FROM OUR EDITORS—May 26, 2019 – 6th Sunday of Easter

Author: Joan McKamey ~ May 21, 2019

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This Friday, May 31st, we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When Pope Francis meditated on this mystery in 2013, he stated that there are three words that sum up Mary´s attitude: listening, decision, and action. These three words also apply to our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Mary listened to the Angel´s words as he announced to her that Elizabeth was expecting a child, even in her old age. Do we listen to God´s messengers? Pope Francis reflects, “The Lord is at the door of our life and knocks in many ways, he puts signs on our path; he gives us the ability to see them.”

Mary´s second attitude is probably very hard for us to imitate: Decision. “At times we know what we ought to do,” says Pope Francis, “but we do not have the courage to do it or it seems to us too difficult because it means swimming against the tide.” Mary not only decides to accept God´s invitation to be the mother of his Son, but she also decides to go to the place where she is needed at that moment.

But, what good does it do for us to take a decision if we don´t act upon it? Mary set out on a journey and “went with haste” (Luke 1:39). “We sometimes stop at listening, at thinking about what we must do, we may even be clear about the decision we have to make, but we do not move on to action.”

Let´s ask our Heavenly Mother to open our ears to listen to her Son´s will, to give us courage to take the right decisions, and to strengthen our spirits to move “with haste” to help those who need us the most. Amen. 

May 12 was the last lesson of the 2018–19 year of the Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. If your classes continue beyond that Sunday, there are free Late Close Lessons at each level that include a general lesson on the parables and Creation, as well as one for Pentecost. They are available for Seeds, Promise, Good News, Venture, and Visions. The editors have also identified related videos to enhance your lessons. Those who have purchased the Activity Books will find three additional Late Close Lessons for each level there as well.

 

Image credit: iStockphoto.com/sedmak

DE NUESTROS EDITORES—26 de mayo, 2019 – 6.o Domingo de Pascua

Author: Erika De Urquidi ~ May 20, 2019

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Este viernes 31 de mayo celebramos la Fiesta de la Visitación de la Bienaventurada Virgen María. El Papa Francisco, al reflexionar sobre este feliz acontecimiento en el 2013, nos comparte que hay tres palabras que sintetizan la actitud de María: escucha, decisión y acción. Estas tres palabras aplican también a nuestra vida como discípulos de Jesucristo.

María escuchó las palabras del ángel Gabriel cuando le anunció que su prima Isabel estaba esperando un hijo, aún en su vejez. ¿Sabemos nosotros escuchar los mensajes que Dios nos envía? “El Señor está a la puerta de nuestra vida y llama de muchas formas, pone signos en nuestro camino; nos da la capacidad de verlos”.

La segunda actitud de María probablemente nos cuesta mucho trabajo. Decisión. “A veces sabemos lo que debemos hacer”, dice el Papa, “pero no tenemos la valentía o nos parece demasiado difícil porque significa ir a contracorriente”. María no solo decide aceptar ser la Madre del Salvador, sino que decide ponerse en marcha para servir a quien la necesita en ese momento.

Pero ¿de qué nos sirve tomar una decisión si no la llevamos a cabo? María se puso en camino y “fue de prisa…” (Lc 1, 39). “Algunas veces, también nosotros nos detenemos a escuchar, a reflexionar sobre lo que debemos hacer, tal vez tenemos incluso clara la decisión que tenemos que tomar, pero no damos el paso a la acción”.

Pidamos a Nuestra Madre que abra nuestros oídos para escuchar la voluntad de su Hijo, que nos de la valentía para tomar decisiones acertadas y que fortalezca nuestro espíritu para ponernos en marcha “de prisa” para servir a los que nos necesitan. Amén.

El 12 de mayo fue la última lección de los Pflaum Gospel Weeklies para el año 2018-19. Si sus clases continúan después de esa fecha, ofrecemos Lecciones gratuitas para el cierre tardío. Estas lecciones incluyen temas generales como las parábolas, la creación y Pentecostés y están disponibles para los niveles Seeds, Promise, Good News, Venture, y Visions. Los editores también han elegido algunos videos para complementar sus lecciones. Aquellos que adquirieron los libros de actividades (Activity Book) también encontrarán tres lecciones adicionales para cada nivel.

 

Imagen: iStockphoto.com/sedmak

FROM OUR EDITORS—May 19, 2019 – 5th Sunday of Easter

Author: Joan McKamey ~ May 13, 2019

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I recently attended the First Communion celebration of a young friend from our parish. Noah was smiling from ear to ear through much of his special day. At one point, my husband asked him how he felt. He replied, “I feel like a disciple!” We thought that was an apt response!

In the weeks, months, and years to come, we intend to help him unpack what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus clearly tells us what will set us apart from others: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34).

May 12 was the last lesson of the 2018–19 year of the Pflaum Gospel Weeklies. If your classes continue beyond that Sunday, there are free Late Close Lessons at each level that include a general lesson on the parables and Creation, as well as one for Pentecost. They are available for Seeds, Promise, Good News, Venture, and Visions. Those who have purchased the Activity Books will find three additional Late Close Lessons for each level there as well.

