Homily – 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

My friends, it would be hard to miss the notion this week in our Scriptures that, “Our God is for us!”  Beginning with Jeremiah, it is clear that the life of a prophet is not an easy undertaking, especially if one is going to respond to the invitation with any amount of zeal.  It is not a job one seeks out, but one that a person is asked to do by our loving God. Once asked, and if the prophet accepts; they will always have God at their back as is evidenced by Jeremiah’s words, “Our God is with me like a mighty champion.”

In the pain of the call, Jeremiah implores God for justice, and rightly so.  The injustice that life sometimes gives to those who try to live and act justly toward all or to  those who suffer because others fail to be open to their needs; the psalmist tells us—God will always hear their cries—the cry of the poor, and in turn implore one of us to help!

The gospel for today’s liturgy is part of a longer teaching that Jesus gave his apostles before sending them out in twos to teach and to give back that which they, he said, “had been freely given.”  I think the overriding idea that we, as followers of our brother Jesus want to hold onto, in conjunction with carrying on his work in the world, of being “bread”—his body, as we discussed last week, is that we would not fear.  Jesus tells us, [do not fear anything!]  Again, we get the message that our God has our backs—ultimately!

The nugget that I would take from Paul’s letter selection for today to the Romans is that, [grace abounds for all.]   I think in the past; we have spent too much time on the first part of this reading—the idea “that sin entered the world” and in the old translations, who it was who was responsible for bringing it in [women]!  We got stuck there and never moved on to the best part, that God’s grace “abounds for all of us” and that no matter what jams we get into being “bread for the world,” our Abba God’s grace–the very life of God, for that is what “grace” is, will be with us!

It’s good to remember that the notion of being imperfect or “sinful” is part of what makes us human and according to Paul, our imperfections only became “sins” when formal laws were created! Being imperfect is part of the definition of what it is to be human—we live, we try to love, we get sick, we make mistakes and we die—it’s all part of the human package. Certainly, we can choose to rise above our imperfections becoming our best selves, both for our good and the good of others and it would seem this would be our God’s wish for us to become ever more, as we were created–the image of God.

I take time to spell this out because usual exegesis doesn’t always let us know that our God loves us in our imperfections, our failings and our sorrows—caused sometimes by ourselves, sometimes by others.  Our good God doesn’t call us to beat our breasts, proclaiming that, as a friend once said, “We are scum; we are truly scum,” but that more so; we are made in God’s image and that we need to more often proclaim this piece and keep striving after that goodness.  This is what God loves, that we keep trying!

So, what has my week brought that speaks to all of this?  I was with my friend Alice for much of the past week catching up on each other’s lives, resting, enjoying some good food—that we didn’t have to prepare, some antiquing—delighting in what each of us found that would enhance our respective homes, and sharing some programming, that both challenged and delighted us.

As I reflect back on these days with a good friend—a soul mate, really; I realize that I witnessed the face of God in the beauty that my friend has created in her flower gardens, in the fun we had, staying in our “jammies” till noon, sipping coffee, laughing about old times, looking forward to all that comes next!

In all of this, from doing some joint exegesis and planning for today’s liturgy and homily which we both needed to prepare, to sharing the work of an artist one evening at the local museum in West Bend, WI where Alice lives and the artist originated too, aspects of our good God were present to me—beauty, goodness, compassion .

The artist, whose interest lies in historical period dress and adornment, spoke to us of a Wisconsin family from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries whose later generations shared the complete saved wardrobe of their great grandmother with him for historical purposes.  Many of the dresses needed to be restructured and/or repaired to vintage condition, as time had its toll on them,  which he did, and his ability to do so, coupled with his work uncovering the story of this family through saved letters, cards and newspaper clippings was most fascinating to me. It turned out that this family lived in Marshfield, Wisconsin where my grandmother on my Dad’s side, lived. One got a sense of how important, “family” was to this historical group of people. I have often wished that my Dad’s family had saved more historical pieces like this.  The study of history has always been important to me because it tells us so much about, who we were, and how we have progressed or not into the future.

