Homily – 3rd Sunday in [Extra]Ordinary Time in a Pandemic

My friends, YHWH—our God, speaks to Jonah in the first reading, “Get up! Go!”

   The reading from Corinthians today may seem harsh, but we must remember that it comes right out of the times in which Paul and the early Christians lived—they thought that their brother and messiah, Jesus, would be returning soon.  Thus, the need to be prepared, to be ready, with no use bothering about the things of this world!

   From our perspective, looking back, clearly Paul and the others got it wrong.  Or, did they?  I think they perhaps had part of the truth.  Their sense was that Christ would be returning soon, but I think the piece that they and we often miss is that Jesus, the Christ, is here, right in front of us, in the next person that we meet—in the person we see each day—in the mirror!  So, always the need, to be ready, my friends! We all come from Divine dust, as someone said, and are here having a human experience.  How could we ever then, treat any person with disrespect, with a lack of understanding, without mercy or justice? 

   Now, I know you are thinking—but the people who are so hard to even abide—what do I do with them? I am not saying that it will always be easy—not at all. I am just reminding us of the words and actions of our brother Jesus that we don’t turn away, but keep trying and God knows, for each of us, there are those who are truly hard to love.  Amanda Gorman, young poet laureate, at this week’s Inauguration Ceremony spoke so well of it, “That even as we hurt, we hoped, that even as we tired, we tried; that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.” Our life in Jesus, friends, calls us to this awesome task and as our new president said in his comments this past Wednesday, “There is nothing we can’t do, if we do it together!”

   And in the gospel from Mark, the evangelist with the fewest of words simply conveys Jesus’ message by telling us to, “Change our hearts and minds…”

   Being Jesus’ followers was then, in his time and now, in our time, all about seeing a bigger picture, acting with a larger heart than many are accustomed to doing. It simply isn’t enough to care for, “what I need,” “what I want,” “the people I love”—we must grow our hearts and souls to at least see the pain with which many people in our world struggle and once we see that pain, do our part to alleviate it. 

   This past Wednesday with the Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, many of us felt a weight of selfishness lifted with the promise from our new leaders that they will lead and care for all the people.  They, I believe, will lead out of their hearts and souls as they have proven in the past through their individual positions in state and national leadership. 

   They will no doubt be accused by their enemies of doing what they do for “political gain,” but they won’t let that get in their way as both are committed to closing doors on the virus from without rampaging across our country, COVID 19, on the virus from within—400+ years old, systemic racism, as well as fixing our economy so that it works for everyone, and finally beginning again to put policies in place to care for and literally save our beautiful earth, home to more than 7 billion of us, not to mention all the plants and animals!

   My friends, always in my words to you; I challenge all of us to, “look at the fruits” in the actions of those you choose to follow, to know if indeed, we are “walking and talking” correctly.  As I prepared for this homily, so many images were floating through my mind and heart from the Inauguration, that from my perspective was sculpted from start to finish to begin to heal the hurts of the past four years, to say in no uncertain terms that we as a nation are better than our past and want now to work on a future world that we are truly proud to hand to our children and grandchildren—to all who are coming next.  In that light, I would like to include here just some of the wonder-filled encouragement of many from the Inauguration Ceremony and others challenging us to be our best—to live in our world, in our time as Jesus did in his.

  • From our gospel today; we are reminded that Jesus always met people where they were in their lives and called them, in that time and place. In today’s gospel he calls fishermen and invites them to now, “fish” for people.  In our lives as parents, grandparents, nurses, farmers, social workers, educators—whatever it might be, Jesus calls us to give our world, as President Biden said in his inaugural address, our [very] souls—in other words, the best we have.
  • I was touched by the fact that Jennifer Lopez, within her singing of, This Land is my Land, This Land is your Land, she recited in her native tongue—Spanish, the words from our Pledge of Allegiance, “one nation, under God, indivisible—with liberty and justice for all,” signaling that this new administration in Washington will truly be aware of all in our beloved country.
  • I was equally touched by the black, female fire-fighter who delivered our Pledge of Allegiance, both in spoken words and sign language—one of the many times that brought tears to my eyes for this awareness of  those without the gift of hearing. 
  • For those who look forward now with hope for what the future brings and whose enemies think that all, those with hope propose to do, can’t be done—it is good to remember one of the great spiritual documents of Hinduism, the Bhagavad Gita, which teaches, “…effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure.” In other words, we might say, “attempting to do our best is always success!”
  • In this vein, when those who would look at our efforts negatively; I always remember Michelle Obama’s words, “When they go low, we go higher.”  My, friends, there will always be those in our path who will doubt that the good can rise, but we must keep our focus and keep moving on.  Amanda Gorman said, [don’t gaze on] “what stands between us, but what stands before us.”