DE NUESTROS EDITORES—19 de mayo, 2019 – 5.o Domingo de Pascua

Author: Joan McKamey ~ May 12, 2019

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Recientemente asistí a la Primera Comunión de un pequeño amigo de nuestra parroquia. Durante todo ese día, Noah tuvo una gran sonrisa en los labios. Mi esposo le preguntó cómo se sentía. Él respondió: “¡Me siento como un discípulo!”. ¡Qué respuesta tan acertada!

En las semanas, meses y años que están por venir, tenemos la intención de ayudarlo a ir descubriendo lo que significa ser un discípulo de Jesucristo. En el Evangelio del domingo, Jesús nos dice claramente lo que nos distinguirá de los demás: “Les doy un mandamiento nuevo: que se amen los unos a los otros, como yo los he amado; y por este amor reconocerán todos que ustedes son mis discípulos” (Juan 13, 34).

El 12 de mayo fue la última lección de los Pflaum Gospel Weeklies para el año 2018-19. Si sus clases continúan después de esa fecha, ofrecemos Lecciones gratuitas para el cierre tardío. Estas lecciones incluyen temas generales como las parábolas, la creación y Pentecostés y están disponibles para los niveles Seeds, Promise, Good News, Venture, y Visions. Aquellos que adquirieron los libros de actividades (Activity Book) también encontrarán tres lecciones adicionales para cada nivel.

 

Traducción: Erika De Urquidi

FROM OUR EDITORS—May 12, 2019 – 4th Sunday of Easter

Author: Erika De Urquidi ~ May 6, 2019

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When my son was eight years old, he gave me a ceramic ring holder that he made in art class at school. The little dish is painted in royal blue. In the center, it has three little lime green frogs with long red tongues. One area of the dish is not painted because “the teacher didn’t give me time to finish it.”

When he gave it to me eleven years ago along with a Mother’s Day card, my heart was overflowing with joy and love. To me, that dish is worth so much more than any fancy jewelry box.

Every night, I remove my rings and earrings before going to bed. I put them in that little ring holder. It reminds me of the great love that I have for my children.

This makes me think of our heavenly Mother and how she must feel when she receives our prayers. Maybe our Hail Marys are not always perfect or our Rosaries are left unfinished when we are overcome by sleep at night. But if our prayers come from the depths of our hearts, they are like valuable and perfect gems for Mary our Mother.

Today, we thank Jesus for the great gift of his Mother, and we ask her to help us remain close to her Son at all times. Amen.

 

Image credit: iStock.com/nito100

DE NUESTROS EDITORES—12 de mayo, 2019 – 4.o Domingo de Pascua

Author: Erika De Urquidi ~ April 30, 2019

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Cuando mi hijo tenía 8 años, me regaló un platito de cerámica para colocar los anillos que él mismo hizo en su clase de arte. El platito es de color azul eléctrico y en el centro tiene 3 pequeñas ranas color verde limón con lenguas largas y rojas. Una parte no está pintada porque “la maestra no le dio tiempo para terminarlo”.

Cuando me lo entregó hace once años junto con una tarjeta para el día de las madres, mi corazón se desbordó de alegría y de amor. Para mí, ese platito vale más que cualquier lujoso joyero.

Todas las noches, al quitarme mis anillos y aretes antes de irme a la cama, los coloco en ese platito que me ayuda a recordar el gran amor que tengo por mis hijos.

Esto me hace pensar en nuestra Madre del cielo y cómo debe sentirse cuando recibe nuestras oraciones. Quizá nuestras Ave Marías no siempre son perfectas, o nuestros Rosarios se quedan incompletos cuando el sueño nos vence por las noches, pero si vienen de lo más profundo de nuestro corazón de hijos, para nuestra Madre María son como joyas valiosas y perfectas.

Hoy le damos gracias a Jesús por el gran regalo de su Madre y a ella le pedimos que nos ayude a estar siempre cerca de su hijo. Amén.

 

 

Imagen: iStock.com/nito100

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FROM OUR EDITORS—May 5, 2019 – 3rd Sunday of Easter

Author: Joan McKamey ~ April 29, 2019

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God is full of surprises! He does the unexpected—and wonderful—at every turn! From sending the Son to be born in a stable as a helpless baby to dying the cruel death of a criminal for our sins to rising from the dead to share with us the promise of eternal life, God acts in surprising and incredible ways to show us his great love for us.

In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus surprises seven of his disciples as they fishing. Jesus appears on the lakeshore at dawn after the men have been fishing all night and have not caught anything. As he did in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 5:1–11) when he called Simon Peter, James, and John to follow him, Jesus provides a catch of a great number of fish, so numerous that their nets and boats can barely handle them. Even though this was Jesus’ third appearance to Simon Peter after the Resurrection, Peter didn’t at first recognize Jesus.