My time with my friend also brought us to discussions of our present times, of all the needs of the People of God in our nation and world—in our Church.  We tried not to dwell on this “unfinished” business too much, perhaps remembering Jesus’ words, “The poor will always be with you,” taking the much needed rest we both required.

In our work, all of us, in the ways we live our calls to be prophets, priests, followers of Jesus, the Christ, for the good of all; we must take times away to fill our own cups, so as to be ever more consistently, our best selves—bread—Jesus’ body, in our world.

And if we remember his words, “Don’t be afraid,” and have faith that indeed our God has our backs, that will be all that we need to do great things in our world! Amen? Amen!

Corpus Christi Weekend Homily

Happy Fathers’ Day to everyone reading this who has fathered physically, or in other ways the children of this world–thanks for all you do! We need you to keep doing it! (:

My friends, the feast of Corpus Christi can be a day that either leaves us “settled” in religious reverie or “unsettled” as we consider its true meaning, which is really all about taking it to the next level.  Let me explain.

Corpus Christi, Latin for “Body of Christ” has been, in the past, all about worshipping the body and blood of the human Jesus as we receive him in communion.  I think for too long, many in the Catholic church have been satisfied to simply “worship” this mystery and leave it at that, when really this feast calls us to so much more.

As we know, Jesus was always shaking things up, stretching his followers to be more, see more, understand more, see their lives as “gift” given to share, to make life better for all. Let’s look at what exegetes have to say.

Diane Bergant, scripture scholar, states that “blood symbolized life itself”—that the significance of the cup of wine is not in its material substance, but in its incorporation of the partakers in the blood of Christ—in other words, the sharing of it with the community is where the true goodness/the benefit lies. So, if the feast of Corpus Christi leaves us “settled” in simply, worshipping the body and blood, then perhaps we have missed the point of this feast.  Jesus never asked us to worship him in the elements of bread and wine, but to care for his body in the world.

Exegetes continue, breaking bread with someone was looked at in the time of Jesus as a sign of forming community with them.  Jesus raised that to a new level in saying that sharing Eucharistic bread forms us into the body of Christ.

In other words, when we eat regular food, we incorporate that food into our very selves.  The opposite is true with the Eucharist, Bergant says.  When we partake of Eucharistic bread; we are transformed into Eucharistic bread, meaning—we become Jesus’ body for the world.  This is important, let me repeat that!  So, you see, this is indeed another level—receiving communion is not just between us and God, but us—God (think Jesus) and our world. Receiving communion is a community action for the larger community.

In the Gospel from John, Bergant tells us that “flesh and blood,” on a literal level, was a common way of characterizing a human being—when applied to Jesus, speaking of Jesus’ flesh and blood is our proclamation of faith in the incarnation—the fact that Jesus became one of us to have a human experience, thus telling us how much we are loved by our God—that God in Jesus would go to that extent to make sure that we creatures know how important we are to the Creator.  Jesus became one of us, flesh and blood through his entire life; not just when he gave us communion, but when we make conscious efforts to live as Jesus did for our world!

I think it would be good for us to try and put ourselves at Jesus’ last supper with his family and friends and really attempt to tap into all that was going on for him, in his humanity, all that was before him in his journey to be Christ.  Most of us can only really get our heads around the human component—Jesus’ earthly family, his friends, his disciples.  What was he truly thinking, feeling when he said, “Whenever you share this meal, the simple elements of bread and wine, think of me!”  Remember, if you can, that when you take these elements, simple gifts from the earth; they are in effect my life-blood—my body, all that I have taught you, all that I have given you, by way of example, by way of my life among you.  When you take all of this in and let it change your life, you do become my body—given to you that you then can continue my work in the world.

And friends, this is why Jesus could truly say, “You will do greater things than I!”  He truly believed and trusted that his family and friends, his followers would continue his work in the world.

That’s where all of us come in.  We can’t let what we do here at Mass end here—this is only the beginning.  The only real purpose for the Eucharist, in the end, is that it be a launching pad for all that comes next.  We are strengthened here by the love that the Eucharist signifies to go forth into our daily lives and make a difference.

