Homily – 12th Weekend in [Extra]Ordinary Time

Dear Friends, as you know, we met last evening for our first in-person Mass and it was attended by 17 people! It was so good to be together again in person! We will continue to celebrate this new fact of “being physically together” in the next weeks as more of you come again for your first time with us. Next week we will meet on Sunday at 10 A.M. Have a good week and be in touch if I can help in any way–aaorcc2008@gmail.com or 507-429-3616. Happy Fathers’ Day to all the dads and granddads out there, both physical, emotional and spiritual!

Love and peace, Pastor Kathy

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   My friends, as we all bask somewhat in the simple goodness of being able to be physically together again; we must thank our good God, in our brother Jesus, who has brought us through these last 14 months, safe and unscathed, for the most part. 

   This weekend, we also remember all fathers, dads and grandfathers—grampas, both the physical and the emotional fathers among us as there are many ways to give “fatherly” support and care to the next generation—today, we remember and bless all those ways.

   With regard to the many men I have known in my life, who have “fathered” others; I will mention one physical father and one spiritual—emotional father. 

   In a personal way, I am remembering my own Dad who was with me just 39 of my now, over 70 years.  He was, as we say, “the salt of the earth!” Was he always, perfect? No, he was human, like all of us; but one thing I always knew about him—he loved me and my siblings and I believe we always knew, that one, significant thing.  This one significant thing—his love and care, sustained me in life—often, even after his passing, when trials came.

   The other example of a “father” was a spiritual one whose memory I’d like to raise today.  That person was Father Dan Corcoran, who pastored the Newman Center here in Winona back in the days when Newman Centers were still “cutting-edge” places that witnessed Christianity in action. 

   Dan Corcoran also pastored the little church of the Immaculate Conception at Wilson in the years when Robert and I and our family were members there.  I can still remember his first homily to that little parish.  He rambled on about everything he had been about all week and at first “hearing,” I can remember thinking, “What a jumble!” 

    But later, upon reflection, and with more contact with him, I realized, “This all fits—it is all about the message of Jesus.”  And when you think about it, isn’t that what we should be about each week? Reading the Scriptures and then asking—“How do these words fit into my life?”  That first Sunday that Dan Corcoran was with us, his big issue, as I recall, was the “B-1 Bomber” and his thought was definitely that this was something that serious Christians should not be supporting! This was probably one of the first times that I recognized a “prophet” in my midst! And a church leader, no less!

   Today, sadly, the message coming from too many of our religious “leaders” is quite weak, if there at all, with regard to pressing issues of our day—the deep-seeded racism in our country, lack of concern for our earth and its preservation, those who live in poverty in our country and world, because we don’t have the collective will to make the needed changes, care for those who may seem different, such as our LGBTQ sisters and brothers, inequality and lack of acceptance of women—one-half of the population, who are often used and abused in our larger world and the list can go on. 

  Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians today reminds us, that in Jesus, “everything is new!”  My take on that is this—Jesus has shown us a better way to be in the world and it would behoove us all, if we say, “We are Christians,” to shed some light on the darkness of the prevailing issues listed above.

   My friends, our God has always loved us—why else would we have been given life in the first place? Why else would we have been given a free will to choose how our lives might play out, even though our God, like most earthly parents, often struggle with controlling their children’s choices, to protect them, versus allowing them to grow through their lived experiences—how much to “let go,” how much to, “hold on.”  I wouldn’t think it is any easier for God, as our parent—mother, father, however we choose to name God, than it is for earthly parents. 

   Take the first reading from Job today.  The verses that aren’t included in this reading, tell a story of much sadness and suffering in Job’s life—the death of his wife and all his children—he in fact loses all his material possessions and then is inflicted with a menacing skin disease.

   If we were to look at these happenings at face value, we might say, “So where was God in all of this?”  The section of the book of Job given for our reflection today comes a bit later in Job’s life—at first he still kept faith in God—it was only later, when all of Job’s friends left him too that Job finally turned on God. 

