Monday, November 25, 2019

Dec. 1, 2019 First Sunday of Advent

December 1, 2019   First Sunday of Advent   Year A

Reading I: 
Isaiah 2:1-5

Psalm:   122

Reading II: 
Romans 13:11-14

Matthew 24:37-44

Here we are at the beginning of a new liturgical year: the first week of Advent.

Advent means “coming” and we are about to focus on the many ways God comes to us. We will begin by looking back at the coming of Jesus to be with
us and to share our human experiences of joy, sorrow, and pain.

The “comings” are expressions of God’s love for us. In John’s Gospel, he reminds us “...God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life.”
(John 3:16)

The comings into the hearts of Christians inspire Christ-like love and concern for others, especially during the Advent and Christmas Seasons. There are gifts and visits to loved ones. There are meals for the homeless. Toys are collected for less fortunate children. There is Christmas entertainment for senior citizens. Visits to the home-bound help to dispel loneliness. All these expressions of love create the Christmas Spirit, bringing happiness to many.

On the other hand, there are those who suffer greatly during this time, while grieving over the loss of loved ones through death or broken relationships. It is a time when thoughtful family members and friends can help by giving some extra attention to those in need of comfort.

The Advent and Christmas Seasons also provide opportunities to begin to mend strained relationships within families and with others. Sending a Christmas card or gift might break the ice which has kept individuals apart.

Finally, Advent is a time to remember that Jesus said that “Whatever you did to the least of your brethren you did it to Me!” (Matthew 20:40). Be prepared for the coming of Christ in a needy person whether emotionally, physically, or financially. Let us also invite him to come and be born in our hearts. 
Come, Lord Jesus!

 Reflection Question:  How can I keep myself alert to the coming of Christ to me today?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
Primer Domingo de Adviento 

Aquí estamos al comienzo de un nuevo año litúrgico: la primera semana de Adviento. Adviento significa “venir” y estamos a punto de enfocarnos en las muchas formas en que Dios viene a nosotros. Comenzaremos recordando la venida de Jesús para estar con nosotros y compartir nuestras experiencias humanas de alegría, tristeza y dolor.

The viene son expresiones del amor de Dios por nosotros. En el Evangelio de Juan, nos recuerda “...Dios amó tanto al mundo que dio a su único Hijo, para que todos los que creen en él no mueran, sino que tengan vida eterna”. (Juan 3:16)

Las venidas a los corazones de los cristianos inspiran amor y preocupación por los demás como Cristo, especialmente durante las temporadas de Adviento y Navidad. Hay regalos y visitas a seres queridos. Hay comidas para personas sin hogar. Se recogen juguetes para niños menos afortunados. Hay entretenimiento navideño para personas mayores. Visitas a la ayuda domiciliaria para disipar la soledad. Todas estas expresiones de amor crean el espíritu navideño, trayendo felicidad a muchos.

Por otro lado, hay quienes sufren mucho durante este tiempo, mientras lloran por la pérdida de seres queridos a causa de la muerte o las relaciones rotas. Es un momento en que los familiares y amigos reflexivos pueden ayudar prestando atención adicional a aquellos que necesitan consuelo.

Las temporadas de Adviento y Navidad también brindan oportunidades para comenzar a reparar las relaciones tensas dentro de las familias y con los demás. Enviar una tarjeta de Navidad o un regalo puede romper el hielo que ha mantenido a las personas separadas.

Finalmente, el Adviento es un tiempo para recordar que Jesús dijo que 
¡Lo que sea que le hiciste al menor de tus hermanos me lo hiciste!” (Mateo 20:40). Prepárese para la venida de Cristo en una persona necesitada, ya sea emocional, física o económicamente. Invitémoslo también a venir y nacer en nuestros corazones.
¡Ven Señor Jesús!

 Pregunta de Reflexíon:  ¿Cómo puedo mantenerme alerta a la venida de Cristo a mí hoy?


Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita

Do you have a special place for thinking of God? I can sit in a quiet corner of the church after Mass and wait for God to speak to me. Did a special phrase in today’s Mass call out to me? The words of the Consecration, “This is My Body, given up for you,” calls me to “give up” my aches and pains in atonement for my sins or for the anger so prevalent in the world today. St. Katharine noted that “Grace must find calm to grow.” We need to find a calm, quiet spot or moment to permit grace to grow in us.

