The Loneliness of Suffering

Posted on April 4, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, April 09, 2017, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

Matthew 21:1-11
Isaiah 50:4-7
Philippians 2:6-11
Matthew 26:14—27:66

Human suffering cascades into our homes with the consistency of spilled oil. We can never seem to clean it up and the frustration leaves us sad and, most the time, feeling helpless. Beyond writing congressional representatives, contributing to charitable outreach and praying, we can’t escape the menacing cloud of knowing that half our brothers and sisters in the world are struggling with starvation, war, disease, or homelessness. I pray that we do not become immune to it all, but realize that those big starving eyes affect all of us and the entire world.

There is an incredible loneliness attached to suffering. In my last year of undergraduate work at a small Midwest Catholic women’s college, the Franciscan leadership reached out to Dr. Sterling Stuckey, now a professor of history at the University of California–Riverside, to teach a class in Black History. It was in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement and we were enthusiastic to find out more about the surge of justice that called us forth. Dr. Stuckey, facing an audience of well-mannered young white women, held back nothing. He taught black history with a passion and a fury that brought the reality of the slaves right to our study niches where we poured over the material. (more…)

Lent Reflection: 5th Tuesday of Lent

Posted on April 4, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 4, 2017
Lent Reflection: 5th Tuesday of Lent (April 4, 2017) - ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM.’(John 8:28)

Reflection

Jesus tells the unbelievers that when he is lifted up in death they will know that he is truly the Son of God. This echoes the first reading when Moses lifts up the bronze serpent in the desert to revive those who had been bitten by snakes. Jesus is telling us here that God can make our wounds our glory and transfigure us from death to life. We tend to say: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”


Challenge

  • I will take a few minutes today to think of something I thought would defeat me but which has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. If I am able to, I thank God for that blessing.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: 5th Monday of Lent

Posted on April 3, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 3, 2017
Lent Reflection: 5th Monday of Lent (April 3, 2017) - ‘Neither do I condemn you.’(John 8:11)

Reflection

Two readings today tell shocking stories about women who are condemned. Susanna, in the Book of Daniel, is unjustly accused yet saved because Daniel outwits her enemies. He interrogates them separately, uncovers their lies and the innocent woman is saved. In the reading from the Gospel of John, Jesus does not cross-examine those who have accused a woman of adultery, but calmly writes in the dust and invites whoever is without sin to throw the first stone. In this instance, the woman was guilty but was not condemned.


Challenge

  • I will call to mind someone I find difficult to forgive. With my finger, I trace their name in the palm of my hand and then close my hands, holding this person prayerfully before the Lord.

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: 5th Sunday of Lent

Posted on April 2, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 2, 2017
Lent Reflection: 5th Sunday of Lent (April 2, 2017) - ‘Let us also go to die with him.’(John 11:16)

Reflection

In all the drama of the raising of Lazarus, it is easy to miss these words of Thomas, the one we call “doubting Thomas.” The disciples were worried that if Jesus came to Bethany to see his sick friend, his enemies would stone him as they had threatened. Here, Thomas is prepared to go with Jesus and to die with him.


Challenge

  • Do I have the courage to follow Jesus when it might be easier not to?
  • What shall I do today to choose the right way over the easy way?

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Lent Reflection: 4th Saturday of Lent

Posted on April 1, 2017 by - Lent Reflections

April 1, 2017
Lent Reflection: 4th Saturday of Lent (April 1, 2017) - ‘For to you I have entrusted my cause!’(Jeremiah 11:20)

Reflection

Jeremiah initially did not believe himself to be worthy to be a messenger for God. But God thought differently. Here Jeremiah puts all his trust in the Lord, even though he feels “like a trusting lamb led to slaughter.” What a challenge for us! Not simply to trust God, but to trust that God knows what plans there are for each one of us. Like Jeremiah, each of us too is called to be God’s messenger, however unworthy we feel.


Challenge

  • Do I trust God that much?
  • How can I act as God’s messenger through all that happens in my life today?

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.