Lent

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” John 17:20-21

As a part of the one body of Christ and working toward the Kingdom of God, Catholic health care must continually reach outside itself to participate in the life of the Church. An essential element of being the hands and feet of Jesus on Earth today, Catholic health care commits itself to acting in communion with the institutional Church.

Traditionally we have done this through offering sacraments and prayer and displaying the signs and symbols of our faith. For much of our history women and men religious were the concrete operational and spiritual link to the wider Church. In more recent years we have added the formation of leaders and co-workers to understand, appreciate and uphold our unique identities and core values. Even so, these practices are each internal to our facilities. No part of the Church exists for itself, but has to expand beyond its walls.

The Latin root of our word communion, communio, indicates fellowship, sharing and mutual participation. True communion does not happen without active participation in answering the call of the Gospel. Therefore, to act in communion with the Church, indeed to act as Church, is to collaborate with the parishes and diocese in which we serve. It means we prioritize partnerships with other Catholic ministries in our local context.

Jesus’ life was a dynamic combination of teaching and preaching, service and healing. To the extent we participate with our brothers and sisters who teach and preach in the name of Jesus and those who serve in his name in all manner of ways, we are better able to manifest the fullness of Christ’s body on earth and bear witness together to the Kingdom of God that both is and is to come.

 

For Reflection

“You are the Body of Christ. In you and through you the work of the incarnation must go forward. You are to be taken. You are to be blessed, broken and distributed, that you may be the means of grace and vehicles of eternal love.” Saint Augustine

  • Do I / we honor and operationalize the identity of our ministry as a “Catholic work”?
  • Do I / we reach out to the other Catholic ministries for local, regional and national partnerships?
  • Do I / we uphold the commitment of Catholic moral and ethical teachings?
  • Do I / we build or tear down community among our family and team and neighborhood?
  • Do I / we actively participate and bring the fullness of ourselves to those around us?

Prayer

God of all times and places, in each generation you gather a people unto yourself called to serve, teach and heal in your name. Send your spirit over your Church across the world that we may labor together to do your will, reveal your love and share your goodness. In this season of reflection and prayer, give us the graces we need to more fully follow you and become who we claim to be in your name. Amen.

(c) Catholic Health Association of the United States of America. Reposted with permission.

“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little, I will put you in charge of many things; share in the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:21

God gifts each one of us with a unique combination of time, talent and treasure to use while we are on Earth for the good of all people. C.S. Lewis explains it in this way, “Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from movement to movement, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.”

In this season of reflection, we come face to face with a basic truth: we are neither in control of nor are we responsible for some of our dearest gifts. Our health. Our loved ones. Our security. Modern culture might tell us we earned, deserve, own or are entitled to any given thing. However, in reality, we are stewards and all we have is pure gift from a loving God.  

As we make manifest God’s healing activity in the world, we participate in stewarding a mission that began long before us and will outlast us all. Still, the contributions we make in this moment matter. Our decisions and behaviors to share the gifts God has so freely given the Catholic health ministry make the difference between sickness and health, welcome and exclusion, gainful employment and hourly labor, a vocation and a job, a flourishing Earth and an exploited one for our patients, their families, our associates, our planet and the communities in which we serve.

Material things and human capacities are resources for the benefit of the community and not solely personal or organizational possessions. What we do with the time, talent and treasure in our midst should witness to the goodness of God rather than our own cleverness, savvy or intellect. Then we can hope to hear. “Well done, good and faithful servant. … Come, share in the joy of your master.” Matthew 25:21

For Reflection

Ghanaian writer and teacher Ernest Yeboah wrote: “We are not born the same, we are all not born with the same abilities and capabilities, but no matter what seed God has given to us, be it small or big, He expects a good return from us in the end and we must endeavor to be good stewards and managers of our abilities and capabilities regardless of where we live and the challenges we face!” 

  • Am I / are we trustworthy stewards of the Catholic identity of our ministry?
  • Do I / we actively seek to reduce our carbon footprint?
  • Do I / we promote the well-being, advancement and full flourishing of our team and those people for whom we are responsible?
  • Do I / we care for the resources used at work as if they were our own?
  • Do I / we care for ourselves with the same care offered to others?

Prayer

Let us pray together,

Giver of all good gifts, we thank you for all that you have given us; for the good work to do, for the means and talents with which we do it, and for the earth, which provides for all of our needs. We ask that you make us into good stewards of time, talent and treasure – our own and that of others – to build your kingdom. In this season of reflection and prayer, give us the graces we need to more fully follow you and become who we claim to be in your name. Amen.

(c) Catholic Health Association USA. Lenten reflections are republished with permission.

Reflection for the fourth week of Lent: do justice, love kindness and walk humbly

Sunday, March 11, 2018

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
The commitment to justice is essential in Catholic tradition. From the witness of the prophets who call us to “do justice, love kindness and [more…]

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Reflection for the third week of Lent: the human person is sacred

Sunday, March 4, 2018

“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.”
1 Corinthians 12:12
Created in the image and likeness of God, the human person is not only sacred, but also social. Just as God is a radical [more…]

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Reflection for the second week of Lent: identifying with the poor and vulnerable

Sunday, February 25, 2018

“And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40
The Last Judgement in the Gospel of Matthew is both one of the most well-known and unsettling passages of scripture. Jesus clearly lays out the [more…]

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Hundreds attend Tetélestai passion play at Jennings

Sunday, February 18, 2018

It was an honor and privilege to host Cleveland Performing Arts Ministries’ Tetélestai musical passion play over the weekend (February 17-19). Hundreds of people from the community and Jennings residents attended. Thank you to the talented actors, volunteers and bakers who made this a success at Jennings. The word Tetélestai means “It is finished,” the last [more…]

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Reflection for first week of Lent: Care for the whole person

Sunday, February 18, 2018

“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.” 1 Corinthians 15:44
From the beginning, we are created as both physical and spiritual beings. Genesis Chapter 2 verse 7 tells us, “The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and [more…]

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Ash Wednesday Reflection

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

“God created man in his image; in the divine image, he created them: male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
Today Christians across the world will line up to receive ashes on their forehead. As the sign of the cross is traced they will be called to, “turn away from sin and be faithful to [more…]

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Reflection for Palm Sunday

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair.
John 12:3
After Peg’s father died, she rummaged through parts of his house preparing it for sale. When Peg was a child, the bottom drawer of the china closet was always her [more…]

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Reflection for fifth week of Lent

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I will keep my covenant with you … to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
Genesis 17:7
The golden June morning had broken bright and warm through the hospital windows. With its breaking, the attending physician and chaplain had received a page. Dorothy had taken an unexpected turn. She was struggling both [more…]

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