Sunday, April 23, 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday

Today we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday.  It is the second Sunday after Easter and it is a special day for us to reflect on and rejoice in the merciful love God has for us.  We have received the gift of faith and have the daily opportunity to allow our beliefs to grow.  The Easter proclamation:  “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” still echoes in our hearts and minds.  Today we focus on God’s tender loving mercy for each one of us.   

In today’s Gospel, we hear the familiar story of the apostles gathered in the upper room and this time Thomas is with them.  The apostles recount Jesus’ appearance to them and Thomas does not believe what they are telling him.  He responds with saying, he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."   Jesus appears and invites Thomas to do as he said.  Thomas must have been shaken to the core with this appearance of Jesus, yet he appeals to Jesus’ mercy.  His faith is what helps him in his momentary unbelief.  Jesus’ mercy is right there for Thomas just as it is for each one of us.


On this Divine Mercy Sunday, take some time to relish in God’s merciful love and his promise to be with us until the end of time.  Let the joyful “Alleluias” resound this day and everyday as Jesus has risen!  Alleluia, Amen!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day

In the Prophet Isaiah we read, “Yes, in joy you shall depart, in peace you shall be brought back; Mountains and hills shall break out in song before you, and all the trees of the countryside shall clap their hands.”
Isaiah 55:12

Since 1970, April 22, Earth Day, has been set aside to raise global awareness of the need for environmental protection. Stewardship of our planet has always been a part of many religious traditions.  Today, Earth day, has taken on greater urgency as we face the troubling realities of climate change. Our world is in great need of change and everyone needs to do his or her part.  Pope Francis has modeled the need for the care of our earth home.  He took the name of St. Francis of Assisi and released a major  encyclical – Laudato Si, or Praise be to You – to call our attention to the exploitation and degradation of our common home in 2015.

Let us pray this day a prayer provided by the Rabbinical Assembly of the United Synagogue of America.

Light and Darkness, night and day. We marvel at the mystery of the stars. 
Moon and sky, sand and sea. We marvel at the mystery of the sun. 
Twilight, high noon, dusk and dawn. Though we are mortal, we are Creation’s crown. 
Flesh and bone, steel and stone. We dwell in fragile, temporary shelters. 
Grant steadfast love, compassion, grace. Sustain us, Lord; our origin is dust. 
Splendor, mercy, majesty, love endure. We are but little lower than the angels. 
Resplendent skies, sunset, sunrise. The grandeur of Creation lifts our lives. 

Evening darkness, morning dawn. Renew our lives as You renew all time.  Amen


Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday

Today we celebrate Palm Sunday the beginning of the holiest week of the Christian Liturgical year.  This day in Churches all over the world the reenactment of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem is observed.  Jesus arrived in Jerusalem riding on a donkey – a humble entry symbolizing peace as opposed to riding a horse, a symbol of military power.  In a matter of a few short days Jesus will go from being a lauded figure on Palm Sunday to being crucified on Friday because his followers had grown to an enormous number and the religious leaders had become envious of Jesus and with their powerful influences persuaded the people to turn against Him.


In today’s responsorial Psalm we hear “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” – Psalm 22.  This Psalm has been recited over the years and spoke to me very differently today.  As I recited the Psalm at our Mass I was struck by the overwhelming darkness in our world today.  There is so much pain and suffering and we need great faith at this time.  Perhaps on this Palm Sunday it is a good day to take some time to reflect on our world and our times and remember that Jesus too shared in his world.  May we always find the light of Christ in one another.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Promises

Promises are sacred things never to be broken.  Remember when we were little how we did "pinkie promises" with our friends.  We tend to take promises very seriously and are terribly hurt when a friend breaks a promise made to us.  The greatest promise ever made was the one that God made to us when He promised that He would make a new Covenant with us- an agreement, a sacred bond- that He would always be our God and that we would be His people forever.  He told us that the sign of that Covenant would be a rainbow of colors.  So, whenever you see a rainbow in the sky, God is renewing His Covenant-His promise to always belong to us.  Remember to say "thank you" when you see a rainbow!

KM Donohue, OSU

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Truth Will Set You Free

In today’s Gospel, we hear the familiar phrase, “And the truth shall make you free.” We hear this in songs, on TV, in books we read and from significant people in our lives.  This is one of those lines that really stands out when it is said or when we read it.
Jesus is urging us in this Gospel to move beyond our own sinfulness and be freed from all that binds us.  We all desire to be free and do not like to feel trapped, put down, or guilty, but we often find ourselves feeling that way.

We are called to live in Christ’s love and grace.  If we take the time to look at our lives we realize when we fall short of living in Christ’s love and grace.  Perhaps this last week of Lent is a good time to look at our lives and remember that the truth will always make us free and give us grace.  Remember that God’s love for you is unconditional!
Pat Schifini OSU

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Martha and Mary

In today’s Gospel from John 11:1- 45 we hear the familiar story of Martha and Mary following the death of their beloved brother Lazarus.  It is a lengthy story that is full of imagery and a wide range of emotions.  I always find myself when I hear this Gospel thinking about loved ones who have gone before.  Spending time with people we get to know them better and discover their most precious dreams.  The dreams of our hearts are the ones we most often cling to. 


In this story, Martha and Mary are mourning the loss of their beloved brother, Lazarus.  Lazarus who was also a friend of Jesus had died and was buried in the tomb already.  The sisters greet Jesus with the message that if he had been there Lazarus would not have died.  Jesus recognizing the grief of the sisters and probably his own performs a miracle and raises Lazarus from the dead.  In raising Lazarus Jesus embraced his own humanity and reiterates that the Holy Spirit will come and continue to care for all.  What a great reason to rejoice this day!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Jesus' Words

In today’s Gospel from John 7:40-53 we read, “Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, "This is truly the Prophet." Others said, "This is the Christ."  But others said, "The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he?  Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David's family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?"  So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why did you not bring him?"  The guards answered, "Never before has anyone spoken like this man."  So the Pharisees answered them, "Have you also been deceived?  Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?  But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed."  Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, "Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?"  They answered and said to him, "You are not from Galilee also, are you?  Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee."

As I reflected on this Gospel I was struck by the response of the guards who had been sent to arrest Jesus no one touched him.  Jesus proved to be an enigma to many of the people of his time.  Jesus was not the Messiah that they people of his time were expecting.  He preached a message of love and compassion.  People were drawn to him because of his personality and the way he treated people.  Always treating people with respect and love confused many.  His voice and the power of his words attracted many.


Jesus continues to speak to us in our daily lives.  His words are able to touch open, receptive and faithful hearts.  Are we willing to allow our heats to be touched by Jesus’ words and actions?  Take some time today to allow Jesus to speak to your heart and mind so that his words may touch your heart too!

Pat Schifini, OSU