Homily – Baptism of Jesus

Dear Friends, 

Below find Pastor Dick Dahl’s homily from last weekend–thank you Dick! –Pastor Kathy


Today’s homily builds on four related reflections. Here is the first:

In December Father Richard Rohr released a new book titled, “What Do
We Do With the Bible?” In it Fr. Rohr speaks of how since the time of the
the Reformation and the Enlightenment–in other words the last three to five
hundred years–Christians have reduced their way of reading Scripture to a
narrow lens that was supposedly rational, literal and historical—a severely
narrow view that he and many would say is the least spiritually helpful view.
Father Rohr writes, “Such a narrow approach largely creates…a
transactional religion much more than transformational spirituality. It
idealizes individual conformity and group belonging over love, service, or
actual change of heart.”

He goes on to say, “The earlier centuries of Christianity were much closer
to the trans-rational world of Jesus and his storytelling style of teaching
(which does not lend itself to dogmatic or systematic theology). As stated in
Matthew 13:34, ‘He would never speak to them except in parables.’ The
indirect, metaphorical, symbolic language of a story or parable seems to be
Jesus’ strongly preferred way of teaching spiritual realities.”

Now, the second reflection: I went though this background about ways of
reading scripture because when I first read the Gospel account of Jesus’
baptism today, I found myself trapped in a narrow literal understanding. I
questioned why was Jesus even going through a ritual in which John the
Baptist called people to reform their behavior? Did he have to reform his
behavior? And did anyone really hear the voice of God the Father speaking
or see the holy Spirit coming upon Jesus in some visible form?

I was inclined to interpret this description as the much later understanding
of Christians after Jesus’ resurrection and the Pentecostal gift of the Spirit
who made clear to them what it had all meant.

Now, however, I am inclined to read this account with a broader and, I
hope, deeper viewpoint. A crucially longer historical awareness gives the
event deeper meaning than a mere literal approach does. For example,
John the Baptist’s preaching is associated in Luke’s gospel, unlike in any of
the other gospels, with a call from God. This presents him just like the
prophets before him, such as Elijah, whose ministries also began with a
similar call. John the Baptist then prepares the crowds for a major change–
the more than thousand-year-long phase in God’s plan for mankind was
about to change, namely the Time of Promise. He tells them “One is
coming after me who is mightier than I, one who will baptize you with fire
and the holy Spirit.”

Jesus’ baptism then powerfully opens a new phase in history—the Time of
Fulfillment. A voice from heaven identifies the man Jesus as his Son. It
reflects almost word for word the words from the prophet Isaiah in our first
reading today: “Here is my Servant …my Chosen One with whom I am
pleased. Upon him I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the
nations.” The baptism of Jesus was really an anointing.

The man Jesus was so powerfully affected by the voice of the Father and
the coming on him of the holy Spirit that the next thing he is described as
doing in Luke’s gospel is to go into the wilderness of the desert to come to
terms with it all, to figure it all out. When he emerges from the desert, Luke
writes, “After this, Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.” One
of the first things Jesus is described doing is to stand up in his home synagogue in Nazareth and read from the scroll of Isaiah, “The Spirit of the
Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the
poor…to captives…to the blind…(and) the oppressed.”

Now, the third reflection: I have tried to describe for you a way of reading
today’s Gospel that isn’t like a movie, but is more a meditative revelation
with much deeper meaning than simply a plunge in the Jordan. This
reading opens the door to a revolution, a message that turns the
established order upside down.

This message was and remains revolutionary in that it was and is not first
of all for the people with power and great wealth. As Mary declared in her
Magnificat, “The Mighty One… has shown might with his arm, dispersed
the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their
thrones, but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.”

In fact, more than any other Gospel writer, Luke is concerned with Jesus’
attitude toward the economically and socially poor. At times the poor in
Luke’s gospel are associated with the downtrodden, the oppressed and
afflicted, the forgotten and the neglected. It is they who most readily accept
Jesus’ message of salvation.

So, now we come to the last reflection in this homily: The second reading
today from the Acts of the Apostles. We hear Peter being called to go to the
home, not only of a Gentile, but of a Centurian of the occupying Roman
army. In a more modern context, that may have been like being sent to the
home of a Nazi commandant in World War II.

To Peter’s amazement, as he was telling Cornelius and those with him the
story of Jesus, “the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.”
When Peter realized that they had received the holy Spirit even as he had,
he had them all baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.

