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RCIA…on her way!

RCIA…on her way!

Today I saw God in my hangout time with one of my friends. We talked about the usual stuff – family, friends, work…and then she shared with me that she decided she was going to go through the RCIA program in the next year.

As soon as she shared that with me, my eyes watered up and I really should have thrown myself at her and given her a huge hug, and instead, I hugged myself, out of pure joy at what she had just shared with me. There was a also a large table between us, so that was kind of difficult to maneuver.

We eventually talked more about faith and what led her to the decision of wanting to become a Catholic, and it was such a wonderful afternoon! Friends of mine who have gone through RCIA have shared with me what that experience was like for them, and most was positive, other than some meetings being boring, etc. But I am so happy for my friend and I promised her that I would start praying for her starting yesterday. 🙂 Please pray for her too!

This will be a long journey, but I know it will be worth it. I’m so glad God placed people in my life where I am able to talk freely about faith and justice. That in itself is a gift!

 

As We Go About our Priestly Work…

As We Go About our Priestly Work…

Let us lead our lives filled with love everyday, the best that we can. Something beautiful to keep in mind, as we go about our days doing our “priestly work.” And so we pray…

How beautiful will be the day
when all the baptized understand
that their work, their job,
is a priestly work,
that just as I celebrate Mass at this altar,
so each carpenter celebrates Mass at his workbench,
and each metalworker,
each professional,
each doctor with the scalpel,
the market woman at her stand,
is performing a priestly office!
How may cabdrivers, I know, listen to this message
there in their cabs;
you are a priest at the wheel, my friend,
if you work with honesty,
consecrating that taxi of yours to God,
bearing a message of peace and love
to the passengers who ride in your cab.

—Archbishop Oscar Romero, November 20, 1977
The Violence of Love, translated by James R. Brockman, SJ

Lord, Hear Our Prayer

Lord, Hear Our Prayer

Prayers for strength, comfort, wisdom, and guidance resonated in the small room we were all cramped in tonight. I was surrounded by ten beautiful souls who shared with me their names, “roses” and “thorns” from the past week- others simply passed.

As I was prepping for my visit to the correctional facility, I thought immediately about the Gospel reading from Sunday: The Woman at the Well. How perfect. We read the scripture and begun our reflection. Thanks to Creighton University for their Online Ministries website that has wonderful resources throughout the Lenten season!

The woman left her water jug after her encounter with Jesus. What is your water jug that you want to leave behind? The woman had an encounter with Jesus – one that was powerful enough for her to leave her water jug. Have you had an encounter with Jesus? What was that like for you?

Women shared stories about their powerful experiences during prayer, during moments of temptation, during dark, dark moments, and yet regardless of how they reacted to that moment, knew that it was the voice of God leading them towards hope, calm, peace.

We concluded our time together with our prayer intentions. Tears aflowing, Lord, Hear our Prayer bouncing off the walls…God was present.

One of the women prayed that she would have an encounter with Jesus – one that moves her enough to know and recognize that it is the voice of God and Christ working in that moment. The bold prayers that I hear in that space during my visits are unlike any other small group or prayer gathering that I have ever been a part of. It is a gift for me to be invited into this space and I would not want to spend my Monday evenings any other way!

From Living Water

From Living Water

Today we read one of my favorite Gospels…did you miss it? Here it is for you:

Gospel of the Day: John 4:5-42

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” – John 4:10

Check out Brother Mickey McGrath’s print HERE

Reflection:

The Samaritan woman at the well is no angel. Mixed up with a wrong crowd, this poor woman from Samaria has quite a reputation. She had been married five times and was living in sin with a man who wasn’t her husband.

Through her story comes the lesson that people shouldn’t live by carnal pleasure. The story also shows that a well of grace is ready to refresh the soul parched by sin and suffering and that Jesus comes to save the sick and to serve those who still need both physical and spiritual healing — not only the converted.

Her story is also relevant because it becomes an antecedent of Christian practices — that one may seek God’s forgiveness for wrongdoing.