This past weekend, as you know, Robert and I travelled to Cape Girardeau, Missouri for a family wedding. Our nephew, Matthew, my brother’s son married Amy.  It was a wonderful family event, filled with joy for the new couple, wishes of love and all good for them, times to share what is going on in the individual lives of extended family members and promises to continue the love and communication, the life and fun that we all experienced at this event.

Just as Jesus, our brother, knew such events in his earthly life among us; he brought his very best to his last supper with all those he most cared about.  On some level, that is what I felt our family brought to this event last weekend.  For all that hasn’t gone right in my family of origin—on this weekend; we were willing to set that aside and be family in all the ways that we could. To me this is what Eucharist is all about!

When we do this my friends, within our families, within our city, on a national level to make our country better for all, on a global level for our world, we are truly Jesus’ body and blood in the world—and it all begins here each time we celebrate the Mass. Let it be so! Amen? Amen!


Homily – Trinity Sunday

Dear Friends, 

Pastor Dick Dahl has given us another wonderful homily this past weekend in my absence–enjoy! -Pastor Kathy

Today we come together to worship, but not to worship a deity on a mountain top or above the clouds, not a deity separated from us in another realm of existence, but rather the all encompassing and sustaining Mystery, beyond our wildest dreams and yet at the same time intimately within and around us, the Mystery of the Holy Trinity manifested in all of creation.

The reality of this belief is not immediately apparent. It appears as nonsense to some. But, as Gary Zukav writes in his book which is an overview of the new physics, “Nonsense is nonsense only when we have not yet found the point of view from which it makes sense.”

In my last homily here I noted Barbara Fiand’s words that we often say we are created in God’s image, but we usually create God in our image. We don’t usually go to the extremes that the Greeks and Romans of classical times did. They imaginatively peopled their concept of heaven with gods who depicted their own rivalries and conflicts. Nevertheless, we have often described God in human terms. And how could we not? How else can we relate to a Mystery that encompasses and sustains all that is, except through words and concepts that describe what we experience. But, as the semanticist, Alfred Korzybski put it, “The map is not the territory.” Or, as the physicist Fritjof Capra has written, “Because our representation of reality is so much easier to grasp than reality itself, we tend to confuse the two and to take our concepts and symbols for reality.”

As Christians, we believe that this Mystery has come to our aid–by somehow becoming one with us, by taking on human existence in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. In this human form the all enveloping Mystery made itself known. Jesus then chose the human image of a parent when he told his followers to call the Mystery “Father” or even “Daddy” (Abba) as he himself did. As a result, I think we have less difficulty relating to God as a Parent or God as  Son, than we do as Spirit, even Holy Spirit. At least we stopped using the word “ghost.”

Why do we worship the Divine Mystery as Trinity? Jesus never used the word. Nor do we find it in the Scriptures. But it comes naturally from Jesus’ words. At the last supper with his friends, he told them, “I came from the Father and have come into the world.” He prayed, “Father, all I have is yours and all you have is mine.” He describes a dynamic relationship he has with his Father–and also with each and everyone of us.

But Jesus also said that he and the Father would come to us as Holy Spirit. Symbols are used to help us grasp this aspect of the Mystery—a strong wind, tongues of fire, a white dove, or the one Jesus used, the Paraclete, the Helper. Symbols help us, but they can also trap us into absurdities.

The Mystery in which we exist and which we worship is not three gods or “two men and a bird,” as one person put it, but a dynamic outpouring of Living Love, an intimate and dynamic relationship of Love. Fr. Richard Rohr points out that relationship is the deepest characteristic of God. In relationship we enter Mystery. Now “love” is something we can relate to, as is “relationship,” even though each is also a projection of human experience.

Ironically, the scientific discoveries during the past century reveal that nothing in the quantum world exists in isolation but also only in relationship. And instead of a static, mechanistic world, quantum physics reveals an unbelievably dynamic universe. If we believe that the Mystery we worship as God is the source of all creation, then it’s makes sense that creation reflects its Creator—that it should mirror on-going, creative Relationship.

Francis of Assisi called the world “our cloister.” Francis saw nature as the mirror of God. Father Rohr, himself a Franciscan, writes that this mirroring flows naturally back and forth from the natural world to the soul. He writes, “One has to sit for a while, observe it, love it without trying to rearrange it by thinking you can fully understand it.” He goes on, “This combination of observation along with love—without resistance, judgment, analysis or labeling—is the best description of contemplation I can give.”

We live each day caught up in the Mysterious Relationship we call Trinity. The Holy Spirit enables us to find the manifestation of God in nature, in our neighbor, in the Eucharist. Barbara Fiand observes, “One feels at ease in moments of presence, enveloped by the good.”  She adds, “The life of Jesus was the ‘presencing’ of God. Our lives are called to be that as well.”

I want to conclude with the following thoughts from Father Rohr:

The followers of Francis of Assisi believe thatJesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity. It didn’t need changing. God has inherently loved what God created from the moment God created. No, Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God. This sets everything on an utterly positive foundation. Rather than being an ogre, God is Love. Rather than being sinners in the hands of an angry God, we are inherently and forever loved by God, no matter what we do or don’t do. God does not love us because we are good; God loves us because God is good. We can be good because we draw upon such an Infinite Source.

Modern science is helping us recognize that the physical universe is fundamentally different than it appears. Reality defies what common sense seems to tell us. In a similar way the Mystery of the Holy Trinity seems to defy common sense, yet the Holy Spirit reveals it to us as real.

Only loving relationships transform lives. God acts in us, ever flows through us, energizes us, and can never be separated from us. Francis of Assisi understood the entire circle of life has a Great Lover at the center of it all, the Triune Mystery that we worship today.

Homily – Pentecost

Friends, today with the feast of Pentecost, we officially end the Easter Season.  Now, even though that is true, I hesitate to use the word “end” because I don’t want us to get the notion that we can now coast.  What Pentecost really signals is a beginning.

   Just as in our Mass each week—we purposely don’t say, “The Mass is ended, go in peace” as in previous times, as that signals, we are done for this week! No, we say, the Mass is ended, or this part is over—“Let our service either begin or continue!”

Jesus’ sending of the Spirit was always meant to give us strength for the service that continues; the Mass is for “revving” us up!  Pentecost signals the end of the “strength-building” (for now), 50 days (the Greek meaning of Pentecost)—to the time of going out, sharing so completely what we have been so graciously given.

This past week, the Winona Interfaith Council, of which I am a member, worked and put out a letter that shows our commitment as a group of religious people from all different faith backgrounds to stand in solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers in the most recent attack on them in Portland, Oregon.

Our faith in Jesus of Nazareth, or Buddha, or the Great Spirit, or in the tenets of the Ba’hai faith, whatever it might be, calls us to be about action and in each manifestation of belief; we are showing a different aspect of the face of God! We cannot say we believe and not act!  I see this action in present day as the same as what happened on that first Pentecost recorded in Acts—people from all places heard what those first followers of Jesus had to say, “in their own tongue.”  This happened because the message was big enough, inclusive enough, for all of them, in the Spirit.

Friends, this is what we as Pentecostal people have to realize too—Jesus, the Christ includes us all as we spoke of last Sunday.  Part of our letter of solidarity includes the teachings of our prophets which clearly show how we are more alike than we are different.  Any church rhetoric that states that in order to be saved, one has to believe “all the tenets of our faith” are clearly not being led by the Spirit of that first Pentecost!  We look to Jesus’ own prayer the night before he died, “That all may be one” for evidence of this.

Some 9+ years ago on Pentecost Sunday, we at All Are One were celebrating the first Mass after my ordination—it was May 11, 2008 that year, a bit earlier than today. We could truly say that was a “Pentecostal moment”—just as Jesus’ young band were being “birthed” into the world of Palestine, All Are One was being “birthed” too into our community of Winona, MN.   Coincidence?  I don’t think so! The Spirit can do in us what we cannot do alone!

