Homily – 19th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time in a Pandemic

Dear Friends,  this Sunday, as most Sundays, calls us to be our best–as followers of Jesus of Nazareth, we really have no other choice! But he is a friend who knows by his own human life, that this is sometimes, hard to be our best.  Let us take heart though, in the knowledge that we are never alone–he is our constant friend and companion for the journey.  

May this time find you at peace–my love to each of you–please stay well and safe.  If I can be of any help to you or yours or you would just like to chat, in between my calls, please be in contact.  aaorcc2008@gmail.com or 507-429-3616. –Pastor Kathy


Entrance Antiphon

Loving God, our souls are waiting—you are our help and our shield. May your love always be upon us and with us as we place all our hope in you.

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

Good and gracious God, we come, reborn in the Spirit, to celebrate as part of your loving family with Jesus, our brother. Touch our hearts, help them grow toward the life you have promised. Touch our lives—make them signs of your love for all people. We ask this of you, through Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.


Readings: 

  • 1 Kings 19: 9, 11-13
  • Romans 9: 1-5
  • Matthew 14: 22-33

Homily

My friends, during this [Extra] Ordinary Time in our Church; we are living out extraordinary events in our country and world, which can leave us feeling a bit hopeless at times. A pandemic rages in our country and world that we can’t seem, “to get our hands around,” so to speak, especially here in our own United States of America.  It is clear now after nearly 6 months, that lack of consistent leadership in our country has made this so.

Along with this, our country has been called, upfront and personal, to address the cultural sin of racism, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers and police officers around the country have been called to task concerning their unjust, aggressive and often deadly actions toward our black citizens, to the point of the Minneapolis City Council calling for the termination of the police force as it now stands. BLACK LIVES MATTER has become the cry of protesters, black and white, who seemingly won’t be silenced this time around, as they demand change, as they demand justice.  This cultural sin has festered for over 400 years and its resolution has been championed over these years by many—Martin Luther King, Jr. and most recently, in our time, by John Lewis who left the work now to others as he succumbed to cancer.

The last four years in this country, through the consistent lack of leadership in the executive branch to address the needs of all the people in this country, coupled by a mean-spirited sense of governing by this president, caring for himself and his rich supporters to the detriment of the poor and abused in this country,

the destruction of the environment through ignorant policies, based on greed, and further enabled by the Senate that will not challenge their president to be better, to do better, has left many in our nation feeling demoralized and helpless in the face of actions that seem the least common denominator on the scale of good versus evil.

And yet, our brother Jesus tells his apostles—his followers, including us, to, “not be afraid!”  He questions our faith, through Peter, saying that we, basically, “have little” of it!  Additionally, he tells us to not lose faith because there is so much strength there!  The ability—if we truly believed, “to walk on water!”

Of course, as with all of Jesus’ sayings; we are called to see beyond the literal meaning.  To be our best selves in our present world that can do with no less, will call us to indeed, walk on water!  And if that seems daunting; Jesus’ comforting words, to “be not afraid,” should give us great strength to do what we must do.

Unfortunately, many Catholics from the hierarchy on down have placed their slim agenda—they call it, “pro-life,” but in reality only support one aspect of it— life in the womb and ignore the blatant abuses against every other issue along the life continuum, in a man who says he will support that one item on their slim agenda.

I have always encouraged here that each of us takes the privilege we have in this country, especially if we are white, to vote for people who most clearly support and work for the good of all without telling you to support a particular candidate. I say, “especially if you are white,” because history, and especially during the last 4 years has made it increasingly harder for black people to vote through gerrymandering, lack of convenient poll sights, the push for personal I.D. etc.)

I still believe that is an important stance as your spiritual leader to take, but I did want to include this week the criticism of our president by Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky as recorded in the National Catholic Reporter this past week, because we so seldom see them speaking out on any life issues other than abortion. I see his statement as important as we all consider to whom we give the awesome power to lead our country in the future.

Bishop Stowe stated, “For this president to call himself, pro-life, and for anybody to back him because of claims of being pro-life is almost willful ignorance.  He is so much anti-life because he is only concerned about himself, and he gives us every, every, every indication of that [!]”

That having been said, perhaps the words of Elijah in today’s first reading are instructive in our search for God in our world as Elijah searched for that same God in his.  People in Elijah’s time, before Jesus, thought that God was to be found in majestic places and what is more majestic than a mountain? Elijah and people in his time and place thought that God would be found in power and strength.  Thus, Elijah searched for God in the wind, in an earthquake, and in fire—but to no avail.  He did, though, find God, “in a whisper.” This is affirmed too, in Jesus’ life when he often, as in today’s gospel, goes off alone, to a deserted place, to find the voice and experience of God in quiet.

So, what should this tell us?  Well, first off, we will need to slow down a bit to hear and realize that God is not just in one place—a small, little God in a small, little box as is so often depicted for us in past religious training.  Secondly,  we will have to come to see that God, in fact, is everywhere, and interestingly enough, not in the realm of power and strength—hierarchical stations—cathedrals, but in the everyday.

Jesus demonstrated this idea so well through the years of his public life.  He basically told us, if you can’t see God in your sisters and brothers—in the poor, the downtrodden, the forgotten, you won’t ever recognize God anywhere else!—that is, God as God truly is!  Scripture scholar, Diane Bergant has said of today’s gospel— people in Jesus’ time went to the mountains to find God—“Life today is a mountain experience of God.” I would add once again, Jesus taught us, by his life, the truth of Bergant’s words—all of life is an experience of God of we have “eyes to see and ears to hear.”

Let us pray friends for the strength and wisdom to move into our world, confident more often than not, that those we meet are a reflection of our loving God, or at least have that potential and demand the best they have to give, especially if they want to “lead our country!”  Let us pray too for the faith, coupled with strength to more often than not, “get out of our boats” of comfort, doing what must be done, saying what must be said for the good of all! Amen? Amen!


Prayers of the Faithful– Response:   “Jesus, be with us.”

  1. For our community, All Are One, continue to send your Spirit upon us to enable us to be an inclusive community, open and welcoming to all, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”
  1. For each of us here and for our entire Church, help us to respond with love and care to each and every person we meet, each and every day, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”

3. For all who are suffering here today or in our wider community, be it in body, mind           or  spirit, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”

  1. For our brothers and sisters in our country who are suffering from the manifestations of nature—especially in California, from the fires and from hurricanes and tornadoes in the east—be with each one and give them your deep and abiding peace to know that somehow, all will be well, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, be with us.”

5For our world and its people, that we might begin to study earnestly the ways of                  peace and then do whatever is necessary to turn our backs on the ways of war                    and conflict, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”

6.  For each of us today—we ask for the grace to model Jesus in our lives, by                              extending loving mercy, kindness, goodness, and justice to all that we meet each                  and every day, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”

  1.  Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, from Covid 19, and all other afflictions—give them your peace, be with those our friends and relatives who are newly bereaved to find their way through their grief, we pray—           Response:  “Jesus, be with us.”

8.  Jesus, give us great faith to be able to get out of our boats of comfort and live lives               reflective of you, we pray—Response: “Jesus, be with us.”

***Let us pray for your particular needs—you may say them aloud, then response

***Let us pray for the silent petitions on our hearts—pause, then response

Let Us Pray–Good and Gracious God, you have called us to be people of faith, hope and trust. In Jesus, you have modeled a lifestyle of justice for all your people—give us the wisdom to see the bigger picture of life that always must ask the question—is this of God?—is God praised by my particular action—today. Help us to be people who show your love, mercy, gentleness and compassion for our world. All this we ask in Jesus’ wonderful name, with you our Creator and in the guidance of the Spirit, one God who lives with us and loves us forever and ever—Amen.


Let Us Pray—again, we remember that our brother Jesus is always with us and in these times when we can’t be together to receive the physical bread and wine—his body and blood, let us find him in new and wonderful ways.


Prayer after Communion

Jesus, may your presence , within us , keep us faithful to the work of love in your world—we ask this of you who loves each of us, forever and ever, Amen.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bulletin – 19th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time in a Pandemic

Dear Friends,

NO PHYSICAL MASS THIS SUNDAY, AUGUST 9, 2020–NEXT ZOOM MASS, August 30, 2020 at 10 A.M. CDT–Watch for details as we get closer! 


We are challenged once again to be all that we can be–to, “get out of our boats” of comfort, to do what must be done, say what must be said!  Following Jesus is never less than this.  But we are comforted by his words, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you!”

In these times my friends, that call for so much from us, let us be encouraged and strengthened by our brother Jesus’ words.

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy


Readings: 

  • 1 Kings 19: 9, 11-13
  • Romans 9: 1-5
  • Matthew 14: 22-33

 

Homily – 18th Sunday in [Extra Ordinary Time in a Pandemic

Dear Friends–this week we are gifted with a fine homily by Pastor Dick Dahl–thank you Dick! We continue in this time of pandemic, unable to be together, physically, but as always, remain together in our hearts and in our prayers for each other. We are still basking “in the glow” of our Zoom liturgy last Sunday and look forward to our next such gathering on Sunday, August 30, 2020! If you weren’t able to be with us last week, we hope you will consider joining us in August.  I am hoping that this finds all of you well–do stay safe!  Peace and love, Pastor Kathy

P.S. If I can be of help or you would just like to chat during this time of pandemic, do call–507-429-3616 or email me, aaorcc2008@gmail.com.


Entrance Antiphon

Loving God, come to my help—quickly give me assistance.  You are the one who helps me and sets me free:  Do not be long in coming.

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

Creator God, gifts without measure flow from your goodness to bring us your peace. Our life is your gift.  Guide our life’s journey, for only your love makes us whole.  Keep us strong in your love. We ask this of you, with the Spirit and in Jesus’ wonderful name, one God, living and loving us forever and ever. Amen


Readings:

  • Isaiah 55: 1-3
  • Romans 8:35, 37-39
  • Matthew 14: 13-21

Homily–from Dick Dahl

The Church gives us some very uplifting readings today, something we need at this time, one might say that we hunger and thirst for. The first is from the last part of the book of Isaiah and was likely written during or even after the Israelites were in exile in Babylon (modern day Iraq). Instead of warnings, the person writing this in the spirit of Isaiah gives promises and encouragement. “All you who are thirsty, come to the water. Only listen to me, says the Lord, and you will be satisfied. Why spend your money for what is an illusion, what is not bread, for things that do not satisfy. Pay attention and come to me that you may have life.”

Last Sunday we celebrated the life of our sister in Christ Mary from Magdala. Having been cured by Jesus from a severe possession that would likely be seen today as some form of mental illness rather than demons, Mary served him with love and courage, even to the frightening foot of the cross where in the midst of his tormentors she offered him all she could, her presence.

This past Thursday, another faithful follower of Jesus was buried, John Lewis. Instead of suffering from possession by demons or mental illness, John Lewis was born the grandson of slaves and the child of poor sharecroppers in Alabama. What he lacked in material wealth or social status, God more than made up for in the faith and love that deeply took root in his heart, so that he endured, even when again and again he faced brutal beatings from people who viciously hated him, a black man,  for seeking justice, equal rights under the law. What amazes me even more than his courage, is that he endured these humiliations and pain without hating his attackers. Somehow his continuing faith in Jesus gave him this unfailing strength of love. What a gift to us John Lewis has been! He was not a plaster saint. He was one of us, a man who loved to laugh and dance, and simultaneously was an unflagging witness for justice and for love.

Life wasn’t easy for John and he did not expect it to be for anybody else. But he said, “When you see any form of injustice, say something, do something.” “If you love the Beloved Community, move your feet.” If necessary, “make good trouble.” In 1963 he proclaimed, “We cannot stop and we will not be patient.” He was a realist but always optimistic and emphasized, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair; never, ever give up.” The same day John was buried, NASA launched a lander to Mars named “Perseverance.” How fitting.

John was imbued with the same Spirit that moved St. Paul who also experienced beatings, betrayal and imprisonments. Paul gave us the powerful message in the second reading today in his letter to the Romans: “If God is for us, who can be against us? What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or peril, or the sword? I am convinced that neither; death, nor life, not present things, nor future things, nor any creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The source of such strength is not from us.  It is what Isaiah promised, what kept Saint Paul and John Lewis going.  John wrote, “In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way 0f peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.” This love is offered to us as well. What then can separate us from the love of Christ?

As I said at the beginning we have been given uplifting readings today, so let’s now turn to the Gospel reading from Matthew. It is helpful to first read the eight verses that precede this reading. They describe John the Baptist being arrested, bound and put in prison. John had courageously criticized and condemned the abuses of power in society, spoken truth to power, including to Herod. Like the Isis terrorists in recent years, Herod not only had John killed, but decapitated. When news of this came to Jesus and likely to John’s many followers as well, Jesus went away to this remote and desolate area referred to in the Gospel as a desert, but the crowds followed him, in his and likely their shared grief.

I’m not accustomed to thinking of today’s gospel reading in this context, but what do people feel a need to do when a loved one has died? They come together, and they do so over food, to find healing and support from each other to go on. The Gospel reading describes a enormous mass of people coming to Jesus. To emphasize the size of the crowd, it is described as 5,000 men and perhaps an equal or even greater number of women and children. We don’t know how what is described happened, but let’s take from the account what we can.

His disciples realized it was getting late, they had relatively no food for a crowd of this enormous size, but there was time for people to disperse to neighboring villages. Jesus, however, asked them what they had and then said, “There is no need for them to go away, feed them yourselves.”

On its face this makes no sense. That is, if we focus only on what they had. The disciples could not satisfy the crowds’ hunger until they gave Jesus all they had—a meager five loaves and two fish. It is not the meager resources we have that count, but what Jesus can do with these resources when we give all we have to him.

This reminds me again of John Lewis. What did he have? A Harvard education? No. Wealth? No. Political power? No. He had what God gave him, an abiding love for others that was not some sentimental and weak response. John demonstrated the power of love that Paul told the early Christians in Rome that God gives each of us. And with that gift, the unexpected can and does happen. The sharecroppers’ son became a national hero, a living example of courage and love for friends and foes alike. In a similar way, Jesus’ disciples could not feed the crowds with what they had, yet he told them ‘Feed them yourselves” and somehow they did. The impossible becomes possible when one lets Christ fill his and her heart and guide her and his actions.

Jesus is turning to each of us, as it were, saying, Do what needs to be done, even if it seems impossible, even when it is beyond your comfort zone and your ability. If you trust the Spirit, take one step and then another, and then another. John Lewis quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “We are all complicit when we tolerate injustice.”  He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”  John Lewis tells us, “Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

“You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.”

John never believed that what he had done was more than what any ordinary citizen can do if we are willing to persevere. Jesus is calling us and enabling us to do what needs to be done. This is not likely to surrender our bodies to beatings and snarling police dogs, but it is to move our feet, to do what is within our power to do. It is to support candidates for office who advocate for policies of justice—affordable healthcare for all that is not dependent on the amount of money in a person’s bank account. Safety for people seeking asylum from terror, respect for the environment, adequate funding for education, reform of the judicial system that must protect and serve all citizens, not terrorize them. The list goes on, but it involves studying the issues and the candidates, and above all voting. Jesus told his disciples to do what seemed impossible, beyond their resources. But it was accomplished. Jesus is calling us to act at this time, calling us to trust that we are not alone when we take the next steps that the Spirit empowers us to take in the pursuit of justice, justice for all.

