Sunday, January 21, 2018

What's in it for me?

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel."

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen.  Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."  Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.  He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.  They too were in a boat mending their nets.  Then he called them.  So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.   Mark 1: 14 -20

When I read this Gospel this morning I was immediately drawn to a song that was written by a Cleveland Ursuline Sister.  The song is entitled, Do You Remember the Call and begins by asking the question, Do you remember the call, when did you hear your name out loud…?  It is a beautiful song and leads to reflection.  As we read today’s Gospel the disciples are called and respond.  None of them asked the all too familiar question – What’s in it for me?  They responded to Jesus’ invitation with utter simplicity and resolve.  They did not go home say goodbye to everyone they simply followed.  Whatever their motivation they simply wanted to follow Jesus and did not hesitate to when asked.  We, too, have been invited to accept Jesus’ invitation to follow and live out his message in our present reality.  As the disciples followed are we ready to simply follow or do we need to first figure out what’s in it for me?  Let us remember that the call is a daily invitation to live a life of faith, hope, and love.  What we receive in return far outweighs what we give up.  As we live this day (and every day) let us remember that we are called by a God of love to do the very same for others for “to love another person is to see the face of God.”

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  As we begin 2018 let us remember that today marks the 51st World Day of Peace.  Pope Francis’ theme for this year is:  Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace.  Pope Francis urges us to turn a "contemplative gaze" toward our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters and to respond to their plight.  Pope Francis encourages us to embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.  Let us heed his message as we pray a Prayer for the New Year

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the year that has just passed and the many blessings you have showered upon us in time.

We beg your pardon for our many failings and transgressions and we pray that the coming year may be a more fruitful one.

We earnestly pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit and we call upon our Lord Jesus Christ for his intercession, his guidance, and his light to shine our path into a new year filled with love, peace and hope.

May 2018 be filled with many blessings for all.  May our God of light, love and peace touch the hearts of those who are leading others and making decisions.  May we become a people of peace!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Feast of the Holy Family

O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards.  We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  This is the prayer from the opening of today’s Feast of the Holy Family Liturgy.  As we reflect this day we may be making resolutions for the year to come.  Let us take a moment to pause and ponder the “Holy Family” for a few moments.  If you were to ask a room full of people to define the word family I strongly doubt that “Holy” would be included in any of the descriptions.  We would hear words like nuclear, dysfunctional, household, clan, etc.  Yet today we celebrate just that a “Holy Family” – Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  No other family claims that title in sacred Scripture.  There is very little written in Scripture about Jesus’ early life.  So as we prepare to welcome a New Year later let us take the time to pray for the grace to practice the virtues of family life, live with the bonds of charity and be filled with joy, hope, peace and love.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas is a Season

It is most heartwarming to hear people still wishing one another, “Merry Christmas!” as Christmas is not just a day it is a season.  Every year it saddens me when the radio stops playing Christmas music at midnight as if Christmas has ended and now we must move on to the next big event.  Most stores have removed their holiday displays and have replaced it with Valentine’s Day Decorations and candy.  We as a society tend to rush our lives away and often miss the importance of the day.  The Christmas season officially ends after the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord on January 8th this year, although there are some who hold out for the Feast of the Presentation on February 2nd.  As we celebrate these days before the New Year begins let us always remember the tremendous beauty of the Christmas Season and keep alive the spirit of Christmas as we begin to formulate our New Year’s resolutions!

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Christmas Poem



That You should choose the night
And bathe the dark awash in light!


That You should come so small
And not look like a king at all.


That straw should line Your bed,
The throne to which Your sheep are led.


That wise men chart a star
To seek and find You where You are!
The star in darkness;    
Straw and sheep;  
Shepherds, angels –
Symbols deep.


That You should choose these signs –
Such simple ones, like bread and wine.
In all our darkness
Pierce our night.
Let Love shine forth  
To be our LIGHT!

Anne Therese Dillen, OSU

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Roses in December

“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December." James M. Barrie
On December 2, 1980, four Catholic missionaries from the United States working in El Salvador were raped and murdered by five members of the El Salvador National Guard. They were Maryknoll Sisters Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, Ursuline Dorothy Kazel, and lay missionary Jean Donovan.  Dorothy and Jean had gone to the airport to pick up Maura and Ita and their van was ambushed by the Salvadoran military.  They were murdered for teaching the Catechism and for trying to help others achieve their human rights.  Their murders sparked an investigation which led to justice but their senseless murder remains unexplainable.  The women live on in the memories of others and their good works will always be treasured. 

Each year there is a rose bush at our school that was planted in memory of a student who died in a car accident that blooms at this time.  The rose that blooms reminds us of her but also reminds me of the four Catholic missionaries.  As we pray this day let us remember all of those “roses in December” that we hold close in our hearts.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, December 1, 2017

God's Plan

Jesus told his disciples a parable.  "Consider the fig tree and all the other trees.  When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near.  Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."   Luke 21: 29 – 33

This parable always reminds me of the importance of looking at nature and being alert.  I had a unique reminder of this early this morning as I put my contact lens in my eye.  Having worn contacts for many years it is a rather routine ritual to put them in.  This morning it became quite a challenge as my lens tore just as I placed it in my eye and I was unable to get the rest of it out.  I ran over to my doctor who found it immediately and told me never to panic if that happens it will work its way out.  As I pondered those words I felt that it was really a great summary of what our readings tell us today.  Our readings tell us that all shall be well in God’s time not necessarily on our schedule.  We live in a society where instant gratification is the name of the game and every occasionally, it helps to receive a gentle reminder that God knows what we need when we need it.  God will never give us any more than we can handle.  Perhaps today is a good day to thank God for the countless blessings that are showered down upon us.

Pat Schifini, OSU