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS

Preparation for the Christmas season always shifts me into high gear. Cleaning, decorating, writing greeting cards, shopping for food and gifts, meal planning, party going, baking and cooking…I’m feeling exhausted just writing these chores down. For as long as I can
remember, my holiday mantra is “there is never enough time.” My recurring pattern is one of accomplishing tasks; I’m a woman on a mission. However, it’s the wrong mission. The season of Christmas is about welcoming Christ into our hearts.

It takes focused attention to not fall into the throes of consumerism – our culture’s idea of Happy Holidays with all the outward dazzling sights and sounds- and to prepare to nurture our Spirit by turning within to clear the clutter in our hearts and souls to create the space to receive Christ anew with His offering of peace, light and life. 

Christ presents Himself to me in the homeless person, the grieving individual, the lonely elderly man or woman whom I might not notice as I rush past them with my arms and head full of stuff, anxious to check off another task on my “to-do” list.   Christmas is about Jesus. Jesus is about love, and His love is meant to be shared.

I genuinely appreciate your blog as we enter into Advent. I am going to make a sincere effort to slow down enough to notice the opportunities that come to me – to acknowledge the homeless person, comfort the mourning one, to listen to the pain of the old man or woman. The daily practice of meditating on the ‘reason for the season’ will help me transition from “doing to being” so I’ll have a gift to offer the Christ Child. This is truly the most important Advent preparation that matters and endures.

Monday, November 18, 2019

November 24, 2019 - Feast of Christ the King

November 24, 2019    The Feast of Christ the King

Reading I:  2 Samuel 5:1-3

Psalm:  122

Reading II:  Colossians 1:12-20

Gospel:  Luke 23:35-43

As we celebrate the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, we focus on Jesus, our King and that of the whole Universe. How blessed are we to have such a loving and compassionate King!  How awesome that this King not only became one of us, but also was willing to die an ignominious death to redeem us sinners!!!

It is noteworthy that the Feast of Christ the King is celebrated close to our Thanksgiving Day each year.  In addition to our usual expressions of gratitude for our many blessings, it is also a reminder to thank our God for the gift of Jesus, our Savior and our heavenly King.

I can recall a time when praying the “Our Father,” I would feel frustrated as I said: “Thy Kingdom come.” While I wanted to help to bring about the Kingdom of the Lord, I was very aware of the enormity of the task and my own limitations.

The Good Shepherd led me by small steps. First, He let me know that I could make him king of my heart.  This simply meant choosing to do His will rather than my own. This was not always easy, but with His help it was possible.

Then, I realized that I could teach others about Jesus in both formal and informal ways. I taught children, teens and adults in religion classes, CCD, theology courses, and campus ministry. Informally, as a teenager in my first job
in a Jordan Marsh Department Store, my participation in the midday Mass at the Franciscan Shrine in Boston, caused a fellow worker to ask to join me and begin her study of the Catholic faith.

As I became more aware of needs outside my familiar world, the Lord led me to share the faith in cities and Indian Reservations. There I also deepened my own understanding of Jesus by being introduced to new cultures and their ways of worship. This greatly enriched my faith also.

Finally, now that I am physically limited there are more ways to share about Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Besides praying for the Kingdom of God to come, each time we say the “Our Father,” we have the opportunity to share about Jesus. through the Internet. Today, this blog Companions on a Faith Journey, brings reflections on the Lord and comments by others to people all over the world.  Praise the Lord for giving some people the intelligence to make this a reality for us. What an awesome God we have!!!

As we take the time to thank the Lord for all his gifts, especially our King and Savior, Jesus, let us also be alert to the many opportunities available to us to bring about his Kingdom in our world today.  As we read in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus before he ascends into heaven, says to the disciples:
       I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go 
       then to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples:
       baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
       Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded
       you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age. 
                                                                             (Matt. 28:18-20)

 Reflection Question:   How can I make Jesus known formally and/or informally?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

Fiesta de Cristo Rey

Mientras celebramos el último domingo del año litúrgico, nos enfocamos en Jesús, nuestro Rey y el de todo el Universo. ¡Cuán bendecidos somos de tener un Rey tan amoroso y compasivo! ¡Qué asombroso que este Rey no solo se convirtiera en uno de nosotros, sino que también estuviera dispuesto a morir una muerte ignominiosa para redimirnos de los pecadores!

