Discovering Something New – A Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Lent

By Sister Rita Lynch, MHSH

Isaiah 43:18-19   “Remember not the events of the past….see, I am doing something new”

Philippians 3:12-13  “It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained it, but I continue my pursuit….forgetting what lies behind, but strained forward to what lies ahead.”


Holy_Week_DispayEach year, we celebrate the season of Lent, Holy Week and Easter.  It is full of special events—Ash Wednesday, Rites of Initiation, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil.  We make personal choices of how to journey this most holy and spiritual time of the year.  It is a time to remember again the meaning of the death and resurrection of Jesus, who was sent by God to show us the way to live in God’s presence.  It reminds us of all that Jesus lived and died for: “US”!

The readings for this week encourage us not to forget, but also to remember that there is something new waiting for us to receive from our God with open minds and hearts.  Each of us has traveled this same journey for as many years as we have had birthdays.   Sometimes those years are a repeat of the prayers and liturgies of the previous ones.   

something newSometimes it seems that we are not called to do the same thing over and over every year. And, if we listen to the words of Isaiah and Paul, we are challenged to look for the deeper meaning, the expanded vision, the next deeper insights of what this time of the year is meant to be for us. 

Our faith not only repeats the past words and events, but needs to bring us to “continue the pursuit” as Paul suggests. We are called to discover the “something new” that allows the season to change our hearts and lead us to new understanding of how this time affects our spiritual life and gives us the impetus to carry this season into the future in a new way.  

A New Things

2016 is not the same as 2015, or 2014, or any other year.  We are different, have had many new experiences since we celebrated this holy time last year.  Perhaps our lives have seen a new commitment—and so we are reminded of the commitment Jesus made with the Father when he came to earth and walked among us. 

 

Doubt – A Reflection for the Second Sunday of Easter

By Sister Natalie DeLuca, MHSH

Acts 4:32-35; Ps 118:2-3,13-15,22-24; 1Jn 5:1-6; Jn 20:19-31

The first reading for the Second Sunday of Easter is taken from the Acts of the Apostles and gives an almost picture-perfect word sketch of those first followers of Jesus: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common….With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus….There was no needy person among them….

Full of conviction, the second reading from the first letter of Saint John, gives us the key to this legacy: “And the victory that conquers the world is our Faith.  Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 

But the Gospel brings us back to the faith-struggle and gives us a reality check.

Remember when the risen Lord appeared to the disciples behind locked doors the first time? Thomas wasn’t there.  When he was told of the appearance, he was skeptical, to say the least!   Yes, he was still one of them—that motley group of followers, of weary fishermen, of common folk.  Thomas probably thought he would gather with these same believers to share memories, loss, grief, a need to mourn and to muster the courage and the will to “move on” in life.

It wasn’t going to be an easy task.  He seemed convinced his friends, perhaps stricken by grief, were imagining things.  The memory of a bloody Jesus, beaten and defiled filled his heart.  How could Jesus have stood in their midst and greeted them with “Peace”?  How could this be?   “We have seen the Lord.”  It was a declaration of certainty.  And no one could convince them otherwise.

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week goes by.  The disciples have gathered together again.  And this time Thomas—with all his doubts—was with them.  Locked doors were hardly a barrier for Jesus.  Again, Jesus stood in their midst and said: “Peace be with you.”  And then he turned to Thomas.  “Put your finger here and see my hands and bring your hand and put it into my side and do not be unbelieving but believe.” 

“My Lord and My God!” Thomas replied with believing eyes and a humble faith. 

For reflection:

    • Where am I in my journey of faith? Skeptic? Infancy? Teen? Adult? Struggling believer
    • Faith does not preclude questions or even doubts.
    • Begin a dialogue with the resurrected Jesus about your faith journey.