Today it is hard for us to realize and appreciate what a revelation it was for
the Jewish people, like Peter and later Paul, to recognize that God’s
covenant which had made the Jews his special people for over a thousand
years, was now open to all people in an inclusive New Covenant–sealed in
the blood of Jesus and which we are celebrating in this Eucharistic meal.
In the words of the old Negro spiritual, “He’s got the whole world in his
hands” or today’s alternate version, “She’s got the whole world in her
hands.” In other words, no more exclusion. No more dualism! No more
separating people into who is right and who is wrong, who is in and who is
out. We are all included, not because we are better or worse than others,
but because God’s love is a transforming power. We are each sinners, yet
the transforming mercy of God has made us temples of the holy Spirit
through baptism.

Before we think or say, “This is obvious and clear to us,” we need to ask,
“Is it really?” If the total embrace of God’s love was truly recognized,
accepted and believed, how could anyone be viewed as an outsider? In the
book by Father Rohr that I mentiohned earlier, he states, “Well over sixty
percent of Jesus’ stories make the outsider the hero of the story….”
What people have we excluded, and perhaps continue to exclude? For
centuries it was the Jews. The Church sponsored crusades and the
Crusaders carried out pogroms against Jews on their way to fight Muslims.
After the Reformation Christians who did not accept each other’s version of
the truth were burned at the stake. More recently it has been the
homosexual, the divorced. The list may today go on to include others
whose political views as well as whose religious beliefs (or lack of them) we
find offensive and hate.

In short, I suggest that the Scripture readings today, read from a more
profound viewpoint, proclaim the clear and fundamental message of Jesus.
He loves each person and has in fact a preferential love for the poor, the
outsider, the outcast. This was the lesson that Peter learned when he met
with Cornelius. The affirmation of Jesus by the Father and the Spirit at his
baptism began his emergence from his hidden years into his public
ministry. His actions were his message. Jesus came to change the minds of people about God, and in doing so, to change our minds about ourselves and literally everyone and everything else in the universe.

Bulletin – 2nd Weekend in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

Mass on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 4:30 P.M. 


Remember our non-perishable food collection for Winona Volunteer Services


February 20, 2019, Wednesday, 7-9 P.M. Science Learning Center, Room 120, Winona State University–public showing of Pink Smoke Over the Vatican–with discussion following on the topic of the ordination of women within the Catholic church. 


The Church Year moves back into Ordinary Time with this weekend’s feast. This simply signals to us that it’s Ordinary Time now till Lent begins on March 6, with Ash Wednesday.  In  the interim, our mission is constant with our everyday, in every way following of our brother, Jesus.

Come; celebrate with us this Saturday!

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy


Readings: 

  • Isaiah 62:1-5
  • 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11
  • John 2: 1-12

 

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 was reviewed with the parish).

All Are One Roman Catholic church Statement as a Sanctuary Support Community

“We affirm that as a congregation of people of faith, we are taking seriously the call to provide sanctuary support in the Winona Sanctuary Network. We recognize that our immigrant neighbors are a vital part of our community and local economy and that due to a broken immigration system they have not all been allowed the legal protections that they deserve. To this end we will use our privilege and our resources to stand with our community members that are in fear of deportation. As a sanctuary support community we are able to do this by providing; prayers, security, time, money, advocacy, relationship, and fellowship to the degree that is within our power.”

Bulletin – Baptism of Jesus

Dear Friends,

Mass on Sunday, January 13, 2019 at 10:A.M. Dick Dahl will preside. 


SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 7-9 P.M. Science Learning Center, Room 120, public showing of Pink Smoke Over the Vatican, a documentary film by writer and producer, Jules Hart on the ordination of women within the Catholic church.  This 58 minute film will be followed by a question and answer period featuring Kathy Redig, Roman Catholic woman priest and pastor of All Are One Roman Catholic church in Winona. Sponsored by the Winona Interfaith Council. 


Remember our non-perishable food collection for Winona Volunteer Services. 


Dear Friends,

Jesus takes his ministry to the people with this Sunday’s feast.  He publicly immerses himself into our journeys through his baptism and begins his commitment to us.  Can we do any less?

Robert and I  will be away  this coming Sunday with Pastor Dick Dahl covering–thank you Dick!

Come; celebrate with the All Are One community!

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy


Readings: 

  • Isaiah 42: 1-4, 6-7
  • Acts 10: 34-38
  • Luke 3: 15-16, 21-22

 

 

Homily – Feast of the Three Kings

The feast of the Epiphany or more, familiarly, “The Feast of the Three Kings,” is all about manifestation, which is the definition of Epiphany.  It is about sharing what one has seen and heard.