Pentecost is one of the real times of celebration that the Church gives us—Joan Chittister calls these “firework moments.”  They are times that call us to go deeper, such as Christmas and Easter and recall what these holy times in our faith really mean—times when our God moved in mighty ways among us in the person of Jesus and his Spirit. Pentecost, Joan goes on to say, “Is a time of holy hilarity when the Church points again and again to the empty tomb.”

Let’s reflect on “holy hilarity” for a bit.  Jesus, in his earthly life was always doing something in his earthly life that hadn’t been done before.  He shows us truly how we are to live.  Our world often gives us the message—stick to home, don’t get involved—it’s easier that way—we are the best—let’s be great again, us over everyone else.  The trouble with this kind of thinking is that it is contrary to everything that Jesus ever taught!  I think “holy hilarity” is a good way to think about what the Spirit does in our world, calling us to new beginnings.  The Church (hierarchy) says “no” to women priests–RCWP (Roman Catholic Women Priest)s and other groups say “yes,” in the Spirit and move forward in that same Spirit.

The new beginning that Jesus’ Spirit calls forth from each of us is about living passionately.  It has been said, “Passion is the heartbeat of life.”  In this we get the sense that living passionately is about living fully—we can’t let ourselves become stagnant—Pentecost calls us a be ALIVE, not just breathing!   A passionate person is not lukewarm.  As followers of Jesus, lukewarm is the last thing we want to be—the book of Revelation tells us that the lukewarm, neither hot nor cold that is, are fit for nothing but to be spit out of the mouth of God (Rev. 3: 15-16)!

A story I’ve shared with you before from Joan Chittister that bears repeating is of a seeker who went to the monastery to gain enlightenment.  After much prayer, nothing seemed to happen.  Preparing to leave, the disappointed seeker asked the master,  “Why has my stay yielded no fruit?”  “Could it be because you lacked the courage to shake the tree,” asked the master kindly?

On this feast of Pentecost, it is good for us to spend some moments trying to get our heads and hearts around what happened to these first followers of Jesus—the manifestation of the resurrection, however that was experienced, followed by the coming of the Spirit, the very Breath of God upon them!

Scripture scholar, Diane Bergant tells us that what these first followers experienced was a theophany or an “experience of God.”  These phenomena— the tongues of fire, the violent wind blowing, the speaking in and understanding of foreign tongues were all manifestations that accompanied such a heavenly vision, as Scripture tells us.  These phenomena can be likened to God speaking to Moses through a burning bush or to Job through a whirlwind. Something marvelous had indeed happened!

So what did all of this signal for them?  For us, also baptized and confirmed in the Spirit as followers of Jesus, the Christ?  For them, it called for courage to go out and boldly proclaim the message of love, unity and care that Jesus proclaimed so boldly concerning his Abba God.  I believe it calls each of us to a passionate walk with our brother Jesus—it calls us to get angry when we see people in positions of power, whether in Church or State, abusing that power for their own advancement when it was actually given for others, to make our world better.  It calls us to look lovingly on our beautiful earth and to do all we can to protect it for the use and enjoyment of generations to come.  It calls us to slow down, now, to see the beauty that the month of June gives us in the explosion of growth and color all around.   Joan Chittister speaks well of the beauty all around us and suggests that “flowers confront us with our responsibility for beauty.”  Do we bring beauty into our world through our actions, our speech, our very thoughts?

Pentecost is about being touched with the very Spirit of God to be our absolute best selves, always striving to show forth the divine that lives within each of us. Being our best selves, striving for that, means that we must, absolutely must, be accepting of all that come to our table and here I mean not only our table at All Are One, but the universal table of the Church. We must invite everyone to be part of this universal community and not wait until they believe as we do, but in the diversity that Paul speaks of to the Corinthians today—we will look with honor and privilege upon the gifts of all to show us the greater, grander face of God.  That is why I am a part of the Winona Interfaith Coalition because their vision is all about how much we share and how little divides us.

One of the aspects of Pentecost that we are all called to in this celebration is to remember that the gifts each of us is given are not ultimately for us, but for the building up of the kin-dom of our brother Jesus. Pentecost calls us to shake things up a bit—to be people of passion, fully alive and fully about love.  Pentecost calls us my friends to be prophets—to see visions and to dream dreams (Acts 2:17).  May God bless us all as we truly contemplate the Spirit’s indwelling within us and begin to join more fully in her work of renewing the face of the earth!  Amen? Amen!

Homily – Ascension/7th Sunday of Easter

Friends, the feast of the Ascension reminds us that we live in an in-between time.  We already know that Jesus has lived and loved and given his life so we would know how to live and t0 love, and in all that, he has saved us from our finite conditions and raised us up with him to one day live eternally in the full presence of God.  We don’t know entirely what that means, only that it is so!  So today and throughout our lives, we say, “I know, but not completely.”  We know something wonderful happened to Jesus that his apostles, close friends and family witnessed when he physically left this earth, and that they must have been so enthralled by that happening, whatever it was, that from that day forward, they had no doubt that he was God.

We see this simply in the way Luke chose to write about Jesus’ physical leaving in  Acts 1—[he] “was lifted up in a cloud”—the cloud has been a traditional symbol for the presence of God—we remember the Transfiguration and the mention of a cloud from which God spoke that indeed Jesus was the Chosen One.

From that day forward, these first followers not only believed completely that Jesus was God, but they were willing then, empowered by Jesus’ Spirit to spend their lives, no matter what befell them, sharing his story, giving hope and striving to make all people one as Jesus prays in his priestly prayer from John 17, which served as our gospel today from the 7th Sunday of Easter.

As in the past, I decided to blend the readings from Ascension Thursday, the first reading and the 7th Sunday of Easter, the second reading and the gospel to make the point that the Ascension is just the beginning of new life for Jesus—when he resumes his rightful and equal place with Abba God and the Spirit.  But for us, it is that in-between time.  We know, but we don’t fully know the glory that is to come with complete union with God. For now we live with the tension—living what we already know, but haven’t yet come to see fully.  We live uncompleted—for God, the union is complete with regard to us—Abba God is completely united and living in us by way of the Spirit—Jesus’ ultimate gift to us before physically leaving the earth—we remember his promise—“I will not leave you…I will be with you all days…!”

So, how do we live now, in this in-between time?  The first reading from Acts 1 makes it clear that we need to know the story of Jesus , why he came, that in fact he is the fulfillment of the earlier covenants made between God and the Israelites.  Luke, the author of Acts, attempts to tie the First and Second, Old and New  Testaments by using 40 days to talk about the time Jesus was with the apostles after his resurrection—this is a clear connection to the 40 days Moses spent being instructed by God before he began his mission to lead the people out of Egypt.  The apostles clearly needed additional instruction and strength before Jesus could physically leave them.  Luke in Acts, makes this clear by recording that the apostles haven’t yet, “got it!”  Jesus tells them—get your focus off the idea that I have come to save one nation—this is so much bigger—this is for everyone!  Recall Pastor Dick’s words to us last week about Jesus, the Christ—God in all of creation!

Until the apostles and close followers of Jesus receive the Spirit, they won’t have the strength needed to go out and truly live in the in-between times awaiting the full glory of complete union with God one day.  Next Sunday, we will remember and celebrate this fiery coming of the Spirit into their lives and ultimately, into our own, on Pentecost.  So, today, we might ask, “What if we truly believed all that God, in Jesus has done for us?—coming to share our life, living, loving, showing us the way—dying and rising as we will one day.  Would we live differently?

It is important for us to remember that what happened between Jesus and the apostles and his close friends and family was mystery—whether there was an ascension per se or not isn’t the question that should concern us, but the fact that Jesus, the Christ now has a new body, a new form that one day we will have.  I give some doubt to an actual ascension as do those more learned than me, because if we say “yes” to an “ascending” action, we have to then say, “ascended” to where?

