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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, August 28, 2005
Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 20: 7-9; Psalm 63; Romans 12: 1-2; Matthew 16: 21-27

Although we are doing continuous readings of Romans and Matthew, all our readings fit the theme of passion. Jesus predicts his passion in Jerusalem and shows a terrible rage when Peter dares to contradict, calling him Satan. Jeremiah tries to resist the word of God but it becomes "like a burning fire in my bones. I am weary with holding it in." Psalm 63 expresses the passion of longing, thirsting for God. Paul asks for our passion to be continually transformed. Passion means suffering; deep and long lasting emotion, like rage or a burning experience of God's word; profound and focused desire, like a thirst.

Where is your passion? What meaning do you usually associate with it? Look at Jesus' suffering all through his life, all his emotions, his focused desire for love, unity, inclusion. Contemplate his passion in all its meaning. Tell him how you feel about him.

We offer you, O God, our bodies as living offerings, our passions which we want transformed into the very passion of Christ, whatever that might mean today. Deepen our passion for him!

Monday, August 29, 2005
Death of John the Baptist
Jeremiah 1: 17-19; Psalm 71; Mark 6: 17-29

Although this is only a memorial we have readings for the feast, especially the story of John's beheading. One verse of the psalm is especially appropriate not only for John but for us. Let us ponder this in our hearts:

You, O God, are my hope -- my trust, O my God from my youth.
Upon you have I leaned since my birth; it was you who took me from my mother's womb.
O God, from my youth you have taught me.
Be for me a rock of refuge, a strong hold to save me.

Holy Spirit, as you gave John a discerning eye to see sin and call it such, give us discernment and courage to oppose all those who trample on God's holy will, God's plans for shalom.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11; Psalm 27; Luke 4: 31-37

Paul urges us to keep awake for the coming of the Lord and to encourage one another, building each other up. The psalm asks of whom should we be afraid? If God is the strong hold of our life, who can really harm us? "Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your hearts take courage." Jesus exercises authority not only in his teaching but in casting out a demon. With such a demonstration of power over evil, how could we not trust Jesus, no matter what terrorists (or random acts of violence) might destroy? We are headed for God.

Ask the Spirit to show you all your terrors, your fears and your anxieties, in the measure that you can absorb such an onslaught. (The Spirit, a perfect teacher, never offers more than we can take in with peace.) Then share them with Jesus, and ask for a deeper trust in his power over evil.

Jesus, we do wait for your coming every day in our relationships, prayer, work, joys and sufferings. Keep our hearts in peace, and let us bring justice, peace and kindness to those in our circle who suffer from fear.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Colossians 1: 1-8; Psalm 52; Luke 4: 38-44

"Grace to you and peace!" Whether Paul wrote this letter or not, this is the standard greeting of all the epistles. "In our prayers we always give thanks for you for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all the saints...." The psalm continues the gratitude: "I will thank you forever for what you have done in the presence of your faithful ones." Gratitude for her healing moves Peter's mother in law to service.

For what are you grateful--yesterday, today? All the small gifts of grace and peace. Name them. Great gifts, milestones in your life. Name them. Smile on God in gratitude.

Thank you, our God, for all your gifts of grace and peace. We ask you to extend grace to all the world and let us be your instruments of peace to all whom we meet today. Thank you!

Thursday, September 1, 2005
Colossians 1: 9-14; Psalm 98; Luke 5: 1-11

"Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful person!" cries Peter after Jesus directs him to a wondrous catch of fish. This is true for all of us, no matter that we may not be able to tick off one sin here, another there. At the same time we have been "rescued from he powers of darkness and transferred into the kindom of God's beloved Son." As we grow in spiritual life, we are able to live with such paradox. Loved sinners, always saved but always sinful.

Show your sinfulness to Jesus, as Peter did, and see how he responds. Then show him how you can dance and "make a joyful noise to God," as the psalm suggests, because you are so grateful for being loved, saved, set free.

From Colossians: "May we be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom...May we be made strong....May we be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to you, God."

Friday, September 2, 2005
Colossians 1: 15-20; Psalm 100; Luke 5: 33-39

A joyous set of readings, for how can we mope or fast when the bridegroom is always with us? The psalm continues to "make a joyful noise to the Lord." The first reading tells us why: "Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." As Jesus says in John 14:9, no one has ever seen God, but if we have seen Jesus, then we have seen God. And his work: "To reconcile...by making peace through the blood of his cross."

Image of the invisible God. What other images of God have meant a lot to you throughout your relationship? Muslims have 100 names for God and Hindus have 1000. Call out some of your names, and let the Spirit bubble them up in you. Then pronounce the name of Jesus, the most true image of the God whom we cannot even imagine.

Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Keep your name, your image before us all day long, please, Jesus. Let our joyful noise be the sound of your name. Jesus!

Saturday, September 3, 2005
Colossians 1: 21- 23; Psalm 54; Luke 6:1-5

The good news comes in our first reading: Jesus has done it all for us. He has reconciled us, he has presented us as holy to God, "provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised you in the gospel." As the New Testament clearly teaches, and Martin Luther reiterated, it is our faith, our clinging to Christ, which saves us. Now, thanks be to God, the Roman Catholic church and Lutheran church have signed an agreement to that effect. Christ (our relationship with him) saves, not the works which surely will flow from the relationship.

Amid all the doctrines you have been taught, what do you question, what do you doubt? Bring those teachings to Jesus now and ask him to help you learn and prioritize. Doubting does not mean a lack of faith, but taking your relationship with God/Spirit and the Body of Christ seriously enough to question, study, learn -- a way of discipleship (discipulus/a in Latin means a learner).

Thank you for calling us to discipleship, Jesus. Thank you for keeping our minds open and growing, Holy Spirit. Thank your for the ever greater capacity for knowing and loving which you create in our hearts.

Last updated: Friday, 5 August, 2005 9:59 PM

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