THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Posted December 14, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

Gospel: (Luke 3:10-18)

The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He answered, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.”… Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”…Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached the good news to the people.

Reflection:

The “good news” is a message of a topsy-turvy world. John baptizes and preaches to the crowds, the “common folk”, and in answer to the question “What should we do?” he answers to the effect, “more than you would wish to do or that can be expected of you”— share what you have with those who have not. John’s good news is that of a totally different way of seeing life. The question, “What should we do?” is asked three times in today’s gospel, and the answer is invariable: reach out to the marginalized with whatever you have and they need. This is the good news of John, and it is identical to the good news Jesus preached. John directs our attention to Jesus and the inauguration of his ministry to the poor and those in need. And so we ask, “What should we do?”(Living Liturgy, p. 14)

Vincentian Meditation:

Sr. Rosalie said: “One night I dreamed that I stood at the judgment seat of God. He received me with great severity and was about to pronounce my sentence to perdition, when suddenly I was surrounded by an immense throng of persons carrying old shoes, hats, and clothing which they showed to God and said, ‘She gave us all these things!’ Then God looked at me and said, ‘Because you gave all these old clothes in My Name, I open heaven to you. Enter, for all eternity!” (White Wings and Barricades, p.161)

Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence) If we looked at Jesus and asked, “What should we do?” what answer would he give to us?

Closing Prayer: As our Advent journey continues, we turn in hope to Christ and ask, -Lord Jesus, what should we do? Watch over all children, that they may know your love, -Come, Lord Jesus, and do not delay. Protect all who are abused and neglected, -Come, Lord Jesus, and do not delay. Strengthen all Vincentians in their efforts to reveal your love, -Come, Lord Jesus, and do not delay. Amen

 
 

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Posted December 7, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

Gospel: (Luke 3:1-6) The word of God was spoken to John in the desert. He went about the entire region of the Jordan proclaiming a baptism of repentance which led to the forgiveness of sins, as is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A herald’s voice in the desert, crying, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, clear him a straight path. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be leveled. The windings shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth, and all mankind shall see the salvation of God.”

Reflection: John the Baptist urges us to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Our culture tells us to prepare for the birth of a Baby, an event that evokes wonderful feelings of warmth and happiness. But John’s message of “repentance for the forgiveness of sins” suggests that we must examine our lives in light of the salvation we seek. It is difficult to orient our lives, anticipation, and preparation with balance and vision toward a glorious Christ who is yet to come. It is far easier to prepare for a Jesus who is a sweet, innocent Baby. The gospel challenges us to take the real events of our everyday lives—all the suffering and pain, all the anxiety and hopelessness, all the joy and peace—and see them as means to recognize the presence of Christ to us. This is what Advent is all about—recognizing the presence of Christ in our lives as salvation already come. (Living Liturgy, p. 10)

Vincentian Meditation: God speaks to us in all sorts of ways: through Scriptures, through his Church, but also through all the events, great and small, that happen to us. Since most of our lives are made up of very ordinary tasks which we must do each day, it is in these especially that the voice of the Lord is to be heard. We make the mistake so often of expecting God to speak to us through some great event or happening when, in fact, all the time He is speaking to us in all the small events of each day. Sometimes in life we don’t know what to do. God lead us even when our path changes radically, ends abruptly or is surrounded in darkness. By sitting patiently and trustingly in prayer, we gradually see or feel his presence and guidance. It is also true that God often uses the people and the happenings in our daily life to teach us and lead us on the way we should go. Advent tells us to be attentive, to listen in patience and peace.

Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)
How has Advent been a time of recognizing and finding the presence of Christ in your life?

Closing Prayer:

Come Lord Jesus, give us the grace to, -trust in your loving presence and guidance. Come Lord Jesus, give us the grace to, – “Make ready the way of the Lord.” As we eagerly await your coming, come to all people -especially the poor and the forgotten. Amen

 
 

Local Schools Support St. Vincent for Thanksgiving Season

Posted November 30, 2018 by in All Posts, News, Spirituality

As we wrap up the Thanksgiving season, we want to express our gratitude for the ongoing support of our local Catholic schools. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we received many generous donations as a result of the efforts of the students and their families. These gifts provided meals in our shelters as well as generous distributions in the food pantry so that our neighbors could celebrate with a nice meal.

