Homily – 1st Sunday in Lent

Dear Friends, 

Before I share the homily for today, a note about our liturgy next weekend. Robert and I will be away and Dick Dahl will be covering. This would ordinarily be our Saturday mass for the month, but due to spring break at WSU, Mugby Junction has very shortened hours next Saturday which would make it very difficult for Dick to do the liturgy. So we decided instead to have the Mass on Sunday, March 17, 2019 at 10 A.M. I hope this won’t inconvenience you too much but it was the only option open to us. So, plan on Mass next Sunday at the regular time instead of on Saturday afternoon. Thanks for your understanding—Pastor Kathy


Lent is upon us my friends.  We may come to this season with some “baggage,” let us say, of a past history of not so fond memories of long fasts and long church services to go to, feelings of guilt perhaps about not being good enough and part of the reason that Jesus needed to come and die on the cross.

If any of this sounds true for you, than I would like to invite you to come to this season with some fresh ideas and see these 40 days as a gift given by our Church to help us “open up” and grow closer to our God who loves us beyond all imagining.  Just as Jesus found it necessary before beginning his public life to go apart and prepare for the challenges he would face; we too need such times to do the same.  He knew that the challenges would be many—to speak truth to power, to let all his brothers and sisters—all of us, that is, know how much we are in fact loved, to address those “lording” their power and position over the less fortunate to change their ways, to call all of us to be our best selves for ourselves and for others.

He knew that he would be met by those ready to hear his message and those who would be resistant to it. All the more reason for him to prepare, to build his strength, and to wrap himself in the gifts of the Spirit of his loving, Abba God.  None of us can be the people that this world needs without strength, wisdom, knowledge, faith, the ability to heal in many ways—the ills of body, mind and spirit, words of truth and power—the gifts of the Spirit, basically. We all were given these gifts when we were confirmed and times of quiet and prayer can help us to realize once again these gifts we all have and use them in our world.

If any of you are looking for some good reading during this season; I will make available my library of spiritual books.  You can simply sign them out, enjoy, be challenged and bring them back when you can for others to use.

I would also call your attention to the films and speakers offered through the 2nd year of the Winona Interfaith Council as ways to open up to a larger world, as ways to be about things that our brother Jesus was in his world.  We have one coming up on Monday night at St. Mary’s Church in Winona in the Commons Room at 6:30 P.M.—the Puentes/Bridges Program that works with undocumented laborers in Wisconsin—this is rescheduled from an earlier time.

Today, we have the opportunity to receive ashes on our foreheads, a simple, but very telling reminder of our vulnerability and impermanence in this life. This gift of a human existence is temporary, in other words, and our life in Christ is always calling us to that reality and challenging us to be our best for whatever time we have.

In truth probably, none of us relishes thinking along these lines—I know I don’t and I don’t think Jesus did either, in his humanity—this was part of his agony in the garden I believe, knowing that his time in this life would end.

Lent calls us then to struggle with these questions of impermanence, of justice for all—sharing the goods of this world, extending mercy as Paul writes of our God to the Romans in today’s 2nd reading: “Here there is no difference between Jew and Greek, all have the same Creator, rich in mercy toward all who call.”

The first reading from Deuteronomy is a testament of gratitude for all that our God has done.  Lent can be a time when we become more grateful for the gifts in our lives that we regularly take for granted—gifts that in the impermanence of our lives could be gone tomorrow.

Lent additionally calls us to balance in our lives.  While I don’t believe it needs to be a “punishing time” of great fasting and abstinence; there is a place for such practices.  Jesus chose such practices because he probably instinctively knew that it would steel him against the trials, hurts and disappointments to come.  Additionally, he probably knew that such practices would give him the strength to be priest, (we might think, servant here) prophet and lover of his human family and all that, that would mean.

I think because, at times, much of the above is quite a task to take on; we don’t relish a time like Lent.  Usually, it comes in the Church Year, at least in our climate, in the dead of winter and it might make us feel dull, but through the 40 days, we begin to glimpse spring, when new life begins to burst forth.  This new life not only shows itself in material ways around us, but there is every chance that this new life will be seen in us as well if we have allowed ourselves to open up to the larger world around us—the world that so desperately needs true followers of our brother, Jesus.

The prophet Isaiah, in one of the readings of this past week challenges us to be about the fast that our God truly wants—the “fast” that calls us to care for the least among us.

