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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Three Jesus Poems for April

(Photo by Jill Burrow – Pexels)

April is national poetry month. As is my custom, I’m posting poems in honor of poetry’s marvelous beauty and power. Today I’m featuring three poems about Jesus by two friends of mine and myself. I suggest you read these poems slowly and aloud.

The Cana Jesus by Pierre Eau Claire

Jesus, did you dance at the Cana wedding?

Did you bring a gift for the bride and groom?

How much did you have to drink?

Did you make a toast

or tell a few stories to make people laugh?

Did the local winery file a law suit

complaining that you intruded on their business?

How long did you stay at the celebration?

After Cana, how many other weddings were you invited to?

How did your mother know what you would do?

Did you get a thank you note from the father of the bride?

Did the servants get a tip?

I wish I had been invited to the Cana Wedding.


The Gerasene Demoniac by John Hopkins (Mk. 5: 1-20)

(Photo by Ilkin Efendiyev – Pexels)

He was not invited.

He just decided one day to get in a boat

and sail to the other side of things.

And so there he was,

no one to greet him when he came ashore

except the Gerasene Demoniac,

naked, bruised, cut, howling;

unchained, unclean, and now unclaimed

by neighbors, friends and family,

who could no longer control him,

subdue him, or silence him.

Jeus knew something about this:

the unfathomable depth of the human soul,

how it can be possessed by legions

of rejection, loneliness, derision,

and depression–like this soul

now lying prostrate before him.

He sent those ill-feelings into 2000 pigs

who suddenly couldn’t take it anymore

and jumped the cliff.

Meanwhile, the erstwhile demoniac,

sitting at Jesus’ feet and fully clothed,

wanted out of there.

Meanwhile, the townsfolk, wanted

the uninvited Jesus out of there.

He just wrecked what’s really important:

their economy.


Jesus, You Cleansed the Temple by Melannie Svoboda, SND

from When the Blue Heron Flies

(Photo by cotton bro studio – Pexels)

Jesus, you cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem.

You turned tables over, set doves and lambs free,

and chased out all the money changers,

while yelling, “My house shall be a house of prayer–not a den of thieves!”

Jesus, come now and do the same in me.

For I too have set up clutter where sacred space was meant to be.

I too am caging living things with my excessive need to control.

I too am enamored of profit, glitz, and material gain.

Come, Jesus, reclaim me as your own.

Come cleanse the temple of me.


Reflection questions:

Did any words or lines especially speak to you today? Do you know why?

What qualities of Jesus do you see in each of these poems?

If you were going to write a poem about Jesus based in scripture, what words of Jesus or event in his life would you choose? (What’s stopping you from writing that poem?)

PS: A big thank you to the wonderful people who attended my talk on Mary for the Youngstown First Friday Club last Thursday. I really enjoyed being among so many good people! Special thank you to Sr. Nancy Pawlen, OSU, for being my contact person!

It is only fitting that we conclude with a poetic song “Deep Love of Jesus” by Hillside. I love these words especially: “In my praise and in my failures his arms are open wide…” May the strong yet tender melody and the lovely nature scenes nourish your prayers.

Please share a thought or two below…


18 Responses

  1. The “Cana Jesus” posed questions that I never thought of before. They reveal the “humanity” of Jesus. When I meditate on the Cana marriage feast in the future they will be in my mind. Thank you.

  2. Good morning all,
    As we sit with our Good and Gracious God in this Holy Gift of Easter, I am thankful for poets, musicians, solar miracles, and the beautiful dance created when we all bring our individual gifts to the Table of God’s Unity.

  3. Enjoyed all three but particularly The Gerasene Demoniac. The last lines so clearly outline today’s society.

    1. Totally agree- was going to write that very thing – and add”it’s very frightening” to think about our children and grandchildren’s world.

  4. “…come now and do the same in me.”
    Thank you for the channel of grace flowing through your poem.
    Be blessed….as you bless us.

