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PRAYER / Reflections for Ordinary Time

Sister Rea McDonnell, SSND, offers daily 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.

Previous weeks 2005:   Jun 25-Jul01 Jun 18-24 Jun 11-17 Jun 04-10 May 28-Jun03 May 21-27 May 14-20 May 07-13 Apr 30-May 06 Apr 23-29 Apr 16-22 Apr 09-15 Apr 02-08 Mar 26-Apr 01 Mar 19-25 Mar 12-18 Mar 05-11 Feb 26-Mar 04 Feb 19-25 Feb 12-18 Feb 05-11 Jan 29-Feb 04 Jan 22-28 Jan 15-21 Jan 08-14 Jan 01-07 Dec 25-31 Dec 18-24 Dec 11-17 Dec 04-10 Nov 27-Dec 03 Nov 20-26 Nov 13-19 Nov 06-12 Oct 30-Nov 05 Oct 23-29 Oct 16-22 Oct 09-15 Oct 02-08 Sep 25-Oct 01 Sep 18-24 Sep 11-17 Sep 04-10 Aug 28-Sep 03 Aug 21-27 Aug 14-20 Aug 07-13 Jul 31-Aug 06 Jul 24-30 Jul 17-23 Jul 10-16 Jul 03-09 Jun 26-Jul 02 Jun 19-25 Jun 12-18 Jun 05-11 May 29-Jun 04 May 22-28 May 15-21 May 08-14 May 01-07 Apr 24-30 Apr 17-23 Apr 10-16 Apr 03-09 Lent 2005 Feb 02-08 Jan 25-Feb 01 Jan 16-20
[Ordinary Time]
Sunday, June 5, 2005
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Hosea 6: 3-6; Psalm 50; Romans 4: 18-25; Matthew 9: 9-13

After a banquet of Sunday feasts, we finally relax into Ordinary Time. Yet, there is no resting on our accomplishments, for Jesus reminds us there is no limit to our loving. God through Hosea makes it clear: "It is faithful love that I want, not sacrifices, knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." Psalm 50 echoes that desire of God's. What is faithful love? Eating with sinners, with those who are not like us--whether politically, morally, religiously, nationally. To love as Jesus loves is to welcome the stranger and eat with the sinner. This is God's will.

What do you prefer to offer God: mercy or sacrifice? What does each mean to you? How you feel/think about what God's desire for our continuing to grow in love? To know God in Hebrew means to be intimately united with God. What is your desire?

O God, thank you for straightening our priorities. Give us a deeper share of your Spirit, your love and your faithfulness so that we may extend that to those whom we love and those whom we find hard to love, our near neighbors and our far neighbors.

Monday, June 6, 2005
2 Corinthians 1: 1-7; Psalm 34; Matthew 5: 1-12

Paul's second letter to the Corinthians is often called his letter of woe, or his sorrowful letter, so it is no surprise that, as we begin our continuous reading of it, it is coupled with Psalm 34, one in which we assure one another that God is close to the brokenhearted. No matter what the affliction, Paul calls God the "Father of mercies and the God of all consolation." Underlying his message is this answer to a perennial question: why do we suffer? So that we might experience consolation, and so console others. Jesus in his sermon on the mount even calls us happy when we suffer hunger for justice, mourning and persecution.

When has your "mourning been turned into dancing," your dying into new life, your suffering into consolation? If you cannot remember, ask the Spirit to remind you of this continuing pattern of Christian life: out of every dying, new life arises. Look for that pattern today.

We seek you, God, that our faces may be radiant with joy. Deliver us and all your people from every fear and make us happy in living the Beatitudes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005
2 Corinthians 1: 18-22; Psalm 119; Matthew 5: 13- 16

The psalm's antiphon is a prayer that God's face shine on us. Jesus continues the shining theme, saying that WE are the light of the world. How close our union with the Light! And for what purpose? To give glory to God, as Paul writes too. Jesus is the faithful Yes to all God promises, and through him, Paul says, we say Yes to the glory of God. In response to our Yes, God anoints us and gives us the Spirit.

