Dear Friends, I keep hoping that we can once again be together for liturgy, but we are not there yet. As I mentioned in the bulletin, with the help of a family member; I have begun the process of offering some select liturgies on ZOOM and am hoping that I might be ready to do that soon as I am feeling that from what the science and medical communities are telling us; we really can’t safely be together again until we have a vaccine, which will take us into next year. With that in mind, the ZOOM alternative may need to be as much as we can hope for until then.
I am trying to be in contact with you as much as I can, but if you need me in between my calls, please don’t hesitate to be in contact. By phone, 507-429-3616. You will have noticed that I have given you my HBCI.com address in the past just because I feel it is easier to remember, but lately, there has been some trouble with that address, so I will switch to the church address which you should use going forward as it is a gmail address. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks all–be safe and stay well–peace and love, Pastor Kathy
All nations, clap your hands! Shout with a voice of joy to God.
Let Us Pray
Loving God, the light of Jesus has scattered the darkness of hatred, sin and death. Called to that light we ask for your guidance. Form our lives in your truth, our hearts in your love. We ask this in Jesus’ wonderful name, and with your Spirit, all One God, living and loving us forever and ever, Amen.
- 2 Kings 4: 8-11, 14-16
- Romans 6: 3-4, 8-11
- Matthew 10: 37-42
My friends, I have customarily said to you that Ordinary Time should be renamed, “Extra” Ordinary Time because of the continued challenge that the readings in this season bring us to follow in the footsteps of our brother Jesus. Events of this past week give us a bit of a twist on this. By now, many of you have probably read the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) article delineating the serial grooming and abuse of young women over the past 30 years by church composer and musician, David Haas.
In the past 30 years, Haas has composed such beautiful hymns that we all know and love: You Are Mine, We Are Called, We Have Been Told, and many others. What are we to make of the dichotomy of beauty on the one hand and such evil on the other?
My initial reaction, unlike a good friend, was to say that I would continue to use his hymns at my masses because they are reflective of his “best” self and pray for him and his victims when I do. I also said that I have to wonder what happened to him in his younger, innocent years that turned him into such a monster in his adult life, because you don’t act this way if everything has been good in your own life.
Because of the visceral reaction of my good friend to this most disturbing news about Haas; I re-read the NCR article and was struck by the comments of a woman named Megan who said, “I have been wrecked, knocked on the floor,” and again, “…the way he would look at you when he sang, You Are Mine,” makes me realize that it would be most cruel to sing his hymns in public knowing that some hearing them would be reminded of some horrible memories. For this same reason; I have chosen,
in my professional position as your pastor and priest not to wear a clerical collar because of the pain the mere sight of it would cause those abused by male Catholic priests.
In the beginning of this homily, I indicated that the events of this week gave, “a bit of a twist” to the notion that the Scriptures offer continued challenge throughout Ordinary Time. With the news this week of David Haas, it is the events of the world that challenge us to find or make some sense within the Scriptures for this week. Let’s take a look.
The first reading from Kings relates the story of the prophet, Elisha, who receives hospitality from, “a woman of influence” in Shunem. Elisha responds to her care for him with the basic understanding and resultant action that a goodness has been bestowed and a response in goodness is only fitting.
The psalmist in number 89 for today, says, “I will sing the story of your love.”
Paul to the Romans lets us know that because of Jesus, we have the possibility of new life should we decide to take it. He goes on; we must consider ourselves, “dead to sin,” but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
The gospel from Matthew has this to say, and I paraphrase, as baptized followers of our brother Jesus; we are called to do, the right thing. This gospel has Jesus telling us that following his word has to be more important than caring for our families. A hard saying, but we must remember that we can’t, like in most of Jesus’ sayings, read this literally. Jesus wants us to care for our family members, yes—but never at the expense of doing what is right. If it is considered part “of caring for our family,”
keeping a secret that should be exposed to the “light of day,” such as abuse of any kind, then doing the right thing is ultimately the best care for our family, albeit, the harder thing.
