Homily – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends, 

I was away this Sunday and Pastor Dick Dahl stood in for me–he has given us a wonderful homily!  Thank you Dick! –Pastor Kathy


I want to speak with you about three interrelated issues. The first relates is what Pastor Kathy said last week. She spoke of our needing to have hope, but the reason for that hope is, in her words, “so that we can do what God is calling us to in our lives as Christians.”

So the first issue is do you have a sense of “being called”? It is common to think of a vocation, that is, being called to a way of life, when a person is young, a teenager or in their 20s. Do you think that a vocation, a calling, only happens when one is young? Or does the Spirit speak to us, call us, at different times in our life, in the differing circumstances in which we find ourselves—such as right now? It’s not necessarily something we want or choose. It is a calling of the Spirit that we become aware of, recognize, accept and respond to.

This week’s first reading describes a man named  Amos who lived in the 700s before Christ. Amos kept insisting he wasn’t called to be a prophet. He said he was just a man who cared for livestock and orchards. Nevertheless Yahweh called him to prophesy in the northern Kingdom of Israel. That was where the poorer classes of peasants suffered greatly under the unjust treatment of the ruling and elite classes who lived lives of leisure and luxury.

Amos responded to this dangerous and unpleasant calling—to speak truth to power. Five times Amos repeated Yahweh’s warning to the King. He so infuriated the authorities as he repeatedly pointed out how they would be punished for abusing the poor and helpless, that the priest at the holy site of Bethel, where Amos preached, kicked him out. Those in power never listened. The Assyrians came, conquered the land and scattered the people in exile.

The first theme: are we being called as Amos was, or does that seem preposterous?

The second theme today also stems from something Pastor Kathy said last week, namely, “In our present time,” she said, “I believe it is true to say that many of us feel disillusioned over where our country seems headed and ill-equipped to do what is needed to make the changes that will fix this dilemma.” Are we, perhaps like Amos, feeling powerless to bring about the changes that seem necessary?

Let’s reflect on what it means to feel or be powerless. Father Richard Rohr writes, “Christianity is a bit embarrassed by the powerless one, Jesus. We’ve made his obvious defeat into a glorious victory. Let’s face it, we feel more comfortable with power than with powerlessness and poverty. Who wants to be like Jesus on the cross? It just doesn’t look like … a way that’s going to make any difference in the world. We worship this naked, homeless, bleeding loser, crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem, but we want to be winners . . ..”

Paul told the Christians at Corinth, “God chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.” In another letter to them he described how he came to accept, “When I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.”

Now we have come to today’s third theme—politics. Separation of church and state is important to safeguard freedom of religion and ensure that governments are not dominated by a single religion’s interests. But Father Rohr insists that does not mean people of faith should not participate in politics. How, he asks,  can one read the Bible and stay out of politics? Again and again (approximately 2,000 times!) Scripture calls for justice for the poor. The Gospel is rather “socialist” in its emphasis on sharing resources and caring for those in need.

Father Rohr strong states that there is no such thing as being non-political. Everything we say or do either affirms or critiques the status quo. To say nothing is to say something — in other words that the status quo—even if it is massively unjust and deceitful—is apparently okay. The silence of many Christians is used to legitimize the United States’ obsession with weapons, its war against the poor, Israel’s clear abuse of Palestine, politicians who are “pro-life” on the issue of abortion but almost nothing else, the de facto slavery of mass incarceration, and on and on. As humans we can’t help but be political whether we recognize it or not—so let’s learn how to participate in the public forum as God’s image and likeness!

Like it or not, politics (civic engagement) is one of our primary means of addressing poverty and other justice issues. Our knowledge of the power wielded by big money can accelerate our retreat from politics, discouraging us from being the participants that democracy demands and reducing us to mere spectators of a political game being played exclusively by “them.”