When have you felt God's Yes to you? Have felt God's anointing you? Pouring the Spirit into your heart and life? How will you say Yes to God today? How much do you want union with the Light? Share all this with God.

O God, let your face shine on us, for we long for union with you. When your glory appears, our joy will be complete. Let us see your glory in the ordinary moments of this day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005
2 Corinthians 3: 4-11; Psalm 99; Matthew 5: 17-19

In hearing Paul we continue the glory theme. He reminds us that when Moses met God to receive the stone tablets he had to cover his face, God's glory so permeated Moses? being. How much more we who are ministers of the Spirit will shine with God's glory. Yet Jesus does not do away with the Law but makes it full, full of the Spirit. If we break the Law, Matthew's Jesus says, we will be least in the kin-dom of heaven. But notice, we are still and always included.

What tensions arise in you between the Spirit and the letter of the Law? What have you been taught as a youngster? How has the Spirit been moving you to freedom? Share this journey and your doubts and joys with Jesus.

Thank you, Jesus, for your Spirit who is always setting us free from the Law. Keep us alert to all the ways we might say Yes today to your Spirit's transforming us into you, that together we might be Light for all peoples.

Thursday, June 9, 2005
2 Corinthians 3:15-4: 1, 3-6; Psalm 85; Matthew 5: 20-26

Paul continues to contrast his image of the veil over Moses face and the freedom offered us by the Spirit. "Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. And all of us...are being transformed into the image of Christ, from glory to glory. Such is the influence of the Lord who is Spirit." The psalm proclaims that the glory of God dwells in our land where mercy and faithfulness spring up from the ground and justice and peace will kiss. In the gospel, Jesus calls for love and reconciliation.

As you pray for your own transformation into Christ, pray for our country, that in the United States justice and peace may kiss, that polarized peoples, especially those calling themselves Christian, will attend to Jesus? insistence on reconciling love. BEG God for unity in our nation and among nations.

Jesus, we beg you to remove any hatred, fear, bigotry from our hearts. Open our eyes to all peoples, all religions, all races as called by you into one new family, the very kin-dom of God. To you be the kin-dom, the power and the glory.

Friday, June 10, 2005
2 Corinthians 4: 7-15; Psalm 116; Matthew 5: 27-32

As we listen to Jesus? harsh words, remember that Matthew was writing to a Jewish community who understood hyperbole, exaggerated speech. Paul was writing to a very mixed community in Corinth whom he calls, like himself, clay vessels. We hold treasure, Christ, in clay pots to show that God's glory shines through our humanity, "so that the life of Jesus may shine forth in our mortal flesh." Why? "So that grace, as it extends to more and more people, might increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God!"

Pray in gratitude for your "mortal flesh," for your earthen vessel which lets light and grace be present in today's world. Let your gratitude move slowly over every part of your body from head to toe. Let Christ's light bathe each cell with his light.

O God, "may the life of Jesus always be made visible in our bodies." Help us reverence our bodies, even limited, weak or sick. Give us the grace to reverence the bodies of others.

Saturday, June 11, 2005
Barnabas, apostle
Acts 11: 21-26; 13:1-3; Psalm 98; Matthew 10: 7-13

Paul and Barnabas are named apostles, although in the gospel Jesus sends out the Twelve. Acts shows how Barnabas is sent (apostollein, in Greek), sent by the Spirit and sent by the church. What do we make of this? First, that anyone sent is an apostle. Secondly, that the Spirit and the church are Jesus Christ at work in the world today. Thirdly, that Barnabas, while not one of the Twelve, has every right (as Paul makes eminently clear about himself as well) to be named apostle. And we too are thus apostles. When we know Jesus as the Christ, alive and at work in the world, we are sent by the Spirit to be attractive signs of his continuing, loving, faithful presence. What an honor! What a responsibility!

When and how did you come to know that Jesus is really alive and active? What was your response then? What do you want your response to be now? Ask the Spirit to show you where and to whom you are sent -- just for today.

Thank you, sending Spirit, for calling us to know Jesus, to be united with him, to be him in the world today. Help us to say, with St. Paul, "It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me." Send us, Holy Spirit.

Last updated: Friday, 3 June, 2005 10:07 PM

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