   Our God, his God, responds with a series of questions that when we boil down to their simplest meaning say—“I have always been with you—I have never left! We can think of the times in our own lives when we watch our own children suffer through whatever it might be, helping where we can, but knowing we can’t take it all for them.  And what do we do as human parents?  Because we love them; we don’t give them everything they want, knowing that, “everything” is not what is best.  We also sometimes, cry with them, and we stand by them—until things are better.  Our God, my friends, does the same. 

   The psalmist today affirms this message: “Give thanks to our God who is good, whose love endures forever.” 

   Again, looking at Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we read about how Jesus’ death should be a sign and a symbol for us—if he died for all, we should live for all and truly pick up where Jesus left off—being his presence in our world.  It is significant that we keep in mind that Jesus is only present in our world if we, in fact, allow him to live through us—if we become “bread” for our world.  His body and blood that will become present here and we will receive, was never meant to stay here, but through us, move into our world. 

   So, in conclusion my friends, let us look very briefly at Mark’s gospel message to realize how our God truly does, “walk with us,” does truly love us, is always with us.  We heard the story of our brother—in the boat, of how he “calmed the waves,” and the incredulity of the apostles, “who is this that even the wind and sea obey?!”

   We all have experienced times in our lives when we knew that, “we weren’t alone”—that something happened that was beyond what we said or had done and it is at these times that we have to answer Jesus’ question to the apostles, because it is his question to us too—“Have you no faith?” 

   Our world my friends, has so many needs and each of us who say we follow our brother, Jesus, must face our world with faith and do what he would do, even when we sometimes, seemingly, have to stand alone—because in reality, we are not alone!  And we can’t wait for the powers-that-be to lead—when they should, and don’t.  We must listen to our hearts, where Jesus’ Spirit speaks, walk with faith and do the right thing—always, always! Amen? Amen!     

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Homily – 11th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

We return once again in the Church Year to Ordinary Time having completed the Easter Season. At All Are One, as you know, we name this time as [Extra] Ordinary Time because the challenge is always there for us to be our best selves–this is no time to coast!

We are also looking forward patiently toward next weekend to begin in-person services once again after 14 months apart! We ask our God’s blessings upon us as we make this transition.

In the meantime, always know that you are in my prayers that all is going reasonably well in your lives. Please don’t ever hesitate to call or email if I can be of help to you, or even if you would just like to chat. 507-429-3616 or aaorcc2008@gmail.com. Peace and love, Pastor Kathy

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Entrance Antiphon

Loving God, hear my voice when I call to you.  You are my help; do not cast me off, do not desert me, my Savior God. 

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

All wonderful God, we rejoice in the faith that draws us together, aware that selfishness can drive us apart.  Let your encouragement be our constant strength.  Keep us one in the love that has sealed our lives; help us to live as one family the gospel we profess.  We ask all this of you, Creator, Savior and Spirit, one God, living and loving us forever and ever, Amen.

Readings:

  • Ezekiel 17: 22-24
  • 2 Corinthians 5: 6-10
  • Mark 4: 26-34

Homily:

My friends, Paul tells us this week that, “we walk by faith, not by sight” and it is upon these words that I would like to base this homily.  I am perhaps taking these lines a bit out of context as Paul no doubt had in mind as did most of Jesus’ first followers that Jesus would be returning sooner, rather than later.  This is probably the reason that Paul sounds rather negative in this reading, stating that he would rather be with Christ. 

   That having been said, it is probably fair to say that what any line or lines in Scripture might say in one time or place can and do mean something different to others in different times and places and through different experiences.  Through the Spirit that we all received at our confirmations, the same as on that first Pentecost, perhaps without the “tongues of fire” and the “mighty wind,” but the Spirit, just the same; we have the strength that allows us to face our lives, as Jesus’ followers with “faith” when we don’t always have “sight.”

   As most of you know, each year in May, we at All Are One Catholic church remember our humble beginnings in 2008 with my priestly ordination in a Church, in its hierarchy, that said, “No” to such an action labeling my ordination and those who came before as well as after me, “attempts at ordination.”  But I, like my sister priests could only, “walk in faith,” prompted by Sophia, the Spirit of the Living God.

