by Sr Marie Alice Ostry ND
This year our Lent and Easter Seasons have been as no other in our memory. In my reflection throughout these seasons I have been able to “experience” the Gospels and “imagine” a little more clearly how the apostles must have perceived these same “mysteries” as they walked with Jesus trying to understand His message and life.
This became clearer especially nearing Pentecost. We have in the first reading that “the apostles, Mary, and the women were in a room gathered together”. I can imagine they were wondering, pondering, considering what was the meaning of all that they had experienced -- the “denials”, the “fleeing from the garden”, Jesus’ cruel death and still puzzled by the words of “raising up in three days” – how does this all come together? What this mean?
For me these seasons, with the “sheltering in place” gave more time for wondering, pondering, and considering the events of Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension without the “usual” participation physically in these special events, gave me time to place myself in the apostles, Mary, and the women’s considering stance. How did I put myself into these liturgies without the “physical closeness” of community? What does it call me to in making real this mystery today?
Through the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost the apostles CHANGED, by the power of the Spirit, were compelled to go forth with courage and energy to make known the person of this Christ with determination, beyond the “denials, fleeing, and staying in the closed room”. How have I been changed with the experience of these Seasons in this unusual circumstances? How does my experience of the Spirit compel me? Where is my courage, energy to bring the values of the Gospels put forth by Jesus?
by Cathy & Gary Leak
Readings: Acts 1: 12-14 Ps 27: 1,4,7-8 1 Pt: 4:13-16 Jn 17: 1-11
Today’s readings have four related themes of prayer, trusting in God, suffering, and glorifying God. In the first reading, the Apostles are gathered in the upper room praying. The Psalm promotes trusting in God. The second reading reminds us that people fear suffering as only punishment. Some suffering is just, the sufferings of the criminal are the consequences of their evil acts. Christians must avoid these evil acts but be honored if we experience suffering from our fidelity to the Lord, following Jesus through the cross. Finally, in the Gospel giving glory to Jesus is giving glory to the Lord. They are the same.
How have you glorified God today in your prayer? In your trusting God?
How have your works and sufferings glorified God?
Have we spread the “Good News” of God’s glory to others?
by Rita Melgares, Notre Dame Associate
In John's Gospel, Jesus tells his Disciples, "If you love me, obey me; and I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always.”
He is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who leads into all truth. He will not abandon us or leave us as orphans in the storm; He will come to us.
The Holy Spirit brings us God's peace.
I share with you one of my daily prayers . . .
O, Holy Spirit, beloved of
my soul . . . I adore you.
Enlighten me; Guide me.
Strengthen me; Console me.
Tell me what I should do . . .
Give me your orders.
I promise to submit myself
to all that you desire of me
and to accept all that you
permit to happen to me.
Let me only know your will.
by Mary Bartek, Notre Dame Associate
Mother’s Day 2020! How many times during this pandemic have I heard my mother’s voice echo in the back of my mind? “You just came in from outside. Wash your hands!” “Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom.” “If you are going to help in the kitchen, wash your hands.” Now many years later, I still hear those words but from those concerned with our health during the pandemic. How wise was my mother, and more than likely, her mother.
When I have thoughts of uncertainty, I have reflected on the life of Mary. Starting with the angel coming to her and informing her she was going to have a son! (Luke 1:26-38) and her response was, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” How did she have so much trust in the Lord?
Then read in the Canticle of Mary. What praise she has for the Lord! “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
Continue on to the birth of Jesus. It was a time that Caesar Augustus decreed that all will be enrolled or somewhat like today’s census. What uncertainty Mary must have had taking a trip while soon to give birth to her child.
Each event there was an angel saying, “Do not be afraid!” So, I feel that there were always times of uncertainty during the life of Mary but she praised the Lord and was reassured to be unafraid for He was with her.
During this event of the pandemic turn to the Bible and to the life of those inside the pages to find comfort and reassurance that the Lord will help you through this time and all the days ahead.
Also, on Mother’s Day, thank your mother, here or in heaven, for the wise instruction they gave us in trying to remain healthy and well by doing the simplest task of washing our hands! Be safe and unafraid!
by Sr. Margaret Proskovec, ND
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." [Jn. 10:10]
This Sunday’s first reading from Acts holds a question that reverberates all over the earth in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “What are we to do?” [Acts 2:37] Many are weary of isolation from the dreaded disease and the extreme limits on our accustomed activities that now are necessary. Concern for the ill and loved ones draws those who dare to go to their side or offer assistance while exercising great care regarding potential consequences. First responders, medical personnel, and those who serve in nursing homes, rehab facilities, prisons, and such are heroically at the forefront of selfless service and care for the most vulnerable. We also hear voices urging us to go back to work and life as we wish it could be; we hear other voices urging us to hold back lest we contribute to the uncontrolled spread of this rampant illness. “What are we to do?”
Psalm 23 reminds us that our God guides us in right paths [v.3] and Jesus urges us to listen for and trust the voice of the shepherd to guide us where we might have life and have it more abundantly. [Jn. 10:10]
These words lead me to reflect on the ways I can recognize God’s voice in the midst of confusion, doubt, suffering, and countless contradictory other voices. How can I tell? “What am I to do?”