Martin Luther King Jr., while in prison for civil disobedience in the 1960’s wrote of this overriding principle: “In a real sense all life is inter-related…all [people] are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality.”
Now, of course, we can move through life not paying any attention to others, “doing our thing,” so to speak, with the assumption that this is our right, but if we are serious about following Jesus; this is never an option.
So we come back to what we learned of David Haas and his selfish, manipulative and cruel actions under the guise of musical minister and mentor to young and upcoming female music ministers.
At this juncture, many of us are laboring under feelings of disbelief, betrayal—followed by disgust and anger against those who knew for a long time of his behavior and did nothing to stop him.
Given my personal experience of never having been physically or sexually abused; I cannot speak to the pain of those who have, but I have been emotionally and spiritually abused by the Catholic church that continues to teach that women are not as good as men,
nor able to respond to a call from God to lead the People of God as a priest and when they do, are told that, “their sin” is akin to the abominable actions of a pedophile priest.
So, in that regard; I perhaps have some standing to comment on what issues like David Haas’ abuse have to say to us in light of the Scriptures.
Perhaps when we can get past the feelings of disgust, anger and rage, a better part of ourselves—the place where I think Haas’ music came from, even if he used it to take advantage of others, will see that he too was abused and taken advantage of at a vulnerable age. None of us comes into this world as a “bad person,” or perhaps better said, “One who does bad things”—we become that partly through what has been done to us and then our decision to respond negatively to that hurt in our lives.
And in all of this, we are confronted by the Scriptures—by a God who has loved us, no matter what! Can we be like God?—perhaps not, in the face of such hurt and betrayal as the story of David Haas presents, but we cannot cease to try. The God of love that no doubt inspired Haas to write, “We have been told, we’ve seen his face, and heard his voice, alive in our hearts…” speaks to us as well and calls us beyond the hurt and anger, when we are ready. For me, for now—I choose to pray for David Haas and his many victims, of which, he is one, but refrain from using his music at our masses for the reason given above. Please let me know of your feelings in this regard. Amen? Amen!
Prayers of the Faithful
Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
- Jesus, thank you for the gift of the Eucharist, along with your presence in all your creatures—the piece we have been called to see even more now in the absence of “physical communion—give us the eyes to see you, that you might be close, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
2. O God, let peace reign in our hearts and give us the strength and grace to be people of peace, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
- Jesus, you ask us to be people of faith, and trust—we believe, but help our times of unbelief, we pray —Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
- Jesus, in your loving Spirit let us as members of this community, All Are One, always find room at our table for all your people, and heartily welcome them, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
- Loving Creator, Savior, Spirit—give us your patience, your strength, your love for our world, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
6. Loving Jesus, give each person in your body, the Church, strength to live well and the courage to be the voice at times that speaks truth to power, for the good of all, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
- Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week,—from COVID, from racism and all other ways—give them your peace that they may find their way through their grief, and we especially remember all the loved ones of Eric Bartleson as they continue to grieve his loss, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
***Let us pray for your particular needs, you may say them aloud—then response
***Let us pray for the silent petitions on our hearts, silent pause—then response
Let Us Pray
O good and loving God, made manifest so wonderfully and beautifully in Jesus, our Savior and Friend, you know what we need before we ask—do give us what we most need today! Help us to be people of faith, strong in our trust of you and believe that no storm in our lives is too great for you to calm. Help us to reach out to you for the strength we need to be our best selves, you who are our Creator, our Savior, our Spirit Friend—we ask all of this in Jesus’ wonderful name—AMEN.
Let Us Pray–this time of pandemic calls us all in a special way to remember that Jesus’ presence is all around us; in each other, in nature–in all of creation. May we be refreshed and “nourished” by this reality.
Prayer after Communion
Jesus, our Brother, may this communion with you give us a share in your life and help us bring your love to our world. We ask this in your loving name, Amen.