Branching-Out

Praying with Psalm 145

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 18, 2021 6:00:00 AM

I doubt that I am alone in feeling the need for some good news or some reminders of positive, hopeful aspects of life in this world. It is time to pay attention to Psalm 145, part of which is the responsorial psalm used at Mass today. Instead of just breezing through it, let us take a thoughtful look at what the psalm tells us about the Lord and what that means for us.

One of the purposes of prayer is to adore God. Psalm 145 gives us words we don’t use in ordinary conversation to help us praise the Lordextol, declare, proclaim, bless, laud. It is almost as if we enter into a different mindset that is holy and prayerful.

We address God as “King” and “Lord.” We say we will bless and praise his name forevernot just today or when we are in church. He is in our lives, present to us, available to us always. There is no way we can fully comprehend the Lord’s greatness, but that is not discouraging; it is comforting, because we all know we have only human abilities. God knows our limitations and loves us as he created us.

The psalm tells us that we have good news of a wonderful God to pass on to other generations. And we have this news on which to meditate and about which we can burst into song. So we should not keep all this happiness a secret; we need to share it often and willingly! The generations of believers shall

celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,

and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. (verse 7)

Read More

Topics: give thanks to God, Good News, prayer, prayer life, prayer of thanksgiving, Sharon Krause

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Oct 16, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the prophecy of Isaiah

(Chapter 53:10-11)

This is the last of Isaiah’s “suffering servant” poems. Can one person take on the sufferings of a whole people, a whole nation? The Israelites thought that was possible, and we believe that Jesus is the ultimate suffering servant. He suffered and died for all of us.

What does that say about our own sufferings? To seek out suffering is, of course, not healthy. We do not need to look for suffering. It will find us. So, how should we deal with it? There are times of extreme and extended suffering. It may be very intense, and it does not seem to go away. The key is to reach out rather than turn within. A burden shared is always lighter even though it does not take away the suffering immediately. Knowing that you are heard and embraced on some level is healing. During times of deep suffering we need to find sources of life that will give us at least a little joy. And we need to know that Jesus, “the Suffering Servant,” is always with us. It is possible that our suffering, like his, may become “redemptive suffering.” Have you experienced this redemptive suffering? Has something good come out of something that was so hard? Maybe it has and maybe it will again if you go deep with the Spirit of Jesus in your suffering. It may become a source of life for you as hard as that can seem when you are in the midst of the pain.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 33)

“Lord, may your mercy be on us as we place our trust in you.” God’s mercy comes with our trust in him. He tells us repeatedly, “Do not be afraid.” Trust him.

Read More

Topics: trust in God, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, RENEW International, servant leadership, suffering servant, trust in God's mercy

God's Help

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 15, 2021 6:00:00 AM

I was in the cafeteria; I was studying for my last exam of my last year at Mt. St. Mary College in Newburgh, New York. A dorm friend walked in with a former neighbor and friend who had given her a ride from home to the college on his way back to his apartment and work in Connecticut. He had been visiting his folks in the Pennsylvania-New York area. My friend and the young man sat down at my table to have some coffee and a snack. We chatted for a while.

A couple of weeks after I graduated from college, I received a phone call from that same young man. To my surprise, he had stopped by the college and found out my address. Ultimately, we dated and, after a year, got married!

Fifty years later, I have to say God must have had a hand in our meeting. The chance of meeting Duane after I graduated was practically non-existent. My home was in New York state, and he lived and worked in Connecticut. Our paths would never have crossed! I was meant to meet him that day. I say it was a divine set-up.

Years passed. Our daughter was doing well in high school. My part time job allowed me the time to start attending a few daily Masses in my parish. I started to feel closer to the Lord. I went to Mass more often. After a while, to my surprise, the pastor approached me with an invitation to become a minister of the eucharist. What a blessing! Did God help me to prepare for this? I think so! The privilege to distribute the Holy Eucharist at Masses and bring the precious Body of Christ to shut-ins was a great blessing! With God’s help, I was able to minister for about 13 years! 

