(Guest blogger Margaret Felice, a gifted soprano, a choral conductor, writer, and religious educator who resides in Boston returns with her second Lenten blog offering today.)
Today’s readings begin by drenching us in light. In the reading from Isaiah we hear “I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement., and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” Even if we know intellectually that those words are understood as prophesying Jesus, it’s hard not to hear in them the promise that we, too, can be a light.
As we recite the psalm we cry out “the Lord is my light and my salvation”, though we are never quite told what we mean when Continue reading
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.
Sorry for the lack of posting. I’m busy and behind, and there were no written submissions this week. That said, Linda Berkery sent me this photo recently and it is a reminder of our journey. Out of the dry soil of the desert, Lent pulls us from death to the new life promised by Christ at Easter. Thank you Linda, for the reminder of God’s everlasting promise.
Today’s post comes to us from guest blogger and first time contributor to our blog, Susan Francesconi of The Good Disciple. We welcome her with great joy!
March 4, 2016: Friday of The Third Week Of Lent
It happens every year about this time, give or take a couple of weeks. Of course, I am talking about the midpoint of Lent, but I’m also talking about the change of seasons. Lent, like spring, is a time of conversion, of reawakening, of planting new seeds, of grace-filled turnings, returnings, and reconciliations.
Around the fourth week of our Lenten practice, new spiritual growth emerges like tender buds urged on by shortened nights. We carefully push back the winter mulch and beckon the sun’s warming rays.
This morning as I walked my dog, a neighbor who I pass every day remarked: “you look happy this morning.” He was right; I know I had joy written all over my face. The birds seemed to chant, Come out! Come out! Squirrels giddily complied, springing crazily from tree to tree, dropping to the ground, and diving in and out of unraked leaves. I spied a family of eight wild turkeys jauntily making their way up a neighbor’s drive. Upon my return I searched the back of my garden for surprises, something I do every morning now. Two days ago I noticed a few snowdrops pushing through the mulch; today I saw hundreds waving their happy little heads in the breeze.
On days like this, when Continue reading
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!
Meditation on the readings for February 25, 2016
Jer.17:5-10; Psalms 1:1-4, 6; Luke 16:19-31
Today is not an easy time to be a citizen of the United States, for me at least, as we look forward to the presidential election. Many of the readings that we have heard already this Lent have called us to be the opposite of what the most of the candidates are promoting. For example: Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow (Is. 1:16), or …remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech…bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted (Is. 58:9,10).
I can take consolation from the second reading from last Sunday: But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20). Father Austin Flemming’s homily from Sunday, puts some of these Continue reading
“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