   And in all of the above, we must remember as columnist David Brooks said in a bit of commentary on Wednesday, “the importance of gratitude.”  He reminded all the white folk among us that we should really have gratitude for our black sisters and brothers in the person of Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina who really was able to jumpstart Joe Biden’s campaign by his endorsement late in the primary season, which ultimately elevated Biden to the position of the Democratic nominee and now our president. I would add too, the name of Stacey Abrams in her stellar work in her home state of Georgia making it possible for many more people to vote.  And this, friends, Brooks reminded us, came from a group of people whom white folk have so abused for far too long.  Finally, David Brooks reminded us of the words of another, “where there is gratitude, joy cannot be far behind. “

   In closing then, as Amanda Gorman again said so well, [our] nation isn’t broken, but simply unfinished…there is always light.  If only we are brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to be it.”  My friends, this is our call today in present-day prophets and in the words of Jesus; who often reminded us that, “he was the light of the world” and that we must be too! We are being called—here and now, my friends—every day of our lives! Amen? Amen!

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Bulletin – 3rd Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time in a Pandemic

Dear Friends,

ZOOM MASS THIS SUNDAY! January 24, 2021 at 10 A.M. CST. Watch for the link tomorrow.

Winona Volunteer Services, WVS has a volunteer program this year that will try to match a volunteer with someone who needs their snow shoveled. If you are over 60 and could use such a “snow” angel, please call WVS, 507-454-5212 or email, Marite at molmstead@ci.winona.mn.us.

The Catholic Worker house has an on-going needs list if you would like to help out. Any donations can be taken to 832 W. Broadway, Winona, MN. between the hours of 3:30-5 P.M. weekdays. If what you are donating is non-perishable, you can leave anytime in a convenient tub on the porch. If you want to send them a monetary gift add their P.O. Box 102. List of needs below.

  • reusable or disposable masks
  • bottled water
  • tooth brushes/toothpaste
  • razors, deordorant, feminine products
  • fresh fruit, butter, frozen ground beef
  • cheese/cheese sticks
  • ramen noodles
  • pop-top microwavable meals
  • canned fruit, mustard, ketchup
  • pasta/pasta sauce
  • KWIK Trip gift cards-$5 & $10
  • Add to CW balance at Bluff Country Co-op–used for necessities and packing for meal deliveries


This has been a momentous week in many ways–new leadership in Washington with the possibility of some truth-telling, other-centeredness, and care for all the people. There seemed to be a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday with the anticipation and promise of so much good coming forth.

We are all challenged anew to do our part. We pray with the psalmist this week, “Make me know your ways, O God.”

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy

P.S. Please don’t hesitate to be in contact if I can be of help to you, 507-429-3616 or aaorcc2008@gmail.com.



  • Jonah 3: 1-5, 10
  • 1 Corinthians 7: 29-31
  • Mark 1: 14-20


Homily – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time in a Pandemic

Dear Friends,

This Sunday brings us once again to what the Church calls, “Ordinary Time”–an in-between time when no big feast days are happening, but a time that, even so, is not without challenge–following our brother Jesus, means–we are always called to be our best. And these troublesome times in which we live call us to stand up for right, to speak the truth when just, plain truth is called for! My prayer for each of you is that you might more regularly, be able to do that. It won’t always be easy, but with compassionate words, it will always be right! Peace and love, Pastor Kathy

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


Entrance Antiphon

May all the earth give you praise and honor and break into song to your holy name, O God, Most High and Most with us.

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

All loving and ever-present God, your watchful care reaches from end to end, loving all that you have created.  Help us to always embrace your desire for good in us. Give us the strength to follow your call, so that truth may live in our hearts and reflect peace and joy to those who believe in your love. We ask this of you all good and loving Creator, Savior and Spirit, One God, living and loving us, forever and ever, Amen.