John Lewis ended his last message to us: “So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.”


Prayers of the Faithful

Response: Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

  1. Loving God, guide our lives, help us to see the folly in chasing after things—help us to live balanced lives, we pray—Response: “Jesus our brother, hear our prayer”
  1. Loving God, be with all your people around our beautiful world—assist all of us to turn from war and conflict and embrace peace, we pray—

Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

  1. Loving God, give each of us health of body, mind and spirit–especially those struggling with life—threatening illnesses—give each one your strength and wonderful gift of peace, we pray—

Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

  1. O God, help us to be true followers of Jesus, the Christ, who modeled for us so well, working for justice for all, guided by love for self and others, we pray—

Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

  1. For our community, All Are One, give us welcoming hearts to be open to all who come to us, and inspire us in new ways to reach out  to those most in need of our ministry, after the model of Jesus and John Lewis, we pray—

Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

  1. Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, the family of John Lewis and all those who have lost due to Covid 19—give them your peace, that they may find their way through their grief, we pray—

Response:  “Jesus, our brother, hear our prayer.”

***Let us pray for your particular needs—you may say them aloud—then response

***Let us pray for the silent petitions on our hearts—pausethen response

Let Us Pray

Good and gentle God, our source of all strength and wisdom.  We ask that you would give us peace—filled and loving hearts—the energy to always seek after peace through the gifts of lovingkindness, and justice, founded on mercy.  Help us to remember that our real task in this world as followers of Jesus, our brother, is to love your people and this world.  We especially ask for the strength and courage to, “speak up” when we see injustice in our midst, modeling the exemplary life of our brother, John Lewis. We ask that we might have the perseverance as he did for this great task.   All this we ask of you, Jesus, our Brother and Friend, and with the Spirit, all, one God, living and loving us, forever and ever—AMEN.


Let Us Pray—Again, we are called to “image” Jesus with us at all times and to share that image, which is love with all we encounter.

Prayer after Communion

Jesus our brother, you give us the strength of new life by the knowledge that you are always with us.  Protect us with your love and help us to always follow in your footsteps.  We ask this in your wonderful name, Amen.


 

Pray For

Dear Friends,

Parishioner, Michael Maher,  called today and asked for prayers for his daughter, Becky Maher who is having major surgery on Thursday, August 6, 2020 for a gastric by-pass.  This surgery is a 4-8 hour operation and in talking with Michael, he asked that we pray for a successful surgery and a quick healing time.  We might also pray for her patience in this whole process.

We wish her every blessing at this time.

Additionally, Michael will have to seclude himself for the next 5 days in preparation so that he can be with Becky in the hospital during this pandemic time.  We pray for them both–peace and love to all–Pastor Kathy

Bulletin – 18th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time during a Pandemic

Dear Friends,

NO PHYSICAL MASS THIS SUNDAY–but mark your calendars for our next Zoom Mass, August 30, 2020 at 10 A.M.  Pastor Dick Dahl is preparing this week’s homily–thank you Dick!


As we prepare for Sunday’s reflections, the Scriptures are suggestive of how we should be in our world.  The prophet Isaiah instructs us to listen well, that we may have life and to not spend [our efforts] on things that do not bring life.  The psalmist reminds us that our God is merciful and Paul insists that, “nothing can separate us from the love of  [this gracious] God” because of Jesus.  And finally, just as Jesus multiplied his goodness among many; we too must share Jesus’ love among us.

Peace and love–stay well and safe, Pastor Kathy

P.S. If I can be of any help in this time of pandemic, or you just want to chat, please call 507-429-3616 or write, aaorcc2008@gmail.com.


Readings:

  • Isaiah 55: 1-3
  • Romans 8: 35, 37-39
  • Matthew 14: 13-21