Es de destacar que la Fiesta de Cristo Rey se celebra cerca de nuestro Día de Acción de Gracias cada año. Además de nuestras expresiones habituales de gratitud por nuestras muchas bendiciones, también es un recordatorio de agradecer a nuestro Dios por el regalo de Jesús, nuestro Salvador y nuestro Rey celestial.

Puedo recordar un momento cuando rezaba el “Nuestro Padre”, Me sentiría frustrado cuando dije: “Venga tu reino”. Si bien quería ayudar a lograr el Reino del Señor, estaba muy consciente de la magnitud de la tarea y mis propias limitaciones.

El Buen Pastor me guió por pequeños pasos. Primero, me hizo saber que podía hacerlo rey de mi corazón. Esto simplemente significaba elegir hacer su voluntad en lugar de la mía. Esto no siempre fue fácil, pero con su ayuda fue posible.

Entonces, me di cuenta de que podía enseñar a otros acerca de Jesús de manera formal e informal. Enseñé a niños, adolescentes y adultos en clases de religión, CCD, cursos de teología y ministerio universitario. Informalmente, cuando era adolescente en mi primer trabajo en una tienda departamental Jordan Marsh, mi participación en la misa del mediodía en el santuario franciscano de Boston hizo que un compañero de trabajo pidiera unirse a mí y comenzar su estudio de la fe católica.

A medida que fui más consciente de las necesidades fuera de mi mundo familiar, el Señor me llevó a compartir la fe en las ciudades y las reservas indias. Allí también profundicé mi propia comprensión de Jesús al presentarme a nuevas culturas y sus formas de adoración. Esto enriqueció enormemente mi fe también.

Finalmente, ahora que estoy físicamente limitado, hay más formas de compartir sobre Jesús y el Reino de Dios. Además de orar para que venga el Reino de Dios, cada vez que decimos el  “Padre Nuestro”, tenemos la oportunidad de compartir acerca de Jesús. a través de Internet. Hoy, este blog Compañeros en un Viaje de Fe, trae reflexiones sobre el Señor y comentarios de otros a personas de todo el mundo. Alabado sea el Señor
por dar a algunas personas la inteligencia para hacer esto realidad para
nosotros. ¡Qué Dios tan asombroso tenemos!

Mientras nos tomamos el tiempo para agradecerle al Señor por todos sus hijos, especialmente a nuestro Rey y Salvador, Jesús, también estemos atentos a las muchas oportunidades que tenemos disponibles para lograr su Reino en nuestro mundo hoy. Como leemos en el Evangelio de Mateo, Jesús antes de ascender al cielo, les dice a los discípulos:
       Se me ha dado toda la autoridad en el cielo y en la tierra. Ir
       entonces a todos los pueblos de todas partes y hazlos mis discípulos:
       bautízalos en el nombre del Padre, el Hijo y el Santo
       Espíritu, y enséñales a obedecer todo lo que he mandado
       tú. Y estaré contigo siempre, hasta el fin de los tiempos.
                                                                             (Mateo 28: 18-20

 Pregunta de Reflexíon:   ¿Cómo puedo hacer que Jesús sea conocido formalmente o informalmente?


Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita

Making Jesus known “formally” might involve actively speaking or writing about Jesus and our Catholic faith. This can be a big challenge to introverts. Making Jesus known “informally” might be as simple as being Christ-like. Would Christ use the same words we do when we are angry or suddenly hurt? How would Christ or the Blessed Mother respond when meeting a friend or acquaintance who was in pain? Jesus is with us always and the Holy Spirit is also present to provide us with the special words that might comfort or support the friend in pain. Mother Katharine said all our good thoughts come from God. So don’t worry about what you might say; let Jesus speak through you with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS

Regrettably, I am not much of an evangelizer. However, as a result of participating in your weekly Scripture Sharing gathering over the years, I have grown comfortable with witnessing to God’s abundant blessings and Spirit’s undeniable guidance in my life. Bible study has enhanced and expanded my understanding of Jesus’ teachings. It has also lead me to a greater appreciation of God’s word.

Typically, those who take part in these groups are at varied levels of knowledge, experience and lifestyle, providing much to share.