Some guidelines offered by our faith are:
Prayer: [by St. Teresa of Avila]
Beloved Shepherd, grant that I may allow myself to be guided by your voice, follow your designs, and accomplish your desires. Grant that in all things, great and small, today and all the days of my life, I may do whatever you call forth from me. Help me to respond to the promptings of your grace, so that I may be your trustworthy instrument. May your will be done by me, in me, and through me. Amen.
Credit: The Good Shepherd by Nathan Greene
by Judith Moe, Notre Dame Associate
The Gospel of Luke 24: 13-31
On the third day, there were two who went to the town of Emmaus. Jesus went with them, yet they did not know him. Jesus asked why they were sad. They said to him, “Are you a stranger here that you do not know of Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified? Jesus said to them, “Ought not Christ to have suffered things here and so enter into his glory?” As they reached the town, they asked Jesus, who was still a stranger to them, to stay with them awhile. At table, Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they knew him.
If Christ were to walk beside us, would we know him? If he were to enter our dwelling place, would we recognize him? If we were afraid and cried out for help and he came near, would we acknowledge him?
For surely Christ is in our midst, but we so often fail to comprehend his presence. Yet when our eyes are opened, we see that there he is, ever present in our lives, walking our journey with us.
It is said that the following from Psalm 27, is a miracle healing prayer.
by Sr Rosalee Burke ND
Creator God, You are trying us! It has been a long time since we have been able to attend Mass and receive you in the Eucharist. Television and radio Masses are helpful for us but not the same as being present.
There is a loneliness without you. Something is missing. When we watch Mass on TV and see all the empty pews it makes us sad. We know that many people are watching their own television sets but it is not the same.
Please give us patience and an appreciation for your presence among us. Help us to assist others as we can. The whole world is experiencing a loss—a loss of freedom. Help us to be open to new ways of being friendly. Keep us calm as we continue to try to be loyal worshippers.
by Kris Lanik, Notre Dame Associate
The Gospel reading begins with the Easter experience of Mary Magdalene. In spite of the trauma of having witnessed the crucifixion of the Lord whom she loved so much, she didn’t focus on herself. She didn’t focus on her own sense of loss. Instead, she remained focused on Him. She went back to the tomb in the darkness of early morning to be with Him.
Once she realized the tomb was empty, she ran back to the disciples. “They have taken the Lord, and I don’t know where they have put him.” Without hesitation, they ran to see for themselves.
Peter and John listened to Christ’s teachings for three years, saw His miracles, and viewed His death from a distance out of fear for their own lives. Now they had the opportunity to experience the miracle of His resurrection. They, like Mary Magdalene, were filled with devotion.
We are called to this same devotion to our Lord, to be equally determined to remain near to our Lord no matter what. This will look different for each of us.
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.” Psalm 118:1-2
by Dot Connealy, Notre Dame Associate
Matthew 21:1-11; Isaiah 50;4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66 or 27:11-54
This will be a Palm Sunday like no other for most of us. Today we should be attending mass and hearing the Passion read for the first time during Holy Week, processions in many places, the lovely palms, and the beginning of “brightening” of our Lenten altars.
All these are things we have come to expect for the Sunday before Easter. We will probably experience none of these this year. However, I know that for me, memories of past Palm Sundays will be in my mind as I go through this day. One such memory are the Palm Sundays my family spent with my maternal relatives (Italian) in Long Island, NY. My Uncle Joe used to make lovely things woven from the palms we received at church, like the cross pin he made for me every year. I also have a more recent memory at our parish in Decatur when our priest suggested (and we did) a procession from our community center to our church. A very short distance but the memory of playing the guitar, singing and walking is a lovely memory to me.
On this day Jesus starts his journey to the cross and accompanying him into Jerusalem are crowds of people who have followed him there.
“The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.’” – Matthew 21:7-9
May we take the time in the next week to actually “walk” the way with Jesus and keep him always in our heart. May God bless and protect you all.
Reflection for the Fifth Sunday of Lent…March 29, 2020
by Cindy Wenninghoff, Notre Dame Associate
The 5th Sunday of Lent is moving us ever closer to the Passion and this week’s readings are preparing us. From the Old Testament where God promises to raise his people up from the grave and give us his spirit, to the New Testament reminder that we must be in the Spirit to have everlasting life, we find how important it is to put our trust in God and with God nothing is impossible.
I have no doubt that when Jesus first received notice of how ill Lazuras was, that He would have wanted to be with his dear friends in their time of need. Yet, He heeds God’s call and He waits - two days He waits. And then when He makes the decision to go to them, He knows that Lazuras has died and that He will be performing an extraordinary miracle where many will come to believe in him… and many will come to hate him. Traveling with his apostles, who knew it could mean their death, they arrive at the tomb, and we feel Jesus’ sorrow as He greets Martha and Mary. He wept. Yet, His faith and love of His Father is never in question as He wakes Lazuras from his sleep and proclaims the glory of God. A true miracle, one of joy, but also of sorrow as He knows His time is near.
Jesus in performing this miracle was preparing us for his own resurrection. If God could raise Lazuras from the dead, we could believe that God would raise Jesus from the dead. It was important to see the power of God, and to believe, as Martha and Mary did, in the resurrection. I take great comfort in knowing that the spirit will help us through this journey to new life and great comfort in Jesus’ word: If one walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.