   Three years ago, at this time, we remembered in a public way our humble beginnings at our 10th anniversary as a Vatican II parish—one open to any and all who wanted to be with us. Those humble beginnings after I was ordained a deacon in August of 2007 included several preparatory meetings as we discerned with others in our community whether we could in fact, start and nourish a parish here, in the seat of an unsupportive bishop.

   As I reflect on how Jesus’ Spirit “continuously renews the face of the earth,” a phrase most of us learned from our catechisms as children, this calls to mind something that happened at the first of the preparatory meetings that I spoke of earlier. I sent invitations to a couple of dozen people to come to a meeting to discuss founding a parish that would be open to all, inclusive, in other words, respecting our God’s call to women as well as men to serve in ordained ministry and other important issues that were absent in the Catholic church of the hierarchy’s making. 

   The meeting was scheduled for 7 P.M. and was being held at Holzinger Lodge in Winona.  As many of you know, Holzinger has a porch out front of its entrance. At five minutes before the meeting, no one had yet arrived.  At this point, Eryn, our daughter and Robert went out onto the porch to see if anyone was coming. At that time, they experienced what they could only describe as, “the Spirit!”  There was a gust of wind, just one, enough to notice and enough to wonder, if maybe, “a storm was coming!”  And looking down the road, they saw the lights of a line of cars proceeding toward the lodge!  “We walk by faith!” 

   I believe that many times the Spirit, Sophia is “circling,” moving in and out of our lives, if we but have the faith to see “happenings” in our lives as such. One such “happening” that our Winona Sheltering Network is considering is the buying of a larger house of 8 separate units that may come onto the market in later fall.

   I personally see this as the movement of the Spirit because so many things seem to be lining up with the need that we see to bring more families seeking asylum to our country.  I would preface this discussion by saying that we have been looking at properties and we know that there are many out there in not very good condition that owners are asking a good deal of money for.  So, in other words, we know a “good deal” when it presents itself! 

   So here are all the reasons several of us on the Steering Committee feel this property is worth pursuing and those of us, coming out of strong faith backgrounds—myself included, see all this as the Spirit affirming this work for us: 

  • the owner is supportive of how we would like to use the house
  • the owner is related to one of our Steering Committee members
  • the owner has maintained this property well over the years as affirmed by our Steering Committee member—not always the case
  • while the owner can’t give us a reduced rate, if we are able to make a reasonable offer for this property that several others are competing for, we could have a good chance at securing it even though we may not be the highest bidder—which of course means fund-raising for a down payment
  • the property is near a local college campus and usually is rented out totally, so it has income continually. Eventually, we would keep two apartments for housing immigrants and add more for our use as  the house is paid for.  “We walk by faith!”
  • Generous people are beginning to “walk by faith” with us by pledging large and small gifts to assist us in purchasing this house.  We do indeed, “walk by faith.”

  The other two readings this week from Ezekiel and Mark have similar messages. First, in Ezekiel, we have the image of our God “planting” us in fertile soil like the cedar, promising that we will grow branches, bear fruit and become, “splendid!”

   Mark’s gospel is the story of the mustard seed, the “smallest of seeds” that becomes the “largest of shrubs” that “all the birds build their nests in.”  My take from this reading is that our loving God believes in us so much, loves us so much and knows how much each of us is capable of if we can only, “walk by faith” and especially when we can’t fully “see” the end result.  Amen? Amen!

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Prayers of the Faithful:

Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

  1. O God, as we see Jesus reaching out to all, making everyone welcome, help us to see opportunities in our everyday lives to do the same, we pray—Response: “Jesus our brother, hear our prayer”
  • O God, continue to be with those looking for meaningful work—let them not become discouraged but remain hopeful that they will find work. Additionally, be with those offering work to do their best to offer a living wage, we pray—     Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

3.  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, as they walk through what life brings, we pray—Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

O God, help us to be true followers of Jesus, willing to speak truth to power, to not remain silent in the face of evil, we pray—Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

O God, help us to strive to be people of peace, not war—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: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

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, we pray—Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

7.   Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, from COVID and all other causes—give them your peace, that they may find their way through their grief, and be with members of our community especially       who have lost loved ones, we pray— Response:  “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

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

Let Us Pray

Gentle God, you who loves us beyond all imagining—be close to us each and every day, shadow us under your wings and be the strength that we need to live as you did, conscious of being inclusive of all, loving others when it is easy and when it is not so easy. Give us the strength and courage to live out our task given by you for the people of God. Help us to forgive those who wrong and hurt us in life because you were so forgiving of others. Give us your deep and abiding peace that we would not worry, but trust and believe that you will always be with us. All of this we ask of you who are God, living and loving us forever and ever—Amen!

