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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

Reflections prepared by Jane Claire Simon, SSND, and Muriel Curran, SSND.
Sunday, April 9, 2006
Palm/Passion Sunday
Isaiah 50:4-7, Philippians 2:6-11, Mark 14-15 the Passion

The Palm Sunday reflection in Embrace the Healing Cross by Ed Hays startled me. So many of us can face this detailed and ritualized last week of Jesusí life "without a trace of agonizing dread because we know the last act." Somehow it had escaped me that Jesus did not know what we now know as the culmination of this week ... the Easter event. But as Hays reminds us "he could only trust that his Father in heaven would restore him to life. But he had no certainty that this would happen."

I know my death is a certainty, but am I just as certain of my resurrection? If not, why the doubts? Jesus is my model in trusting a loving Father for I too am "a beloved daughter, a beloved son."

Ponder St. Augustineís words: "Give me a lover. She/he will understand the Resurrection."

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

Monday, April 10, 2006
Monday of Holy Week
Isaiah 42:1-7, Psalm 27, John 12:1-11

Here is my chosen one with whom I am well pleased and upon whom I have put my Spirit. He shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street.

How appropriate to ponder these words of scripture at the beginning of a week that ends in execution. In the first reading Isaiah speaks of a caring, personal God who grasps us by the hand, forms us, makes a covenant with us to be a light for the nations while the gospel relates the action of Mary, in her loving devotion, unwittingly preparing Jesus for his burial. The message is clearly one of gentleness, compassion and forgiveness.

What a contrast to our experience today where the belief that military power and the latest technology will destroy the enemy, but our lived experience is that violence begets violence. Godís word calls us not to hate, retaliation and revenge but to forgiveness, hope and loving presence.

Do you let Godís word or the media shape you?
When someone irks you today how will you respond. "...[N]ot crying, not shouting" but through loving presence.

One way to pray scripture is to take someone with you and talk with him/her along the way. Be with Mary, the sister of Lazarus, as she anoints Jesus. Be consciously present with another through being a listening presence.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Tuesday of Holy Week
Isaiah 49:1-6 Psalm 71 John 13:21-33, 36-38

The Lord called me from birth; from my motherís womb he gave me my name. I will make you a light to the nations that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly spent my strength, yet my reward is with the Lord, my recompense is with my God. For now the Lord has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb.

The Suffering Servant and Jesus struggled with disappointment, betrayal and even denial which eventually led to their own glorification and the fulfillment of their God-given vocation. For Peter his moment of human weakness of denial led to a new and more profound relationship. And what was its source? We read in Luke that Jesus has prayed for Peter so that he may not ultimately fail as a disciple.

Yes, Jesus prayed for Peter and assures us he prays for us. "I pray not only for them (the disciples) but also for those who will believe in me through their word."

Have I reflected on Jesus praying for me? In praying for me today what would he pray for?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Wednesday of Holy Week
Isaiah 50: 4-9a Psalm 69 Matthew 26: 14-25

"Judas is neither a master of evil nor the figure of a demoniacal power of darkness but rather a sycophant who bows down before the anonymous power of changing moods and current fashion. But it is precisely this anonymous power that crucified Jesus, for it was anonymous voices that cried, "Away with him! Crucify him!" Pope Benedict XVI

He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.

Take time to see the startled look on the faces of these friends of Jesus who have just shared in the bread and cup. "Who would do such a thing?" Judas sits there knowing well what he had done a few days earlier in planning with the chief priests to hand Jesus over to them. If only he believed he could be forgiven. Where was he when Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery or dined with sinners like Matthew and Zacheus. There was enough time to confess the awful truth rather than live with a lie. Perhaps Judas could not admit to others he was weak or did not trust sharing with another.

Am I holding on to something dark inside, fearful of confronting it or sharing with another? Do I take advantage of reconciliation services?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

Thursday, April 13, 2006
Holy Thursday
Exodus 12: 1-8,11-14, Psalm 116 1 Cor. 11:23-26 John 13: 1-15

Janet Schlichting, in an article in the Catechumenate Journal, asked some stark questions which we can surely ask ourselves as we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist today.

"If you are not on a journey, why are you here?" The Eucharist is rooted in the Passover celebration and the desert manna. If you are not seeking the Promised Land why do you come to this table echoing the prayers of our ancestors who were travelers and exiles?

"If you are not hungry, starving, famished, desperate, needy, unable to provide your own Living Bread, why are you here?" Donít all of us experience the desert in areas of our lives? How do I cope with false values which mask the Living Bread?

"If you donít want to be part of this family, why are you here?" We say Amen as this Holy Bread is offered to us. "Be then a member of the Body of Christ to verify your Amen," counsels St. Augustine.

"If you donít want life in abundance, why are you here?" This fullness of life begins here, now, in your family, your community and your job. The kingdom is NOW. With Jesus we identify with the mess and the challenging task of beginning eternal life here and now.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

Friday, April 14, 2006
Good Friday
Isaiah 52:13-53:12 Psalm 31 Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 John 18:1-19:42

As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, who was coming in from the country: and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus. (Luke 23:26)

Our entire attention today should be directed toward Jesus. Someone we love died. Today silence and loving presence is the best form of communication. Take some time to be with the crucified Jesus and our sisters and brothers suffering globally.

was it
on the afternoon you died, O Lord? Did
Your faithful ones kneel close enough to

Did they see your redeeming blood rivered in the sand?
The Wind Has Many Faces by Joan Hutson

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

Saturday, April 15, 2006
Holy Saturday
Acts: 10: 34a, 37-43 Ps. 118 Col. 3:1-4 or Cor. 5:6b-8 John 20:1-9

Today we celebrate the new life of Christ which we share. Do my words and actions witness to this belief? Like the women of Galilee, am I a person of faith and hope?


This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!

Last updated: Sunday, 9 April, 2006 4:25 PM

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