This text was written in a time when people considered the universe to be arranged in three tiers; heaven—earth—hell, which we have talked about here before.  But in present day, our perception of the universe is different. Certainly, we can see aspects of heaven in the vastness of the universe, but it is not a “place” per se.  For these reasons, it makes more sense to say that Jesus passed into a new existence—we think of—the cloud of God where we would no longer see his physical presence, except through the eyes of faith as we recognize him in each other—again, recall how, as Dick Dahl shared with us last week, Jesus the man has become, Jesus, the Christ, who can now be seen in all of creation through our eyes of faith.

We see from the readings today and others after Jesus’ resurrection,  his great tenderness in preparing his band so well for all that would happen to them going forward. He knew there would be grand, glorious times of traveling, sharing his words, converting, bringing new life, casting out the demons of hatred and anger, and miracles of healing.  But there would also be suffering in sharing his message that demanded justice and mercy for all.  The powers-that-be would not appreciate their control being taken away.

In order to strengthen their faith in his bodily resurrection and ultimately in their own and ours one day, Jesus continued to show himself for a time, in his bodily form—to let them know he was the same person who walked with them, who lived with them; because we know from earlier readings, he didn’t appear the same in his resurrection, For this reason, he invited Thomas to inspect his hands, his side—the wounds of crucifixion—he ate with the apostles—all to say; I did die, but I rose too! You must believe that!

Only believing this wonderful fact, because you can’t hope to convince others of what you, yourself don’t believe!—would they have the strength, with the Spirit’s help to convince others.  And by doing all this, they would continue to bring life to their world by sharing Jesus’ message of love and peace for all.  The resurrection and Jesus’ ultimate departure in physical form, however that happened, caused those first believers to be overwhelmed by the divine that they saw in the humanity of the one they knew so intimately while he was with them.

My friends, we are called to that same realization, that same belief—Jesus was fully human, but he was fully divine.  You, me, we all, come from that same divine “stuff” and we are here having a human experience.  Our task in this life is to eventually grow into our full divine stature—we are called to do that through our human existence.   These in-between times in which we live are incomplete, and will be until we all accomplish the work of re-creation as it were.

We might think about this word a bit, “re-creation.” Putting the emphasis in a different place, “rec-reation,” we realize the word for relaxation and play, as it were.  Joan Chittister, in her monthly reflection, The Monastic Way for the month of May, has used the entire month to teach us about the importance of play in this regard.

Play rejuvenates us—“re-creates” us—pulls us from the bland, the ordinary—helps us to see with bigger eyes, larger hearts, all of creation, through the eyes of Jesus, the Christ, who came to us as a brother in Jesus, but left us physically in time to become a much larger entity—Jesus, the Christ.  Others who have wrote about this, such Franciscan, Ilia Delio have spoken of the Cosmic Christ—huge, vast, beyond our imaginations—that is why we can say in truth, everyone needs to come to God through Christ!

Peter’s message today talks about us already being a “new body”–one that will suffer he says not for doing evil, but for doing good—the world, in other words, will not always understand, accept, nor appreciate our actions; and we will need to listen to our hearts and act anyway—as we all journey with the Cosmic Christ to God.

Jesus’ work of healing, comforting, forgiving and including will happen now in our world through us or it won’t happen at all!  Often, people will lament about bad things happening in our world looking toward God and asking—“How could you do this?” Perhaps we need to look at ourselves and ask what we didn’t do to make things better.  I don’t think God interferes in our world, but simply calls us to be more like Jesus who came to show us the way—the way that brings life.

The reading from Acts today tells us that the disciples kept “looking up to heaven;” we as his followers today sometimes keep looking to God to do what our baptisms call us and strengthen us to do!

These in-between times should give us great hope because the readings today tell us that we will not be left—that our loving, Abba God will always be standing alongside us assisting us in all the ways we choose to bless, to sanctify this world and its people through our lives of love and service.  Jesus simply asks in his priestly prayer that we would believe and act out the message that we are all, truly one, as the name and practice of our community attests and we will only be one by “walking the talk.”  May we each be blessed as we live in these in-between times, as we support each other in prayer and service.  Amen?—Amen!