Like Peter, we are sometimes slow to recognize the work of God in our lives. We can get caught up in the humdrum or stresses of every day and fail to look for the amazing and surprising ways that God is present in our lives and world. If we lift our eyes and look, we will find many reasons for Easter joy—all through the year!

Let us pray: Good and gracious God, thank you for the joy and promise of Easter. We want to be people of Christian joy and hope. Help us to train our minds and hearts to look for your presence—and surprises—at every turn. Amen.

Image credit: MANTRA PRESS/CIRIC

 

FROM OUR EDITORS—April 21 & 28, 2019 – Easter & 2nd Sunday of Easter

Author: Erika De Urquidi ~ April 15, 2019

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When I worked as a fourth-grade teacher at a Catholic school in Monterrey, Mexico, I was talking to my class about the importance of Easter for all Christians. I was explaining that thanks to Jesus’ Death and Resurrection, we can go to Heaven one day and live with him forever.

My eight- and nine-year-old students were very interested in what I was saying and, judging by their comments and expressions, I knew that they agreed with what I was teaching. Everything was going just fine until I mentioned that Jesus’ Death and Resurrection brought salvation to the world, therefore, Easter was the most important feast for Christians.

As soon as I finished saying those words, I could see the eyes of my twenty-seven students open as wide as plates. Immediately, twenty-seven little hands went up, asking for permission to talk. It was obvious that for my young class, Christmas was the most important feast in the Church Year. Even Pope Francis admits he was fifteen years old when he heard about the importance of Easter for the first time!

I explained to my class, using language that they could understand, that “if Christ had not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is [our] faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14). We discussed that if Jesus had not been risen from the dead and if he had not fulfilled his promises, we would doubt that he really is God. Finally, I told my students that Easter is important because it is the celebration of God’s infinite love for us.

I don’t know if my students were able to grasp what I taught them that day. I asked them to keep my words in their hearts and, together as a class, we asked God to grant us the grace of experiencing the joy of his Resurrection and the hope of eternal life.

Let us pray: We thank you, Lord, for your sacrifice of love on the Cross, for your glorious Resurrection, and your infinite mercy. Help us to recognize the magnitude of your love for us so we can share it with the children under our care. Amen.

 

Image credit: iStock.com/anikakodydkova

FROM OUR EDITORS—April 14, 2019 – Palm/Passion Sunday

Author: Joan McKamey ~ April 9, 2019

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How fickle the events of Holy Week show us to be! We acclaim Jesus with shouts of praise and joy as he rides into Jerusalem on Sunday. By Friday, we are shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” In the Gospels for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, we hear the accounts from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem through his Last Supper, betrayal, arrest, trials, Crucifixion, Death, and burial. It’s enough to give us emotional and spiritual whiplash.

As we struggle with sin and selfishness, we are in good company. In his letter to the Romans, Saint Paul wrote, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15). And in the Book of Revelation, we read: “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (3:15–16).

LET US PRAY: Lord, help us to grow in love for you and others as we enter these final days of Lent that lead to the celebration of Easter. Help us to conquer our selfish and sinful ways. Do not spit us out of your mouth. Instead, fan the flame of faith in us so that we burn with love and conviction. Open our mouths to praise you with constancy. We ask this in Jesus’ most holy name. Amen.

Image credit: Nabil BOUTROS/CIRIC

DE NUESTROS EDITORES—14 de abril de 2019 – Domingo de Ramos/la Pasión del Señor

Author: Joan McKamey ~ April 7, 2019

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¡Qué volubles nos hacen sentir los acontecimientos de la Semana Santa! Aclamamos a Jesús con gritos de alabanza y alegría cuando entra a Jerusalén el domingo. Luego, el viernes, gritamos “¡Crucifícalo, crucifícalo!”. En los Evangelios del Domingo de Ramos de la Pasión del Señor, escuchamos relatos de la entrada triunfal de Jesús en Jerusalén, su Última Cena, su traición, arresto, juicio, crucifixión, Muerte y sepultura. Suficiente para dejarnos aturdidos emocional y espiritualmente.

No estamos solos cuando luchamos en contra del pecado y el egoísmo. San Pablo escribió en su carta a los Romanos “No entiendo mis propios actos: no hago lo que quiero y hago las cosas que detesto” (Romanos 7, 15). Y en el Apocalipsis dice “Conozco tus obras: no eres ni frío ni caliente. ¡Ojalá fueras frío o caliente! Pero porque eres tibio y no frío o caliente, voy a vomitarte de mi boca” (3, 15–16).

OREMOS: Señor, ayúdanos a crecer en amor por ti y por los demás ahora que llegamos a los últimos días de la Cuaresma y nos acercamos a la celebración de la Pascua. Ayúdanos a vencer nuestro egoísmo y nuestro pecado. No nos vomites de tu boca. Mas bien, aviva la llama de la fe en nosotros para que nos consumamos en amor y convicción. Abre nuestra boca para alabarte con constancia. Te lo pedimos por el santo nombre de Jesús. Amén.

Traducción: Erika De Urquidi

Imagen: Nabil BOUTROS/CIRIC

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