern what that step is and give us the courage to take it.
First Reading: Sirach 3: 17-18, 20, 28-29
Second Reading: Hebrews 12: 18-19, 22-24a
Gospel: Luke 14: 1, 7-14
While Labor Day is a national holiday (and not a religious day), we can remember all those who labor and toil for the good of all our communities.
The first reading, invites us to be humble: “Conduct your affairs with humility” or, as another translation says, “Do thy works in meekness.” The second reminds us that we approach “the city of the living God, ...the judge of all.” The Gospel returns to humility: “When you are invited, go and take the lowest place.... When you hold a banquet, invite the poor…”
In verse 6 of the Gospel, Luke tells us Jesus was observed; in verse 7, he tells us Jesus observed the guests vying for places of honor. As I pondered this passage, it occurred to me that the home of the leading Pharisee where Jesus went to dine very likely had servants who made the same observations as they went about their duties. What did they think if the host asked a guest to move higher, or lower? I wondered if any of the servants came from the poor among whom Jesus walked. Maybe some decided to find out who this man was.
This week, let’s be mindful of how status determines our own actions. Let’s be sure to “see” those who work behind the scenes.
Let us pray
Creator Lord, the source of all wisdom and purpose, and the blessing of those who labor; be with us in our work to guide and govern our world. Give to all people work that enhances human dignity and bonds us to one another. Give us pride in our work, a fair return for our labor, and joy in knowing that our work finds its source in you; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Litanies Litany of Labor https://buildfaith.org/prayers-for-labor-day/
If you need prayers of intercession or want a litany, this link leads to 16 petitions.
Reflection for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time…August 25, 2019 by Cathy Leak, Notre Dame Associate and husband, Gary Leak
Isaiah 66:18-21; Psalm 117:1-2
Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13; Luke 13:22-30
The readings today really mesh well together. In the first reading The Lord wants all nations to know Him and proclaim His glory. The Psalms response is to spread the “good news”. The second reading and the Gospel talk about our trials and tribulations and the narrow gate into the kingdom.
So, what can we learn from these passages?
We need to accept the trials and tribulations of life as discipline from God. We usually look upon these trials as painful experiences, but in the long run the trials make us stronger and strengthen us as we strive to enter the kingdom through the narrow gate. God is going to test us because the path is tough. The Lord expects us to use our gifts and talents to spread the good news to those we encounter. As the world becomes more international, we can find the various nations the Lord is calling, living in our own city, neighborhood, and even in our family. The Lord is asking us to be more respectful, accepting, and loving because we all are invited to be at His table in the kingdom.
Help us to be more accepting of all people.
Help us to seek understanding from others and spread the good news to those we encounter. Amen