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My dear Sisters and Brothers,
We are into Ordinary Time in the Liturgical year, summertime, and the “slow season” when the roads and restaurants are more accessible. I think the temptation for many of us is to say, “Ho-hum, same stuff, different year,” and just float along.

However, the Church gives us a wonderful opportunity. During this slow season, after we have celebrated Easter, and before the cycle of Mysteries begins again with Advent/Christmas, we have something like twenty-four weeks to be slow and reflective. So, in case you need some material for reflection, I invite you to consider my ponderings...

What difference does being a member of the Body of Christ make in my life? The more I live, the more I come to realize what a great gift my Faith is. I wonder how people who do not have faith deal with the difficulties and sadness that are a part of every person’s life. I am very grateful to those who have helped - and those who continue to help - me to grow in faith.

So how do I nurture that gift? I try to stay close to those who have faith, those who seem convinced that Christ is present in Word, in Sacrament and in each other. Am I really convinced of that myself?

Christ is present in The Word. When the priest or the lector proclaims the readings at Mass, do I hear the Lord speaking and listen for His message for me this day? Some days maybe it just seems too difficult to concentrate, and I find myself making my mental “to do” list (and at some point I realize it’s probably not going to be one of my better days!). How can I let the Lord nurture me through His Word if I don’t spend time reflecting on that Word? Do I take time daily praying about a passage from Scripture? For example, we’ve heard and/or read the Sermon on the Mount - chapters 5-7 of Matthew’s Gospel many times. In it (Matt. 5:43-45), we hear Jesus saying, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be chil¬dren of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” Do I really believe this and live it? Given the divisiveness present in so many spheres of our society, we may all benefit from more time praying for those with differing points of view, or whom we consider “enemies”.

Christ is present in Sacrament. The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist — body, blood, soul and divinity. What an awesome mystery, and we are sharers in that Mystery every time we receive the Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ! (...and think about it, would the Lord Jesus, who willingly laid down His life for us out of love, really let us get germs from drinking of His chalice)? It seems that I never have enough time to think and pray about this profound gift of love after receiving Holy Communion.

Christ is present in each of us. If I want to be close to the Lord, then I have to be close to other people, because that’s where Christ is. It’s amazing how hard it can be for us sometimes to just take the hand of the person next to us. The Saints were able to perform amazing works of charity for the sick and poor because they saw Jesus in the other person, and weren’t afraid to “reach out and touch” their brother or sister in the Lord.

Let us strive to go and do likewise!
Blessings and peace,
sign annie

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