In some Christian religions, including Catholicism and Orthodox, seeking forgiveness is the basis for the sacrament of Reconciliation (confession). Every faith has a teaching and belief that God forgives sin and that repentance is always possible. The Jewish feast of Yom Kippur and Islam’s Ramadan are also examples of seeking forgiveness and showing atonement for sin.

The woman at the well had her sins “washed away” by Jesus. The story shows that Jesus offers divine mercy in the living water of grace, which washes away sins and cleanses souls. The woman went to the well to get a jug of water. Instead, she got much more, including a cleansed and refreshed spiritual life.

Going to the well

Because of her lowly status, the Samaritan woman goes to the well during the hottest point of the day to avoid the wagging tongues of her fellow townspeople. Most other people were taking siestas at this time; nobody in his or her right mind is out in the noonday sun. The woman of Samaria knows this and seizes the opportunity to get water for her home without being bothered.

Jews didn’t normally travel on a Samaritan road, but Jesus chose to walk this way anyway. He comes upon the well, where he meets the Samaritan woman and asks her for a drink of water. The woman, who understands her low social status in the eyes of a Jew, is astonished that this pious Jew requests water from her.
Experiencing renewed spirit

Jesus uses the water as a metaphor to teach this woman. He speaks about the living water, which gives eternal life, divine grace, or God’s life within the soul. The woman craves this type of water, because she wants to have eternal life. But first Jesus has a lengthy but candid dialogue with her. He makes her understand that she needs to confess her sins and change her life before she can obtain this life-giving water — grace. Jesus shows her that he already knows she is living with a man who is not her husband.

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!”

John 4:16–18

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”

John 4:25–26

The Samaritan woman’s spirit is enlightened, accelerated, and illuminated by Jesus. She now realizes what it means to take freely of the water of life, which is the spiritual refreshment that comes into her soul after her encounter and confession with Jesus. Not only was she impressed that Jesus knew all her sins, but she was also given the opportunity to have those sins forgiven. She believes he is truly the Messiah, the Anointed One. She repents of her past misdeeds and goes back to tell her family, friends, and neighbors how she met Jesus and how he revealed his knowledge of her sins and his offer of live-giving water, which brings eternal life. She went on to lead many conversions in this area through her zeal and love for God (John 4:39–42).

The Samaritan woman doesn’t appear again in scripture, but for centuries afterward, numerous spiritual writers, theologians, and scholars retold and pondered her encounter with Jesus. Augustine (AD 354–430), for instance, uses the example of the woman at the well to describe the spiritual thirst the human heart has for goodness and truth and that thirst is never quenched until people are in the presence of God forever (after they die and leave this earth).

AMEN!

Pray for the Farmers

Pray for the Farmers

Pictured: Coffee beans from the hills of Yagyagan in Northern Luzon, Philippines

It’s been a super busy week with different events going on at school, but I am so grateful that each of the “busy” things I have going on right now, are really good things. Sure, there’s the tedious busy work that just needs to get done…and not all of it is super fun, but today, we had the great privilege of having Javier from JSM Organics come and share his story AND FLOWERS with us!

Many of us don’t take time to think about where our vegetables, fruits, and flowers come from. I know that prior to a few years ago, I never took extra time to think about the origins of my clothes, or why Forever 21 was so cheap or thought twice about the difference between organic and non-organic food. Learn more about Ethical Trade (via Catholic Relief Services) here!

Javier shared his experiences about what life was like as a farmer starting off on low wages, and now, shares his current set-up as a landowner who runs an organic farm and provides his farmers with just wages. Researching the different videos out there and reading about the plight of migrant farmers, especially here in California is mind-blowing to me. Who knew that California farms (specifically in Salinas, CA) provide the majority of strawberries and lettuce that are distributed to the rest of the United States?!?

I have yet to visit the farms and meet the migrant workers, but I know that many parishes in the Diocese take time to meet these farmers and do work alongside them. I hope to make a visit this year!

One thing is for certain: Every time I say a prayer before eating our meal, I take time to recognize the hands that truly brought the food to our table. From the farm, to the cashier at the grocery, there are many hands involved, and unfortunately, somewhere along the line, I know that there were unfair wages paid.

This past April, Pope Francis focused his prayer intention on Farmers: