Faith in Uncertain Times

Posted on February 21, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Faith in Uncertain TimesFor Sunday, February 25, 2018
Second Sunday of Lent

Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
Romans 8:31b-34
Mark 9:2-10

Life can be uncertain. Fergie sings a version of the National Anthem that belongs more in a jazz lounge than the NBA All-Star game. For those of us following the Olympics, we’ve seen unanticipated falls, photo finishes, and controversy in the most unlikely places. Back home, unexpected tragedy in Florida and election-tampering indictments exacerbate division and uncertainty. This Sunday’s readings also introduce us to the unexpected, both exciting and alarming.
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Seekers of Truth

Posted on January 3, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Seekers of TruthFor Sunday, January 07, 2018
The Epiphany of the Lord

Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:2-3A, 5-6
Matthew 2:1-12

We Three Kings of Orient are bearing gifts, we traverse afar…”. So goes the popular song we’ll likely hear this Sunday. Each verse highlights one of the gifts the Magi bring. Homilies sometimes include a symbolic breakdown of each of the gifts and how they point to Christ’s kingship, priestly role, and his death. Most of us won’t see much gold in our lifetime, and we probably need to Google “frankincense ” and “myrrh”. At Epiphany, we often focus on what the wise men brought. All too rarely do we reflect on what brought them.

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“He Has Cast Down the Mighty From Their Thrones”

Posted on November 1, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: “He Has Cast Down the Mighty From Their Thrones”For Sunday, November 05, 2017
31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

Malachi 1:14B-2:2B, 8-10
1 Thessalonians 2:7B-9, 13
Matthew 23:1-12

These words may be familiar to you. We hear them in Mary’s Magnificat, as she sings the praises of God, who acts in a way counterintuitive to the plans of the world. They aren’t in this Sunday’s readings, but they perfectly capture the theme of the Gospel and the latest stream of current events.

In the era of the 24 hour news cycle, it seems like anyone and anything are up for grabs. As much as we thrive on thrusting people into the limelight, we seem to be equally—if not more so, fascinated by their demise. Entertainment icons Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey have received just opprobrium. Former strategists for President Trump have been indicted for pre-campaign white-collar crime. And who can miss the ongoing controversy in the NFL? These events raise the age-old questions: “what does it mean to have power?” and “how do we exercise it with integrity?”

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Tech Innovation for World Mission Sunday

Posted on October 12, 2017 by - Catholic Tech Talk

world mission

 

When you picture world missions, what do you imagine? Most of us might think of a remote village, building projects, and catechism lessons in one-room schoolhouses. Modern American life is disconnected on multiple levels from the everyday life of a foreign missionary. This World Mission Month, the team at Missio is trying to bridge that gap in an innovative way: a Papal ChatBot.

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Gifts on God’s Terms

Posted on October 11, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Gifts on God’s TermsFor Sunday, October 15, 2017
28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Isaiah 25:6-10a
Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20
Matthew 22:1-14

Wedding registries. Christmas lists. Return policies. Gift cards. No one can deny that these modern conveniences make our lives easier. What do they all have in common? Personal preference. In each of these things, we have a say over the gift we receive. It’s something to which we’ve become accustomed. But does God work that way?

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Five Ways to Pray the Rosary Better

Posted on October 7, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

rosary

 

Did you know October is the month of the rosary? Whether you grew up praying a family rosary every night or still struggle to remember the words to the Apostles Creed, there are always ways to grow. Here are a few practical ways for you and your parish to make the most of this powerful prayer.

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Stewards of Our Sufferings

Posted on September 14, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

suffering

“So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure.” – St. Andrew of Crete

This is complicated, isn’t it? Today crosses come in all shapes, sizes, and functions. You can find them encrusted with diamonds around the necks of celebrities. You can find them in stylized wall hangings, set in craft stores alongside distressed wood signs advising us to “Live – Laugh – Love.” St. Andrew of Crete lived in the seventh century. For St. Andrew, the cross would have retained its original, terrible value as a method of execution. Here we come to the great paradox of Christianity: a method of death as a means to life, a “treasure,” and cause of triumph.

Today’s feast, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, reminds us that we’re not only stewards of our gifts. We’re also stewards of our sufferings.

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Hope and Healing in the Aftermath

Posted on September 13, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Hope and Healing in the AftermathFor Sunday, September 17, 2017
24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Sirach 27:30—28:7
Romans 14:7-9
Matthew 18:21-35

These past few weeks, the United States has been battered by events of cataclysmic proportions. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the Equifax data breach have shoved tit-for-tat political headlines out of the limelight. Compelling, community-driven stories abound, whether it’s the quirky tenacity of Key West residents, a moving letter from the mayor of New Orleans, or Beyoncé volunteering in her hometown.

For those of us without connections to the South, the events could seem distant, and beyond the sphere of immediate concern, a matter of sympathetic thoughts, $20 donations, and passing prayers. For residents, however, the aftermath can stretch far into the future.

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Bringing Young Adults to Christ

Posted on August 19, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

young adultsWhat started as a basement prayer group now draws around one hundred weekly attendees from up to sixty miles away. ARMEE is what happens when a community doesn’t wait for ministry to come to them.

Back in 2008, California native Josh Madruga would pray on a regular basis with some of his friends in their hometown of Turlock. As they continued to pray and do youth ministry together, they realized God wanted to do something bigger.

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