Here are just a few of the gifts we received in preparation for Thanksgiving:

  • Alter High School provided 137 large turkeys and 689 lbs. of canned goods
  • Bishop Leibold donated 723 lbs. of food
  • Incarnation school provided more than 3,600 units of necessary staples
  • St. Luke school provides monthly support to our food pantry
  • St. Peter school donated more than 250 pairs of socks
  • Bishop Fenwick high school regularly provides hundreds of bag lunches per month
  • A group of students from Carroll, Alter, and Chaminade Julianne high schools served our guests in the Women and Families shelter by serving dinner on Halloween and assisting with a party

The partnership with these and other schools in our area are critical to the support of our neighbors in need and allows the students, families, and faculty the opportunity to show the love of Christ in a very tangible way.

Thank you!

 
 

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Gospel: (Luke 21:25-28, 34-36)
Jesus said to his disciples: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish, distraught at the roaring of the sea and the waves. Men will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the earth. The powers in the heavens will be shaken. After that, men will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with great power and glory. When these things begin to happen, stand up straight and raise your heads, for your ransom is near at hand. Be on guard… The great day will suddenly close in on you like a trap. The day I speak of will come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth, so be on the watch. Pray constantly for the strength to escape whatever is in prospect, and to stand secure before the Son of Man.”
Reflection:
This time of year is filled with anticipation and waiting! The important questions for us are, “What do we anticipate?” and “How do we await?” Stores are filled with Christmas things. Lights and decorations have sprung up. Christmas music on the radio is another harbinger of the day for which we wait. Our work of preparation is busied with card- sending, party-planning and attending, and gift-shopping. The First Sunday of Advent, the Church’s New Year, ushers in a different way of waiting, of heightened anticipation. We Christians don’t wait for a what, but for a Whom. And that changes the character of our waiting! If the followers of Christ are vigilant and have lives “blameless in holiness,” then when Christ comes they can “stand erect” without fear but with joyful anticipation of their redemption. This is the Whom and what of our waiting! (Living Liturgy, p. 2)

Vincentian Meditation:
Waiting in joyful anticipation…if we are to rejoice in the grace of God, we must have eyes that see and ears that hear. That in turn demands a reflecting heart, the sort of heart which Our Lady had and with which, she “pondered all things in her heart.” Our Lady has a marvelous capacity for wonder. There can be no wonder in our lives without silence. We are called to the service of the poor, but our service must come from a heart which resembles that of Our Lady who knew how to be silent, who knew how to wonder, who knew who to marvel at the grace of God, without which we can do nothing. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p. 56)

Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of  silence)
How will you “await” in joyful anticipation, silence and wonder for
Christmas this Advent?

Closing Prayer:
Lord, as we await the fulfillment of your promise,
-give us a heart that knows how to be silent.
You come as a visible sign of love,
-give us a heart that knows how to wonder.
Strengthen us by your grace,
-give us a heart that lives in joyful anticipation. Amen

 
 

Vincentian Reflection for Sunday, November 25, 2018

Posted November 20, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King

Gospel: (John 18:33-37)
Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.” So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a King?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a King. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Reflection:
Living the paschal mystery means that we see the victorious Christ even in the everyday trials and difficulties that we face. Living the paschal mystery means that we are ever faithful to the rhythm of dying and rising as it unfolds every day—in our prayer, work, leisure. Living the paschal mystery means that we are mediators for those whom we meet—that we are the body of Christ leading others to holier and happier lives. If someone should then ask us, “What have you done?” our answer would come quickly and surely—we have served our King. (Living Liturgy, p. 250)

Vincentian Meditation:
As you serve Christ your King, be an open door that is fully open to others, especially the poor. Be an open door to the members in your Conference, that is, be honest, truthful and simple in your relationships with one another. Be an open door to all: allow people to use you, to pass through you. Allow people to take you for granted. Be an open door by being humble. An open door does not discriminate, allowing some to pass and some not. Open the door of your heart widely to those who claim a little more understanding from you. Open the door of your heart so widely that you can belong to the truth and listen to the voice of Jesus. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p.113)

Discussion: (Share thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)
How can you become more of an “open door”?