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Let Us Pray—Again, we can’t be together at the altar, but always remember that Jesus, our brother is with us! 

Prayer of Communion

Jesus, always be with us in many and wonderful ways.  Grant this in your wonderful name.  Amen.

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Homily – Corpus Christi Sunday

Dear Friends, we come to this wonderful feast in our Church Year that reminds us that our worship of the Body of Christ only begins at the altars of our churches–we must indeed, carry it into our world and to all of God’s people to fulfill the mission of Jesus, the Christ, our brother and friend!

Have peace and know that you are loved–Pastor Kathy

Please always reach out if I can help in any way of even if you would just like to chat. 507-429-3616 or email, aaorcc2008@gmail.com.

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Entrance Antiphon

Our Loving God fed the people with the finest wheat and honey; their hunger was satisfied.

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

Jesus, you are the Christ—we praise you living among us.  We are especially grateful today as we ponder your presence among us in the bread and wine of the Eucharist—we offer our love to you, in God who in three persons has first loved us. May we always offer ourselves to our sisters and brothers—our lives poured out in loving service for the kindom, where you live among us as Source of All Being, Eternal Word and Holy Spirit, forever and ever, Amen.

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Readings:

  • Exodus 24: 3-8
  • Hebrews 9: 11-15
  • Mark 14: 12-16, 22-26

Homily:

My friends, this has been a very busy, involved week for me—so much so that it took me until Saturday morning to begin this homily for us to consider.  Most of you who regularly read my homilies know that I have been quite involved with our Honduran family of four here in Minnesota and specifically, Winona, seeking asylum in our country, running from violence in their own country.  Personally, I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in flight with a young family, sleeping wherever you can find a place to lie down, constantly worrying for your personal safety.  The image of another young family on the way to Egypt comes to mind as well. 

   As sponsors for our family, Robert and I have the ultimate responsibility for them until they can be reasonably secure on their own and even though we have the backing of a whole organization of wonderful volunteers; we do ultimately feel this responsibility and take it very seriously. 

   And beyond this focused responsibility for one family, Robert and I, along with a small group in Winona, see a larger view too—that of continuing this most important work for other families going forward.  With that in mind, we and this smaller group are looking at purchasing a large house that might eventually serve people in staggered time frames seeking asylum within our country.  At present all we can offer is short stays here and there without the stability to actually settle in. 

   One thinks about the stories of immigrants coming here in other times—many of our forebears when we think about it,  and so, why not now? Is the plight of present day immigrants any less important? 

   These are some thoughts on my heart, as we come to Corpus Christi Sunday, the last Sunday of Easter time before we return once again, to Ordinary Time.  And when we think of what this Sunday means, The Body of Christ, how appropriate it seems that we would focus on families fleeing oppression and danger. 

   The trouble, at times, with Christians from ordinary, everyday folks like us to the very hierarchy of our Church, is that we often have too small of a view. We concentrate on the “Body of Christ” upon the altar—which we should, but we should never stop there.  The “Body of Christ,” as our brother Jesus always saw it in his earthly life, was—all of us, and unless we can see that bigger view, then we don’t truly do justice to all that Jesus intended in leaving us this wonderful, tangible reminder, on our altars, of how we must extend this gift by becoming that “bread” for our world.

   The chosen readings for today’s liturgy don’t give us much except to show us the history of the People of God in understanding their relationship to their God—an extension really of animal sacrifice that would be atonement for their past failings and once again make them “worthy” before their God.  Even the writer to the Hebrews is stuck in “atonement” for sins that only a perfect “sacrifice” like Jesus could make up for.  This, in the end, doesn’t make our God very appealing. 

