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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 19, 2005
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 20: 10-13; Psalm 69; Romans 5: 12-15; Matthew 10:26-33

How interesting that in Canada today, the Jeremiah reading will begin with verse 7: "You seduced me, O Lord, and I let myself be seduced." The U.S. missalette omits that verse (v. 7) to begin with his enemies whispering, "Terror!" to Jeremiah. But the prophet is secure in God, his champion. The psalm echoes the same: God's love is great; zeal for God's house consumes us. Paul assures the Romans (and us) that the grace of God overflows through the gift of one man, Jesus Christ. Jesus in Matthew wants us to acknowledge that grace of God, that championing of God, our consuming zeal for God to the world.

Perhaps you are one who hears "Terror!" all around you. Perhaps you are one easily lured by God no matter what the cost. No matter your personality, fears, hopes, grace, God's love is great. Offer your self just as you are to God today: Take, Lord, receive my liberty, memory, understanding, my entire will. Keep your eyes fixed on the center of your self where it is Christ who lives and moves.

Jesus, our faithful champion no matter what our fear, may we have the grace and courage to confess your importance in our lives, through our lives, offered with you for the many.

Monday, June 20, 2005
Genesis 12: 1-9; Psalm 33; Matthew 7: 1-5

Jesus asks, Why do we notice the speck in our neighbor's eye and miss the beam in our own? The first reading tells of Abram and Sarai packing their possessions and "the persons they had acquired in Haran." Slaves? Wait. What is the beam in our own eye? To what are we enslaved? How do we enslave others? Jesus promises that the judgment we offer others, so will we be judged. It is impossible not to judge, for it is a function of our intellect. What we are forbidden to judge are the motives of others. As the Rule of the SSNDs states: "Always presume the good will of others."

Take a long loving look (a definition of contemplation) at the judgments you make of others and of your own self. Ask Jesus to share that long loving look. Ask him to teach you to separate beams and specks. Let him grace you with the discernment to see evil as evil, and yet different from the persons who are always God's beloved.

Jesus, let your Spirit who is God's love poured into our hearts, soften our hearts, gentle our judgments, continually teach us to love as you did love and do love, through us, today.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Genesis 13: 2, 5-18; Psalm 15; Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Abram is very rich, and thus opens our first reading. The gate is narrow, and thus ends our gospel reading. We know how hard it is for the rich to pass through the eye of a needle. "The gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life." We, however, have a pioneer, who has blazed a trail for us along that hard road, one who, as the Alleluia verse proclaims, is light, and gives us the light of life. There is nothing we cannot do or endure with Christ abiding deep within us.

Ask the Spirit to call to your mind the hardships of your past life. How has wisdom, light, blessing stemmed from those difficulties? How has dying led to life?

Christ, our light, we trust in your power to lead, to stay with, to rejoice in our joys and strengthen us in our sorrows. We bear your dying in our bodies, so please let your life shine through us as a witness to the world.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Genesis 15: 1-12, 17-18; Psalm 105; Matthew 7: 15-20

God says Abram's reward will be great, but Abram questions God and complains about his lack of children. Then God promises Abram offspring as numerous as the stars. "Abram believed and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness." That verse plays a major role in Paul's theology of faith. To trust God is what makes us righteous, holy, saved. Not law, for Moses had not yet received the law (which would take another 500 or so years). Faith, trust. Jesus tells us how we can know our faith is strong: we bear good fruit. Wolves in sheep's clothing are easily distinguished by their "fruits"-- attacking the sheep. Faith makes us authentic, even if we are complaining.

First, thank God for the trust that you have already been given. Then ask for a deepening and a maturing of your faith, your trust in God's power to save. Ask the Spirit to show you the fruits of your faith: love, joy, peace, gentleness, generosity, kindness etc.

We offer you, our God, the first fruits of your Spirit within us. We ask you for a deeper authenticity in living our Christ-life. We ask you for simple, child-like faith in you, only you. And we thank you.

Thursday, June 23, 2005
Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16; Psalm 106; Matthew 7: 21-29

Our readings highlight words and obedience. Sarai manipulates the pregnancy of Hagar, her slave, and then drives her away, scolding Abram who had done as Sarai asked. The negative description of Hagar's son, Ishmael, is the long standing Jewish description of the Arab people, his descendants for almost 4000 years. On the other hand, Jesus calls us to obey his word, not just call on his name. "Did we not prophesy, cast out demons, do many deeds of power in your name?" Jesus casts them out for their disobedience. What may look like fruits -- prophecy, exorcism, deeds of power, dynamic preaching -- may not be in obedience to the Word.

With the guidance of the Spirit, look at all you do in a day, how you use your gifts, great or simple. Make an intention to do everything "in word or in work" in obedience to the Spirit and in the name of Jesus.

We do call on your name, Jesus, and ask you, living Word, to probe our hearts and sift our motives so that all we do or say may be in obedience to you, and to glorify our God. Just for today.

Friday, June 24, 2005
Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist
Isaiah 49:1-6; Psalm 139; Acts 13: 22-26; Luke 1: 57-66, 80

How familiar is the gospel of the visitation, with John leaping in his mother's womb. Today we hear of John's naming. The psalm broadens John's being chosen in the womb to all of us who are so intricately formed. And what do we chosen persons do? According to Isaiah's Servant Song, "God, who formed me in the womb to be God's own servant, to bring God's people back and gather them ... says ... I will give you as a light to the nations, so that my saving power might reach to the ends of the earth." John bore witness to the Light, but we live in the Light and the Light in us.

Adore the Light who lives at the center of your being. Worship the one who calls you to be a light to the nations. How? Don't forget that Therese of Lisieux who died young in a cloistered Carmel is co-patron of missions. Let your imagination take you to all the nations of the world. Sometimes it helps to write them down as the Spirit brings them to mind. You might see "Hotel Rwanda" or read a book from another culture as a response to your call to "reach the ends of the earth" in Christ's name.

Open us, O God, to the wonder of your forming us, choosing us in the womb to grow in wisdom and grace, to bear the Light to all nations--and to the people whom we will meet today.

Saturday, June 25, 2005
Genesis 18: 1-15; Luke 1 (the Magnificat of Mary); Matthew 8:5-17

Our first reading shows how nonsensical it is to hide our true feelings from God. After a touching story of Hebrew hospitality, as Abraham runs to make a meal for traveling strangers, they promise the couple a son. "Sarah laughed to herself...." The Lord then asked Abraham why Sarah laughed. "Sarah denied, saying, I did not laugh,' for she was afraid. The Lord said, Oh yes, you did laugh.'" Mary exults in her true feelings as she sings in the presence of the once childless Elizabeth. And Jesus openly admires a pagan centurion.

What feelings do you have when you come to prayer? Are there certain feelings which arise in you during prayer or during the day that you would like to hide from God? What things still make you ashamed? Would you feel less afraid to share any areas of shame with Jesus or Mary, like us in all things? Do so. If you are not bothered by shame, pray for those who are afraid of God, that they may know Mary's freedom and exult.

We rejoice in you, God our Savior, for you have looked on the lowliness of us, your servants. Let us take in more deeply Jesus' love and even admiration for the likes of us.

Last updated: Sunday, 19 June, 2005 10:53 PM

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