Additionally, for those readers who, like myself, are uncomfortable with actively preaching the Gospel and talking openly about Jesus, I share the quote – attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.” Most of us have daily contact of some sort with others. Our words, behaviors and actions speak loudly. When we express patience, kindness and caring we share Jesus’ message of God’s love to those we encounter. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

November 17, 2019 Amid Trials, God Gives Strength

Nov. 17, 2019   Amid Trials, God Gives Strength   Year C

Reading I: 
Malachi 3:19-20a

Psalm:  98

Reading II: 
2 Thessalonians

Luke 21:5-19

Pope John Paul II called the twentieth century the “century of martyrs.” Although persecution of Christians has been ongoing throughout our history, during the twentieth century, there were more Christians killed for their faith than in all the other centuries combined.

Even today, while in many parts of our world people die rather than deny their faith, we, in the United States, have been blessed to live in a country that supports freedom of religion. While we have not had to lay down our lives to defend our faith, we need to practice it, appreciate this gift, and take advantage of the help offered us to strengthen our faith. We need to listen attentively to St. Paul when he encourages his followers in his letter to the Romans 8:35-39:

      What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or
      distress, or persecution or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the
      sword? As it is written:
            ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked
             upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’
      No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him
      who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor
      angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor
      powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able
      to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These days, we may need to be ready to defend our faith from those who will ridicule our faithfulness at a time when the practice of religion is declining. As the scandals of Church leaders were revealed, many became disillusioned, especially young people who were abused by clergy or youth leaders.

As time has gone by, the abuses of many powerful people have come to light. This widespread problem is finally being addressed. However, the abuse by trusted clergy has had a devastating effect on young people. Even sons and daughters of very devout Christians have turned away from religious practices. Grandparents suffer greatly when their children do not have their grandchildren baptized or brought up with religious instruction.

While some grandparents take on the responsibility to share their faith with their grandchildren, others are not allowed to do that by the parents. All they can do is give a good example and pray for their loved ones. Perhaps later, the young ones will search on their own and find the Lord who will then be their Shepherd accompanying them on their life’s journey.

Sometimes, there are friends and coworkers who will challenge those who
continue to practice their faith, in spite of the failures of their clergy. These faithful understand that the purpose of prayer, Bible study, and attending Masses or religious services is to grow their relationship with God. The Lord is their anchor in the peaceful times and storms of life.

Although the types of suffering for the faith may vary, if offered to the Lord, He will give the strength to bear them. Psalm 62 line 2 is a great comfort:

           “He only is my rock and my salvation,
            My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

  Reflection Question:  If I have a friend or relative who has turned away from religion, what can I do?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
Amid Trials, God Gives Strength

El Papa Juan Pablo II llamó al siglo XX el “siglo de los mártires”. Aunque la persecución de los cristianos ha estado en curso a lo largo de nuestra historia, durante el siglo XX, hubo más cristianos asesinados por su fe que en todos los otros siglos combinados.

Incluso hoy, mientras que en muchas partes de nuestro mundo la gente muere en lugar de negar su fe, nosotros, en los Estados Unidos, hemos sido bendecidos de vivir en un país que apoya la libertad de religión. Si bien no hemos tenido que dar nuestras vidas para defender nuestra fe, debemos practicarla, apreciar este regalo y aprovechar la ayuda que nos ofrecieron para fortalecer nuestra fe. Necesitamos escuchar con atención a San Pablo cuando anima a sus seguidores en su carta a los Romanos 8: 35-39:

      ¿Qué nos separará del amor de Cristo? Angustiará, o
      angustia, o persecución o hambre, o desnudez, o peligro, o el
      ¿espada? Como está escrito:

            Por tu bien, estamos siendo asesinados todo el día; nos miran
             como ovejas para ser sacrificados’.
      No, en todas estas cosas conquistamos abrumadoramente a través de él.
      quien nos amó Porque estoy convencido de que ni la muerte, ni la vida, ni
      ángeles, ni principados, ni cosas presentes, ni cosas futuras, ni
      poderes, ni altura, ni profundidad, ni ninguna otra criatura podrá
      para separarnos del amor de Dios en Cristo Jesús nuestro Señor.

En estos días, es posible que necesitemos estar listos para defender nuestra fe de aquellos que ridiculizarán nuestra fidelidad en un momento en que la práctica de la religión está disminuyendo. Cuando se revelaron los escándalos de los líderes de la Iglesia, muchos se desilusionaron, especialmente los jóvenes que fueron abusados ​​por el clero o los líderes juveniles.

Con el paso del tiempo, los abusos de muchas personas poderosas han salido a la luz. Este problema generalizado finalmente se está abordando. Sin embargo, el abuso por parte del clero de confianza ha tenido un efecto devastador en los jóvenes. Incluso los hijos e hijas de cristianos muy devotos se han alejado de las prácticas religiosas. Los abuelos sufren mucho cuando sus hijos no bautizan o educan a sus nietos con instrucción religiosa.