Bill Moyers has said, “The antidote, the only antidote, to the power of organized money in Washington is the power of organized people.” We must bring as much passion to our cause as do those who call for building walls. But our job is to tear down walls and build bridges. We have the capacity to grow beyond ego and nationalism into a new identity, one that holds space for everyone to belong and be loved.”

However, this doesn’t mean partisan politics.  To be a faith leader is to connect the inner and outer worlds. In the United States’ not-so-distant-past, Christians were at the forefront of political and justice movements to abolish slavery, support women’s suffrage, protect civil rights.

Jesus and other great spiritual teachers emphasize that we must first seek transformation by the Spirit of love to use the gift of critical thinking without immersing ourselves in negativity and arrogance. We must learn to collaborate in a non-partisan way. We must avoid idolizing anything that preserves our own privilege and status quo, while neglecting to ask, “What effect is this having on others?”

The Apostles in today’s Gospel were called to put into action the powers and authority Jesus had given them. We are called to do the same.

Bulletin – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

Mass on Sunday, July 15, 2018 at 10 A.M. 


LAST CALL FOR THE MARY OF MAGDALA CELEBRATION, SATURDAY, July 21, 2018.  Mass at 4:30 P.M. with a pot-luck supper to follow. RSVP to Pastor Kathy, krredig@hbci.com.


Remember our weekly collection of non-perishable foods for the Winona Volunteer Services


Again this week, we are confronted with the call to be prophets as God gives that to us.  Jesus uplifted the good of community, as we spoke of last week, as he instructed his disciples to go out in pairs.

Robert and I will be away this Sunday for some family time and Dick Dahl will be standing in–thank you Dick!

Come; be with him this Sunday to pray and celebrate!

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy


Readings: 

  • Amos 7: 12-15
  • Ephesians 1: 3-14
  • Mark 6: 7-13

All Are One Roman Catholic Church Safety Policy

Every effort will be made to ensure the safety of all attendees at All Are One services and social activities.  Any violation of this policy will be reported immediately to local law enforcement.

(This statement was updated and reviewed with the Board of All Are One Roman Catholic church at the July 2, 2018 board meeting and will be reviewed with the parish and included in future bulletins.)

Homily – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

My friends, our readings this week speak to us about hope.  We need to have hope so that we can do what God is calling us to in our lives as Christians. In our present time, I believe it is true to say that many of us feel disillusioned over where our country seems headed and ill-equipped to do what is needed to make the changes that will fix this dilemma.

The psalmist today seems to be saying that we have to keep our eyes on our loving God, and for us, that is Jesus, in order that we can know our path and what our life will mean as believers, as his followers.

We have the short, but very powerful reading from the prophet Ezekiel today that at first glance appears to tell us little, but upon a second look; we get the kernel of hope we so often need when trying to do God’s work among seemingly stubborn people, as Ezekiel encountered. God says, “Whether they listen or not—they will know that a prophet has been among them.”   A good question for us to consider this week might be—do I see myself as a prophet?

Sometimes I think many of us believe that being a prophet is a thing of the past—we think of a few “greats” like, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jesus, Mary, his mother and Mary of Magdala, Apostle to the Apostles. But, truly friends, the Spirit is continually renewing the face of the earth and each of us is called to the prophet role by nature of our baptisms, to speak truth as we are given it for the good of all. Much in our present day needs the words of the prophet, in each of us, I think you would agree.  And with God’s grace, the prophet that is in us and others will be willing to share the Spirit’s message too!

The Spirit is always about wanting to assist us in speaking her truth. She may sneak up on us, giving us strength we didn’t know that we had. Think about this—have you ever been compelled to say something in the face of a present evil that no one was addressing, and once you said it, you wondered, how you were able to stand up and say what you did?  Well my friends, that was the Spirit!  We must come to humbly accept and appreciate the Spirit of Jesus wanting to renew the face of the earth through us! And if we don’t do our part, there will be a part missing!

