Bulletin – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • Mass on Sunday, October 2, 2022 at 10 A.M. COVID restrictions still in place.
  • Being that we are very close to the feast of Francis of Assisi, October 4–one who loved all of creation; I would invite you to bring a picture of any pet that you share life with and we will have a special blessing for them. Because our space is small, it isn’t feasible to bring all your pets to Mass. 🙂
  • A question to ponder: how are we feeling about dropping the COVID restrictions? I feel that with all of us totally vaccinated, and each of us being very careful in our own, personal lives, we could try going without our masks, at first, and see how it goes. If we can manage to all stay well, then we can begin to remove other restrictions. A personal example: I was recently at my sister priests’ retreat and we went without masks, hugged and sang and no one became sick as a result. Unfortunately, COVID, like flu will be with us indefinitely, and I think like anything, we must just be careful. For myself, I will still wear a mask in stores as I don’t know who I am encountering, which is different at All Are One. Another thing that I am considering is offering the wine in individual cups as many places are doing now. Let me know how you feel about this.
  • One final question to consider: How would you personally feel about us having a potluck after the 4:30 Masses in November and December, one or both as in the past? I think these times are important for us as a community to try and do again and as with dropping other restrictions, I think we can do these things again safely. We could sit spread out a bit more than usual. Let’s think too about doing hospitality again. And as before, the majority opinion will rule. Please consider alternate ways to include these practices again in ways that you would feel safe. Thanks all!

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Dear Friends,

This week’s readings encourage us to be strong in our faith; “to [soften] our hearts” and in fact, “to lead with our hearts,” in all that we do as Jesus’ followers.

Come; be with us this Sunday!

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy

P.S. Please never hesitate to call, 507-429-3616, or email, aaorcc2008@gmail.com if I can help you in any way–or if you would just like to talk.

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Readings:

  • Habakkuk 1: 2-3
  • 2 Timothy 1: 6-8, 13-14
  • Luke 17: 5-10

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Homily – 26th Weekend in Ordinary Time

     My friends, being that I was away at retreat with my sister priests for the greater part of this week, I opted for using most of an earlier homily on today’s readings with a few updates.  Hopefully, there is still good for us all in this previous work.

   Once again with today’s readings, we are challenged to care for those who in our society and world, live with less because most of us live with more.  It isn’t news that we in the First World have managed to accumulate the lion’s share of the world’s goods and we are willing to fight to keep it, and whether we personally believe that or not, our country does and that is why we fight many of the wars that we do, to protect our interests around the world.  The years of COVID certainly lifted up for us the disparity between rich and poor and how those with less suffer far more and quicker than those who have enough of this world’s goods. 

   Lives are being lost today, as throughout history, on both sides of battles, over nations wanting more, rather than trying to find a way for all of us to have the basics which will ultimately mean some having less so that everyone can have some.

   Our United States is really good about giving humanitarian aid throughout the world when disasters strike, and so we should!  We can look at the unequal distribution of the world’s goods and say truthfully, that no one of us is responsible for this situation—but people of heart and character will always struggle over what to do to help, and so we should! 

  The Scriptures today don’t speak so much against having wealth when others do not, but against being complacent in our lifestyles.  Complacency seems to be the greater evil for which the prophet Amos has his dander up with the Israelite people today. Complacency is about being so wrapped up in our own world, our own lives, and our own projects that we cease to see the “Lazarus” people at our door, looking for the scraps. 

   I have found myself doing a great deal of reflecting of late as we recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, and I am realizing anew that the way I feel about my family—all the memories of the good of those years and of how we stood by each other in the hard times as well, is how most other families feel about each other—we all want happiness and good for those that we love.

   Unfortunately, over the years, figures continue to show that the poor have become poorer and the rich—richer, a fact that we can’t be complacent about.  Complacency can drive us to see our own children and their needs and wants without realizing that we are likewise connected to all the children throughout the world, especially to those who have no food, and being Jesus’ followers should call us to, no less.  Every religious belief system calls its people to service of the less fortunate and the deeper message and challenge is always to understand why the imbalance exists, and then, to do what we can to right it. 

   I think we find ourselves troubled by the story of the rich person and Lazarus today—probably more so by the cruel-seeming outcome for the complacent rich person.  We speak often here in our gatherings of the great love and mercy of our God—a few weeks ago we had the story of the prodigal child—wasteful of this world’s goods and the prodigal, wasteful, almost, love of the parent in accepting the wayward one back.  So why today, do we see no leniency for the rich person? 

   It seems the difference is that this wealthy person never made the connections in his life, even though fiery prophets such as Amos and others, one after another, came and proclaimed, challenged that there be a better, more just way of life for all.  The rich person didn’t heed the message whereas the prodigal found the way home and did see the light.

