Homily – 27th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time in a Pandemic

Dear Friends, on this feast of St. Francis of Assisi, in addition to the Sunday message of “bringing in a harvest,” let us express our gratitude for the beautiful world in which we live–for all of creation as Francis and his followers did. Let us realize that we must be the change that we want to see! Peace and love, Pastor Kathy

P.S. Always remember that I am here for you, if I can help in any way–email-aaorcc2008@gmail.com.


Entrance Antiphon

O God, you have given everything its place in the world and no one can make it otherwise. For all is your creation, the heavens and the earth and the stars:  all is your family, O God.

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

O good and gracious God, Creator of the world to come, your goodness is beyond what our spirit can touch and your strength is more than our minds can bear. Lead us to seek beyond our reach and give us the courage to stand before your truth.  We ask all of this of you, of Jesus and of Spirit Sophia—one God who lives and loves us forever and ever, Amen.



  • Isaiah 5: 1-7
  • Philippians 4: 6-9
  • Matthew 21: 33-43

Homily–Friends, the following homily comes to us this week from Pastor Dick Dahl–he gives us a good deal to think on–do enjoy!

In this time of widespread anxiety, illness, continuing racial injustice, evictions, job losses, bitter political division, and failed leadership we implore God to help and guide us. We live in God’s all encompassing presence. God has revealed his/her self in the gift of the natural world of which we are living members. God’s self-revelation began with creation and has continued in every part of it, in the lives of every person who has ever lived and, we believe, through the Covenant with Israel and the New Covenant sealed in the blood of Jesus.

I suggest we listen and reflect on some of the ways God has and continues to speak to our hearts and minds. In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses the same image of a vineyard that Isaiah had used 800 years before him to tell the religious leaders of his time that they had refused to listen to the prophets his Father had sent them, including himself whose death they were about to demand.

Let’s begin then by listening to one of those messengers or prophets.  In the ancient history of Israel the prophet Samuel strongly advised the Israelites against their desire to be ruled by kings, but they persisted. About 300 years into this experiment the prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading vividly expresses God’s disappointment and anger at those leaders who were supposed to care for his people but instead governed unjustly and cared mainly for themselves. They were soon to be invaded and experience devastation by the neighboring Assyrian army.

We also live in a similar time of widespread anxiety and suffering and lack of just leadership. I recently came across an article written by Dr. Amitha Kalaichandran, an epidemiologist and physician, that addresses our situation honestly but with a perspective that you may find helpful. 

Despite the deaths of about 210,000 fellow Americans from the Covid pandemic in just the last seven months (half as many Americans who were killed in four years of fighting in World War II), Dr. Kalaichandran writes, “we know that the grieving has only just begun. It will continue with loss of jobs and social structures.  Routines and ways of life that have been interrupted may never return. For many, the loss may seem too swift, too great and too much to bear, each story to some degree a modern version of the biblical trials of Job.”

“Job, of course, is the Bible’s best-known sufferer. His bounty — home, children, livestock — was taken cruelly from him as a test of faith devised by Satan and carried out by God. He suffers both mental and physical illness; Satan covers him in painful boils.

“Job is conflicted — at times he still has his faith and trusts in God’s wisdom, and other times he questions whether God is corrupt. Finally, he demands an explanation. God then allows Job to accompany him on a tour of the vast universe where it becomes clear that the universe in which he exists is more complex than the human mind could ever comprehend.

“Though Job still doesn’t have an explanation for his suffering, he has gained some peace; he’s humbled. Job became a fundamentally changed man after being tested to his core. He has accepted that life is unpredictable and loss is inevitable. Everything is temporary and the only constant, paradoxically, is this state of change.

“The Book of Job, however,  isn’t just about grief or just about faith. It’s also about our attachments — to our identities, our faith, the possessions and people we have in our lives. Grief is a symptom of letting go when we don’t want to. Understanding that attachment is the root of suffering — an idea also central to Buddhism — can give us a glimpse of what many of us might be feeling during this time.

“We can recall the early days of the pandemic with precision; jobs, celebrations, trips now canceled. In our minds we see loved ones who will never return. Even our mourning is subject to this same grief, as funerals are much different now.

“So, where does all of this leave us now? Dr. Kalaichandran suggests “it leaves us with a challenge, to treat our attachments not simply as the root of suffering but as fuel that, when lost, can propel us forward as opposed to keeping us tethered to our past. We can accept the tragedy and pain secondary to our attachments as part of a life well lived, and well loved, and treat our memories of our past “normal” as pathways to purpose as we move forward. We still honor our old lives, those we lost, our previous selves, but remain open to what might come. Creating meaning from tragedy is a uniquely human form of spiritual alchemy. 