Closing Prayer:
Let us pray to Christ our King, source of compassion and love,
– may we bring peace to all who have lost hope.
For the wisdom to listen to God’s voice,
-may we become an open door to all.
For the courage to work untiringly for peace and justice,
-may your kingdom come! Amen

 
 

THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Posted November 16, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

Gospel: (Mark 13:24-32)
Jesus said: “In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky. Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you will know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates…Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

Reflection:
Conformity with Jesus’ words means that we hear the teachings of Jesus and live them out. We have to live now to create a future for ourselves that we want and that God wants for us. When we live in conformity to the Word, hearing Jesus’ words and living them out, the future holds no fear for us. Rather than fear, we anticipate our future with joyful expectation. On this second-to- last Sunday of the liturgical year, we realize that we have been faced with a choice throughout our journey during this past liturgical year: to be rooted in this world or in the words of Jesus. Our choices do make a difference. (Living Liturgy, p.246)

Vincentian Meditation:
“On the journey of life, we must make choices. Our instincts, our selfishness, our pride will often suggest to us to follow them. It is an easier road. But Christ, His Church and our consciences suggest another way. To follow that road, we must say no to our natural instincts. It may be difficult and demand much effort, but that effort will bring with it a peace and contentment that money will not buy. Do we take the easy, downhill road in every choice we make? Sometimes we need to apply the brakes to downhill movements in our lives and try to change direction and to change gears. We do that by allowing Jesus to have a greater say in our lives, in our decisions, and in our thoughts.” (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p. 589-90)

Discussion:

Where do we need to allow Jesus to have a greater say in our lives, in our decisions, in our thoughts, and in our choices?

Closing Prayer:
Jesus, our light,
-guide us in our decisions.
Jesus, our joy,
-guard us in our choices.
Jesus, our life,
-root us in your words. Amen

 
 

THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Posted November 9, 2018 by in All Posts, Spirituality

Gospel: (Mark 12:38-44)
Taking a seat opposite the treasury, Jesus observed the crowd putting money into the collection box. Many of the wealthy put in sizable amounts; but one poor widow came and put in two small copper coins worth about a cent. He called his disciples over and told them: “I want you to observe that this poor widow contributed more than all the others who donated to the treasury. They gave from their surplus wealth, but she gave from her want, all that she had to live on.”

Reflection:
The widow is described as poor; she contributes “all she had.” Surprisingly, the “large sums” given by the “rich people” pale in comparison to the widow’s far greater gift of “two small coins.” She gives her all, her whole livelihood, “from her want.” It is not the size of the gift which measures its value but the depth of the self-gift from which it comes. This is the kind of giving of which Jesus takes note. The widow in the gospel is the model for the radical demand of discipleship: she gives her all. Discipleship doesn’t mean that we necessarily do big and heroic things. It does mean that we do everything and meet whatever challenges come our way with hearts set right—we give of ourselves for the good of others. (Living Liturgy, p.246)

Vincentian Meditation:
In the movie Monsieur Vincent, there is a scene where Queen Anne of Austria, is talking to Vincent towards the end of his life. She is listing some of his great achievements. He listens pensively and then mutters: “I have done nothing.” She continues to catalogue the works he has initiated and again Vincent mutters: “I have done nothing.” The Queen becomes a little impatient with him and says: “Monsieur Vincent, if you say you have done nothing, what must we do if we are to save our souls?” Monsieur Vincent slowly raises his head and with his piercing black eyes looks at the Queen and utters one word:
“More.” (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p.467)

Discussion: (Share your thoughts on the readings after a moment of silence)
What “More” can we do?

Closing Prayer:
Jesus, our guide,
-give us the generosity to give “from our want.”
Jesus, our life,
-give us loving hearts.
Jesus, our light,
-give us the grace to do “More.” Amen