Dear Friends, as you know, we met last evening for our first in-person Mass and it was attended by 17 people! It was so good to be together again in person! We will continue to celebrate this new fact of “being physically together” in the next weeks as more of you come again for your first time with us. Next week we will meet on Sunday at 10 A.M. Have a good week and be in touch if I can help in any way–firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-429-3616. Happy Fathers’ Day to all the dads and granddads out there, both physical, emotional and spiritual!
Love and peace, Pastor Kathy
My friends, as we all bask somewhat in the simple goodness of being able to be physically together again; we must thank our good God, in our brother Jesus, who has brought us through these last 14 months, safe and unscathed, for the most part.
This weekend, we also remember all fathers, dads and grandfathers—grampas, both the physical and the emotional fathers among us as there are many ways to give “fatherly” support and care to the next generation—today, we remember and bless all those ways.
With regard to the many men I have known in my life, who have “fathered” others; I will mention one physical father and one spiritual—emotional father.
In a personal way, I am remembering my own Dad who was with me just 39 of my now, over 70 years. He was, as we say, “the salt of the earth!” Was he always, perfect? No, he was human, like all of us; but one thing I always knew about him—he loved me and my siblings and I believe we always knew, that one, significant thing. This one significant thing—his love and care, sustained me in life—often, even after his passing, when trials came.
The other example of a “father” was a spiritual one whose memory I’d like to raise today. That person was Father Dan Corcoran, who pastored the Newman Center here in Winona back in the days when Newman Centers were still “cutting-edge” places that witnessed Christianity in action.
Dan Corcoran also pastored the little church of the Immaculate Conception at Wilson in the years when Robert and I and our family were members there. I can still remember his first homily to that little parish. He rambled on about everything he had been about all week and at first “hearing,” I can remember thinking, “What a jumble!”
But later, upon reflection, and with more contact with him, I realized, “This all fits—it is all about the message of Jesus.” And when you think about it, isn’t that what we should be about each week? Reading the Scriptures and then asking—“How do these words fit into my life?” That first Sunday that Dan Corcoran was with us, his big issue, as I recall, was the “B-1 Bomber” and his thought was definitely that this was something that serious Christians should not be supporting! This was probably one of the first times that I recognized a “prophet” in my midst! And a church leader, no less!
Today, sadly, the message coming from too many of our religious “leaders” is quite weak, if there at all, with regard to pressing issues of our day—the deep-seeded racism in our country, lack of concern for our earth and its preservation, those who live in poverty in our country and world, because we don’t have the collective will to make the needed changes, care for those who may seem different, such as our LGBTQ sisters and brothers, inequality and lack of acceptance of women—one-half of the population, who are often used and abused in our larger world and the list can go on.
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians today reminds us, that in Jesus, “everything is new!” My take on that is this—Jesus has shown us a better way to be in the world and it would behoove us all, if we say, “We are Christians,” to shed some light on the darkness of the prevailing issues listed above.
My friends, our God has always loved us—why else would we have been given life in the first place? Why else would we have been given a free will to choose how our lives might play out, even though our God, like most earthly parents, often struggle with controlling their children’s choices, to protect them, versus allowing them to grow through their lived experiences—how much to “let go,” how much to, “hold on.” I wouldn’t think it is any easier for God, as our parent—mother, father, however we choose to name God, than it is for earthly parents.
Take the first reading from Job today. The verses that aren’t included in this reading, tell a story of much sadness and suffering in Job’s life—the death of his wife and all his children—he in fact loses all his material possessions and then is inflicted with a menacing skin disease.
If we were to look at these happenings at face value, we might say, “So where was God in all of this?” The section of the book of Job given for our reflection today comes a bit later in Job’s life—at first he still kept faith in God—it was only later, when all of Job’s friends left him too that Job finally turned on God.
Our God, his God, responds with a series of questions that when we boil down to their simplest meaning say—“I have always been with you—I have never left! We can think of the times in our own lives when we watch our own children suffer through whatever it might be, helping where we can, but knowing we can’t take it all for them. And what do we do as human parents? Because we love them; we don’t give them everything they want, knowing that, “everything” is not what is best. We also sometimes, cry with them, and we stand by them—until things are better. Our God, my friends, does the same.
The psalmist today affirms this message: “Give thanks to our God who is good, whose love endures forever.”
Again, looking at Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we read about how Jesus’ death should be a sign and a symbol for us—if he died for all, we should live for all and truly pick up where Jesus left off—being his presence in our world. It is significant that we keep in mind that Jesus is only present in our world if we, in fact, allow him to live through us—if we become “bread” for our world. His body and blood that will become present here and we will receive, was never meant to stay here, but through us, move into our world.
So, in conclusion my friends, let us look very briefly at Mark’s gospel message to realize how our God truly does, “walk with us,” does truly love us, is always with us. We heard the story of our brother—in the boat, of how he “calmed the waves,” and the incredulity of the apostles, “who is this that even the wind and sea obey?!”
We all have experienced times in our lives when we knew that, “we weren’t alone”—that something happened that was beyond what we said or had done and it is at these times that we have to answer Jesus’ question to the apostles, because it is his question to us too—“Have you no faith?”
Our world my friends, has so many needs and each of us who say we follow our brother, Jesus, must face our world with faith and do what he would do, even when we sometimes, seemingly, have to stand alone—because in reality, we are not alone! And we can’t wait for the powers-that-be to lead—when they should, and don’t. We must listen to our hearts, where Jesus’ Spirit speaks, walk with faith and do the right thing—always, always! Amen? Amen!