"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" -Luke 2:11

A Reflection for Christmas by Sr. Loretta Cornell, MHSH President

Merry Christmas, and blessings during this Holy Season of Christmas and all through the New Year.

Cards, good wishes, ads, parties, television specials—they have all led up to this special holiday of Christmas.  It is easy to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle.  One of the Christmas stories that I like to watch is a Christmas Carol.  Within the story it shows how mercy and forgiveness can lead us into compassionate relationships with others, and especially with our God.  The greatest story of this Holy Season is the Nativity – the birth of Jesus.

 

jesus-christmas

He broke forth in birth to shine the love of God on all.  In the spirit of Christmas we are shown how we can be for one another.  Ebenezer Scrooge has an encounter with his former business partner, Jacob Marley.   While in business together they were caught up in greed and not looking out for others.  When his business partner came to him tormented and dragging heavy chains, Scrooge asks why he is tormented because Jacob was a good businessman.  Jacob in a raised voice says that the human race was his business and he was not charitable, merciful, or loving.  Jacob tells Ebenezer that he has a chance to redeem himself.  Thus begins a long night of revisiting the past, the present and what the future may hold if he does not change his ways.  He journeys into the dark night of the soul and finds redemption and is reborn.

Jesus does the same; he journeys with us into time and leads us to look at what we could have done better and leads us to forgiveness of self and others leading to compassion, mercy, joy and love.  Jesus calls us to be the light that brings the love of our God to all of humanity.

Let us remember our loved ones near and far.  The Mission Helpers have Sisters in Venezuela who, although they are in the midst of their darkness of not having a Church in which to celebrate Christmas, still bring the love and light of Jesus, who knows what it means to be born in a stable.  The people in Manzanita, Venezuela, will meet in another location to celebrate the Christmas joy and goodwill, which gives cheery warmth to all the people who are the candle in the night to shine the love of Jesus and spread it throughout humankind.  Merry Christmas and blessings in the New Year.

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

                                                     –John 1:14 

A Personal Relationship with God – Questions for Reflection

By Sister Donna Fannon, MHSH

This Sunday we hear the very familiar story of the “Woman At The Well” (John 4: 5-42).  Surely it is one of the most beautiful (and powerful) stories of personal encounter with Christ in all of the Gospels. This story offers us a treasure trove of points to deepen our reflection and contemplation.

Jesus-Samaritan Woman at Well

As we ponder this story we notice that Jesus encounters a woman who is isolated and alienated in many ways—in her personal life, within the community, devoid of a meaningful purpose to her life.  Jesus invites himself into her life, moving her beyond the bondage of her past history, and asks her to do something for him.  With that simple action of giving the Lord water, and in conversation with Jesus, she realizes a deeper hunger she has for Living Water.  She is empowered to move beyond her personal concerns to announce the Good News, inviting others to come and see for themselves. 

For reflection:

My graced history—Along with Jesus I look at the history of my life. Can I recognize the presence of God at some points in my life? When have I experienced transformation? When has God led me beyond my failures and shortcomings? How has God been inviting me to develop some of my gifts? For what purpose? When have I asked for God’s grace? How has God responded? How do I express thanks to God for creating me and revealing God’s self to me?

mindfulmeditationMoving from isolation to relationship—Can I recall a time when I felt isolated and lonely? How has God invited me into relationship? How is God fashioning me into a loving and generous person? Who are some of the people who have been examples of loving service in my life? Where do I go to drink deeply from the springs of living water that revive and refresh my soul?

Experiencing the Call of Christ— How does Jesus refresh me and reveal Himself to me? When have I recognized Jesus’ voice calling me to discipleship? How have I responded? Do I experience myself “seeing Jesus in the poor, the hungry, the downtrodden?”

random-acts-kindness-workCo-laboring with Christ—How do I experience joy in participating in Jesus’ ongoing redemptive work in the world? What motivates me to pour out my gifts on the “little ones”… to desire to alleviate suffering… to feed the hungry? Do I ever hear the voice of Jesus saying: “Well done, good and faithful servant?” Have I ever been a transforming presence in another person’s life? How do I express my gratitude to God for this validation?

May we hear this gospel with new ears this weekend.