Reflection for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time…July 21, 2019 by Ann O’Connor, Notre Dame Associate
Jesus visits the house of Martha and Mary.
The Gospel this Sunday, the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, is the familiar story of Jesus visiting the home of Martha and Mary. In the reading, we hear that Martha was busy with the details of hospitality, while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. Martha came to Jesus and said: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” In reply, Jesus said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
This passage is relevant to many of us in today’s world. We often find ourselves with so many competing responsibilities and activities that we sometimes lose sight of what really is important in our lives. We, like Martha, become anxious and worried about things that do not bring us closer to God. Mary had recognized, at that moment, the important thing was to sit with Jesus. Martha, concerned about hospitality, had allowed that concern to become dominant, and as a result she missed the opportunity to be with Jesus.
Does this same thing happen to us in our lives? Do we, at times, become so focused on worldly things that we neglect to be conscious of God in our lives? Or do we fail to attend to our spiritual life? I believe the challenge for us in this hectic world is to be aware of God’s presence in our lives and, like Mary, pay attention.
Reflection for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time…July 14, 2019 by Kris Lanik, Notre Dame Associate
The Gospel reading includes the well-known parable of the Good Samaritan. It could just as well be called the parable of the Good Disciple.
The first thing is that the Good Samaritan is aware of the needs of others and responds immediately and generously. While the priest and Levite see the injured man on the side of the road, they intentionally walk past him. The Samaritan sees the injured man and springs into action. He does not just offer some quick words of encouragement from across the road. He sets aside his own plans. He goes right up to the stranger. He cleans and bandages his wounds. He puts the man on his own animal and takes him to an inn where he can heal. He makes certain that the innkeeper will continue to look after the stranger. He promises to return on his way back.
A good disciple springs into action when seeing someone in need. This is how we are to live out God’s commandments to love one another. And Jesus says to each of us “Go and do likewise.” This week, let’s roll up our sleeves. Let’s get to work seeing and serving those in need.
Today’s first reading begins: “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her!” Isaiah then compares Jerusalem to a mother, carrying her nurslings, comforting her children. “When you see this, your heart shall rejoice and your bodies flourish like the grass; the Lord’s power shall be known to all.” So we are called to give praise to our God this day—our mother/father, our comforter, our companion for the prosperity given us as it was given to Jerusalem in the early days.
The call of today’s Gospel is to carry praise and joy to others. “Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The reign of God is at hand.’” Everything that God gives us, every gift we receive from God is for the other—certainly to rejoice that we have received the gift—but then to share it! That is what God is all about—relationship of giving. We are building God’s reign together! Rejoice!
The readings this Sunday remind me to be open to invitations. God calls us continually to discipleship and always allows us the freedom to respond.
I think about some of the invitations I’ve received in my life – both big and small. I’ve not always been courageous enough to respond. When I let fear or my inability to trust get in the way, I miss out on the gifts being offered. I think we can all be a little like the disciple who says “let me take care of this one thing first.” We will never get it perfect and Jesus doesn’t expect that of us. We are called to trust that if there is an invitation we will be given what we need to not only respond, but to be the presence of God to those around us. If we accept Jesus’ invitation to discipleship, we are gifted with the Spirit - a spirit of courage, openness, love and truth.
This week I want to be open to the invitations to: take in the beauty of creation and work to protect our environment; to see the good in everyone, even those who disturb me; to heal a relationship and trust that God is at work moving us all toward love, and to invite others to hear God’s call in their lives.
“Follow me” comes in all kinds of ways each day – will we respond and be God’s presence and peace?
Reflection for Corpus Christ (The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ)…June 23, 2019by Sr. Barbara Markey, ND
When the crowd gathering around Jesus was growing hungry, the disciples asked Jesus to disperse them. Instead, he told them “Give them some food yourselves”.
Sometimes, God asks of us the seemingly impossible: to forgive others, to forgive ourselves, to find a way to help those in need when we ourselves are in need, or to find a way with a problem that has no obvious solutions. To give when we believe we have nothing left to give.
Because Jesus asked, the apostles believed that Jesus could make the difference. And they did what He asked. And He made the difference between what they could do and He could do.
What tasks have I done in the post believing that Jesus will make a difference between what I am able to do and what is required? What have I seen others do in this regard? Am I willing to face the ordinary problems of each day or take some big risk by believing that, in faith, that Jesus will be with me and guide me?
As we receive the body of Christ in the Eucharist, let us ask that we may grow in faith and give ourselves to the needs of others. Let us believe that Jesus asks us to “Give them some food yourselves”.
Reflection for the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity…June 16, 2019by Dick Connealy, Notre Dame Associate
I have much more to tell, but you could not bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.
The journey of faith and truth cannot come all at once. We could not bear it. Because with faith and truth comes great power. We can all think of times when someone took that power and used it to lead many people astray.
Jim Jones led many down a very dark path that ended in suicide. His understanding was tainted by his wish for power and control. He could not bear it.
It takes a very long time to understand that our will can always be tainted, but if we search for God’s will then over time, we can use that power for the right things.
We can heal the sick. Our care and compassion can heal hearts and spirits like no other medicine.
We can raise the dead. My father has been gone for almost 28 years, yet his spirit and strength are with me today.
We can get discouraged at how slow the faith and truth come to us, but we must always remember the journey is our lifetime, so as long as we are here we can help each other along on our search.
This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost and Jesus’ promised gift of the Holy Spirit. In the first reading (Acts 2:1-11) the apostles are gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem “waiting for power from on high” as Jesus had directed them before he ascended into heaven. They were most likely praying together for comfort as they waited, when suddenly the Spirit descended upon them, filling them with courage and zeal to go out and share Christ and his message with the whole world. The Church is born!
In today’s gospel (John 20:19-23), we revisit an earlier time when the apostles were cloistered together in a room in Jerusalem, but that time it was because they were broken hearted and afraid they too might be killed for having followed Jesus. This time it is the Risen Christ who burst into their cramped inner space, offering them peace and forgiveness. Rather than being condemned, they were given new life and responsibilities: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Then he breathed the Holy Spirit into them and commissioned them to pass this peace forward by forgiving the sins of others. Priests carry this gift on in a powerful way through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but we are all called to witness to God’s unfathomable mercy and love for each and every one of us.
How do I promote peace in our world? Do I open myself up to the life changing love of the Holy Spirit through regular prayer, the sacraments, and service to others? Who right now most needs my love and forgiveness to be set free from shame and fear?
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful!”
Reflections: “The Ascension of the Lord,” & the Seventh Sunday of Easter, June 2, 2019by Linda Fitzgerald, Notre Dame Associate.
The reflection that amazes me the most about our Lord’s Ascension is that our Lord unmasks the lie that we are alone!
The spirit will drive the disciples, all of us and all those to come, to advance beyond our lack of understanding and fear to become Jesus’ own witnesses. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will empower and sustain their mission and ours. What a promise!
Paul writes about the inexpressible greatness of God’s power…raising Jesus from the dead and sitting him at his right hand. All things are under Christ’s feet. We live in the fullness of Christ and his church…what challenge, joy and comfort!
Gospel: Luke 24:46-53
Jesus promises his followers the Holy Spirit and sends them out to witness. “Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
My reflection is that the Holy Spirit for them and for us is the felt reality of God!
We ponder and don’t always recognize this felt reality, but one reality for me from this Gospel is the promise, the great hope of the returning of our LORD and we will be with Him and all those who love Him for all eternity! Alleluia! Amen!
by Mary Toline, Notre Dame Associate
In the Gospel of John 14:23-29 Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words, yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.”
“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you. “I am going away and I will come back to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”
When you hear the words of this Gospel, one must read it several times to maybe understand. I can’t imagine how the Apostles and disciples must have felt, trying to understand these words. One must have blind faith and just accept what Jesus was telling them without question.,
There are times when I don’t think that I understand what is happening within our Church and the world such as the scandal with some of the priests, all the murderers that happen even just in Omaha, the crime is so high and people just being mean to other people. What has happened to people? We need to reflect back what Jesus has taught us and that “Peace I leave with you, and my peace I give to you.” If we just think more about what Jesus went thru with his Crucifixion and that He is coming back to be with us like with Ascension next week and at the end of our lives, we just need to believe and trust in Jesus.
Gospel: John 13: 31-33a,34-35 Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible.
33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You shall seek me;…Whither I go you cannot come; so I say to you now.
34 A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 By this shall all know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.
Did God ask that we love only those like ourselves? Or to love only those who follow Christ? Did Jesus teach a love that excludes any who do not follow Him, or are the wrong color, or have different customs, or live in another country? There are some calling us to love only the right kind of people, we are asked to fear those different from us, we are asked to build walls. How can we justify a wall in Christ’s name? The One who came to tear down walls, to teach universal love for all God’s creatures. Indeed, Christ is teaching us that we are only his disciples if we have love for one another.
Can anyone truly say they are followers of Christ without keeping this new commandment? And each day, we are called to reflect on how we have loved that day, have we embraced all people in our hearts. To exclude others is a human trait, to strive each day to be inclusive in our love, is to follow the yearnings of our heart to be disciples of Christ.