  5. Such beautiful reflections on the human and divine Jesus. Thank you for the reminders. Love the video. God’s gifts in nature are comforting and inspiring, thank you God.

  6. Dear Sr. Melanie!

    I have been using your Sunflower Seeds for my Monday morning prayer for about 2-3 months now. Just want to say how much I appreciate them. Simple and profound at the same time!!! I love that they come on Monday!! Good start to the week. I really appreciate the song each week! Music touches my soul. Thank you for sharing yourself with us in this way each week!

  7. “For I too have set up clutter where sacred space was meant to be.”

    This is the line of truth that stabbed my soul the most. The words registered as if they were my own. I am currently in the early stages of “spring cleaning.” I’ve gone from room to room, attic to basement, and out to the garage taking quick visual inventories, trying to decide priorities. It is a bit overwhelming as I assess the collections of over three decades of family life in this home. The greatest sorrow hits in my “art room,” the space I set apart for the glory of God. Here the creative work of my hands is to be presented to Him. It is a form of prayer and an act of worship. I have fallen short! And, though I grieve, I am grateful to Jesus for declaring it needs to be swept clean. He knows the result will be freedom!

    Thank you, Sister, for all three poems, but especially for yours today.

  8. I loved your “Jesus You Cleansed the Temple” because we can all apply those insights to our own lives. Thank you for your down to earth spirituality! Bev

  9. So true for me the clutter in my sacred space. Certainly something to reflect upon. Thank you for so profound a thought.

  10. The Wedding Feast at Cana has always spoken to me, as it did in this poem today. I was a catechist for RCIA many years ago and one year we had a man who was a Baptist who was going through the preparation for entry into the church. The week that was to be devoted to Mary was one that caused me a bit of grief because I know how biblically based the Baptists are….wanting proof in black and white. So I went to a bible scholar in our community, asking if he could point me in the right direction to have all the info on why we love Mary so much. It came to the day and when I begin going through some of the material I had, he said that the Cana story made clear to him that Jesus paid attention to his mother when she went to him with the wine dilemma…..he acted on what she had come to him with …..if he did that on earth, there would be no reason to believe Jesus would not continue listening to his mother when we beseech her to intercede with her son in heaven.
    He became a believer in the importance of Mary’s intercession for Catholics.

    Ever since then, it has become a favorite of mine.

    All of them were wonderful and thought provoking..
    Thank you,

  11. All three poems spoke to me for various reasons. “The Cana Jesus” made me think of Jesus’ humanity and wonder how it would have felt to be there with Jesus and Mary. “The Gerasene Demoniac” made me think of times when I wasn’t pleased with some good that was done because it didn’t suit my purposes. And your poem “Jesus, You Cleansed the Temple” made me think of the SNDs that taught me at St Stephen’s school – always telling us that we were temples of the Holy Spirit. I guess after all these years it has become cluttered and is in need of being reclaimed as you say.
    I have always enjoyed reading and even trying my own hand at writing poetry. My former junior high students would grumble in April when I would introduce them to our poetry unit, but became a little more accepting of it as an art form after they had written their own.
    Thank you, Sr. Melannie for another blog entry that touched my heart.

  12. All three poems give you something to ponder & Pray about. I’ve been watching “The Chosen” which portrayed a very human side of Jesus… dancing & mingling with especially the children, but what really made the scene of changing the water into wine most memorable was Thaddeus explaining the the work of the stone cutter “Once you make the first cut there is no turning back…” The poem about The Gerasene Demoniac resonated with the problems of legions in our society today & unfortunately our economy. And I too can use a cleansing of my temple. The songs you include always lighten the heart & sooth the soul. Thank you for this wonderful blog!!!

  13. Loved the poems and the song. Going through some tough days with my sister’s passing, and 5 additional funerals since hers on March 6th, but can feel the Deep Love of Jesus.
    Thank you for all your wonderful Sunflower Seed posts Sr. Melannie

    God Bless you for all of your kindnesses.

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Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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