Sunday Reflection, by S. Kathleen Mulso, OSF

ImageReflection for November 11, 2012
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: 1 Kings 17:10-16
Second Reading: Hebrews 9:24-28
Gospel: Mark 12:38-44
How much does a penny buy?
In today’s Gospel from Mark, we are reminded of Jesus’ telling his Apostles about the widow’s mite.  From this story we can get the idea that whatever we give from the heart or from our need is worth more than our just handing over a few leftover coins.  Why does this make any sense in today’s world?  As followers of Christ, we are daily called to go beyond the obvious.  We are called to share with our neighbors, and in so doing to obtain a closer relationship to God.  We have been given the gifts of intellect and free will and are supposed to be stewards of our gifts.  The point I often forget myself is that whatever I have, has been given to me as a gift from God.  These gifts can be shared.
So, a penny is worth alot if it is the only one you have, or if it is just what someone else needs. Our task from today’s Gospel is to see the prophetic witness this widow gives.  She was willing to put herself in real need.  She was able to share her last coins.  This simple act speaks volumes and show great faith and real dependence on God.
How much is a penny or a small sum of money worth to you this day?  To whom could you offer such a gift?
Jesus, since my actions speak louder than words, please guide me in knowing when and how to share your gifts.  Allow me to hear your word this day and to act on it.  Amen.
Kathleen Mulso, OSF
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

Hugs, by Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF

ImageA picture of Jesus, the good shepherd, holding a lamb close, was on a message from the Hamline Chapel United Methodist Church. Since it was not copyright marked, I am sharing it with you.

“Hugging,” they write, “is healthy:  It helps the body’s immunity system, it cures depression, it reduces stress, it induces sleep, and it’s invigorating, it’s rejuvenating, it has no unpleasant side effects, and hugging is nothing less than a miracle drug.

Hugging is all-natural: It is organic, naturally sweet, no pesticides, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients, and 100 percent wholesome.

Hugging is practically perfect. There are no movable parts, no batteries to wear out, no period checkups, low energy consumption, high energy yield, inflation-proof, non-fattening, no monthly payments, no insurance requirements, theft-proof, non-taxable, non-polluting, and of course, fully returnable.”

ImageWhat I wonder, is why we do not use this lovely way of expressing our feelings. It does wonders for the giver as well as the recipient.  Hugging is helpful to the person who has succeeded, and especially to the one who has failed.  Babies and toddlers usually get hugs, but Grandpas and Nanas not as often.  Old Uncles and Aunts need hugs too.  In fact, I cannot think of anyone who doesn’t, not even the Pope!  So be generous!  Be extravagant!  Hand out hugs everywhere.  Maybe you will mend a fractured friendship with a hug. You know, if you want or need a hug there is no reason why you cannot ask for it. It’s easy.  Just say, “I need a hug.” or Will you give me a hug, please?

Jesus gave hugs to lost sheep. It might not be a bad idea to give Jesus a hug in prayer.

Hugs to you and all you hold dear.  Spread hugs around today!

Peace and Joy and many hugs,

Sharonlu OSF
Oldenburg Franciscan Center
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg

Peace & Good Questions for YOU!

“And each one should confidently make known his/her need to the other.”
~ St. Francis & St. Clare

Won’t you take a quick minute to help guide us in the way of your needs and interests?

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Peace, Joy, and Everything Good to you this day!

National Migration Week – A Reflection from Sr. Noella Poinsette

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As I was reflecting on of National Migration Week (January 8-14), I began to recall photos and memories from a trip to Latin America years ago. I fell in love with the people there in a very short time.

In the slideshow above, you see photographs from the first of a few trips I made to Mexico and Central America, and they were all experiences of openness and being welcomed into the lives of people who chose not to be strangers. These were experiences of profound generosity in the midst of their deep material poverty – but never a poverty of spirit. In fact, I have always said that our trip to Nicaragua was like walking into the Acts of the Apostles where all who came to the table were fed in body as well as spirit.

Once working at a small refugee camp on the Mexican/US border I met a woman named Teodora (Godbearer) who had walked 800 miles from El Salvador (the Savior). She was 8 months pregnant by the time she reached the camp. Along the long, arduous walk she was accompanied by her friend, Santos Santos (Holy Holy). Teodora and Santos faced all the hardships along the way because Teodora told me that she “wanted her child to be born in the light” rather than the darkness of  innocents being killed in the land of the Savior.  In some ways this is a contemporary Christmas story. And the photo of the woman (a woman in Nicaragua) with child and a cross behind them I have often used as a Christmas card.

One time while working at a border station with No Mas Muertes (No More Deaths) giving out water and bandaging bruised and bleeding feet, a young man asked me why I was doing this. Basically, it was simple – we are sisters and brothers.

My prayer for our country in this National Migration Week is that we will re-member ourselves as part of one family, that we will listen to the cries of the poor, that we will take action on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform.

This is my hope as a Franciscan and a woman of the Gospel.

Sr. Noella Poinsette

Sr. Noella Poinsette

Sr. Noella Poinsette, OSF is a music teacher and parish liturgical musician who devotes many of her ‘outside-working’ hours to social justice ministries.  She is a native of Indianapolis, IN, from a family of six.  When Sr. Noella told her father (at the age of 10) that she wanted to be a nun, he encouraged her with the comment that both he and her mother served other people and loved it.  (He was a city fireman and she was a nurse).  Sr. Noella has been an Oldenburg Franciscan for 46 years, and she still carries with her the work ethic, encouragement, and passion for social justice she learned from her parents.  She has volunteered with many organizations, including Common Ground after Katrina in New Orleans and served in ministry at Pine Ridge Reservation, St. Bonaventure University, and as Director of Covington, KY’s Refugee Program, among others.

The US Catholic Bishops’ theme for National Migration Week 2012 (Jan 8-14) is Welcoming Christ the Migrant.  Download materials at their website, including an information booklet and prayer card.

You can also visit Justice for Immigrants to send an e-postcard to the President and Congress asking that they continue to support comprehensive immigration reform.

Do you have any stories from working with migrants in the US or abroad?  Leave us a comment below and share your experience with others!  What are your hopes, prayers, and actions in support of justice for immigrants and Welcoming Christ the Migrant?