Mientras que algunos abuelos asumen la responsabilidad de compartir su fe con los nietos, los padres no pueden hacerlo. Todo lo que pueden hacer es dar un buen ejemplo y rezar por sus seres queridos. Quizás más tarde, los jóvenes buscarán por su cuenta y encontrarán al Señor, que luego será su Pastor que los acompañará en el viaje de su vida.

A veces, hay amigos y compañeros de trabajo que desafiarán a aquellos que continúan practicando su fe, a pesar de los fracasos de su clero. Estos fieles entienden que el propósito de la oración, el estudio de la Biblia y asistir a misas o servicios religiosos es hacer crecer su relación con Dios. El Señor es su ancla en los tiempos pacíficos y las tormentas de la vida.

Aunque los tipos de sufrimiento por la fe pueden variar, si se le ofrecen al Señor, Él le dará la fuerza para soportarlos. Salmo 62 línea 2 es un gran consuelo:

           “Él solo es mi roca y mi salvación,
            Mi fortaleza No voy a ser muy sacudido”.

 Pregunta de Reflexíon:  Si tengo un amigo o pariente que se ha alejado de la religión, ¿qué puedo hacer?


Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
It makes me very sad when someone I care about announces they are leaving the church. Frequently, the reason given is that organized religion is merely a tactic of power and control, and a means of getting money. The clergy sex abuse scandals are often cited as cause of declining attendance at Mass.  The church may have done some things that would make a critical person want to leave it. However, it is this same Church that contains in its center the Word of God and the sacraments of God’s healing love. Henri Nouwen asks, “Can we trust that in the midst of all its human brokenness the Church presents the broken body of Christ to the world as food for eternal life? Can we acknowledge that where sin is abundant, grace is superabundant, and that where promises are broken…God’s promise stands unshaken? To believe is to answer yes to these questions.”
I believe. Therefore, I pray that these restless hearts will remain open to the movement of the Holy Spirit. Whenever the opportunity presents, I ask about their relationship with Jesus, encouraging them to keep their connection to God alive even though they chose to “turn away from religion” as stated in your reflection question.  I listen to their reasons for leaving without judging. I hold them in a space of love, not lecture. It is really important to listen prayerfully because while some individuals may express anger and point fingers about who and what they perceive to be at fault, others may be silently suffering, feeling betrayed by the behaviors and actions of religious leaders whom they respected and viewed as models of the faith. 
These conversations are opportunities for us to be the caring presence we were created to be to reflect the love of God to our wounded brothers and sisters in Christ. At risk is the loss of a precious soul. “Losing our soul means losing touch with our center, our true call in life, our mission, our spiritual task. Losing our soul means becoming so distracted by and preoccupied with all that is happening around us that we end up fragmented, confused, and erratic.” Speaking from personal experience, I am in total agreement with Nouwen’s words.  If one forsakes their relationship with God, they will lose their true sense of self. That is a terrible tragedy for the truth of our being is that we are the Beloved of God.
Allen Hunt’s recent Dynamic Catholic Daily Reflection addresses the importance of being concerned for one another’s spiritual wellbeing. I share it here because I feel it fits this dialogue. “We need a community to help us reach our goal. Faith is not an individual journey; it’s a team sport. We need each other. We are on this journey together.”
Let us remind one another of the stepping-stones on the path: forgiveness, acceptance
and love.
We need to forgive others when they fail to meet our expectations. We need to forgive ourselves for the times we fail to behave as followers of Christ.  We need to accept others in their brokenness while acknowledging our own woundedness. Lastly, we need to love as unconditionally as our Source loves us.

Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita

People have been leaving the Catholic Church for generations. It hurts when a friend or relative turns his or her back on the Church. Trying to talk to them about this change can result in being hurt yourself when they call you names or insult the Church. They may have valid reasons for not liking the structure, the hierarchy of the Church; some Church leaders have made serious mistakes. If I have a chance, I tell them they are still welcome. I pray for them and hope that they will someday return to the active practice of their Faith. The best I can do is to be a witness, to practice my Catholic Faith openly and sincerely, and hope that someday they will want to reconnect with God through the Catholic Church.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Nov. 10, 2019 God of the Living

November 10, 2019   God of the Living   Year C

Reading I:   2 Maccabees 
7:1-2, 9-14

Psalm: 17

Reading II:  2 Thessalonians

Gospel:  Luke 20:27-38

In today’s Gospel, we find the Sadducees challenging Jesus. The Sadducees were Jews who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. Therefore, in an effort to discredit Jesus’ teachings, they posed a question to Him.

