Thursday, April 30, 2015

God's Kindness is Forever and Ever and Ever, Amen!

“My kindness is established forever; ….I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him, that my hand may be always with him, and that my arm may make him strong,” we pray in today’s responsorial psalm, Psalm 89.   At our baptism and at confirmation, God found us, His servants. You and I were anointed with holy oil when we received both of those sacraments.  God’s hand is always with us. God’s arm is always strengthening us, the arms stretched out upon the cross for us, the arms stretched out to us at every Holy Mass, inviting us to eat His body and drink His blood, the bread and wine consecrated by the hands of the priest. 

Truly, God will never leave us; His “kindness is established forever.”  “My faithfulness and my mercy,” says the Lord in this psalm, “shall be with [you], and through my name shall [your]  horn shall be exalted,” that is you will be victorious over your enemy, Satan who prowls this world seeking someone to devour! So, with King David, we say of God: “You are my father, my God, the Rock, my savior.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Word of God Growing

Today’s first reading, Acts 12: 24-13: 5a, opens with the statement:  “The word of God continued to spread and grow.”   Is the word of God continuing to grow within me,”   I ask myself?  If not, why not? If so, how does my day-to-day, moment-by-moment behaviors/attitudes reflect that growth? Am I more loving, more patient, more caring, more kind, more forgiving, more self-giving and self-sacrificing for the common good, more in tune with the Shepherd’s voice, more at peace with myself and others?  Or am I resisting the pull and push of the Holy Spirit to be involved in life in meaningful ways—in my marriage, in the life of my children and grandchildren, in the life of my religious community and the women [or men religious] with whom I work and live and pray? What needs to change in me to bring about a conversion so that, if I am holding back,I will get involved in such a way  that at the end of a day I can hear God say to me what He said to His Son: “This is my beloved daughter/son in whom I am well pleased.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

In the Father's Hand

In today’s Gospel, John 10: 22-30,  Jesus says to me and to you:  “You are my lamb; I know you, and you follow me.  I give you eternal life, Dorothy Ann (insert your name), and you shall never perish. No one can take you out of my hand. My Father, who has given you to me, is greater than all, and no one can take you out of my Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

“I give you eternal life, and you shall never perish!” Lord, the ultimate goal of my life is that I make it to eternity  as a faithful disciple, as a Christian,  to be with you forever. With You, Lord, and no one else. You and You alone. On Your part, Lord, You sacrificed Your life so that I might have eternal life with You. May I not disappoint You and choose otherwise.  Steer me on the path that leads to You and to You alone, as You did for each of Your apostles and 1000s of disciples since then. Following Your resurrection and in the midst of persecution, the disciples scattered to various parts of the world at that time.  They continued to make You known and 1000s of people came to know you, the one true God, the Redeemer of the world.  May, I too, no matter what the circumstances of my life, make you known, work for Your Cause, that all people may come to know you the Way, the Truth and the Life.   May I truly proclaim the Gospel with my life, as did the disciples in today’s first reading, Acts  11 19-26, because your hand is with me, as it was with them.  I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Jesus: The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; for these sheep I will give my life. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must lead them, too, and they shall hear my voice. There shall be one flock then, and one shepherd” ( John 10:14-17).

Here is God’s plan for the salvation of the world; namely,  that the world will be saved through Jesus, His Son. There are those who already belong to the flock. Jesus knows us and we know Jesus in the same way as the Father knows His Son and the Son knows the Father.  For us, Jesus, John says, will give His life. John also tells us that there are sheep who do not, yet,  belong to the fold and that Jesus must  lead them also. “They shall hear His voice. And so there will come a time when there shall be one flock and one shepherd!

How great is the love of our God. How inclusive God’s plan for salvation! God be praised!

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Perpetual Light of the Saints

Today's liturgy, Friday, April 24, again opens with "Perpetual light will shine on your Saints, O Lord, and life without end forever, alleluia."  In today's Gospel, John 6: 52-59, Jesus reminds us that those who eat His Flesh and drink His Blood remain in Him and He in them and they will live forever! Sister Flora, who died recently at the age of 97, ate the Bread and drank the wine of Eternal life for years and years and years. She anticipated an eternity of bliss, as she writes in the following poem which  was read at the beginning of her funeral liturgy:

Death is Beautiful 

Death is oh so beautiful
It’s a special call from our Lord.
It unites us with our loving God
Where God and peace are our reward.

Death is oh so beautiful
For others have passed that way.
And when they returned their heart did yearn
Because they wanted to stay.

Yes, death is so beautiful
When we see the face of our Lord.
We harken to his gentle voice
He embraces us and rewards.

Death is oh so beautiful
Jesus has set the scene.
No ear has heard or eye has seen
What God has in store for me.

Death is oh so beautiful
God watches when we’re most sweet.
He loves us so much and tenderly waits
Then calls us to rest at his feet.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

God's Faithful: Never Deserted by God

The Entrance Antiphons of today’s liturgy reads:   Perpetual light will shine on your Saints, O Lord, and life without end forever, alleluia.” And: “This is the one who was not deserted by God on the day of struggle and now wears a crown of victory for faithfulness to the Lord’s commands, alleluia.”

Today we Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother grieve the loss of one of our own, Sister Leonilda Niberle, who passed from us suddenly following a head injury resulting from a fall Wednesday evening.  Perpetual light now shines on her and she possesses life without end forever with her God and Savior, her confidante and dearest friend Jesus. In her retirement, Sister Leonilda spend hours in prayer every day (and probably during the night as well).  She was always interceding for the persons whose needs were recorded in our Chapel Book of Prayers.  This was a woman who remained faithful to the Lord’s commands and was never deserted by God on the day of any struggle, and especially yesterday as she breathe her last breath on this earth!  She now wears a crown of victory for her faithfulness to the Lord and His faithfulness to her.

It’s hard to imagine the glory that awaits a person who, his or her entire life, sought the Lord and found Him in all of the vicissitudes or ups and downs of life. Sister Leonilda was such a woman. She was  one of 8 children, all girls.  Four of the 8 children answered the call to consecrate their lives to the Lord as Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother.  She came to America in 1951 and six months later, after and intensive English course, she was missioned to one of our schools.  She enumerated her  ministry experiences as follows:

·         1952—St. Francis Borgia School, Cedarburg, WI: Housekeeping, cooking & washing
·         1953--Bakerville, WI (another elementary school). People, she says, loved me at the church.
·         1953-1970—St. Clare’s Hospital, Denville, NJ. “I was in charge of the Diet Kitchen.”
·         1970-2002—In charge of food service at Our Lady of Sorrows Convent where "I prepared the meals and took care of the kitchen and dining room."

Sister Leonilda described her retirement in terms of volunteer ministry and its impact as follows:

  •  Ministry of prayer at SSM Franciscan Courts 
    •    “My most important ministry” 
    •    “I like to pray in chapel a lot.”
  •    “Prayer is a blessing and help for others. I benefit spiritually as well.”   
  • Watering  plants. “Plants are an enjoyment for me.”
  •   Visiting students
  •    Knitting scarves and caps and giving knitted items to friends and SSM craft sales. (The proceeds of these sales support SSM Missions in the Dominican Republic , Brazil and Tanzania
"This is the one who was not deserted by God on the day of struggle and now wears a crown of victory for faithfulness to the Lord’s commands, alleluia.”
How faithful am I? How faithful are you?