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.
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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.
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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“Think Outside the Box”

Posted on April 4, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Living the ResurrectionFor Sunday, April 8, 2018
Second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)

Acts 4:32-35
1 John 5:1-6
John 20:19-31

When people are feeling afraid or insecure, they often find security and solace behind the locked door of a room. While locking oneself in a secure place may relieve an immediate threat or reduce anxiety, it is not a place in which you can stay for very long. Being afraid to leave a secure place when taken to the extreme can lead to agoraphobia and actually cripple a person’s life. Fear caused the disciples to lock themselves in a room. Fear does the same to us.

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Living the Resurrection

Posted on March 28, 2018 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Living the ResurrectionFor Sunday, April 1, 2018
Easter Sunday

Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8
John 20:1-9 or Mark 16:1-7

In his book, “The Dwelling of the Light: Praying with Icons of Christ”, Rowan Williams (the former archbishop of Canterbury) reflected:

“Orthodox theologians have said — surely rightly — that the moment of resurrection could not be depicted, any more than you could depict the moment of creation or the moment of incarnation. You cannot paint a picture of the simple act of God … You can only show the effect of God’s action: the creation itself carrying the mystery of God in its very being, the human situation transformed by God. So you can depict the Risen Christ, but not the event of the resurrection.”

“So the classical Easter icon shows something more than an historical event: it shows, you might say, the effect of God’s action on human history up to that point, and implicitly, the effect of God’s action on all history … this icon shows Jesus bringing Adam and Eve out of the realm of death into the same light-filled presence.”

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He Emptied Himself

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

Connect! Sunday Reflection: “He Emptied Himself”For Sunday, March 25, 2018, Palm Sunday

Mark 11:1-10
Philippians 2:6-11
Mark 14:1—15:47

Over the past few decades, what has become known as the “Prosperity Gospel” has gained popularity among televangelists. It claims that following Christ should result in increased financial success for the believer as well as improved health and well-being. For those who follow such a doctrine, religion is a way to win friends and influence people. The word of God becomes a means to reach our goals and fulfill our potential.

While there is no doubt that Jesus wants us to be happy and to live an abundant life, there are many problems with interpreting Christianity as a program for material prosperity or psychological well-being. First and foremost, it is not the example that Jesus left for us. He did not come to earth to fill himself with wealth but to empty himself for us. He did not come to claim places of honor for himself but to take the lowest place. If Jesus’ primary concern was his well-being, he would never have accepted the humiliation of the cross, and we would never have been forgiven of our sins. (more…)