  • 1 Samuel 3: 3-10, 19
  • 1 Corinthians 6: 13-15, 17-20
  • John 1: 35-42


My friends, in today’s gospel from John, our brother Jesus responds to the disciples’ question, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” with a very intimate response—“Come and see!” His response is in tone and content akin in intimacy to their question.  By the time they asked it; they apparently had seen and heard enough of, and about Jesus, that they definitely wanted more. 

   We might compare this scene and desire to know more and perhaps take next steps to the situation of two people falling in love.  After a time, when they are sure that, “this is the one!” one or both decide to take their “love” home to meet their family—they want to take the next step!

   Andrew and John, the disciples who inquired where Jesus was staying had more than likely witnessed his baptism in the Jordan—maybe even heard the heavenly words, “This is my beloved, in whom I am well-pleased!”  We don’t know, but something affirmed the words of the Baptist within them, that, “This is the Lamb of God” and they took the next step to follow him.

   Jesus posed another question prior to the above exchange which is also significant, I think, in the interchange between the would-be disciples and their Rabbi.  Jesus asks them, “What are you looking for?”  It is an interesting question and a deeper one than simply noticing that these two men are following him.  Jesus, I believe, is asking them, what is it that you truly want—what is it that is on your heart?  These questions are truly “heart” questions.  And what do I mean by that?  These questions are about what these men truly want in life on a very deep level.  They don’t for sure have all the answers, nor have they truly thought out what following this Rabbi will mean—but on a deep level, they just know, this is right and that they must take this next step. 

   I just finished reading Kamala Harris’ 2018 book, entitled, The Truths We Hold, written after she was elected to Congress as a senator from California, but before becoming the Vice-Presidential candidate and ultimately, along with Joe Biden were elected to lead our country in the two top positions.  Before moving into this final position for which she will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021; she was one who listened on a deep—heart level for the ways she should go, always keeping in mind serving the people most in need.  It was why she became a lawyer, why she ran for and became District Attorney of San Francisco and then Attorney General of California. 

   Being a woman of black and South Asian descent; she knew what minorities live with, including discrimination which steeled her along the way to fight for justice for all—that no one would be without a voice. 

   Early on in her career as a senator and in her position on the Judiciary Committee; she was called upon to be part of the confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanagh for a lifetime position on the Supreme Court.  Within these hearings the country came to know Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who put her life in danger to come before the Senate hearings and tell her very personal story of attempted rape at the hands of a younger, drunk, Brett Kavanagh.  Because the Trump administration was determined to get Kavanagh confirmed to the Supreme Court due to his conservative views, placating his base, due process was not followed in truly investigating Blasey Ford’s allegations or those of two other women who came forward with similar charges. 

   Kamala Harris, truly her mother, Shyamala’s daughter, who spent her professional life searching for a cure for breast cancer, has always been an advocate for women— listening to her heart and then moving ahead.  Even though Christine Blasey Ford’s painful public testimony didn’t ultimately work to stop Kavanagh’s confirmation, Harris stated that it was not without merit, because it encouraged other abused women with no voices and those with voices who weren’t listened to, to come forward and tell their stories too!  “On the day that Dr. Ford testified, the National Sexual Abuse Hotline saw a 200 percent increase in calls [!]”

   My friends, I share this today because it fits so well into the chosen Scriptures of this Sunday.  Today’s readings are all about God’s call in life, to each of us, whomever and wherever we are to live out our dignity and divine natures through our one, wonderful human life.  Andrew and John heard the call to take the words “on stone tablets and make them ‘flesh’ within them—on their hearts,” as Franco Zeffirelli said so well in his 1977 epic film, Jesus of Nazareth.

   The boy Samuel is instructed by his mentor, Eli, to respond to God’s call very simply, “Here I am, I am listening [!]”  The intention of course is that Samuel will do God’s will and the Scriptures tell us that indeed, for Samuel, this was the case. 

   The fact that each of us is called to do God’s will, “committing” acts of justice, peace, mercy and love in our world as did our brother Jesus before us, as does Kamala Harris in the present, is confirmed as right by Paul’s words to the people of Corinth in today’s second reading, “Your [bodies are temples] of the Holy Spirit.”  In other words, “we would only expect this kind of action from you!”