Read More

Topics: divine intervention, RENEW International, Sharon Krause, divine help, divine providence

Timely Thoughts

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 11, 2021 6:00:00 AM

As soon as I learned how to tell time, I became an ardent clock-watcher. I still always seem to know what time it is—unless, of course, there is a power outage, and no battery clocks are close by. Consequently, I am rarely late for an appointment and have little patience with people who tend to be tardy.

I have some ideas about using time in our quest for holiness. Priests and religious pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day. Consisting of psalms, hymns, sacred scripture readings and other prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours is regularly prayed at various times of the day and night. More information about this type of prayer can be easily found on the internet.

I got thinking about a “Liturgy of the Ours” in which we could pray, at set times of the day, for things that are ours, i.e., our families, our friends, our healings, and our blessings.

It is up to each of us to take the time to communicate with our loving God, to build on the relationship we are so privileged to have.

Yes, we are busy, but, in many cases, we can make time for activities that we deem important. I am not suggesting that we spend endless hours in prayer, but I know from personal experience how easy it is to get caught up in worldly activities, get tired, and skip over prayer time on a given day. 

Read More

Topics: prayer, prayer life, prayer of thanksgiving, spend time with God, Sharon Krause

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Oct 9, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the book of Wisdom

(Chapter 7:7-11)

“I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her.” We all pray for many different reasons, but have you ever prayed for wisdom or prudence? Maybe you did when you were taking a test at school, but what about now, when you have a difficult decision to make? It is not as though you are praying into some abyss. Rather, you and I have the very Spirit of God living within us, our partner, our source of wisdom and strength. Certainly, we should ask others that we trust when we are in need of wisdom, but let’s not forget the Holy Spirit, who is never far away, and seek the divine wisdom in prayer.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 90)

“Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy.” God’s love comes to us in many ways and always brings us joy. Reflect for a moment on times recently when love came to you, when someone in some way touched you with love. Did it bring a smile to your face even if you were not exactly singing for joy? That is a good start.

Read More

Topics: Charity, wisdom, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, Book of Wisdom, RENEW International, Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

Perceptions

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 6, 2021 6:00:00 AM

How we see and understand the various aspects of life changes as we mature and as our circumstances change. We are influenced by so many factors, some overt and some very subtle. We all have agendas of one kind or another. Emotions can play a part. Just when we think we have control, someone or something can challenge that perception. We hope our decisions about what is good and what is bad will keep us persevering toward positive outcomes. It is easy to fall into complacency or to just go along with the crowd if we are not careful.

Not many weekends ago, the reading from the ninth chapter of Mark’s Gospel included a teaching by Jesus that was aimed at changing his apostles’ perception about “the greatest.” (Verses 33-35) He told them that the greatest should be the least or servant of all! Whoa! Talk about a reversal!

And how about the parable of the Good Samaritan? (Luke 10:25-37) Does a “neighbor” have to be someone of your social status or someone with whom you have something in common in order to qualify for your love and assistance? Love does not have a nationality or special social order. Again Jesus is teaching about breaking out of stereotypical thinking and putting love first.

Jesus wants us to broaden our parameters for caring about others. We can exceed what we think our so-called limits of tolerance are. In Matthew’s Gospel (18:21-22), Jesus tells Peter that we should be merciful and forgiving when someone sins against us; we should forgive over and over again! What we perceive as unforgivable is worth more consideration.

Read More

Topics: acceptance, inclusion, Sharon Krause

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Oct 2, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the book of Genesis

(Chapter 2:18-24)

“It is not good for man to be alone.” We are created in the image and likeness of God, and God is not a solitary beingthat is, in the sense that God is a community of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are communal beings, and the most basic community is between a man and a woman in marriage: “The two of them become one flesh.” That is truly amazing, beautiful to hear, challenging to live, but the goal of all marriages.

Still, we who are married need solitude sometimes, which is very different from loneliness. It is a time to reflect, to pray, and to just be, amid our busy lives. It can be a time of renewal of the deepest and best in us. It may not be easy to find this kind of time, but we should respect our own need and our partner’s need for this opportunity for renewal.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 128)

“Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy.” What a good reason to sing! Do you often feel the love of God in your life?