We sang the beautiful refrain from Psalm 91 today, “Be with me God, when I am in trouble,” and our faith assures us that indeed, God will!  Our faith also calls us to the realization that God does deserve our love, our adoration and our homage, as the Gospel reminds us today and in our world is where we must show that love.

The kin-dom that Jesus left us is the world in which we live—if we can love this world and its people, and work for the good of all, then the love we owe to God who has first loved us, will be accomplished!  Amen? Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

News Item–Day Light Saving Time!

Dear Friends,

Even though we seem to be in a winter that isn’t ending, Day Light Saving Time begins tomorrow! With that in mind, the adage, “spring ahead” comes into play tonight or in other words, set your clocks ahead one hour in order to be at Mass at the right time if you were planning on being with us tomorrow. Yes, let’s spring ahead in more than one way!  Peace to All,  Pastor Kathy

News Item –oops!

You probably noticed that the “bulletin” that I sent out this morning was recorded as a “homily.” It was indeed the bulletin for this week! Sorry for any confusion! –Pastor Kathy

Homily – 1st Sunday of Lent

Dear Friends,

TODAY IS ASH WEDNESDAY! NO MASS TODAY! ASHES WILL BE DISTRIBUTED ON SUNDAY!


Mass on Sunday, March 10, 2019 at 10 A.M. 


March is Food Share Month–please be generous! You can bring your donations any weekend in March. 


Upcoming Winona Interfaith Presentations!

  • Thursday, March 7 at 7 P.M. at St. Mary’s church, 1303 W. Broadway, “Going, Going, Gone.”  Young people are leaving churches, synagogues and temples in ever-increasing numbers.  Come and find out why–you may be surprised! 
  • Monday, March 11, rescheduled Puentes/Bridges Project at St. Mary’s church–speakers will share about their work in Wisconsin with undocumented farm laborers.
  • Tuesday, March 12 at 7 P.M. at Wesley Methodist, 114 W. Broadway, video, “A Fearless Heart” about Thupten Jinpa on compassion and its surprising and compelling benefits. 

Lent is upon us my friends! May this special time be of benefit to you and yours as it calls us to a closer relationship with our brother Jesus.

As stated above, we will not meet today for liturgy but ashes will be given out on Sunday.

Come; be with us this week!

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy


Readings: 

For those who wish, here are the readings for Ash Wednesday:

  • Joel 2: 12-18
  • 2 Corinthians 5: 20–6:2
  • Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18

Readings for the 1st Sunday of Lent:

  • Deuteronomy 26: 4-10
  • Romans 10: 8-13
  • Luke 4: 1-13

 

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 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.”


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Homily – 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

As I said in this week’s bulletin; this is the last Sunday in Ordinary Time for a while as move into the holy season of Lent with Ash Wednesday this week.  The ashes are a sign of our vulnerability in this life and point the way to a new and different life one day with God. I say, “a new and different life” because our God is with us, every day, closer to us than we are to ourselves, it has been said; but this will be different! In fact, we are told that we can’t even imagine what God has prepared for us! We will talk of this more as we move into Lent, but for now, let’s look at the messages of this week.

Our day in and day out life with our God as followers of our brother, Jesus, can be said quite well, I think in Paul’s challenge to the Corinthians today: [Be] “fully engaged in the work of Jesus.”

We might ask then—just what does this “work” entail? As you know; I am fond of saying, “It’s all about love!”  In any situation; we must apply the law of love, especially when we aren’t sure of the way to go in a particular situation that we are confronted with.  If we can answer that, love is being served, that we are doing the most loving thing in what we are choosing to do, that the needs of others and not just those of myself will be addressed, then we can be quite sure that we are more “fully engaged in the work of Jesus” as Paul says.

And more specifically, Sirach zeroes in on our actions saying that, “It is in conversation, in a person’s words that we will know their worth.”  It is another way of saying, “You will know the truth—the good of something, “by the fruits.”

Sirach’s words are fulfilled in Jesus’ words today from Luke, “All people speak from their heart’s abundance—a good tree does not produce decayed fruit any more than a decayed tree produces good fruit.”

As I listened to all the rhetoric coming out of Washington this week about “truth-telling” or lack of it; I thought that these words from our prophets serve us well today.  Whether a person is believable or not seems to stem from the impression they have made on us—through their words, but more importantly, through their actions!

