Lord, Make Us Turn to You.

A reflection for the fourth Sunday of Advent.

By Noreen Douglas

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 “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.” (from the responsorial psalm).

In a forever changing world, we have this truth in our hearts. We humble ourselves through the wars of life, while being full of hope through the obedience of our faith. We rely on our faith to lead, to guide, to help, even to comfort us in all the details of our lives.

Therefore, we surrender our understanding, our time, our feelings, even our lives to allow our faith in God to be seen in this forever changing world.  We, too, cry out “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”

Through our love one to another we reflect God’s promises. We show his long-suffering and patience as we take on the trials of this conformed world with the compassion and understanding of our faith. We celebrate the newness and freshness of each day with gladness in our hearts.

We stand ready and willing to surrender to his will…ready to heed the mandate to “love your neighbor as yourself,” as we, too, cry out “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”

We celebrate God’s promises with every breath of our lives through our obedience to our faith in God. Like Mary in today’s Gospel acclamation, we respond in this forever changing world, “I am yours, Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Alleluia!

(Noreen Douglas is employed as the housekeeper at the Mission Helper Center. She and her husband, Rob, serve as Campus Life Directors at the Loch Raven campus of Metro Maryland Youth for Christ.)

Waiting for Resurrection

By Sister Joanne Frey, MHSH

Acts 10:34a, 37-43; Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23; Jn 10:1-9 

We live much of our lives in waiting, most of it waiting in hope:

…For the birth of a first child, or of a second child
…For white smoke over the Vatican
…For word we’ve been accepted at our preferred college
…To hear we got the job
…To be tenured in our position

All these periods of waiting can be completed in joy, in exultation; in a fullness of life that we had hoped for. All positive waiting is seeking new life, enriched life, fulfilled life.

The celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection is all about life—life that overcame the greatest of losses—death of the self—of his very being.

Looking at Jesus’ life among us in one way is all about causing resurrections:

  • The man blind from birth is given sight; surely he rises to a new life.  He knows, he experiences resurrection. (John 9:1-41)
  • The woman touches the garment of the Lord with faith in what Jesus can do for her and she is cured of a hemorrhage she has suffered for years and years.  Surely she rises to a new life among her family and friends.  She experiences resurrection. (Luke 8:44-49)
  • The paralytic takes up his bed and walks at the word of Jesus.  Surely he rises to a new life among his comrades.  He experiences resurrection. (Matt 9:1-8)
  • The woman at the well, searching with a determined perseverance for happiness, she feels deeply that happiness is her right.  The Lord offers her “living water” and she accepts discipleship.  She surely experiences resurrection.

Alright, Jesus, we get the message. It isn’t meant that we wait until this body “gives up the ghost.”  We are meant to experience resurrections as we travel the journey of this life.

I experience a taste of resurrection when the word comes that my friend’s pathology report finds “no cancer.”  The word is shared among family and friends, life is shared and resurrection is experienced.

My friend phones after a long wait.  She has been overly busy.  I hear her voice and loving greeting.  She has missed me as much as I have waited for her call.  I delight in new life.  I experience resurrection.

All of this waiting and all the joys of resurrection won’t hold a candle to the great day of our rising to new life in Christ.  In the meantime, let’s wait in joyous expectation.

For your reflection:

It may be a good start to take your New Testament and read the stories in the sections mentioned in the above text.

Now, just sit quietly and recall the experiences of resurrection to new life that you can truly call your own.

A reading of John, chapter 20, will describe for you the Resurrection of our Savior. Spend time with Jesus to describe for him your experiences.


An Easter Prayer

Lord, we believe we are here to be light, to bring out God’s hue, God’s color, in the world. Imagine the transformation if we make a commitment to flood our world with God’s brightness, with positive energy, with hope and compassion. We want to stand in the light and spill the amazing and astounding light of God at the center of all that we can hope to be  for our world.  Amen  (Edith Prendergast)

A Time to Prepare – A Reflection for the Second Week of Advent

By Charlene Dunn*

When the Jesuit pioneers came to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay they met the Algonquin Indians and set about converting them.   The Jesuits successfully compiled a dictionary which translated English into Algonquin and back again. 

They found that the Algonquin had no word for “time.”  To them, time was a concept witnessed by natural events.  There were sunrises, full moons and winters.  The Indians’ lives were measured by creation itself—completely in tune—like one dance from beginning to end.  At some point the Indians were introduced to time as a measure, both finite and eternal. 

We experience the same dilemma with what we are taught in the Scriptures. Peter tells us that, to the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like one day. The Lord, however, is not confined as we are by the temporal. God is eternal while we are finite; we have a beginning and an end. God is immeasurable. We are measured. God is timeless. We are timed. God is limitless. We are limited. God invites us to share in eternal life.

To teach us how to cross into this timelessness, Jesus came among us for a finite wink of time.  Sadly, we were not there; but, Jesus will come to us again and we believe this because he told us so.  Humankind has been waiting for his return since his ascension into heaven nearly two thousand years ago.  When will he come?  He will come when we have prepared his way.

I believe that God loves us all, each and everyone the same.  Jesus teaches us that we must love one another as he has loved us.  More than ever, I believe that we are called upon to witness God’s love.  We begin by never questioning the depth of God’s love for us, because in that truth comes all the strength, wisdom and surrender necessary to be instrumental in hastening the second coming of Jesus. 

We must frequently remind ourselves that we are in the presence of God and that Christ is within us as we go about our daily mission.  And, we must recognize not only our faults, but also the acts of love we do to further God’s kingdom on earth.  Witnessing God’s love does not always come easy, so when we acknowledge to ourselves even small  successes, we learn to become better at it. 

Reflection:  What have I done today to prepare the way for Jesus to come again?

*Charlene Dunn is a long-time friend of the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart.