Thursday, September 17, 2015

He's Coming!

Dear Friends,

He’s coming.

Pope Francis will be in our country from September 22 to September 27.

You can be sure that the cities, churches and people of Washington, New York and Philadelphia are preparing. So is the Pope with his 18 talks, his remarkable energy, love of God, all the earth and humanity. Spin doctors, commentators, authors, groups with their laudable causes or not, have already put out their views, analyses, desires, plans for these days of grace, wonder, amazement, discouragement, disagreement and distress. We may already be tired of all the preliminaries. Weary, we may miss the event itself. How do we make sure it’s fresh to us?

Since most of us will not see him up close and personal, here’s my suggestion to make the most of the Pope’s visit. Shut out the ambient noise and instead, concentrate on Pope Francis. Watch him, pray with him,  listen to him and draw out your own insights and conclusions. Writing in a recent issue of the National Catholic Reporter, Thomas Reese, S.J. offers checkpoints to do this well. He says we ought to look at five things in the visit of Pope Francis:

                                                Francis the man, but it’s not about himself
                                                Francis the prophet, who speaks truth to power
                                                Francis the peacemaker, speaking to all nations, all creeds
                                                Francis the pastor, visiting, touching, speaking, listening
                                                Francis on message. God’s message: Love one another

See how these qualities emerge in the very busy days ahead. Think for yourself. Talk to others about what you see and what you hear. Eventually you will read and absorb the many facets of this trip. Other voices will help nuance what you think and believe about him and his message, but begin with opening your own heart and mind. 

~Sister Joan Sobala

Monday, September 14, 2015

Embrace Jesus with a Love Name

Dear Friends,

In Chapter 8 of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus asks the people two questions important to Him:
“Who do people say I am?” and shortly after that,” Who do you say I am?” In today’s reflection, I offer a few quotes about Jesus for us to mull over, savor, make our own or lead us to formulate our own thoughts about Jesus.
                Jesus is the undistorted image of God and the undistorted image of what it means to be human.            (Canon John Townroe)
                Jesus is the Feast, the Truth, the Life, the Covenant, Light, Freedom, Solidarity, the Good News,             the Pilgrim, the Way, the Beckoner.  (Author unknown)

                Christ is the Wisdom of God.  (Saint Augustine)

These four points about Jesus are the non-negotiables of William O’Malley, S.J.
1.       Jesus is the embodiment of God; God focused all that is God into Him.
2.       Jesus died in order to rise, to remove the curse from death and share His eternal aliveness with us.
3.       If we engraft ourselves into Jesus, we take on His values, which are subversive against all the world holds dear.
4.       We celebrate our oneness with Jesus in a community of service and a weekly meal.

And from the pen of Jessica Powers:
                                                                                    The Master Beggar
                                                                Worse than the poorest mendicant alive,
                                                                the pencil man, the blind man with his breath
                                                                of music shaming all who do not give,
                                                                are You to me, Jesus of Nazareth.
                                                                Must You take up Your post on every block                        
                                                                of every street? Do I have no release?
                                                                Is there no room on earth that I can lock
                                                                to Your sad face, Your pitiful whisper “Please?”

Now it’s your turn to embrace Jesus with a love-name… and mine.

~Sister Joan Sobala