THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK January 1-7, 2017



January 1-7, 2017

Happy and a Blessed New Year.  May Mary, the Holy Mother of God grant you the grace to reflect in your heart on all the events of the past year and weave them into a garland of mercy and thanksgiving. On Tuesday we can honor the Most Holy Name of her Son, Jesus.

We begin this year of 2017 with remembrance of Mary, the Mother of Jesus and in praise of her “yes” to this great mystery of God becoming a human. We say our own “yes” in the belief we express in this mystery and blessing of salvation. We cannot explain God’s generosity in creating this marvelous gift.  We, like Mary, can only say, “Thy will be done.”  It was not easy for her to accept this announcement, but she bowed her head and believed.  We, too, face events that challenge us, but we move forward with determination to bring about surprising results.

If anyone or anything should unite us with the Muslims, the Islamic religion, it is Mary.  She is mentioned some 34 times in the Quran and is considered the most righteous and holy woman in history.  She is greatly honored as the mother of the great prophet, Jesus. Of course, they don’t believe that Jesus was divine, but they respect him.  Here is where a mother’s life and love encompasses two great religions.  Why are we fighting and fearing each other?

St. Francis of Assisi is respected by the Muslims as a man of peace. He came to their leader, the Sultan of Egypt, al-Malik-al-Kamil, nephew of Saladin, in the 12th century and spent some three weeks, sharing about the mystery of God and life. Perhaps we can take a page from Francis’ life and wade into the battle, armed with love, mercy and generosity.

On this World Day of Peace Pope Francis is beseeching all to act with non-violence.  This does not mean that we stand around as doormats and hide in our hovels. No!  We take definite actions to bring about reconciliation, dialogue, understanding, positive change and respect.  We become involved in movements and organizations that challenge us to show the face of just resolutions and a friendly hand in sharing the world’s goods and prosperity. We teach our children to be disciples of non-violence.  When we enter the arena of non-violence we may face death and rejection, as our brothers and sisters in Syria and elsewhere.

However, Jesus on the Cross and his subsequent Resurrection is our bond of courage and success of non-violent behavior and choice.

We honor many saints this week, but St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. John Neumann are American citizens who are responsible for the Catholic School system in the United States.

So, as we enter this New Year of 2017, may the recognition of being a Christian, a child of Mary and the sons and daughters of God bring us into greater unity with all people.

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF



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