   My friends, these are such troubling times where one, self-centered person has been able to turn otherwise intelligent people against scientists, environmentalists, historians, economists and journalists—all people who have devoted their lives to their craft, as is quoted in a Facebook piece by Bob Farnham. The reasons are many, but the reality is the same—our country has become much divided. Worse yet, for us who have come out of a Catholic background, is that this devotion to one person on the “seeming support” for one life issue has severely divided our families and our churches to the point that we can’t even communicate with each other. This inability to communicate seems to be based on whether we can agree with a black and white view of the world that names our living God as vengeful, hateful and with no understanding or mercy for the “gray” areas in life where many people find themselves. 

   With a thought toward what is needed in these troubling times where some people are convinced that it is their right to tell others what they must believe, how they must act and how they must vote; the words of Pope Francis are instructive: “The Church is called to form consciences, not to replace them.” 

   My friends, that is why I try very hard, to simply challenge your well-formed consciences, not to tell you what to believe, or how to act.  Each of you knows “right” when you experience it and likewise, “wrong” when you experience that too! Peace, for the most part, is the by-product of doing what is “right.”  Anxiety, tension and anger are just some of the by-products of doing what is intrinsically wrong or evil. 

   As we move into this New Year more with each passing day, may our hearts be filled with hope and anticipation as we strive, “to listen” to our God, through the world around us, the poor, the suffering, those without “voices,”  as we likewise strive after what is right and good at the “heart” level—doing all that we can—to be our best selves, not only for us as individuals, but for all of our brothers and sisters in this world.  Amen? Amen!


Prayers of the Faithful

Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”

  1. Jesus, our Brother, as we welcome Jesus, our Messiah into our midst today, help us to be able to respond as Samuel did, “Here I am, I come to do your will,  we pray—Response:  “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
  • O God, be with all elected officials, especially our new leadership coming into office on January 20th —instill within each one, the wisdom of your Spirit to lead their people well. Help all world leaders, to find the ways to peace, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
  • Loving God, give each of us health of body, mind and spirit–especially those struggling with life—threatening illnesses, COVID and all others—give each one your strength and wonderful gift of peace, we pray—Response:  “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
  • Loving Jesus, help those looking for work to find what they need,  we pray—Response:  “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
  • O God, in this new year help us to strive to be people of peace—be with all in our country to strive for unity—help us to remember that Jesus has glorified our humanity by his presence in it and help us to treat people and our world accordingly, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
  • Loving God, be with each of us today giving us what we most need in life, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
  • For our community, All Are One, during this New Year, 2021  continue to give us welcoming hearts to be open to all who come to us, and inspire us in new ways to reach out this year to those most in need of our ministry. We pray additionally that we again soon join in person as a community, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
  • Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, especially from COVID, but from all other causes too—give them your peace, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”

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

Let Us Pray

Loving God, you know what we most need today—be our strength, our peace—give us your heart to love our world and your people. Let us never be afraid to speak the truth especially when people suffer for lack of the truth. Help us to be able to walk a bit in others shoes especially those we find hard to love—give us your understanding and your mercy in these cases. Surround our lives with your care. Bless us, keep us, and hold us in your love—we ask all this of you, Creator, Savior, Spirit—one God, forever and ever, Amen.


Let Us Pray—Again my friends, we can’t be together nor receive communion, but just know and remember that our God in Jesus is always with us. 

Prayer of Communion

Jesus, fill us with your Spirit and make us one in peace and love—we ask this of you, the Creator and Spirit of us all, Amen.


Bulletin – 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time in a Pandemic


Next Zoom Mass, Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 10 A.M. Watch for link next week.


Dear Friends,

We are once again entering Ordinary Time for a period of 6 weeks prior to the beginning of the holy season of Lent, with Ash Wednesday falling on February 17th. We usually consider Ordinary Time an in-between time from Christmas–to Lent and Easter and Advent when we start the cycle all over again. Because it is an in-between time, does not mean it will be a time without challenge as we will see going forward.

May each of you know peace in these troubling times–may each of us be “light” in our world.

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy

P. S. If I may be of help in any way, don’t hesitate to call me, 507-429-3616 or email, aaorcc2008@gmail.com



  • 1 Samuel 3: 3-10
  • 1 Corinthians 6: 13-15, 17-20
  • John 1: 35-42