   My friends, we all have free wills—no one from on high or from below will ultimately be able to force us to do anything—we will need to choose.  The responsibility is ours and so too the consequences.  I believe that Jesus wants us to get the message, in no uncertain terms, that many things, while not good, can and will be forgiven, but when we simply don’t care or can’t be bothered, or for whatever reason, don’t attempt to see the connection to the whole; we are on shaky ground.

   It has been suggested that the poor, destitute person, Lazarus, has a name in the story and that the rich person does not to uplift the plight of the poor man and to downplay the actions of the rich person. It has also been suggested that we try and see how we might be like the rich person; not that the situation is the same—of not feeding the hungry, but maybe there are other ways that we are capable of sharing in issues of inequality. Can we perhaps make a call; write a letter, saying “no” to a congressperson that we don’t agree with? Who are the people right in front of me, at my doorstep, so to speak, whose needs I am ignoring? 

   At the conclusion of my RCWP retreat, we celebrated the liturgy together—this same liturgy and the presider suggested that the person, right in front of us, might be ourselves who most need care today. A very valid point!

   And friends, that is truly what it is all about—taking the Scriptures and making them come alive today, applying them to our current life situations.

   The Spirit of God is continually renewing the face of the earth, calling each of us to be our best selves; and that isn’t about a narrow, strict following of man-made law and regulation, but about the law of love, prodigal loving even, that Jesus talked about.  We simply can’t be about living our lives with reference to “black and white” rules when the solutions to many of our world’s problems; climate change, gun violence, unending wars, hypocrisy in leadership in both Church and State throw us into “gray areas” where “heart action,” not “head action” alone, is needed.

   Being “black and white” as a response to the needs of this world, can often leave us feeling really disconnected from our best selves.  We can’t fully know what it is like to be on the receiving end of a law, such as those against the LGBTQ community, women and more, that are devoid of love, or to be discriminated against for the way we were born, if that hasn’t been our reality, unless we walk in someone else’s shoes for a while.  We can’t always do that, but we can try very hard to treat others as we would want to be treated.  In every situation where we encounter strife, animosity, or division; we must apply the law of love.  We can’t just talk about labels devoid of the human component. Once we give the label a human face; we can never again be complacent; we can never again say, “It’s not my business.”  We can no longer walk away. 

   If we choose to stay and confront the evil present; (remember, evil is easy to spot—it is that which is devoid of love) then we must be good listeners of people’s stories, as we spoke of last week. We must have ears that can truly hear and hearts that can feel their pain.  I think of the many in this world and their families who live with mental illness—certainly not something that they chose.

   It isn’t an easy thing to confront the powers-that-be if that is the route, we choose to make a difference, because we have all been taught to give them the respect of the office; but we must always remember that we answer to a higher power.  We all know right from wrong and must simply speak up when people are being misused and abused—no matter who is speaking the untruth.  It was what our brother Jesus did, and it is what we must do! 

   You all remember Swedish-born, Greta Thunberg who has given such a great example of speaking truth to power in the past concerning climate change and saving our planet for the next generation.  Her plea and demand even, that each of us steps up, was right -on, refusing to be complacent any longer. 

   The times in which we live friends, are crisis-laden, lacking in morality—selfish times, that we must, simply must address with love—continually ask our brother Jesus to stand by us as we endeavor to be “the light” this world needs.

   In conclusion, looking back at today’s gospel, the rich man was apparently “condemned” not for his selfishness, but for his complacency that effectively allowed him, “not to see” the suffering right in front of him! Let us not be guilty of the same! Amen? Amen!

Bulletin – 26th Weekend in Ordinary Time

Mass is on Saturday at 4:30 P. M. on September 24, 2022. COVID restrictions are still in place.

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Dear Friends,

The challenge this week is to not be complacent–it would seem that trying to be our best, even if we at times fail is more acceptable in God’s eyes than, “not caring.”

Come; let us struggle over these issues together this week.

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy

P.S. Please never hesitate to call, 507-429-3616, or email, aaorcc2008@gmail.com if I can help you in any way.

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Readings:

  • Amos 6: 1, 4-7
  • 1 Timothy 6: 11-16
  • Luke 16: 19-31

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Homily – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

My friends, the Scriptures for this Sunday speak a great deal about “listening”—to ourselves and to others, in order that we might have a better understanding of who we are—what God may be calling us to, and what others in our world may be needing from us.  Because you see, for the Christian follower of our brother Jesus, it is very much about action on our parts—we can’t just “hear” the Word and do nothing—this is clearly not acceptable. 

