Again we enter into the season of Lent with the reminder of our continued engagement of conversion in Christ. Again we hear the traditional call to fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
Today’s gospel focuses on fasting (meaning to abstain or restrain from something).
I suggest that we move away from our limited and concrete ideas of no meat, smaller meals, no candy. Let’s take fasting seriously. Let’s expand and widen our fasting as suggested in one or several of the following:
Fast from worry Fast from complaining Fast from negatives
Feast on divine order Feast on appreciation Feast on affirmatives
Fast from unrelenting pressures Fast from hostility Fast from bitterness
Feast on unceasing prayer Feast on non-resistance Feast on forgiveness
Fast from self-concern Fast from personal anxiety Fast from facts that depress
Feast on compassion for others Feast on eternal truth Feast on truths that uplift
Fast from thoughts that weaken Fast from idle gossip Fast from worry
Feast on promises that inspire Feast on purposeful silence Feast on inner peace.
by Sister Dorothy Rolf, ND
In Sunday’s Gospel, Mark 1:4, a leper came to Jesus and begged, “If you wish you can make me clean.” Jesus said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” This seems to be the appropriate spirit for entering the season of Lent. Each Lent provides us opportunities to be made clean and healed. But often we ask how?
In the Book of Joel 2:12, we get the answer: “Even now says the Lord, “return to me with your whole heart, rend your heart not your garments.” And we ask “how”? Jesus gives us the answer (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18) pray, fast and give alms.
Jesus recommends “prayer in secret, fasting (deny self) to train our wills to do the will of God, and give alms by reaching out to those in need. In doing this we rend our heart in letting go of the negative, the judgments, the pride, the selfishness, whatever it is gets in the way of loving God and our neighbor.
In opening our hearts to God and others, surprisingly, we will be healed.
During Lent daily take some times to PAUSE throughout your day to get in touch with yourself and God. Pauses work wonders! So pause to do the following:
by Dot Connealy, Notre Dame Associate
Job 7:1-4 Psalm 147:1-6 1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23 Mark 1:29-39
Arising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35
Early on this day
To see your light and your word
Is all that I seek.
I offer this simple poem about how I feel upon awaking and knowing that God is always there waiting for me to take a moment out of my day to sit and listen, to pray and share to be open and be opened by the one who loves us always.
Thanks be to you God! You are my morning light and joy.
Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time…January 28, 2018 by Linda Cernik, Notre Dame Associate
There is a saying that “actions speak louder than words”. In Sunday’s gospel Mark 1:21-28, we read about the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. We learn how Jesus’ actions demonstrated the power and authority behind His words- the power of God. Even the demons listen to Jesus and obey! The people were amazed and astonished! His fame spread throughout the countryside!
Let us pray that we will be able to demonstrate our faith in God not only by what we say but also by what we do. It’s difficult in this day and age to hear and understand the voice of God with so many noises and distractions. God is all around us, but to be able to recognize His voice when we hear it can be a major challenge indeed! “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
Reflection for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time……January 21, 2018
by Mary Toline, Notre Dame Associate
A reading from the Book of Prophet Jonah Jonah 3: 1-5
The word of the Lord came to Jonah, saying: “Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.” So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the Lord’s bidding. Now Nineveh was an enormously large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,” when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.
After reading this I could only think about my life and being a mother, grandmother, friend, neighbor, co-worker, and member of organizations.
Especially with family, when you could see that they had misbehaved, and you warn them and they keep doing the same things; it takes all your patience but you have to lay down the law and tell them to take a time-out, they are grounded, or can’t drive the car, or any other punishment that fits the crime! If you can tell they are improving you let them out of punishment. It makes one feel so bad that they do bad things and feel like you haven’t done a good job of teaching them wrong from right.
We just want everyone to be perfect, but that doesn’t always happen. People can be so mean and rude, but you either say something, say nothing, or just avoid those people completely.
Can you imagine God looking out from Heaven and seeing all the evil going on. I’m sure it hurts him very much. But like a good parent or friend, if he sees improvement he forgives. It is so wonderful we have the sacrament of Confession to tell him our sins and that we hope to not sin again. He continues to forgive us and encourages us on our road to heaven.
Reflection for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time…January 14, 2018
by Sister Rosalee Burke ND
In the first reading, Samuel learns how to listen to the Lord and to respond, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
In the Gospel we see men listening to Jesus and responding by following him.
How are we called to follow Jesus? What does Jesus ask of us each day? How are we to respond? Each of our responses will be different. Each of us can do different things for God; not necessarily big things but responses just the same.
Think about what the day will bring that you anticipate. What can you offer to God this day? How can you stay positive? Each day offers numerous opportunities to be happy followers of Jesus. Before you go to bed check on how well you followed Jesus.
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 :)