Prayer brings our whole religious life into focus; it supports the rhythm of our lives emphasizing now the person, now the community, now the world we serve. Thus, prayer is our continuing response to God's continuing call to mission."
You Are Sent, Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame
Sister Rea McDonnell, SSND, offers reflections on the Liturgical Readings for each day. If you wish to share your own reflections or have comments or questions, please feel free to email Sister Rea. For information about Sister Rea's publications, visit our online gift shop.
Thursday, November 27, 2014 - Thanksgiving Day, USA
Revelation 18: 1-2, 21-23, 19: 1-3, 9; Psalm 100; Luke 21: 20-28 (Or, in the US, Sirach 50: 22-24; Psalm 138; 1 Corinthians 1: 3-9; Luke 17: 11:19. The good news? “God is faithful.”)
What continuous readings to “celebrate” thanksgiving in the US! “Fallen is the great Babylon!” Historically, John means the city of Rome, whose Emperors were persecuting Christians. Throughout centuries, those trying to reform Catholicism called Rome with its Vatican the great whore of Babylon. Destruction is not our focus, but again the liturgy of Hallelujah! In the gospel Jesus offers us images of destruction as well, but when we do see the Son of Man coming on the cloud, “Stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Thanks be to God that the bishop of Rome is re-forming Catholicism!
Revelation is so symbolic that each generation can use “Babylon” and other images from Revelation to scare us. Apocalyptic literature is meant to console and not to frighten us. The end of the world has not arrived yet, no matter how demonic any secular authority might be. So today, open yourself to the consolation of the King of all nations. Why not stand up during your prayer if you can, lift up your head, look out at the world around you and sing a thanksgiving song of Hallelujah! Make a litany of gratitude and respond to each item with Hallelujah! (It means: “Praise Yah.”)
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God, for God’s judgments are true and just.” We enter your gates with thanksgiving, and bless your name!
Friday, November 28, 2014
Revelation 20: 1-4, 11-15, 21: 1-2; Psalm 84; Luke 21: 29-33
Jesus instructs us that when we can really see we will know that the kin-dom of God is near. Earlier in Luke we learned that kin-dom of God is more than near, but is within us. Revelation depicts violent warfare as death and sin are defeated. Then John of Patmos (not the evangelist) sees a new heaven and new earth coming from God. The psalmist cries, “How lovely is your dwelling place! I long for the courts of God! My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God!”
What do you see when you look around you? Is redemption at hand? Do you see death and destruction? Do you see God’s work of justice in the world? For what do you long? What makes your heart and flesh sing for joy? Pray for the eyes of Jesus, to look at the world and its peoples as he does.
Give us your eyes, Jesus, and your ears to hear the cries of the poor. Give us your heart, and take our hearts in exchange. Let your love fire all our actions, we beg!
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Revelation 22: 1-7; Psalm 95; Luke 21: 34-36
The book of Revelation is drawing to a close with visions of a river of life, with crystal brilliance, with trees of life and healing of the nations. “God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” Hear Handel’s Messiah! Psalm 95 breaks the bounds of joy! And while Jesus is more sober in his assessment, he too warns that we have to be alert and not bowed down with worries. He promises that we will be strengthened and will stand before the Son of Man.
Again, stand for a part of your prayer. Stand before the Son of Man. Look at Jesus looking at you, humbly and tenderly. This is your King and your kin! How do you feel? Advent begins tomorrow. Look for your tape or CD of the Messiah by Handel. Get it ready. We are a people that longs to see God’s face.
Get us ready, Jesus! Come, Lord Jesus!
Isaiah 63: 16-17, 64:1, 3-8; Psalm 80; 1 Corinthians 1: 3-9; Mark 13: 33-37
Happy new year! Today we begin the church’s year of Mark with an urgent command from Jesus: “Keep awake.” That is certainly why we take some time each day with scripture and prayer: to wake up, notice, reflect, discern, contemplate. “Tear open the heavens and come down,” Isaiah prays. “Let your face shine that we may be saved,” prays the psalmist. “God is faithful,” Paul promises. The Alleluia sums it up: “Show us your steadfast love.” We already have God’s faithful, steady and unconditional love. Jesus comes to make that love visible, tangible. So we ask to be shown what and who has already been our Christmas present. Alleluia!
How do you keep awake to grace in your life? When God tears open your heart, what happens? How do you feel? When God’s face shines in your life, where and how do you notice it? Ask the Spirit to remind you of all the ways God is faithful to you. Then let your heart respond.
Wake up our whole world, Jesus. We in so many places of the earth are desperate for food, water, justice, love. Only you can satisfy human hungers. Come, Lord Jesus!
Monday, December 1, 2014
Isaiah 2: 1-5; Psalm 122; Matthew 8: 5-11-13
Psalm 122: “For the sake of my relative and friends, I will say ‘Peace be within you.” Our whole world needs to be set free from terror, fear and anxiety, Jesus.
Our whole world longs for peace. Free us, and then let your peace flow from us.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Isaiah 11: 1-10; Psalm 72; Luke 10: 21-24
Psalm 72: “Justice will flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.”
Thank you for the justice and fullness of peace that we have already experienced. Give us hope, we beg. Renew us and all your church in your mission of peace-making.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - Francis Xavier, SJ, missionary
Isaiah 25: 6-10; Psalm 23; Matthew 15: 29-37
Psalm 17: “I will praise you, Lord, among the nations.”
Thank you for calling us to share God’s mission to all peoples, Jesus. Help us to announce and to live in loving kinship with all those called to your kingdom.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Isaiah 26:1-6; Psalm 118; Matthew 7: 21, 24-27
Psalm 118: “You, O Lord, are close, and all your ways are truth.”
Hesed, the Hebrew word for love, kindnesss, tenderness etc. is usually linked with ‘emet which means faithful, true forever. In Hebrew it is a relational word, like a “faithful” friend.
Jesus, please change the hearts of all Christians who judge others, who pre-judge, scorn and cast out “sinners.” Make us one and loving, for that way is true and faithful.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Isaiah 29: 17-24; Psalm 27; Matthew 9: 27-31
Psalm 27: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, the stronghold of my life! Of whom should I be afraid?”
Stronghold does not necessarily mean fortress. God has a strong hold on us. God’s strong hold is forever.
By your death and resurrection, you have set us and all people free. You hold the world strongly and tenderly. You are the Savior of the world! Come, Lord Jesus!
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Isaiah 30: 19-21, 23-26; Psalm 147; Matthew 9: 35-10:1, 5-8
Psalm 147: “God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Our Pope calls us, the church, to be medics in a field hospital.
O God, you call us to listen patiently to the brokenhearted and to bind up the wounds of injustice, violence, hatred wherever we find it. Help us keep our eyes open.