“As difficult as it is now in the midst of a pandemic, it is possible…that we might emerge with a greater understanding of ourselves, faith, and our purpose….and begin to choose whether it propels us forward or keeps us stuck in pain, and in the past.

Dr. Kalaichandran’s words strike me as a way she tries to help us face and deal with our challenges, similar to the way St. Paul strove to help the struggling Christians at Phillipi deal with the conflicts internal and external to their community.

Another person we might turn to is Francis of Assisi who died at the age of 44 or 45 on this day almost 800 years ago and was canonized only two years later. His life and words have resonated with millions of people around the world since then. We might well ask why, and what meaning they may have for us today.

Francis was born into a very wealthy family. He was spoiled and renowned for drinking and partying as a teenager. He left school at age 14 and dreamt of becoming a Knight. This was the Middle Ages after all!

When war broke out between Assisi and Perugia, Francis got an expensive suit of armor and went off to battle. Warfare was hardly what he had envisioned. Most of his comrades were butchered and killed. He and others who were obviously rich were thrown into a miserable dank prison and held for ransom. After a year he was finally released but his outlook on what mattered in life was changed forever.

Instead of having wealth and comfort taken from him, he freely gave it up. He actually embraced poverty. Concern for the poor became a central theme of his life. His example drew others to join him. His life and message were uncompromising and simply: greed causes suffering for both the victim and the perpetrators.

When the local bishop was horrified at the hard life of Francis and his followers, Francis said, “If we had any possessions, we would need weapons to defend them.” He reasoned, what could you do to a man who owns nothing. You can’t starve a fasting man. You can’t steal from someone who owns no money. You can’t ruin someone who hates prestige. They were truly free.

Toward the end of his short life he was becoming blind. At this time he composed his Canticle of the Sun that expressed his and our kinship with all creation. Francis responded to God’s nearness in all of nature and especially in people who live on the margins of life, such as the leper, whose sores had repulsed him but whom he embraced and in so doing discovered Jesus. 

So, yes, many of us are anxious, some desperately hurting and uncertain how they can survive the present. Most of us, I suspect, wondering how we will survive the future, not only from the political turmoil, but the paroxysms our beautiful planet is going through, in part at least, from the abuse we have inflicted on it. However, we trust that we remain in the presence of God, more loving and powerful than all of us combined. In the metaphorical embrace of God, we pray to be attached to our Mother/Father God and his/her will more than anything else and trust the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide us every step of our way.


Prayers of the Faithful

Response:  “Loving God, hear our prayer.”

  1. Help us O God, to strive to be grateful people to you who has loved us beyond all imagining, we pray—Response:  “Loving God, hear our prayer.”
  • For each of us praying today, give us the strength to be people of justice, mercy and compassionate love for your world, we pray—

Response:  “Loving God, hear our prayer.”

  • For all who are suffering here today or in our wider community, in body, mind or spirit and especially for those who are living with cancer, and other life-threatening conditions, we pray—      Response:  “Loving God, hear our prayer.”
  • For our world and its people, that peace would reign in our hearts and that we would do all in our power to bring peace to our world, remembering that peace begins with each of us, we pray—Response:  “Loving God, hear our prayer.”
  • For our president and first lady, as they experience COVID 19 personally, may they come to show more compassion for others suffering from this virus, we pray—

      Response: “Loving God, hear our prayer.”

  • For our community, All Are One, continue to send your Spirit upon us, especially during this time of separation due to COVID 19 and enable us to be open and welcoming to all, even those we might consider to be, “unlikeable,”  we pray—

Response: “Loving God, hear our prayer.”

  • For all in our midst who suffer from mental illness, that each would find understanding and compassion in their daily lives, we pray—Response:  “Loving God, hear our prayer.”
  • That each of us would strive to elect leaders who show us that they care of all of us, we pray—Response:  “Loving God, hear our prayer.”
  • Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, from COVID 19 and from all other causes—give them your peace, that they may find their way through their grief, we pray—Response:  “Loving God, hear our prayer.”

***Let us pray for each other’s needs, then response

Let Us Pray

          Dear God of us all…you know what we need before we ask…give us what we most need today.  Help us to keep our eyes on you that we wouldn’t get lost in the material things of this world, but ever strive to make our world a more just place in which to live for all your creatures.  Give us the wisdom to grow strong and beautiful vineyards in gratitude to you who has so generously given to each of us.  We ask this of you who are our God and who lives and loves us forever and ever. AMEN


Let Us Pray—My friends, once again, we must be without the physical presence of Jesus through the bread of the altar, but trust and believe that Jesus is always with us….

Prayer after Communion

Loving Jesus, let your presence, which we share always, fill us with your life—may your love which we celebrate here touch our lives and lead us to you.  We ask this in your wonderful name, Amen.