Pope Francis said as much in a January 6, 2018 homily, just one year ago today. I will use some of his key ideas and then go from there.  Francis said that there are three actions that these astrologers from the east accomplished that can “guide our journey toward” [God]. Another term used for these ancient visitors is, “The Magi,” a term referring to the priestly class, also meaning, “wise men.”  Francis goes on to say, “The Magi, see the star, they set out, and they bring gifts.” 

If we look to the Scriptures for today; we hear the prophet, Isaiah, proclaim, “Arise, shine, for your light has come!” And we might ask, “Who is this light for?” All of us, or just some?”

The writer to the Ephesians says basically that, Jesus is for everyone, no exceptions!  Matthew, in his gospel, the only one by the way who records this visitation of “wise men,” says that the Three Kings, “saw the star and followed it.”  Now this seems to be the connecting piece to the words of Francis—not only did they “see the star,” but they “followed” it—in other words, they did something!

Being a Christian, a follower of our brother Jesus is not a stagnant thing, but a state that calls forth something in return for the gift we have received with our faith.  We must respond by bringing our gifts to bear in our world.

Pope Francis makes a point of saying that the Star of Bethlehem was there for all to see and then he asks, “Why didn’t everyone see it?” He goes on to simply say and I paraphrase, perhaps those who didn’t see the star weren’t “looking up.”  Perhaps they had their eyes on the ground.

So, it would seem that being a Christian is not just something we say about ourselves, so as to claim credit, but something that we must act upon, knowing that it is not about gaining a reward, but simply about doing what is right and just and true—the loving thing, as Jesus always did.

Francis goes on to indicate that some didn’t see the star, even if they did look up because they didn’t know what they were looking for.  We have talked many times here about how we will find Jesus—God, in our world, always hopefully realizing that if we are looking for glitz and power, than we will miss Jesus.

From all the cards and art produced around the Christmas mystery, the Star of Bethlehem is always depicted as the brightest one in the heavens—perhaps, as Francis says, it wasn’t so “bright” as it was, “constant.”

In the terminology of astrologers, this Star of Bethlehem wasn’t a “shooting star”—one that dazzles and is quickly gone, but one that is more gentle, yet true and constant.  The pope compares the Bethlehem Star to how our God invites, rather than demands, a relationship with us.  Our loving God then promises to stay close—this relationship will never be fleeting as some other “stars” we may choose to follow: money, power, prestige.  They are more like “shooting stars”—here today, gone tomorrow!  Not so with our God!

Going back then to the three actions of the kings that we are to follow; we are told that after they, “see the star,” “they set out.”  In other words, they take a risk! Because after all; they don’t know where the journey will lead, they don’t know if it will come to a good end—only that they must go.  We often see this response to God’s call—this urgency.  We saw it in Mary when she hurried to visit Elizabeth during their mutual time of waiting.

If we are truly living our Christian calls to follow Jesus, we likewise must take risks.  We can’t wait for the affirmation of others to answer the call of our hearts to follow Jesus.  And from studying his life, we know that taking a risk won’t always be easy—we may lose friends and family, but we will know that we have brought the “gifts” that we have to bring to the “Christ Child” in all the places that we find “the child”—the poor, the lonely, the sad, the forgotten, the mistreated.

A final point that Francis challenges us with reflects the story of the Magi as we have come to know it—“they kept moving.”  The Magi, Francis says, “set out, went in and fell down and worshipped him, and they, went back.”  The piece we must understand is that their “setting out” once they “saw the star” had no ending, as our journey in the faith must be, in our life here.  We must be a Christian always, Jesus’ follower, every day, in every way.

With today’s feast, our formal Christmas time is over—the 12 days.  Now we must leave the relative comfort of the crib and continue “to see” and to do that which is ours to do as Jesus’ followers.  Amen? Amen!

News Item

Board member, All Are One Catholic church, Katherine Krage wishes to share the upcoming workshop.
Wisdom Years Workshop begins at the Franciscan Spirituality Center, Lacrosse,  1/9/19. In 4 Wednesday morning sessions this winter, then repeating in March, we’ll gather about the “afternoon of human life” having a significance of its own. The move toward integrity is spiritual work, looking back, taking stock, giving thanks, reconciling/forgiving, including oneself.
Join us by calling FSC or register on-line. 608-791-5295. $40 includes all 4 sessions. Its a suggested donation so no one is excluded. Original deadline was 12/18 to register but call anyway. Or go to fscenter.org.