Today’s reflection has been offered by Shannon O’Donnell, who has generously contributed to our blog before. Shannon is a jail chaplain and lives in Tacoma, Washington. Today’s reflection was not written with a particular day in mind, but it seems most fitting for Palm Sunday.
We’re sitting at a table in a hallway at the jail. It is mid-morning and there is a flurry of activity. One group of offenders is heads to the multi-purpose room for class while another lines up to cross the skybridge for court. Officers push carts filled with lunch sacks. Somehow laundry exchange happens. Ed is wearing the red pants and shirt he was issued when he was booked into jail three months ago. His orange plastic flipflops have seen many other feet over the years.
Ed ignores the noise and movement. He hunches over the table. He’s 40. “I’m looking at prison. Again.” He sighs. “I’m getting tired of this.” No wonder. It will be his fifth time. He has struggled with drugs, homelessness, mental health issues. His life is an epic case of Whack-a-Mole. He gets one thing under control only to lose something else. Coming to jail seems the only stable piece of his life.
“I started reading the bible Continue reading
Today’s reflection comes to us from longtime contributor and parishioner, Doreen Salse.
ONE OF US
Today is a beautiful balmy day in Southern California. I am sitting on the deck at my mother’s house, writing and listening to the birds sing and watching the trees sway in the warm breeze – hardly a day to think sad thoughts.
Minutes ago my cousin Sylvia sat here with me and with my mother, reminiscing about her daughter who would have celebrated her 40th birthday today.
“I can tell you this,” she said to my mother, “Because you will understand”. “You can lose your parents, your grandparents, your husband, but when you lose something, someone, that you made and was once inside of you – it’s the worst thing in the world. There are no words to describe it, it’s beyond anything you can say.”
My mother, who lost her daughter, my sister, our “center”, 2 years ago, could only nod her head.
As I write, “lost my sister”, I remember Continue reading
Much of the work I do in the prisons consists of teaching people how to respond to things that happen, rather than reacting to them. We all make poorer choices when we fail to step back, take a little time, and try to gain a larger perspective on the situation. We tend to forget that we’re not the center of the universe, but are in fact just one, tiny, limited being who can never have to whole picture. Stopping to recall that, when practiced regularly over time, can develop into a habit that saves us, and those around us, a lot of grief.Bad judgment almost always arises from self-centeredness.
It is God who has made us, and not we ourselves. Give it to God, and be still.
Baya Clare CSJ is a Sister of St Joseph of Carondolet. She lives in the Minneapolis-St Paul area and is a frequent and generous contributor to our Lenten and Advent blogs.
In the scripture readings for today, there’s a mismatch between some expectations of God and what God actually does and says. The mismatch occurs when people anticipate that something special is going to happen, create an idea of what that special thing is going to look like, and think it’s going to happen because of some particular status or quality they possess. And then they’re disappointed when it doesn’t turn out just as they had fantasized. Meanwhile, the work of God, whose healing and love is available to everyone regardless of particular status or quality or expectation, manifests itself in some quiet, ordinary, non-spectacular way, and they’re disappointed when they realize it didn’t happen they way they thought it would.
Can’t you just imaging God shaking her head ruefully over us every time we do that? Good thing her love for us is steadfast and never-ending!
Baya Clare CSJ is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondolet from the Minneapolis-St Paul area; she has generously contributed to our blog over the years.
Today I offer very short post based on Sunday’s Gospel, which can be found here. There is always another chance with God. We are supposed to “fear” God in the sense of awe, but not in the sense of cowering in the corner. People tell me all the time that they fear hell. Yet, how can we read about the dead fig tree and how giving it once more chance might bring forth fruit? Right now I look at trees that appear dead, but it is simply winter – so they do look dead. Chances are, greens will sprout in about six weeks. Maybe sooner! Looks can be deceiving.
We always have a chance, at least that is what I believe. What do you believe? Will God give us another chance? If so -why? If not – why? Just curious and I hope you will share what you believe. My hope is like the quickening of spring; we stand on Holy Ground. God is present and desiring of relationship with us. What’s not to hope for? Especially during the Year of Mercy!
“Lent is a time of returning to God. It is a time to confess how we keep looking for joy, peace, and satisfaction in the many people and things surrounding us without really finding what we desire. Only God can give us what we want. So we must be reconciled with God … The season of Lent, helps us in a special way to cry out for God’s mercy.” –Henri Nouwen
The Lenten season in particular invites us to be more intentional about returning to God on every level of our being through practices of self-examination and repentance. Then, as we renounce those aspects of the self that keep us from abandoning ourselves to God more fully, we are called into the sacred rhythm of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it will remain a single seed. But if it dies, it will produce many grains of wheat. For whoever will find his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will find it. If anyone would serve me, they must follow me. They must follow me in death.” John 12:24. To see Jesus is to see the importance of dying in order to live.
Could it be that Continue reading
Feast of the Chair of St Peter Monday, February 22nd, 2016
Readings: 1 Peter 5:1-4 Psalm 23: 1-3a, 4,5,6 Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19
Matthew 16:15-16;18a (NRSVCE)
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 18a And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church Continue reading