Wednesday’s Word

Be inspired and encouraged with a weekly reflection on God’s Word and every day life.


 

We are part of Divine Insanity

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting, OP

The grave could not hold him. No one people could possess him. No one sect or religion or culture could claim the Christ as theirs alone. The Spirit of God, of Jesus the Risen One, continued to surprise and shock and amaze and scandalize—not just in Galilean synagogues, or Samaritan towns, or Centurions’ households, or the courts of the Temple in Jerusalem– but in a blessed rampage from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. The Spirit prodded them and preceded them, beyond their boundaries, their ideas of clean and unclean, rich and poor, man and woman, slave or free, Jew and Gentile. This is the story we are following in the Acts of the Apostles.

But the Gospel we have been hearing along with Acts, prompts the question. What about the sheepfold? What of the safety in containment, the expectation of a voice they knew to guide them and guard them? What of their trust in the faithful presence of the one who called and named them? Jesus reiterates his abiding care, the comfort and clarity of a familiar call, his naming us with love. But now– the Risen Jesus has penetrated the walls, the Voice has dispersed into a hundred languages, the gates of the sheepfold have blown open in a mighty wind. Anyone can go out. Anyone can come in. The sheep to be gathered roam all over the earth.

The Acts of the Apostles tells the story of apostles and disciples dealing with surprise after surprise. The fearful preach boldly. Boundaries are crossed. Arguments ensue. The unacceptable becomes acceptable and then the norm.  But even as their souls were seared and strengthened, their hearts opened in joy beyond any known dimension, they had lost the Jesus they thought they knew, as the Risen One sent forth the Spirit.

Through the Christian centuries two realities grate against one another: the comfort of boundaries and protective fences, the strength in a particular community and its norms, versus the disturbances of the Spirit (the rattling of our cages). We cover our ears against intruding voices, even as the Gospel demands new hearing and new languages. We retreat into the fold of the familiar, the peace of restful waters even as wars and hatred ravage the landscapes of our earth and demand our presence as active lovers and peacemakers.

Jesus is risen. His glory pervades the universe. His Word cannot be chained; his Spirit cannot be tamed. This is our faith. His promise is to be with us always, and that we will be brought together, one flock and one shepherd. The catch is, that on any given day, he hands the staff over to you or me or any number of sheepish humans, and tells us to carry it. Shall we open or shut the gate, shall we gather or scatter? It’s Divine Insanity, as Catherine of Siena told God, to love us enough to trust us as partners, so to speak, in the work of salvation. But that’s what we’ve been carrying on about this Easter Season. Earth unites with heaven, and humankind is bonded to God. It doesn’t demand human clarity. An Alleluia will be just fine. Yes, Alleluia!

Posted in Wednesday's Word

Watching and waiting…

Blog by Sr. Barbara Kane, OP

It seems like I’ve been doing a lot of watching and waiting over the past few months.  Watching and waiting for dear, dear friends to return to their loving God…. for April the giraffe to bring her beautiful little (yes, 129 pounds is little in the giraffe world!) son into the world ….for Lent to be over and Easter to arrive.  I’ve even spent some time waiting for paint to dry… on some gorgeous alcohol ink Easter eggs.  Watching and waiting …. very much like Mary Magdalene did before the Resurrection.

These opportunities to watch and wait have given me a chance to reflect on the idea of kenosis… emptying our own will so that we can receive God’s divine will.  We know that Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness” and that he “humbled himself, becoming obedient to death.” (Philippians 2: 6-8)  St. Paul reminds us to take on that same attitude. So we empty our expectations of time… like how long it takes for paint to dry.  We empty our expectations of effort… like how much work it takes for a giraffe to have a baby.  We empty our expectations of control… like how little we can control the loss of a loved one.   We empty our expectations of our own importance and, like Jesus, humble ourselves.

These watching and waiting opportunities have also reminded me of the need for more contemplative time.  Time to gently let my thoughts go. to slow down and empty the myriad of thoughts in my crowded brain.  When I’m faithful to my meditation, I find that I’m more patient… more calm…. more open…. more accepting.

Easter season is a good time to celebrate and continue our kenosis- our watching and waiting.  We remember that after the dying, even dying on a cross, came the Resurrection.  We know our friends are in God’s loving embrace.  We applaud that an adorable little giraffe is standing on his own.  We enjoy brilliantly colored eggs.  With just a month until Pentecost, I hope you’ll join me as I continue my kenosis so that we can be ready to receive the Holy Spirit and open to allow our generous God to fill us with love.

Posted in Wednesday's Word

We Have Seen the Apostles and They Is Us

Blog by Sr. Pat Thomas, OP

Don’t know if any of you remember the comic strip “Pogo,” but the title of this blog is a paraphrase of one of the lines from the strip. I will leave it for all you trivia buffs to play with later.

The Easter season readings tell our stories. In the Acts of the Apostles, we are hearing about the apostles remaining after the Resurrection ( people like “us”) and all of the things they were doing. There is lots of confusion because some of the apostles heard different things and told different stories (just like “us”), but the Word was still getting out there.

Today we hear that the apostles were no longer afraid and could speak the truth of Jesus’ life without concern for their safety; although they were not all that safe in reality. But the gift of the Spirit is so present in them that they are compelled to speak, to teach and to preach the truth.

Are we compelled? Are we prepared? Is our faith stronger than ever? This world is poised to hear the truth. We must be ready to speak it, so we have to do our homework; make sure our facts are clear and true. The Twenty-first century needs apostles, and they is us!

Posted in Wednesday's Word

The Most Astonishing Thing

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

“We were hoping that he would be the one…”

Today’s Gospel [Luke 24:13-35], the Wednesday after Easter, is that famous story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. I think many people like the story because these two disciples are so blown away by the drama that just took place in Jerusalem over the Passover feast days and they were trying to figure it out. Jesus, the Christ, the One who was supposed to be the Messiah of Israel, was crucified in an indignant and horrifying end.

“We were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel,” the two disciples told Jesus, as he questioned them along the road. They were hoping Jesus was the One that all of Israel looked to as the Deliverer, the God-hero who would free them from the conquering Romans. They were hoping, but they were looking in the wrong direction.

They added, “…Some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive.” Continue reading →

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word

Weaving through the Mysteries

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting, OP

Every Gospel of this Holy Week puts us at the table with Jesus, the night before he suffered.

At no other time in the church year does Eucharist reveal its meaning so clearly and compellingly. Each day, we gather with the disciples to celebrate with Jesus the Passover meal. With our backdrop a Hebrew meal of sacred remembrance already deeply rich in meaning and practice, we tell the story again.

Here Jesus sums up his life and gives to us a lifetime task of discipleship: the washing of one another’s feet, the breaking of ourselves as bread for others, and the dying to ourselves, in love, which proclaims his life-giving death, and invests the other actions with its ultimate meaning. Each of the three actions describes and enriches the other two – as we are fed, we are food, as we wash, we bring the waters of life, as we make memorial of Jesus’ death we offer our own imperfect pouring out in gratitude for God’s abundant mercies. Continue reading →

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word