I had several opportunities this week to do good in regard to others and I could simply look at these good things that I chose to do, and make nothing of them or I could see them as the prompting of Jesus, in his Spirit to do what he would have done. The ordinary, the everyday, my friends, that is how our God works the good into our lives, makes our lives meaningful and the life of the person we reached out to, meaningful as well!  And when we can make these connections, humbly, that God is working through us, we receive the hope we so need in times of trial.

We see Paul struggling with what it means to be a prophet too, even though he doesn’t claim this distinction for himself. He is simply trying to be a true follower of his brother, Jesus.  He lives with some sort of affliction that he prays God will take away only to hear, “my grace is sufficient for you.”  And as Paul lives out his call—his life in Christ, he comes to be able to proclaim, “When I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.”  We could well take up his thought in our daily trials as well.  “When I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.”

If life were always easy—no worries, no hardships; we might become arrogant or think as some do, that we did it all ourselves. Our sufferings, what seems to be part of our physical life here, help us to recognize what others bear with in their lives and enable us to empathize with them and show compassion.

This past week, David Brooks, who writes as a conservative, political commentator for the New York Times, gave a talk, that I heard on public radio, to a group I can’t remember, but for my purposes here, I simply give him credit for uplifting an idea much needed today.  He spoke of times past when the idea of “community” was much more prevalent in this country—that of knowing our neighbors, partaking in their lives and they in ours, rather than living separately and as individuals, or within our own little families.

It is this kind of individualism that raises suspicion of newcomers to this country and it is simply because we don’t care to know them or their stories.  If we did, as a nation, we would see them as part of ourselves, struggling as we are, or once did, for a better life.  All of us are part of the family of our good God—not something to be taken lightly.

I believe each of us can point to times in our lives when we did the right thing against all odds and felt strength beyond ourselves.  Likewise, we have all had experiences when we felt the task was more than we could do, but something compelled us just the same.

At these moments we should look to Jesus, our model, our brother, our friend, because even Jesus, God’s First Born was not without scorn—the people he would have thought he could have expected support from, turned away or at least didn’t understand—his neighbors and perhaps some of his family members.  His example is a great comfort to me in my times of rejection and I hope is to you as well.

It is perhaps a good meditation to think about and pray over, of just what it was like for Jesus to be rejected in his own home town.  His human nature had to have experienced the pain of that rejection.  On the one hand, “their lack of faith astounded Jesus,” the Scriptures tell us.  His thoughts might have ran something like—“Can you not look at the fruit—see that what I am doing is for the good of people? Can you not see that we must strive to see that all of God’s creatures have the good things of this earth—that all are free, accepted and loved for who they are?”   This train of thought is experienced often by me and other women priests—“check the fruits,” we find ourselves saying too, and then perhaps you won’t be so ready to condemn. For even Jesus said, “If they aren’t against us, then they are for us!

And on an even deeper level, he must have felt their rejection of him—of his person—of his truth and of the reason he laid his life out for them in the first place.  Because it wasn’t about his personal need to be the messiah or his desire for power, even though, in his humanity, those temptations were no doubt real as in our own lives. We have to struggle as did he with the right reasons for our decisions—is it about me or a greater good? And this kind of reflection is so very important so as to gain strength, like our brother, Jesus, to do the right thing now, in our time!

I think sometimes in remembering that Jesus was and is God, we forget or don’t give enough attention to the fact that he was also human, fully so.  This mystery of Jesus’ divine and human natures somehow existing in tandem, can be a bit to get our heads around, but we have these same natures too, that of humanity and of God, and when we are truly human— in our best selves, as God created us; we are most like God.

So, we come back to hope.  We see in the lives of the prophets, like Ezekiel this week, like Paul, like Jesus, and we think of others like Mary, his mother, Mary of Magdala, his friend—prophets all, taking on the tasks of priesthood, discipleship and servant hood—tasks that each of us are called to as well, by the simple fact that we name ourselves “Christian.”  How many of us miss the work of God all around us in the goodness of daily and random acts of kindness done for us, for others—the challenges we are called to—to do likewise?