   Mark comes closest perhaps to what may have been in Jesus’ heart when he says, “This is my blood, the blood of the Covenant, which will be poured out on behalf of many.” And again, we can’t read this for its literal message, but see an inclusive message that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection was, on behalf of all of us.

   God was always about showing us how much we are loved and this is made clear in the sending of Jesus so that we humans could understand life, in all its beauty. We really do our loving God an injustice when we make “God,” so small, saying in effect that Jesus came to redeem us from an angry despot in the heavens.

  Corpus Christi Sunday is all about seeing our world and its people as God does.  We, each of us, are a part of God’s great love and it would behoove us to more regularly look at our world and its people in this way.

   Three years ago in my homily for this day, I included the words of Robert Kennedy for our consideration and they seem just as relevant today.

  “Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance!”

   My friends, Robert Kennedy’s words challenge us today anew in our Christian walk, on this Sunday when we celebrate the Body of Christ!  Whether it be the work of immigration reform, or challenging the deep-seeded racism, or sexism in our country, or justice for the LGBTQ community, and so on—all of this and more calls forth the best from each of us—and our endeavors in regard to any, and all of these issues make this feast of Corpus Christi—the Body of Christ worth celebrating!  We only begin at the altars of our physical churches—the real “worship” of the “Body” happens in the world! Amen? Amen!

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Prayers of the Faithful:

  1. Jesus, thank you for the gift of the Eucharist,  a tangible way to have you close, we pray—Response: “Jesus, bread of life, hear us.”
  • O God, let peace reign in our hearts and give us the strength and grace to be people of peace—help all world governments to strive for peace first in all conflicts,  especially for a peaceful end to fighting anywhere in our world, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, bread of life, hear us.”
  • Jesus, you are present to us in the bread and the wine—help us to always recognize your body in the world of people around us,  we pray—Response: “Jesus, bread of life, hear us.”
  • Jesus, in your loving Spirit let us as members of this community, All Are One, always find room at our table for all your people, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, bread of life, hear us.”
  • Loving Creator, Savior, Spirit—give us your patience, your strength, your love for our world,  we pray—Response: “Jesus, bread of life, hear us.”
  • Loving Jesus, give each person in your body, the Church, what they most need today, we pray—Response: “Jesus, bread of life, hear us.”

 7.Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, from Covid and all other causes—give each one your peace, and help them to find their way through their grief, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, bread of life, hear us.”

8. In thanksgiving to our God for the blessings of 13 years of ministry for our parish, All Are One, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, bread of life, hear us.”

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

Let Us Pray

      O good and loving God, made manifest so wonderfully and beautifully in Jesus, our Savior, the One who shows us “the way,” and our Friend, you know what we need before we ask—do give us what we most need today! Help us to be aware anew today through this beautiful feast of Corpus Christi of how much you love us and want to be close—to be part of our very beings in order that we can then be transformed into You.  You are our Creator, our Savior, and our Spirit Friend—living and loving us forever and ever—AMEN.

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Let Us Pray—Once again, we can’t be together in person, at the altar, but we will be in just two more weeks! In the meantime, let us remember that Jesus is always with us.

Prayer of Communion

Jesus, our Brother—we thank you for your presence among us.  Guide us to always be willing to share your life with others.  We ask this in your loving name, Amen.

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Homily – Trinity Sunday

We had about 20 people today at our last Zoom Mass and if you couldn’t be with us, we missed you but hopefully, the message here will be of comfort. –Pastor Kathy

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May 30, 2021

   My friends, my homily of three years ago has some thoughts which I don’t think I could say better, so will repeat today with some updates.  Each year, our Church sees fit to celebrate a Sunday that not only allows, but actually implores us to look deeply at who God is for us.  The word, “trinity,” we all know, speaks to the phenomenon of a God who is present to us in theology and in other ways too, as three distinct persons, yet comprising one God.

   We are asked to believe this whether we can fully understand it or not.  And when it comes to matters of faith, things that we can’t really get our minds around; I think it is best to come at them with our hearts.  Our hearts are wiser.