Read More

Topics: divorce, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, marriage, RENEW International, suffering, suffering servant, Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

Thoughtfulness

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 1, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Our grandson is living with my husband and me during his last year of college. He is a wonderful young man already, but one day I was trying to be extra grandmotherly and to impart a tidbit of wisdom. I mentioned how important it is to be thoughtful of others, even in simple ways, just to make others realize how much they are loved and appreciated.

Subsequently, I got to thinking about thoughtfulness in a more analytical way. First of all, thoughtfulness does take timeperhaps not a lot of time, but enough time to consider what we know about a given person or situation. What would allay a person’s worry? What would make that person crack a little smile or breathe a sigh of relief? Sometimes just being polite is being thoughtful. It may slow us down for a moment or two, but it can be worth it.

Attention to detail can promote thoughtfulness. There is positivity in noticing and commenting on how lovely someone looks in that outfit or how well a person bags your groceries. We focus on people other than ourselves and give them pleasant feedback.

Our own creativity can come into play. Share a simple personal story or provoke a short conversation to engage the other person in a friendly exchange. It may be a welcomed surprise to break the monotony. I am constantly aware of the hustle and bustle in today’s world. We can so easily get caught up in what our own agendas are and forget about bringing gentleness and good will into our interpersonal exchanges.

Read More

Topics: RENEW International, Sharon Krause, thoughtfulness

Nourish to Flourish

Posted by Sharon Krause on Sep 27, 2021 6:00:00 AM

As people age, they may be increasingly aware of which foods are good for them to eat and which ones they should avoid. Some of us take daily medications as well as dietary supplement pills in an effort to maintain health and fitness. Certain herbs and spices help to make our recipes taste good and have healthful properties as well. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t jingle or rattle when I walk as I consider the number of supplements and meds I take every day.

 On his website (https://draxe.com), Dr. Josh Axe once discussed healing and nourishing herbs mentioned in the Bible. Among others, anise, bitter herbs, cinnamon, cumin, and garlic were used in biblical days for flavoring and because of their medicinal effectiveness.

Imagine that there were supplements we could take that would positively affect our attitudes and responses to others so that we would be more in line with what Jesus would do. What if we could buy the milk of human kindness in the grocery store and drink it to make us kinder? What if Bit O’ Honey candies or sweet peas could cause us to be sweeter? What if eating cucumbers could actually keep us “cool as a cucumber” and control a quick temper while making us more patient? Maybe the bakery department of the grocery store could supply humble pie which, when eaten, would make us less self-absorbed and more solicitous of others.

Read More

Topics: salt of the earth, spiritual life, Sharon Krause, nourishing the soul

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Sep 25, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the book of Numbers

(Chapter 11:25-29)

“The Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Taking some of the spirit that was on Moses, the Lord bestowed it on the seventy elders; and as the spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied.” However, there were two men who were left in camp “yet the spirit came to rest on them also.” Joshua, Moses’ aide, said, “Moses, my Lord, stop them.” But Moses answered them, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!”

Moses obviously had a broader and deeper vision of God’s generosity than did Joshua who seemed to be stuck in legalism. But think about God’s generosity to us. God, the Holy Spirit, lives in us every day throughout our lives, even when we are not aware of this powerful presence or even if we are not faithful to the gift of the Spirit. The Spirit remains, abides in each of us. The Spirit is our constant companion, especially in our darkest hours and days and years. Do you talk to the Spirit within you? Even more important, do you listen to the Spirit?

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 19)

“The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.” For the Jewish people, following the precepts, the Law of Moses, was the way to salvation. For us Christians, the way to salvation is through faith in Jesus, and his law is simple: “Love your God with all your heart and soul and your neighbor as yourself.” It is so simple, yet so challenging.

Read More

Topics: Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, inclusion, RENEW International, Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

Subscribe Here!

Recent Posts

Posts by Tag

See all