Reflection on Scripture:
” . . . may you excel in this gracious act also. For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich . . . your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality” (2 Corinthians 8: 9; 13 – 15).
If you look up the word gracious you will find definitions such as kind, courteous, merciful, compassionate. It comes from the Latin word for good will. In each of the Scripture readings for Sunday, June 28th the gracious Spirit of God is revealed: God’s desire is for our good, “For he fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome” (Wisdom 1: 13-15). God is compassion and mercy, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured” (Mark 5: 21 -43).
We have probably all had experiences of gracious acts done for us – hospitality, unexpected acts of kindness, friendly greetings, undeserved gifts, etc. Here, in Scripture, we see the supreme act of graciousness – all that one has given for another; Jesus gave all to be with us!
And he asks us to share what we have with others.
Perhaps you have visited another country, or lived or served in areas of poverty and observed the amazing generosity of people who have next to nothing. Perhaps in their poverty they have an extra awareness that they cannot live without others, without community, without sharing. There are times when we must share and times when we must receive.
In the lives of the Sisters . . .
This week the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer recall acts of graciousness; times they have shared and times they have received:
On Sunday, Visitors arrived. In preparation, rooms were prepared, flowers arranged, welcome signs hung, food prepared. It wasn’t long before expressions of gratitude were shared. Some of the guests would have been happy to stay longer if previous plans didn’t beckon! The Sisters too received the gift of their presence and were so grateful to be enriched by the sharing and love of the guests. Several of the visitors were family members of a Sister who was celebrating her birthday. They came from a good distance to be with her on this special occasion – what kindness, what graciousness!
One Sister returned from vacation and another departed for retreat – both grateful for the graciousness of God who created us for both work and rest; play and prayer!
Mid week, one of the Redeemer Associates, invited several of the Sisters over for dinner. As all sat down for the meal she had prepared she shared her gratitude for all the Sisters had been and done for her over the past couple of years. A true experience of mutual sharing and hospitality.
Also during the week, several young women volunteered in the Sisters’ community garden for a day of service. They are involved in a week long experience of community and service as a way to learn more about religious life. While they helped in the garden, giving of their time, energy, and “good will” hopefully they are were also enriched by the experience. We thank them for their gracious service.
At week’s end one of the Priests who serves as a chaplain with the Sisters and their ministries, graciously invited several of the Sisters to a Phillies baseball game – all for Catholic Charities 🙂
In your life . . .
You may wish to set aside a few minutes to recall the gracious acts that you have received and shared this past week. What do these experience reveal to you about the graciousness of God?