Scripture Reflection . . .
The scripture passages for Sunday, July 5th could come across a bit challenging or disturbing: being sent to a people that will probably resist you (Ezekiel 2: 2- 5), bearing weakness and persecution among other various distasteful experiences “for the sake of Christ” (2 Cor 12:7-10) and Jesus’ experience of rejection in his home town (Mark 6:1-6). Where is the joy and peace of trusting God?
Ezekiel shares that “As the Lord spoke to me, the spirit entered into me and set me on my feet . . .(2:2). The Spirit of God empowered him to go forth whether he and the message would be rejected or not. The outcome wasn’t the point – he could go in full confidence that God would be revealed through him no matter what.
St. Paul could share his personal struggle that kept him humble because it revealed God’s grace as sufficient, “for power is made perfect in weakness.” In turn he could bear all the hardships “in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me” (2 Cor 12).
Jesus’s rejection in his hometown reveals that it is faith that brings healing: “So, he was not able to perform any mighty deed there . . .He was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6), yet it didn’t stop him from moving forward to the next place. Imagine then what faith could have done! Imagine how much more fully people could have lived. There are plenty of other scripture passages that reveal the possibilities.
It is the inspiration of the Spirit, the power of grace, the “mighty deeds” of faith. God is at work teaching us to live fully so that we can experience joy and peace even in the midst of struggle.
“be not afraid” “Just believe” “I am with you.”
In the lives of the Sisters . . .
As Sisters of the Holy Redeemer we reflect on the workings of the Spirit, the Grace of God, and the revelations of faith in our lives this past week and how it helps us and others live more fully.
One of our ministries received a substantial award from the Pope Francis Fund in order to better meet the needs of those who experience homelessness and hunger in Philadelphia! The project: an industrial kitchen to prepare healthy food for children, provide nutrition classes in collaboration with our food pantry and a training space for mothers experiencing homelessness to learn cooking skills. Hopefully this will be a way others can live more fully.
One Sister began her annual retreat, which is a deep encounter with the Spirit and Grace of God. As Sisters, retreats enrich our lives of faith and relationship with God, just as time together nourishes a family or a couple.
In gratitude for a long-time employee who shares many of our values, we gathered for a farewell dinner. The goodness of others, God’s Spirit working in them, calls us to live more fully.
Our community garden was notified of being recognized for contributing to the well-being of the greater community. In our listening to the Spirit, we hope this garden continues to contribute to fullness of life for others.
Several of us gathered around table for a simple dinner with the Redeemer Ministry Corps volunteers as they entered the last month of their year of service. Being nourished by food and brought together by our faith we certainly felt full – full of food and full of life!
For Independence Day we will gather for Mass and a meal, remembering that our freedom is a gift from God and ultimately that God’s grace has set us free to enjoy fullness of life no matter what our circumstances.
In your life . . .
We invite you to pause from your normal routine for a few minutes to recall when you have had an insight, an experience, an encounter that revealed God’s presence and led you to a fuller experience of life, that “set you on your feet” even if it was in the midst of struggle or the mundane day-to-day life. Perhaps it was a song on the radio, a smile of a stranger, a bumpersticker, a scripture passage …
Realize that this is faith, this is the Spirit, this is Grace. God is at work in your life empowering you to live fully.