The Sadducees presented a situation about a widow whose husband had died leaving her childless.  They then referred to Moses’ instruction that if a man were left without an heir, one of his brothers was to marry his wife and raise up descendants for his deceased brother.

In the widower’s family there were seven brothers. Each time one of the brothers married this woman they would die leaving the widow childless. The big question that they asked of Jesus was “At the Resurrection, whose wife will that woman be? ...for all seven had been married to her.”

Jesus responded, “The children of this age marry and remarry: but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise, even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and He is  not God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.” (Luke 20:37-38)

As fall begins, we see the leaves on many trees dying. In fact, the bare trees give the impression of being dead. However, in the spring we see new life as flowers and leaves bud forth. It is during the spring that we celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus and His promise that we too will be raised up to new life.

I recall that when I taught sixth-graders and talked about heaven, some thought heaven would be boring. Perhaps, they thought that they would be singing “Glory to God in the Highest” all the time like the angels at Christmas time.

I did a questioning exercise with them to dispel their assumptions. First, I asked them what would make a baby happy. Some answers were a rattle or playing Peek-a-Boo. Then I asked what would make a five-year-old happy? Some responses were a doll or a truck. Then I moved up to a twelve-year-old. A bicycle and a basketball were mentioned. (When I was a young teacher, video games, etc. had not yet been invented.) The children got the point that at different times in our lives, the things that make us happy change.

Finally, I explained that when we die there will be new things that will make us happy. Scripture says: “What no one ever saw or heard, what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 9)

Often times, I have noted that some people have very difficult lives here on earth. It gives me consolation to know that they have the afterlife with the Lord to anticipate.

In the first reading, we hear of the seven brothers and their mother who were tortured in order to force them to eat pork, which was against the law of God at that time. At the point of death, one brother said, “You accursed fiend, you are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.”

 Reflection Question:  Is the belief in an afterlife a consolation to you?  If so, why?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
Dios de la vida

En el Evangelio de hoy, encontramos a los saduceos desafiando a Jesús. Los saduceos eran judíos que no creían en la resurrección de los muertos. Por lo tanto, en un esfuerzo por desacreditar las enseñanzas de Jesús, le hicieron una pregunta.

Los saduceos presentaron una situación sobre una viuda cuyo esposo había muerto dejándola sin hijos. Luego se refirieron a las instrucciones de Moisés de que si un hombre se quedaba sin heredero, uno de sus hermanos debía casarse con su esposa y criar descendientes para su hermano fallecido.

En la familia del viudo había siete hermanos. Cada vez que uno de los hermanos se casaba con esta mujer, moría dejando a la viuda sin hijos. La gran pregunta que le hicieron a Jesús fue “En la resurrección, ¿de quién será esa mujer esa esposa? ... porque los siete se habían casado con ella”.

Jesús respondió: Los hijos de esta edad se casan y se vuelven a casar: pero los que se consideran dignos de alcanzar para la edad venidera y para la resurrección de los muertos no se casan ni se dan en matrimonio. Ya no pueden morir, porque son como ángeles; y ellos son los hijos de Dios porque ellos son los que resucitarán. Que los muertos resucitarán, incluso Moisés dio a conocer en el pasaje sobre la zarza, cuando llamó al ‘Señor’, el Dios de Abraham, el Dios de Isaac y el Dios de Jacob; y no es Dios de los muertos, sino de los vivos, porque para él todos están vivos”. (Lucas 20:37-38)

Cuando comienza el otoño, vemos morir las hojas de muchos árboles. De hecho, los árboles desnudos dan la impresión de estar muertos. Sin embargo, en la primavera vemos una nueva vida a medida que brotan las flores y las hojas. Es durante la primavera que celebramos la Pascua, la resurrección de Jesús y su promesa de que nosotros también seremos resucitados a una nueva vida.

Recuerdo que cuando enseñé a alumnos de sexto grado y hablé sobre el cielo, algunos pensaron que el cielo sería aburrido. Tal vez, pensaron que estarían cantando “Gloria a Dios en las alturas” todo el tiempo como los ángeles en Navidad.

