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SJ-Seal
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Daily Reflections


The household peace, broken with shouting, slamming doors and pounding steps scares the dog.  Like a competent parent, I thought I should try to intercede and offer an agreeable solution to their argument.  Not surprisingly, they both immediately forgot what they were arguing about and attacked my lack of privacy and directed me to go back downstairs, after which they were able to agree on plans for lunch and finish their movie.

Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

 


There is much about this current world that differs from what we might choose.  We do not control the ages to come.  We are given many choices, but they are not always the choices we desire.  But these scriptures point to a goodness that is deeper and richer than our desire.  Our desires may only be for bigger barns, but the gift we are given is greater than this limited imagination.  What does that look like?  What will that gift mean to us?  What will satisfaction feel like, when we have only longing in this world? 

Monday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

 

 


Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus assured those closest to Him that they must be servants of all – they must lead by serving in the manner that Jesus serves – by “mercifying” the world.  A short passage from one of the Servant Songs of Isaiah, the first reading today, discloses the servant-leader as one who utterly knows and loves his followers.  A servant leader does not sin, but she enters the consequences of sin and forgives and heals it.  A servant leader does not “lord it over” but he stands under (understands) the other.  A servant leader does not enrich or aggrandize him/herself but is enriched only by God’s mercy so that s/he can pour riches out on those served.

Sunday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

 


The gospel message is quite direct as Jesus says  . . . everyone who acknowledges me before others the son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.  We clearly know the drill, we know the recipe or any other image you want to create.  So . . .  why is it so hard for us?  I think this acknowledgement goes way beyond words.  The real test is how we acknowledge Jesus with our lives.  Words may be easy to say, actions that exemplify those words are not always as easy.  I love the paraphrase from St. Francis: Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words.  It should be clear to all around us that we are beloved children of God – our actions should give us away.

Saturday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 

 


In a time when our Church is perceived by the world to be the cause of terrible suffering, and when indeed it’s members and systems are rightly accused, how can I learn from the example of my ancestors in faith? How can my participation in a faith community lead to healing and rebirth? We are in good company when we pray with the saints, our elder siblings in faith.

Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs

 


What unifies people more than recognizing common need? And what alienates quicker than failure to close one’s eyes and heart to that mutual interdependence. That suggests that our mission is usually done in the context of our more intimate contact with fellow human being who recognize our common humanity—or not.

Whatever our situation, class, lifestyle, our mission will be contribute to the “harvest” to the extent that we “travel light.”

Feast of St. Luke

 

 


So where is the comfort? Just reflect on the words that are the fruit of the Spirit that he names: "Patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." What happens when we ponder that list? Doesn’t our heart rate slow down, our mind and body become more relaxed? Don’t we feel quietly happy? The other list is hard and tense and divisive, whereas these words are like balm. What would happen to our minds, our bodies and our daily routines if we began each day, or reflected during the day, on patience, kindness, gentleness, etc.?

Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch

 


Jesus uses the giving of alms as an example. It is not just a matter of going through the mechanics of dropping coins in the temple collection box. Giving alms is expected to come from inside, from a desire to share with the needy or to contribute to a good cause, like the upkeep of the temple, and it is this disposition of the heart that makes a person clean or unclean, as the gospel of Mark [7:15] reminds us.

Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 

 


Seeking validation, it seems, may miss the mark. Can we not be the child in this instance, at times? The crowd? Rather than looking outward to confirm our perspective, Jesus asks us, rather, to look inward and repent. Repentance is an exercise in humility. It opens the way for forgiveness of self and others; for empathy. It opens the way for communion. Let this – communion – be our goal and vocation. When achieved, this will be sign enough for all

Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 

Weekly Guide


It becomes real when I realize that I am on the road with Jesus to Jerusalem in my life. I can sense the resistance in me to face all that it means. I resist the call to greatness that Jesus offers – to be a servant for others. Greed can take a serious role in my life – unconscious, of course, but once I experience how many things I “want,” I’ll sense the role of greed within me.

Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

 

 


As Jesus continues to head toward Jerusalem in this week’s readings, it can be easy to pray if we can focus. For simple thoughts and feelings to make their way into the background of our reflections this week we have to make a conscious choice to do it. Once we choose to let ourselves be reflective in this way, we can let this week’s readings into our consciousness.

Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 


For the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear the story from Mark’s Gospel about two of Jesus’ closest friends, James and John, who want seats of honor in “the Kingdom” they envision for Jesus. We can almost see Jesus shake his head in dismay that they have missed his point once again. He does not let his disciples get sidetracked into jealousy but calls them together again to give them his message: “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

 


At the end of each day this week, we can be grateful for the many opportunities we were given to follow along with Jesus. We can ask the Holy Spirit to help us see the invitation in our lives every day and ask for the clarity to recognize “the poor.” When I see the poor, the outcasts, those whose health or habits make them unappealing, do I love them the way Jesus would? Can I look at the brusque and rude people in my life as people Jesus would have gravitated toward, sensing how much they need love?

Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 

 

 

 


So many of the stories this week are clashes between Jesus and the Pharisees. We can ask ourselves: Where in my life do I worry more about appearances than I do the poor who are in front of me? Who are “the poor” in my life? Who are the outcasts, the unpopular or the rejected people I see each day? How can I minister to those people and be a leaven in this world?

Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 

 


We can repeat this small act on our way to work, taking our children to school and walking to the store. “I know you are in my heart, Jesus. I know you are calling me this day, but my heart is not always open to listen. Help me to answer your call today. At the end of this day, help me to be joyful in answering your call through those in my life.”

Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 

 


Whether or not we have a clear picture of where we are being called by Jesus, we can feel the invitation, the call to our hearts, in the silence. We can take just a few minutes each morning as we awaken to sit by the side of the bed and open our hands and hearts and pray, “Jesus, in this quiet moment, I feel my heart being drawn to you. Help me to see this day where you are calling me.”

Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 

 

 


So many of the stories this week are clashes between Jesus and the Pharisees. We can ask ourselves: Where in my life do I worry more about appearances than I do the poor who are in front of me? Who are “the poor” in my life? Who are the outcasts, the unpopular or the rejected people I see each day? How can I minister to those people and be a leaven in this world?

Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 

 



We can repeat this small act on our way to work, taking our children to school and walking to the store. “I know you are in my heart, Jesus. I know you are calling me this day, but my heart is not always open to listen. Help me to answer your call today. At the end of this day, help me to be joyful in answering your call through those in my life.”

Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

 

 

Pope Francis


Bishop Paolo Bizzeti, S.J. from Turkey also said that what emerged for him at the Synod was the vast differences between the Church in affluent wealthy parts of the world compared to many impoverished places. He said that in impoverished places it is very hard to talk about faith and discernment when many young people from the ages of 8 or 10 are not able to choose because choices are made for them, often by the desperate conditions they find themselves in.

Synod: We must ask for forgiveness

 


Cardinal Blaise Cupich from the USA said that he will do his best to give voice to young people because that is what they are asking the bishops to do. The Cardinal said that young people spoke about war, poverty, unemployment, migration, arms trafficking and governments who turn to war easily to deal with issues. He said that young people are asking the bishops to give their high-profile voice over to them to address these issues. They want bishops to speak to world leaders because they fear decisions being made now are putting their future and that of future generations at risk.

Synod Bishops: Young people want us to speak out


Sebastian thinks that the Church needs to adopt a new approach to young people. This means adapting its language so that the young can grasp the message.

"From the birth of the Church, when Jesus was walking the earth, the Church has always been about accompaniment, and actually walking with people, building relationships with people, having conversations and loving each other."

Unfortunately, Sebastian says his experience is that the Church “talks at young people”, and “teaches about the Church”, rather than “introducing them to the person of Jesus Christ".

Youth minister from Australia


Pope Francis described the leaven of the Pharisees as the leaven of hypocrisy which allows self-centeredness to grow. This leaven applies to people who think only of appearances, he said. Should they meet someone in difficulty along their path, they turn their gaze away. “Jesus says that this leaven is dangerous” because it has no future, the Pope said. ... With the leaven of the Holy Spirit, Christians are able to face the difficulties encountered on the journey, “even all their sins, but always with hope”, Pope Francis said. “Hypocrites have forgotten what it means to be joyful”. And he concluded, “there is joy in the hearts of those who possess the leaven of the Holy Spirit, even when they face problems and difficulties”.

By reaching out, we find the promised inheritance


In this morning's Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, the Pope speaks of the three forms of poverty to which the disciple is called: the first is to renounce riches, with a heart detached from money, the second is to accept persecution, large or small, even slander, because of the Gospel, and the third is the poverty of loneliness, to feel alone at the end of life.

The Three Forms of Poverty

 


Dr Ruffini said that the issue of the pastoral care of young people in the digital world was discussed. The Synod pondered how the Church can be active in the world of social media where young people are. The Church, he said, wants to dwell in the digital world in an official and serious way. How should the Church form missionaries for the digital world and have people in the digital world who are protagonists of freedom and responsibility? The Church wants to be part of the digital world in a more structured way, he said.

Young People: Becoming Digital Missionaries

 


An “inappropriate phrase”, he said, is enough “to offend the innocence of a child. To hurt a woman, a gesture of coldness is enough. To break a young person's heart, it is enough to deny them confidence. To annihilate someone, it is enough to ignore them.” Indifference kills, concluded Pope Francis. “Not loving is the first step to killing; and not killing is the first step to loving”.

Indifference Kills

 

 

 


Mr Safa al Abbia is a 26-year-old Chaldean Catholic dentist from Iraq. He was invited to the Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment currently underway in Rome.

His plea to the Bishops is that the universal Church helps young people in Iraq who are being persecuted for their faith. He explained that the main challenge for youth in Iraq is “peace and stability and their right to live in dignity.”

Iraqi delegate at Synod says Young people need a “fast response”

 


Fr Sosa [Superior General of the Society of Jesus, speaking of his experience at the Synod on Youth] also said that a sign of our times is migration and the way that migrants are treated in every country. Migrants, he said, are people who are looking for a better life. He said that the reaction to migrants and refugees shows us just how inhumane we are becoming. He said that we need to understand why people leave their countries and also why there is massive internal movement. He says this necessitates that we ask questions like why democracy seems to be weakening and nationalism is on the rise and how this is linked to migration.

Synod of Bishops: “How difficult it is to find dawn in twilight”

 

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