The Infancy Narratives - December 10, 2016 - Fr. Robert Carroll, O. Carm
On December 10th, we met in Marian Hall after Mass to begin our Associate group day. Fr. Bob’s presentation compared the infancy narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
There are common elements in both infancy narratives. Both Gospels take place during the reign of King Herod and are set in the same two places: Nazareth in Galilee and Bethlehem in Judea. The characters we’re familiar with are in both Gospels: Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, Angels and the Holy Spirit. Both Gospels refer to Jesus with the titles Christ and son of David. Both Gospels also tell us that Jesus came from the house of David.
There are also many significant differences between the two Gospels. As a child, I remember hearing about Angel Gabriel who came to Mary to announce the good news that she would be the Mother of Jesus. Angel Gabriel is in Luke’s Gospel. In the Gospel of Matthew, it was an unnamed angel who announced Jesus’ birth to Joseph in a dream.
One of the more memorable parts of every Christmas play in grade school was when Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem to be counted. When they got to Bethlehem, there was no room for them at the inn. The journey to Bethlehem for the census is in Luke’s Gospel. In Matthew’s Gospel, there’s nothing about Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, only that Jesus was born there.
One favorite character of every school’s Christmas play was the shepherds who got to visit the newborn baby Jesus. Luke's Gospel tells of the angels appearing to the shepherds and the shepherds visiting Mary, Joseph and the infant lying in a manger, but the shepherds aren’t in Matthew’s Gospel.
Another focus of the morning part of Fr. Bob’s presentation was how Moses symbolizes and foreshadows Christ. There are many parallels between Moses and Christ. Some examples:
The afternoon part of Fr. Bob’s presentation was focused on the Infancy Narrative from the Gospel of Luke. The major emphasis in Luke’s Gospel is on the Blessed Mother.
Fr. Bob gave us an image of Mary the pilgrim, which was something I hadn’t thought of before. His presentation showed us where Mary traveled from her birth until she was taken up to Heaven. Just looking at the time around Jesus’ birth, Mary started from Nazareth (Annunciation), visited her cousin Elizabeth (Ein Kerem), came home (Nazareth) then journeyed to Bethlehem with Joseph where she gave birth to Jesus. Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem for the purification then fled to Egypt to avoid King Herod’s persecution.
My favorite part of the afternoon session was how we can look to Mary’s life for inspiration. One example was Expecting setbacks and obstacles. Mary is told that a sword will pierce her heart. Mary understands our worries and troubles because she experienced much heartbreak in her life. Another example was On letting go and traveling lightly. Mary and Joseph did not plan to become the parents of the Savior, but they let go of their plans and followed God’s plan.
Every Christmas season, we hear the story of Jesus’ birth The infancy narrative is a very familiar story from the Bible that we listen to knowing what comes next. After Fr. Bob’s presentation, I realized that new insight can be found in even the most familiar stories.
Morning Reflection - November 12, 2016
Deacon Brian Nosbusch and Elizabeth Pienta
Article by Mary Mosser, FSC Associate
On November 12th, we met in Marian Hall after Mass to begin our Associate group day. The first part of the morning was a reflection on the memories of our deceased loved ones. We Associates and the Sisters who joined us were asked to bring one or more pictures of deceased loved ones to be remembered in a special way that day.
One of my favorite parts of the reflection on our loved ones was the five candles of different colors. Each colored candle was explained, lit and reflected upon.
Time was allotted for people who wanted to share memories of their loved ones. Afterwards, the intentions were prayed and then we all joined together in saying the Our Father. In closing, we sang “Christ, Be Our Light”.
We keep pictures and other mementos from people no longer with us. We share stories of our loved ones to keep their memories alive. Some of the pictures displayed from the Sisters and Associates were taken at special occasions. Others brought stories and fond memories to mind.
We remember our loved ones when we re-create something we shared with them. Parents and other family members in big and small ways influence who we are today. When I bake, I remember the cookies, cakes and breads both of my grandmothers made for my family.
After a break, we met in Chapel for Eucharistic Adoration and prayers before the Blessed Sacrament. First we sang: “Praise to the Lord”. Deacon Brian brought out the Holy Eucharist. Then he read the Gospel from John 6:35-40.
We prayed the Litany for Life. The following are a few examples:
After spending the first part of our morning remembering people who touched our lives, I appreciated the connection to our prayers for life and for those people and groups who have a responsibility for life.
Benediction began with the hymn “Humbly Let Us Voice Our Homage”. Afterwards, we prayed the Divine Praises. As Deacon Brian replaced the Holy Eucharist in the Chapel Tabernacle, we sang the closing hymn “Prayer of St. Francis”.
This day helped us to realize that we keep the memories of our loved ones alive when we share stories and remember the many ways they touched our lives. It helped us to remember that we keep Jesus alive in our hearts and lives when we listen to stories from the Bible, when we pray, when we honor him in Benediction and when we receive Him in the Eucharist.
Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis and the Commitment/Re-commitment
Article by Mary Mosser, FSC Associate
Fr. Mike Kolodziej, OFM was our celebrant. All of the Sisters and Associates participated in Mass and the Commitment/Re-commitment ceremony. There are also Sisters and Associates with a special job such as being a Eucharistic Minister or Lector during Mass or helping with ceremony. One of our own Associates was the Deacon assisting Father at Mass.
With each reading, the Gospel and Fr. Mike’s homily, I reflected on my commitment to the Associates. The first reading (Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4) could have been talking about current day violence in Chicago and answering the question - what can we do? We can’t resolve everyone’s problems, but we can make a difference in our own corner of the world. As Associates, we share in the Sisters’ mission and ministry and there are places we can offer our time and talents.
In the Gospel reading (Luke 17:5-10), we heard the
There were many occasions where a situation seemed hopeless,
Following Fr. Mike’s homily were the commitment and re-commitment ceremonies. First, our new Associate was called to the front of chapel and made her commitment as an Associate of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago for one year. Her pin was blessed and presented to her and she signed her Associate agreement. The current Associates were then called one by one to the front of chapel where we renewed our commitments. Afterwards, the Sisters expressed their support for us. That part of the ceremony always touches my heart.
When Mass was over, we gathered in front of the Tabernacle for group pictures. As in previous years, there were amusing comments and giggling as we got ourselves into position so everybody could be seen in the pictures. Afterwards, we signed our Associate agreements, received a gift and card from the Sisters then joined the Sisters, family and friends for lunch in Marian Hall.
Fr. Mike’s homily made me feel like I was being "sent forth"...sent forth to continue on as an Associate of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago. I am blessed to be part of this group and was happy to renew my commitment.