Sunday, November 27, 2022

First Sunday of Advent

From our Heart to Heart publication.  We are happy to share with you reflections for each Sunday of Advent and for Christmas 2022. We are grateful to Sr. Chabanel Mathison, a Roman Union Ursuline of the USA Central Province, for inviting us into prayer and reflection for the 1st Sunday of Advent.

 A blessed Advent season to each of you!

1ˢᵗ Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5 

2ⁿᵈ Reading: Romans 13:11-14

Gospel: Matthew 24:37-44

“It is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.”  (Romans 13:11)

Some people spring right out of bed every morning just glad to be alive, grateful for another day of chances and choices. Others of us pull the covers over our heads and hope that we’ve  just imagined it’s time to get up. Just another hour, another ten minutes, we plead with the clock. But time is an unforgiving monitor, and finally we are obliged to put on our slippers and get on with another day.

Paul says in the second reading for this first Sunday of Advent liturgy that we all know when it’s time to wake up. Advent is a powerful wake-up call. But many of us still like to pretend that it’s really not as late as all that. Maybe there’s a loophole as yet unexplored, a second opinion we might consult. We want to keep our eyes closed to the many fresh choices that are being offered to us with this season of Advent and a whole new liturgical year. It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating the fire of the Spirit at Pentecost, and next the Church  opens the door to Advent and beckons us inside to a whole world of spiritual opportunity. Maybe it isn’t time yet for us to see if we can make a difference for just that one person who needs our help in some way. We’ve noticed her and her struggle for quite some time, and there is something we could do to help, but we just need a little more time before we get involved. Perhaps we could wait another month before we respond to the invitation we feel inside us to set aside a little quiet time in our day to listen for the voice of the Spirit in our lives. It can’t be time yet for us to reconcile and forgive that issue with a co-worker. Can’t we just sleep on a little longer and pretend it’s still night?

The start of a new Church year invites us to begin at the beginning and walk into the light with fresh hearts. The signature prophet for the season is Isaiah. In today’s first reading he offers remarkable vision of a united world, anxious for instruction in the ways of justice and peace. Can we see that world from where we’re sitting? Are we ready to wake up and help make it happen, one small choice at a time?

Chabanel Mathison, OSU

St. Louis, MO

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Feast of Christ the King


On the last Sunday of each liturgical year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, or Christ the King.  Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 with his encyclical Quas primas (“In the first”) to respond to growing secularism and atheism.  He recognized that attempting to “thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law” out of public life would result in continuing discord among people and nations. This solemnity reminds us that while governments come and go, Christ reigns as King forever. 

Today as a Church, we conclude our liturgical year and celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. The Gospel we proclaim shows the great mystery of our faith: In the moment of his crucifixion, Jesus is shown to be King and Savior of all.

Throughout this liturgical year we have listened to Luke's Gospel which has been loaded with surprises: the poor are rich, sinners find salvation, the Kingdom of God is found in our midst. Here we see the greatest surprise of all. We are confronted with the crucified Jesus, whom faith tells us is King and Savior of all. The irony is that the inscription placed on the cross, perhaps in mockery, contains the profoundest of truth. As the leaders’ jeer, the thief crucified by his side recognizes Jesus as Messiah and King and finds salvation.

Jesus is King, but not the kind of king we might have imagined or expected. His kingship was hidden from many of his contemporaries, but those who had the eyes of faith were able to see. As modern disciples of Jesus, we, too, struggle at times to recognize Jesus as King. Today's Gospel invites us to make our own judgment. With eyes of faith, we, too, recognize that Jesus, the crucified One, is indeed King and Savior of all.

This week we gather to celebrate the gift of Thanksgiving on Thursday and next Sunday will be the First Sunday of Advent.  May we do all things this week to honor Jesus.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

World Day of the Poor


World Day of the Poor

Pope Francis has declared Sunday, November 13, 2022 to be the sixth World Day of the poor, with the theme of “For your sakes Christ became poor” (2 Cor 8:9).s 

In his message for this World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis reflects on the words of St. Paul to the Church in Corinth and invites Christians to greater solidarity and responsibility for the poor."

Pope Francis notes that the year comes “as a healthy challenge, helping us to reflect on our style of life and on the many forms of poverty all around us.”

In his message for this year’s World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis said that no Christian is exempt from helping those with fewer resources than ourselves.  The worst thing that can happen to a Christian community is to be “dazzled by the idol of wealth, which ends up chaining us to an ephemeral and bankrupt vision of life,” he said. “Where the poor are concerned, it is not talk that matters; what matters is rolling up our sleeves and putting our faith into practice through a direct involvement, one that cannot be delegated.”

Before his general audience on Nov. 9, Pope Francis blessed a new sculpture by the Catholic artist Timothy Schmalz.  The life-size bronze work, called “Sheltering,” depicts a flying dove pulling a blanket over the naked body of a sleeping homeless person.  This work, which he described as "a call to action," is meant to make "visible," the poor who are "so often invisible.”

What can you do?

On this day we are invited to offer friendship, solidarity and welcome to the poorest of our sisters and brothers. As we reach out with love and support, let us hold all members of our global family in our prayers. 




Sunday, November 6, 2022

Election Day Prayer

As we prepare for Election Day 2022, let us pray for those seeking office as well as those who are voting.  May God guide our choices and bless the USA.

Prayer Before An Election

Lord God, as the election approaches, we seek to better understand the issues and concerns that confront our city/state/country, and how the Gospel compels us to respond as faithful citizens in our community.

We ask for eyes that are free from blindness so that we might see each other as brothers and sisters, one and equal in dignity, especially those who are victims of abuse and violence, deceit and poverty.

We ask for ears that will hear the cries of children unborn and those abandoned, Men and women oppressed because of race or creed, religion or gender.  We ask for minds and hearts that are open to hearing the voice of leaders who will bring us closer to your Kingdom.

We pray for discernment so that we may choose leaders who hear your Word, live your love, and keep in the ways of your truth as they follow in the steps of Jesus and his Apostles and guide us to your Kingdom of justice and peace.

We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

- Author Unknown