Nine of us met for our first Sunday Mass in 14 months and it was very much like, “old home week” –we visited, some of us until 1:30 p.m.! We solved all the world problems! If only that was the case! But, these past two weeks have been so good being with those of you who could come. Let’s keep working our way back to each other!
Peace and love, Pastor Kathy
P.S. Please be in contact if there is anything that I can do for you–aaorcc2008@gmail. com or 507-429-3616.
My friends, last week I mentioned another, good friend, Dan Corcoran and of how he brought everything he had done the week before to bear on the homily of the present Sunday. And of course, moving into the next week, the pattern continues as it should—life—living—taking it to the Scriptures—then back to life. We must always keep living and reflecting on the life of Jesus to know, “how” to do, what we decide to do. So, let’s first look to our Scriptures given for this day.
The first reading comes from Wisdom literature. The writer tells us that, “we are modeled on the divine” and I would submit that because we are, modeled on the divine; we are called to act in accordance with the high and profound “creation” that each of us is. In simpler terms—as always, we are called upon, to strive for our best.
We know from all the Scriptures re-telling Jesus’ life among us, that to emulate the divine, to rise above our humanity cannot be just for ourselves, but about what is good for everyone.
The Wisdom writer continues, “God created all things to be alive—all things of the world are made to be wholesome.” It would seem, that true justice comes in here. A couple of things from this past week might lift up this point:
- Derek Chauvin received 22.5 years in prison this past week for the death of George Floyd. He didn’t receive the maximum sentence requested, but more than the original conviction stipulated. George Floyd’s brother speaking before the sentencing, indicating the sentence he wanted, stated, “My brother got life!”
- A Lutheran minister friend of mine asked me this week what I thought of the Catholic bishops attempts to place restrictions on Catholic public figures’ reception of the Eucharist based on their stance on abortion. I immediately replied that this action will negate the sacrament they are attempting to restrict. Whatever else it might be, it has ceased to be Eucharist in this case!
This reminds me of an author from my Masters’ Program, Edward Foley, who wrote, From Age to Age: How Christians Have Celebrated the Eucharist. In this book, he shared one, wonderful thing that I’ve always remembered and for which the book was worth whatever I paid for it. Foley’s take on Jesus’ “table service” on the hillside was that because everyone wasn’t acceptable in the synagogue due to gender or ailments of the flesh, he took the meal “outside” where everyone was welcome! Eucharist is about “uniting” and should never be about “dividing and conquering” us.
As someone recently shared on Facebook—the invitation to the Eucharist does not come ultimately from priests or bishops, but from God and it is not the responsibility likewise, of us humans to decide who is worthy or acceptable!
In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus demonstrates in two different actions of healing touch how we must, each of us, approach our world, how we must, in fact, bring justice. Healing is often needed when justice is not present. Both examples speak of a certain kind of “death,” which we know, can be physical, emotional, or spiritual.
The unnamed woman suffering from an undiagnosed and misunderstood blood flow for many years comes to Jesus in faith and hope to be relieved of this ailment, which, to her, was like a death. She needed to be healed in more ways than one.
Because her ailment was unexplainable, she was ostracized from the community and her family. There were all kinds of taboos about associating with women during their monthly flow of blood, to say nothing of someone whose flow was continual.
On top of that, women had no significant place in the world in which Jesus lived; thus, it was not even important, apparently, to give her a name. And Jesus would have been aware of all of this, so that when she reached out in faith and hope, he reached back with his healing touch.
We hear a like story in that of Jairus’ daughter, again, unnamed. Jairus is a man of faith and hope too. Realizing that his daughter is gravely ill, and that physical death may be imminent, he reaches out to someone he believes can help. Again, Jesus reaches back in love and caring, confirming Jairus’ faith in him.
So, are these two stories just for 2,000 years ago or do they have something to say to us today? I would say they demonstrate for us how we are to be in our world. We need to see past the fears that cause all of us to act less than divine and at times, less than human. We need to see another’s suffering and pain as if it were our own.
Most of us understand the dynamic when it is about our own children, our families—those we hold dear—but to truly be “modeling the divine” calls us to go to the next step and see the care of all individuals in the same light.
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, has some wisdom to share in that regard when he says, “The one who gathered much has no excess and the one who gathered little did not go short.” As followers of our brother Jesus, we each must deal with this one. If we are honest with ourselves, we realize that, “We did not pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps,” but that we had a good deal of help along the way. So, if we are doing well, according to Paul, and Jesus would agree, we owe a share to others who may not be in a position now, to help themselves. We could just as easily find ourselves in need one day! Paul seems to be telling the Corinthians and us that we must seek “balance” in our lives—sharing the goods. In present day parlance— “what goes around, comes around.”
So, my friends, a final note as we think about our daily lives, bring them to the Scriptures—back and forth, in and out, one final bit from the past week that I need to lay on the Scriptures—to find the meaning worth holding onto.
In today’s Gospel, the synagogue official is afraid for his daughter’s life and Jesus responds first, to his fear, by recognizing it, “Don’t be afraid” and then giving him the solution, “Just believe.”
In today’s world, simple belief doesn’t always “cut it” with those who rely on facts and figures, plans, diagrams, and proofs. But I am one who firmly believes that once as many facts, figures, plans and diagrams as possible, are acquired, and in place, and we aren’t yet sure, then “belief,” born of all the above, is in my mind, a fine way to go! Amen? Amen!