We continue to walk with our brother Jesus, and that walk is not always easy, but each of us, as the Scriptures say, this week, “are called by name,” to choose the right, the just, the good. Jesus, our friend and brother, is always with us–let us not forget to ask for his help each day, to be our best for the good of the world. Peace and love, Pastor Kathy
P.S. Please call 507-429-3616, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org if I can be of help in any way, or you just need a friend to talk to–don’t hesitate!
We call upon you, God, for you will answer us; bend your ear and hear our prayer. Guard us as the pupil of your eye; hide us in the shadow of your wings.
Let us pray:
Loving God, you guard us under the shadow of your wings and search into the depths of our hearts. Remove the blindness that cannot know you and relieve the fear that would hide us from your sight. We ask this of you, through Jesus, our brother, and the ever-renewing Spirit, who all live and love us forever and ever—Amen!
- Isaiah 45: 1, 4-6
- 1 Thessalonians 1: 1-5
- Matthew 22: 15-21
My friends, there is much to reflect on this week in [Extra] Ordinary Time as is often the case—if we have eyes and ears open.
First, a bit of my past week as I always feel compelled to unite what is going on there with the message/s in Scripture. I believe, much like the Persian king, Cyrus, who was used by our God, even though he was unaware of it, to show love and compassion to the Israelites in captivity, inviting them to return home; we too aren’t always aware that God works through our actions to bring “good” and not bad to our world. I think it does help if we are prone to live in the “mind of Jesus” so as to be about love and not selfishness in our actions for our world.
This past week, many have been talking about Pope Francis’ latest encyclical, Fratelli Tutti (Brothers All), if we translate it, word for word. In response to the objections of prominent women within the Church that the title is “exclusive,” we have been told that Pope Francis meant it to be read, “Brothers and Sisters, All.”
In an editorial in the National Catholic Reporter, (NCR) this week, the exclusive title is named as, “very serious,” even though, as they said, “It might be heard by modern Italians as “brothers and sisters.”
So, we might look at this example and say that our God is using this questionable title to address the fact that women are constantly left out of the language by the hierarchy of the Catholic church, i.e.; still the use of “men” in the creed which apparently, is meant to include us all as well.
I made the attempt through a group of Franciscans that I am part of to address this issue of exclusive language within an otherwise, fine treatise by Pope Francis on how we should be in our world as followers of our brother, Jesus, and really didn’t get too far. While a few in the group, were, as we say, “on the page” with me, the majority kept shifting the discussion to the “good” of the document, which I will too, in a bit. I would only say, that when it comes to changing from something a group has done for so long, it is extremely difficult to change and no longer enable that which simply, does not include us all, no matter the objections.
Some within the discussion thread couldn’t understand, I think, why I would spend so much effort on the language and not get to the, “meat” of the document, to which I said, “Language does matter!” If we as women have no words to name us, it is indicative of having no real place, nor real importance, except for what men decide is acceptable for us and this is played out quite succinctly within the Catholic church—we have nothing to say in any decision making, nor can we truly minister at the altar because the men guard and control the discussion.
Even Pope Francis could not find it within himself to quote any women theologians within this otherwise fine document on economics—for the good of all, discussion against the death penalty and war, “as ever a solution,” and peace. He did, although, quote 8 times from a document on, “Human Fraternity.”
All of these issues—a fair economy, death penalty, war and peace, are “front and center,” an editorial in the NCR reads this week, as opposed to the “single issue of abortion” as uplifted by U.S. bishops, for Catholics to consider going to the polls this year.
So, my friends; I will conclude this discussion on Fratelli Tutti in all fairness to Francis, for the “real meat” of the encyclical by giving you some quotable quotes and thoughts: *(the following quotes are from an NCR editorial this week)
- Pope Francis uses the model of the “Good Samaritan” as a prime example of how we should be in our world, “paying attention to the suffering around us rather than looking away.”
- “We can no longer think of war as a solution, because its risks will probably always be greater than its supposed benefits.”
- “Individualism does not make us more equal, more fraternal.” [Shall we say, “Sisterly,” either?]
- The Pope doesn’t name our president directly, but makes a statement concerning world leaders that definitely makes one think of him. [Leaders who] “are able to exploit politicians and peoples’ culture under whatever ideological banner, for their own personal advantage or continual grip on power.”
Friends, I said earlier that our God works through all that is part of our lives, whether we know it or not, to bring good into the world; simply put, LOVE, just because God can, and because, that is Who God is! Just as Cyrus didn’t realize that he was being, “called by name” to show God’s love in his world; we too many not ever know how much of God’s love was bestowed through us, simply because we, “showed up.”
The beautiful message from 1 Thessalonians this week continues this theme: Paul is thanking the people for their faith, “their laboring in love and their constancy of hope.” He tells them and us, by extension that we “are chosen” too, to ultimately be about the goodness, the love of God in our world.
The example of “the coin and paying the tax,” in the gospel, meant to trip up Jesus, is just another way the he is able to cut through what really isn’t important in this life, the material, but rather, showing what is—that we share what is good with all, that we live justly in our world—loving as we have first been loved. Amen? Amen!
Prayers of the Faithful
Response: “Loving God, hear our prayer.”
- Help us O God, to be accepting of all your people and be willing to return the gift of love that you have so generously given to us, we pray— Response: “Loving God, hear our prayer.”
- For each of us here and for our entire Church, help us to be the change we want to see in our Church and 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 in our area completing their life journeys at present, we pray—Response: “Loving God, hear our prayer.”
- For those who are currently suffering from the ravages of weather, storms, flooding, fires—give them the strength to know that, somehow, “All will be well,” 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 first and foremost within each one of us, we pray—Response: “Loving God, hear our prayer.”
- May the wisdom and grace of the Spirit overshadow all elected officials and those who seek office, that they will truly work to care for the least among us and strive to bring peace to our world, 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, to enable us to be an inclusive community, open and welcoming all, we pray—Response: “Loving God, hear our prayer.”
- For all in our world who are called to suffer because they are seen as different—open our minds and hearts O God to be accepting of all your people, we pray—Response: “Loving God, hear our prayer.”
- Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, especially from COVID 19 and 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 the silent petitions on our hearts—pause—then response
Let Us Pray
Gentle God, you who loves us beyond all imagining—be close to us each and every day, shadow us under your wings and be the strength that we need to live as you did, conscious of being inclusive of all, loving others when it is easy and when it is not so easy. Give us your deep and abiding peace that we would not worry, but trust and believe that you will always be with us. All of this we ask of you who are God, living and loving us forever and ever—Amen!
Let Us Pray—Again, we are without the physical presence of Jesus on the altar, but we remember that our brother is with us always!
Prayer after Communion
Dear Jesus, remain in our hearts and prompt us to always share the gift of love which is you with all that we meet. We ask this in your loving name—Amen!