   I belong to a Franciscan Life Group (FLG) as a Cojourner with the Rochester, Minnesota order of Franciscan Sisters, that this past week was finally able to meet in person after all the months of COVID where only Zoom gatherings were possible. 

   Our topic for reflection was the volume of ideas and concerns that have been raised over the past couple of years under the title, Synod on Synodality called for by Pope Francis. This synod or any synod is a time when the laity and the bishops, especially the bishops, are encouraged to truly “listen” to one another, so as to perhaps make concrete decisions for change to make our Church more inclusive, open, and vibrant.  As you might expect, our discussion of a half hour was only able to scratch the surface of the needs out there to make our Church more inclusive, open, and vibrant. 

   I told my life group that when I heard of this synod two years ago, I didn’t approach it with much enthusiasm as I still remember a like process done in the 1980’s—for a pastoral letter on women.  Thoughts and comments from women were sought from around the world. The letter went through four revisions with the first draft the most complete and telling about what women were asking for, and by the time the fourth and final draft appeared, the beautiful and complete statements of what women wanted and needed from their Church were completely gutted.  But when those who have the power within the Church represent only half of the people, (the men) this is to be expected. 

   When I did my pastoral project for my master’s degree from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in Pastoral Ministries in 1999, I chose to study and write about clericalism and lack of voice for women within our Church under the title, Excluded by Birth, Diminished by Language: A Case for Inclusivity Within the Catholic church. I had the rare privilege of working with then, Bishop Raymond Lucker of the New Ulm diocese in Minnesota as he was implementing a system of lay pastoral administrators in his diocese to cover for the lack of male priests. 

   I had hoped to eventually have my research published and tried several avenues to have that done, and other than being able to place a hard-bound copy of it in the university library, that was the extent of sharing the word of how one bishop was “listening” to his people and doing what he could to allow the voices of lay women and men, as well as women religious to be heard. 

   A final note might be to add that we were in the long papacy of John Paul II who basically was not listening, so in many respects, other than the National Catholic Reporter, not many other publications were willing to “listen” either. 

   The prophet Amos is attempting today through the first reading to get the people of his time to “listen,” and his issue was the “poor” and he speaks rather forcefully relaying God’s displeasure of those who “trample on the needy” [for their own gain].

   It is important for us all to remember that people are “poor” in many ways.  In the discussion of “synodality” or any other synod issue, when all the voices are not heard, we are all a poorer people.  Our second reading today from Timothy speaks in a general way to this issue, where he says, “there should be prayers offered for everyone…[this] will please God…who wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth.”  When we listen, truly listen, to another and hear perhaps, a reality other than our own, we give the very best “prayer” to another. 

   The gospel from Luke today has a somewhat confusing message from our brother Jesus.  We may have found ourselves asking, is Jesus really praising the dishonest steward who is trying to save himself from ridicule and/or punishment?  Exegetes tell us “No” and that Jesus is really lifting up the “creativity” of the steward in finding a solution that ultimately helps others. 

   Within our FLG, I shared my frustration with Church leaders who justify their inaction or inability to truly hear the needs of their people with the adage: “the Church moves slowly!”  As one of our members said, “Well that is just an excuse!” 

   Going back once more to Luke’s gospel for today, our brother Jesus ends his teaching with, “You cannot worship God and money.”  Again, looking broadly at Jesus’ words, “money” can be seen as a catchall for whatever stands in the way of “worshipping God” through our actions in the world.  We can certainly look at “power” in that sense and our Church hierarchy’s strong grasp of it!

   Clericalism, that need for men to stand alone as the only conduit for the message of the Spirit is truly about “power” and their need to hold on to it.  Not much that is truly good can be accomplished through this synod or any other until this issue of clericalism is addressed. 

   So my friends, in Timothy’s words once again, [let each of us offer] “prayers for everyone,” that we might be good “listeners” of all the stories and strive to address all the needs expressed.  Amen? Amen!

Bulletin – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • Mass on Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 10 A.M. COVID restrictions still in place.
  • September Saturday Mass will be on September 24, 2022 at 4:30 P.M.

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Dear Friends,

We are challenged by our brother Jesus this week to be “creative” in finding solutions to those things in life that are troubling. We can’t let ourselves “off the hook” so to speak, in not bringing our “lived Christianity” to bear on what is happening in our world.

Come; pray with us this week over these issues.

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy

P.S. Please don’t ever hesitate to call, 507-429-3616 or email, aaorcc2008@gmail.com if I can be of help to you, or if you would simply like to talk

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Readings:

  • Amos 8: 4-7
  • 1 Timothy 2: 1-8
  • Luke 16: 1-13

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