Dear Friends, this Sunday, as most Sundays, calls us to be our best–as followers of Jesus of Nazareth, we really have no other choice! But he is a friend who knows by his own human life, that this is sometimes, hard to be our best. Let us take heart though, in the knowledge that we are never alone–he is our constant friend and companion for the journey.
May this time find you at peace–my love to each of you–please stay well and safe. If I can be of any help to you or yours or you would just like to chat, in between my calls, please be in contact. firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-429-3616. –Pastor Kathy
Loving God, our souls are waiting—you are our help and our shield. May your love always be upon us and with us as we place all our hope in you.
Let Us Pray
Good and gracious God, we come, reborn in the Spirit, to celebrate as part of your loving family with Jesus, our brother. Touch our hearts, help them grow toward the life you have promised. Touch our lives—make them signs of your love for all people. We ask this of you, through Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.
- 1 Kings 19: 9, 11-13
- Romans 9: 1-5
- Matthew 14: 22-33
My friends, during this [Extra] Ordinary Time in our Church; we are living out extraordinary events in our country and world, which can leave us feeling a bit hopeless at times. A pandemic rages in our country and world that we can’t seem, “to get our hands around,” so to speak, especially here in our own United States of America. It is clear now after nearly 6 months, that lack of consistent leadership in our country has made this so.
Along with this, our country has been called, upfront and personal, to address the cultural sin of racism, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers and police officers around the country have been called to task concerning their unjust, aggressive and often deadly actions toward our black citizens, to the point of the Minneapolis City Council calling for the termination of the police force as it now stands. BLACK LIVES MATTER has become the cry of protesters, black and white, who seemingly won’t be silenced this time around, as they demand change, as they demand justice. This cultural sin has festered for over 400 years and its resolution has been championed over these years by many—Martin Luther King, Jr. and most recently, in our time, by John Lewis who left the work now to others as he succumbed to cancer.
The last four years in this country, through the consistent lack of leadership in the executive branch to address the needs of all the people in this country, coupled by a mean-spirited sense of governing by this president, caring for himself and his rich supporters to the detriment of the poor and abused in this country,
the destruction of the environment through ignorant policies, based on greed, and further enabled by the Senate that will not challenge their president to be better, to do better, has left many in our nation feeling demoralized and helpless in the face of actions that seem the least common denominator on the scale of good versus evil.
And yet, our brother Jesus tells his apostles—his followers, including us, to, “not be afraid!” He questions our faith, through Peter, saying that we, basically, “have little” of it! Additionally, he tells us to not lose faith because there is so much strength there! The ability—if we truly believed, “to walk on water!”
Of course, as with all of Jesus’ sayings; we are called to see beyond the literal meaning. To be our best selves in our present world that can do with no less, will call us to indeed, walk on water! And if that seems daunting; Jesus’ comforting words, to “be not afraid,” should give us great strength to do what we must do.
Unfortunately, many Catholics from the hierarchy on down have placed their slim agenda—they call it, “pro-life,” but in reality only support one aspect of it— life in the womb and ignore the blatant abuses against every other issue along the life continuum, in a man who says he will support that one item on their slim agenda.
I have always encouraged here that each of us takes the privilege we have in this country, especially if we are white, to vote for people who most clearly support and work for the good of all without telling you to support a particular candidate. I say, “especially if you are white,” because history, and especially during the last 4 years has made it increasingly harder for black people to vote through gerrymandering, lack of convenient poll sights, the push for personal I.D. etc.)
I still believe that is an important stance as your spiritual leader to take, but I did want to include this week the criticism of our president by Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky as recorded in the National Catholic Reporter this past week, because we so seldom see them speaking out on any life issues other than abortion. I see his statement as important as we all consider to whom we give the awesome power to lead our country in the future.
Bishop Stowe stated, “For this president to call himself, pro-life, and for anybody to back him because of claims of being pro-life is almost willful ignorance. He is so much anti-life because he is only concerned about himself, and he gives us every, every, every indication of that [!]”
That having been said, perhaps the words of Elijah in today’s first reading are instructive in our search for God in our world as Elijah searched for that same God in his. People in Elijah’s time, before Jesus, thought that God was to be found in majestic places and what is more majestic than a mountain? Elijah and people in his time and place thought that God would be found in power and strength. Thus, Elijah searched for God in the wind, in an earthquake, and in fire—but to no avail. He did, though, find God, “in a whisper.” This is affirmed too, in Jesus’ life when he often, as in today’s gospel, goes off alone, to a deserted place, to find the voice and experience of God in quiet.
So, what should this tell us? Well, first off, we will need to slow down a bit to hear and realize that God is not just in one place—a small, little God in a small, little box as is so often depicted for us in past religious training. Secondly, we will have to come to see that God, in fact, is everywhere, and interestingly enough, not in the realm of power and strength—hierarchical stations—cathedrals, but in the everyday.
Jesus demonstrated this idea so well through the years of his public life. He basically told us, if you can’t see God in your sisters and brothers—in the poor, the downtrodden, the forgotten, you won’t ever recognize God anywhere else!—that is, God as God truly is! Scripture scholar, Diane Bergant has said of today’s gospel— people in Jesus’ time went to the mountains to find God—“Life today is a mountain experience of God.” I would add once again, Jesus taught us, by his life, the truth of Bergant’s words—all of life is an experience of God of we have “eyes to see and ears to hear.”
Let us pray friends for the strength and wisdom to move into our world, confident more often than not, that those we meet are a reflection of our loving God, or at least have that potential and demand the best they have to give, especially if they want to “lead our country!” Let us pray too for the faith, coupled with strength to more often than not, “get out of our boats” of comfort, doing what must be done, saying what must be said for the good of all! Amen? Amen!
Prayers of the Faithful– Response: “Jesus, be with us.”
- For our community, All Are One, continue to send your Spirit upon us to enable us to be an inclusive community, open and welcoming to all, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”
- For each of us here and for our entire Church, help us to respond with love and care to each and every person we meet, each and every day, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”
3. For all who are suffering here today or in our wider community, be it in body, mind or spirit, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”
- For our brothers and sisters in our country who are suffering from the manifestations of nature—especially in California, from the fires and from hurricanes and tornadoes in the east—be with each one and give them your deep and abiding peace to know that somehow, all will be well, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”
5. For our world and its people, that we might begin to study earnestly the ways of peace and then do whatever is necessary to turn our backs on the ways of war and conflict, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”
6. For each of us today—we ask for the grace to model Jesus in our lives, by extending loving mercy, kindness, goodness, and justice to all that we meet each and every day, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”
- Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, from Covid 19, and all other afflictions—give them your peace, be with those our friends and relatives who are newly bereaved to find their way through their grief, we pray— Response: “Jesus, be with us.”
8. Jesus, give us great faith to be able to get out of our boats of comfort and live lives reflective of you, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with 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—pause, then response
Let Us Pray–Good and Gracious God, you have called us to be people of faith, hope and trust. In Jesus, you have modeled a lifestyle of justice for all your people—give us the wisdom to see the bigger picture of life that always must ask the question—is this of God?—is God praised by my particular action—today. Help us to be people who show your love, mercy, gentleness and compassion for our world. All this we ask in Jesus’ wonderful name, with you our Creator and in the guidance of the Spirit, one God who lives with us and loves us forever and ever—Amen.
Let Us Pray—again, we remember that our brother Jesus is always with us and in these times when we can’t be together to receive the physical bread and wine—his body and blood, let us find him in new and wonderful ways.
Prayer after Communion
Jesus, may your presence , within us , keep us faithful to the work of love in your world—we ask this of you who loves each of us, forever and ever, Amen.