Breaking News vs. an In-Breaking Kingdom

Posted on June 13, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Growing the KingdomFor Sunday, June 17, 2018
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ezekiel 17:22-24
2 Corinthians 5:6-10
Mark 4:26-34

I have to admit that I’ve stopped watching television news. It seems that whenever I turn on the cable news networks all I can find are segments on celebrities calling each other vile names on Twitter. I stay tuned during the commercial break only to discover that the next segment is not about the volcano in Guatemala or the deteriorating situation in Nicaragua but about pundits reacting to celebrity tweets.

Growing the Kingdom

Posted on June 6, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Growing the KingdomFor Sunday, June 10, 2018
10th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Genesis 3:9-15
2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1
Mark 3:20-35

I have a tendency to psych myself out over things. I can get overwhelmed running through various scenarios of outcomes or responses in my mind, which can oftentimes keep me up at night. Sometimes, I try to control people or circumstances in order that my plan comes about. But it never works out the way I had hoped.

I think the same is true with the kingdom of God.

God Sees the Worth in All of Us

Posted on May 30, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: God Sees the Worth in All of UsFor Sunday, June 3, 2018
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Exodus 24:3-8
Hebrews 9:11-15
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

When I first got married, I was clueless about food and cooking. My husband wasn’t much more skilled, and together our repertoire of recipes was a rotation of frozen pizzas, tostadas, and takeout. I once bought potatoes thinking I could find a way to use them but, not so surprisingly, they were promptly tucked to the back of the pantry and forgotten about. We quickly learned that forgotten food soon becomes rotten food.

A simple lesson in biology or life experience has taught us all the same. Living creatures don’t last forever. Whether it’s potato skins or a pet dog, there is a finality to everything we touch on this earth. And for some, this sense of finality creates disordered ambition and laws.


Mystery in an Age of Fact-Finding

Posted on May 23, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Mystery in an Age of Fact-FindingFor Sunday, May 27, 2018
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40
Romans 8:14-17
Matthew 28:16-20

“Do you want to cut straight to the facts?” This helpful pop-up window appeared after I’d scrolled through a handful of news articles on a major network’s website. It offered an opportunity to sign up for a morning news debrief. My immediate, internal answer was “no.” Not that I don’t find facts valuable or didn’t want to stay up-to-date with the latest news, but I wanted context. I wanted anticipated impact. I wanted the story.

An Era of Change

Posted on May 16, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Rediscovering NatureFor Sunday, May 20, 2018
Pentecost Sunday

Acts 2:1-11
1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13 or Gal 5:16-25
Jn 20:19-23 or Jn 15:26-27; 16:12-15

It is amazing to consider how dramatically life changed for Jesus’ disciples and other followers and for witnesses of his resurrection. Pentecost brought about huge transformations: fear into courage, disbelief into belief, apathy into zeal, and maintenance into mission! Traveling outward into the world of the unfamiliar and sometimes hostile, the disciples set sail to proclaim the Good News to new people and new places. Their lives gave witness to many things, but one in particular became a huge game changer.

Live in God’s Promise

Posted on May 9, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Rediscovering NatureFor Sunday, May 13, 2018
The Ascension of the Lord

Acts 1:1-11
Ephesians 1:17-23 or 4:1-13 or 4:1-7, 11-13
Mark 16:15-20

As they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)

In her novel, Gilead, Marilyn Robinson shares the story of Rev. John Ames who, looking back on a life of pastoral service, love, loss, faith, and hope, tells his young son:


Rediscovering Nature

Posted on April 25, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Rediscovering NatureFor Sunday, April 29, 2018
Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 9:26-31
1 John 3:18-24
John 15:1-8

Several months ago, I watched the documentary, “Back to Eden,” which is the story of a Los Angeles lawyer turned hobby gardener in Washington. In the documentary, he explained how he came to a biblical understanding and practical appreciation of how nature is the Lord’s garden that reflects His glory.


An Intimate Relationship with God

Posted on April 18, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: An Intimate Relationship with GodFor Sunday, April 22, 2018
Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:8-12
1 John 3:1-2
John 10:11-18

As a newly pregnant mother years ago, I remember hearing that newborns could distinguish their mothers from other women by scent, and mothers could smell random clothing and know exactly which ones belonged to their babies. I was so intrigued by this. I mean, I could recognize my husband’s cologne or feel nostalgic at the scent of laundry detergent I remember my parents using. But to have the scent of one’s personhood be the deciding factor of knowing was incredible to me. When my first child was born, it rocked my world, and I experienced firsthand that amazing chemical bond between mother and infant.

Knowing that comes from more than intellect and observation is something that forms who we are. When an infant knows his mother by scent, he knows more than just what his olfactory cells are telling him. The scent is just what sets her apart from those around him. But what it means is safety, warmth, nourishment, and wholeness. The mother’s knowing goes far beyond being able to pick her baby out of a crowd. Her knowing engulfs a sense of urgency to protect the child and care for him and the feeling of utter incompleteness when she’s away from the baby. Knowing by these standards is more about intimacy than knowledge. And it’s the same kind of knowing we hear of in the readings this weekend in our relationship with God the Father.


Hope for the Resurrection of Our Bodies

Posted on April 11, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Living the ResurrectionFor Sunday, April 15, 2018
Third Sunday of Easter

Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
1 John 2:1-5a
Luke 24:35-48

If you want to be reminded of your mortality, turn on the news and see the recent attacks in Syria, the growing tensions over gun violence in the United States, and the latest tragedy in your local news. If you want to be reminded of the hope that awaits our mortal bodies, look no further than this Sunday’s readings!

“The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses!” The promise of Christ proclaimed by Peter is not only good news for us in the present moment — the redemption from sin — but good news for us for eternity, too. As Catholics, our theology of the end is very specific. While our bodies and souls separate at death, we do not continue on as glowing, disembodied spirits for all of time. The resurrection of Christ foretells our own destiny — the resurrection of the body.