Diane Bergant, scripture scholar speaks to this issue in her commentary on today’s readings.  As we all know, and she makes the point of saying; one only has one chance to make a good first impression.  The trouble with this, she continues, is that our culture often holds up less than good criteria for what makes a “good, or acceptable” person—many times the criteria have to do with external things; the clothes we wear, the shape of our bodies and so on.  And how unfortunate if we never go any deeper than that!

It is only in living—through our life experiences, and with others, she suggests, that we come to see what is most important about those we meet in our lives—what they are made of–on the inside.  This is called, “wisdom”—something we hopefully come to in our lifetimes.

When we are driven by the externals alone, she goes on, the genuine person loses out.  Part of our hopelessness, it seems to me, in viewing the combined stories of Church and State, at present, is the lack of genuineness, of truth,  of those willing to speak truth to power, boldly and with conviction, demonstrating what are the tenets of faith and integrity upon which many of these so-called leaders in both places, stand.

I was encouraged this past week in reading a National Catholic Reporter article on the newer bishops in this country, those in the age range of 50-59, and in particular, four that were named in the piece.  I want to tell you a bit about them as I feel the hope for our Church lays in their hands, their actions and others like them.

These men all attended Pope Francis’ meeting in Rome this past week on the crisis of clergy sexual abuse and as the article stated; they left energized and anxious to get to work!  These men, Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City, MO, Steven Biegler of Cheyanne, WY, John Stowe of Lexington, KY and William Wack of the Pensacola/Tallahassee diocese in Florida all share the idea that “transparency and accountability” are the ways to go forward as opposed to the older idea that all troubles should be handled internally which we all know, clearly hasn’t worked.

The four men that I have named here believe that these ideas of “transparency and accountability” will be “key” at June’s National Bishops’ Meeting.  As Bishop Wack from Florida stated, [he] “sees himself and other younger ones as part of the solution” to this crisis within our Church.  I would lift up these men for our prayers in applying the “law to love” to this crisis.

The thought that these men are on the right track has been confirmed by the national/international organization, SNAP (Survivors’ Network for those Abused by Priests) when they praised the work of Shawn McKnight and Steven Biegler.

We can be encouraged by the words of Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, KY who has stated, “This is virtually been a part of my journey since entering the seminary 33 years ago.  I’ve been meeting with victims, he says, since my first year of priesthood.” It would seem that now is the best chance of something meaningful being done to address these grievous crimes!

Another item out of the news this past week has been the on-going story of the religious women in India who have spoken their truth to power with regard to a former superior of theirs that they are supporting who was allegedly raped by her bishop.  To date these women have received ridicule from other nuns, endured pressure from congregational leadership and apathy from Rome.

These tactics to silence truth-tellers are old and well-practiced within our Church and unfortunately, have been tolerated by the “faithful” because of clericalism, the institution that “lives” on the notion that the clergy are superior to the laity and with regard to women and children, allowing sexism and sexual abuse of both to flourish for far too long because they have considered these vulnerable ones less good than themselves.

Clericalism, sexism and the sexual abuse of children must, simply must, be on the agenda of the next bishops’ meeting because far too many hurt and disappointed Catholics have already ceased to care what they do.

According to Sirach, Bergant reminds us, the true test of the “pot” is seen in the firing.  In other words, none of this will be easy—change is always hard and especially for those who have been entrenched so long on a certain path.

But again, as Paul reminds us today; we must be “fully engaged in the work of Jesus.” If that had been the case, the sexual abuse of children could never have gone on this long, coupled with the cover-up of these heinous crimes. And it isn’t enough for us to lay blame, but we must all be part of the solution by demanding of the bishops, at least within this country, that they become part of the solution instead of, part of the problem. We need to write our bishop, John Quinn, each one of us and encourage him to join with Bishops Shawn, Steven, John and William to be forthright, strong and filled with love as they together try to dismantle the sin of clericalism that has allowed so much harm for so long.

Jesus had no time for hypocrites, a word that in the Greek, Bergant reminds us, means play-acting or pre-tense. It was Jesus who stressed that we should never correct others before we have corrected ourselves—the story of the speck in their eyes versus the plank in our own. Self-righteousness clouds our view of our own faults.

So, my friends, let us pray for strength, for all, to be steadfast in the belief that our God loves us all and we do this best by keeping our eyes on Jesus.  Amen? Amen!