Hice un ejercicio de preguntas con ellos para disipar sus suposiciones. Primero, les pregunté qué haría feliz a un bebé. Algunas respuestas fueron un sonajero o jugar Peek-a-Boo. Luego pregunté qué haría feliz a un niño de cinco años. Algunas respuestas fueron una muñeca o un camión. Luego me mudé a un niño de doce años. Se mencionaron una bicicleta y una pelota de baloncesto.  (Cuando era un joven maestro, los videojuegos, etc., aún no se habían inventado). Los niños entendieron que en diferentes momentos de nuestras vidas, las cosas que nos hacen felices cambian.

Finalmente, le expliqué que cuando muramos habrá cosas nuevas que nos harán felices. La escritura dice: “Lo que nadie vio ni escuchó, lo que nadie pensó que podría suceder, es lo que Dios preparó para aquellos que lo aman”. (1 Corintios 9)

Muchas veces, he notado que algunas personas tienen vidas muy difíciles aquí en la tierra. Me consuela saber que tienen una vida futura con el Señor para anticipar.

En la primera lectura, escuchamos de los siete hermanos y su madre que fueron torturados para obligarlos a comer carne de cerdo, lo que estaba en contra de la ley de Dios en ese momento. En el momento de la muerte, un hermano dijo: “Maldito demonio, nos estás privando de esta vida presente, pero el Rey del mundo nos resucitará para vivir de nuevo para siempre”.

 Pregunta de Reflexíon:  ¿Es la creencia en una vida futura un consuelo para ti? Si es así, ¿por qué?


Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita

As a child, did you ever tell your mother: “The teacher wasn’t fair – she punished the entire class for something one kid did”?  And did your mother then say: “The world isn’t fair”? Pilate found Jesus “innocent,” yet Jesus was scourged, crowned with thorns and cruelly crucified. That hardly seemed “fair.” But we, with the eyes of faith, see that Jesus’ sacrifice was necessary open the gates of heaven to all.  Mother Katharine noted that “Heaven is our home, we were made for it.” Whatever happens to us here on earth is insignificant; what matters is how we use every minute of our earthly life to prepare us for our return home, to heaven.

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS

Annually, the season of Autumn invites me to explore the myriad of feelings that stir within me every time I witness the exquisite colors of the leaves, and subsequently watch them fall from their life source to the ground where they dry and wither. I’ve yet to delve deep enough to reflect on the richness of the interior awareness resulting from observing the breathtaking hues of red and orange leaves leading to the barrenness of the tree on which they once thrived. I notice the change in light and the increasing prevalence of darkness, which tends to dull my senses. At one level, these changes address my vulnerability to the forces of nature as I progress from being actively engaged in many areas of life, to slowing down physically, and enter into the autumn years of the life cycle. In 2 Corinthians 4:16, Paul writes, “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” There is a grace, a sacredness of sorts, which permeates the crisp autumnal air.

The feasts of All Saints and All Souls remind me that there is more to ponder. What are my thoughts about life after death…am I anticipating eternal life?  What does that mean to me? How should my beliefs influence how I choose to live out my autumn years?

For six decades, I have been affirming a belief in life everlasting with every recitation of the Apostles Creed. The Bible has multiple references to eternal life. My most cherished one is from John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  The lives of the Saints all point to a belief in life after death.

One perspective I am very at ease with is that of Father Joseph Boyle who states, “I expect death to be a transition. I think it is a movement into a space that is not limited by our body and our senses that are quite limited now. I like the phrase in St. Paul, that we will ‘see God face to face’ [1 Corinthians 13:12] and we’ll relate to people and the beauty of who they are without the ego-agendas we have right now.

I see [life after death] as infinite love, as if the whole atmosphere of heaven is filled with God…I think that we are going to see and know each other in God…It strikes me as a homecoming, us returning home to where we come from…and all of our brothers and sisters are coming home as well…I certainly have a very deep hope that it is a transition into an incredible related life.”

People who have had near death experiences report being in the presence of a brilliant light, from which they felt tremendous warmth, peace and love surrounding them. Many report seeing loved ones. 

My faith, prayers, Scripture studies, and the lives of the saints, provide enough support for me to believe that God will deliver on his promise of eternal life. Therefore, I live each day in anticipation of eternity.  I once heard the suggestion that we should live each day as if it were our last day of life. I think that’s good advice for those of us with the goal of living in eternity.