Jesus found a lack of faith, a bit of mean-spiritedness even, an inability to believe the best—to see the miracle that love gives birth to. We should pray that our faith would be strong, with the clear knowledge that “God’s grace is sufficient” and therefore allow the miracles to unfold in our lives through the Spirit of Jesus for the People of God.

What will the miracles be?  Which ones will we become aware of?  May our eyes be open to all the good around us—miracles all!  Amen?  Amen!

 

Bulletin – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

Mass on Sunday, July 8, 2018, at 10 A.M.


Mary of Magdala Celebration on the Farm–Saturday, July 21, 2018, at 4:30 P.M.  Mass at 4:30 P.M. with pot-luck supper to follow–just two weeks away–SIGN UP SOON! 


Remember our weekly collection of non-perishable food items for the Winona Volunteer Services’ Food Shelf


All Are One Roman Catholic Church Safety Policy

 Every effort will be made to ensure the safety of all attendees at All Are One services and social activities.  Any violation of this policy will be reported immediately to local law enforcement. 

(This statement was updated and reviewed with the Board of All Are One Roman Catholic church at the July 2, 2018 board meeting and will be reviewed with the parish and included in future bulletins.)


More again this week on our roles and responsibilities of being followers of our brother Jesus. The readings this week talk about the role of the prophet.  This walk with Jesus isn’t always easy, nor was it probably ever meant to be, but there is peace in knowing that he is always with us.  And as Paul says, “It is when I am powerless, that I am strong.”

Come; let us be there for each other, in our prayer,and in the ups and downs of our lives.

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy


Readings: 

  • Ezekiel 2: 1-5
  • 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10
  • Mark 6: 1-6

 

Action Item

Dear Friends, 

We have been attending prayer vigils, marching along with doing whatever we can to make a difference in the action toward getting a just immigration policy in our country.  Many of us are appalled at the actions out of Washington concerning the taking of children from their parents as a deterrent to people seeking asylum and a better life, free from violence in this country.  As we spoke of yesterday at Mass, below find a list of members of the Senate, House and Congress from Minnesota and Wisconsin.  If you feel moved to do some writing to any or all of these people in a position to do something about this deplorable situation, I would highly recommend and encourage that. 

There is also the opportunity each Thursday morning from 10-12 P.M. at the Blue Heron to join with others and write postcards to your Congress people.  Every little bit that we can do is good! Let’s not be complacent in this regard. 

Thank you, 

Pastor Kathy


 

List of Minnesota & Wisconsin U.S. Senators and Members of Congress

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D MN:    303 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Wash. DC 20510

Sen. Tina Smith, D MN:           309 Hart SOB

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D WIS: 709 Hart SOB

Sen. Ron Johnson, R WIS:     328 Hart SOB

House of Representatives (CHOB, Cannon House Office Building;

LHOB Longworth …;  RHOB: Rayburn…)

Keith Ellison, D MN-5:      2263 RHOB

Betty McCollum, D MN-4: 2256 RHOB

Richard Nolan, D MN-6:   2366 RHOB

Collin Peterson, D MN-7: 2204 RHOB

Tim Walz, D MN-1:          2313 RHOB

Tom Emmer, R MN-6:     315 CHOB

Jason Lewis, R MN-2:     418 CHOB

Erik Paulsen, R MN-3:    127 CHOB

Sean Duffy, R WIS-7:                  2330 RHOB

Mike Gallagher, R WIS-8:            1007 LHOB

Glen Grothman, R WIS-6:            1217 LHOB

Paul Ryan, R WIS-1:                    1233 LHOB

James Sensenbrenner, R WIS-5: 2449 RHOB

Mark Pocan, D WIS-2:                  1421 LHOB

Ron Kind, D WIS-3:                      1502 LHOB