   Whether we can truly understand the concept of three persons in one God is not as important, I think, as understanding the idea that we are truly loved by our God.  And how do we know this? We know it because of Jesus, who as the second person of this Triune God became one of us humans in time.  That too; we can’t truly understand, but we can understand the motive behind the action—LOVE.

   Contrary to an older theology, still touted by some today that Jesus came primarily to redeem us from the fires of hell by dying on the cross; Jesus actually came as many present-day theologians suggest, and I agree, as a direct and pure expression of a God, who as Creator, loved creation beyond all measure.  Jesus lived, loved, taught, and shared life with us humans, always showing us the way to be our best selves. And in time, he died a cruel death designed for those who didn’t follow the rules. He died because of how he chose to live, demanding that all were equal and that we, as his sisters and brothers, must do the same. Understandably, his demands were met with some push-back, especially from those in power. 

   Now, to design a theology of errant humanity in need of redemption is perhaps an easier way to go than to give humanity the true picture of a God who loves over-the-top.  When we teach the later, that of a God who loves without end, our task in this world becomes much more pronounced too—we can hardly do less!

   Today’s readings give us three pictures of God.  It is important, I think, to see them in progression to get the full image of who God truly is for us.  If we were merely to stop with the first reading from Deuteronomy, we might tend to see our God as exclusive, choosing a small band of Israelites over all of creation. Better that we continue on through to the New Testament readings from Paul and Matthew to see the completion in Jesus who said upon leaving the earth, “I will always be with you, even to the end of the world!” 

   Now that having been said, the writer of Deuteronomy says this: “Know this today and take it into your hearts.”  And from there, the Deuteronomy writer seems to be saying, in my understanding, “God has basically walked with you and will remain with you.” 

     Paul fleshes this out for us in his letter to the Romans expanding the theology.  He says that through the Spirit, our God has adopted us, adopted us all—we are heirs, with Jesus, in the great family of God.

   Now the notion of God choosing us as a people in Deuteronomy is a good starting place as long as we see the completion of that in Jesus’ stories of the Prodigal and that of the shepherd leaving the 99 to go in search of the lost one. Both stories depict the over-the-top love of the Creator for the created! —a love intended for all!

   So, on this Trinity Sunday, a day that calls us to consider who God is for us; I will share who God is for me.  I often speak of God in the Trinity as Creator, Savior and Spirit.  This concept is devoid of gender, per se, except in the person of our brother, Jesus, who when you think about it, probably gave us the most androgynous view of the good of both genders, female, and male.  I can most effectively have a relationship with Jesus because of his presence, in time, as a human being, and I believe this was the wisdom of our God in appearing in human form—to tell us in a way that we could understand, how much we are loved and cherished, each one of us. 

   God as Creator, I choose to see in all of created life—in all the beauty, the joy, the attempts to be people of peace and understanding.  And when, in our world did we ever need those two traits more? The psalmist today speaks of God beautifully as the Creator and prays— “May your faithful love be upon us, O God, as we place all our hope in you.” 

   The Spirit, for me, is that force within that gives me the courage to say the hard things, to do what I might not always want to do for fear of being rejected.  The Spirit is really the life of Jesus, in a new form. 

   To this point I would like to give a concrete example out of my life.  You all know that the organization, GRASP (Great River Asylum Support Partners) is working diligently within our community to make safe and secure and loved, our first family from Honduras. 

   To this noble endeavor, each of us brings all that we have as persons. Some of us see the small picture (this family, which, by the way, is no small task) and others see a larger picture (helping more families in the future, thus planning facilities for them).  Some of us see that we can do both, others are more conservative and basically fear what we don’t know.

   As one of the pastors in this group, I for one, challenge us toward “balance” (somewhere between fear and passion, fully expressed) and perhaps more importantly, faith, as most come out of some sort of faith background.  You will be hearing more on this in future. 

   Suffice to say that on this Trinity Sunday, when we are asked to reflect on who God is for us—how in fact God has revealed the Godhead as suggested above through Creation –Love-over-the-top in Jesus and the Spirit who, “keeps” as another writer has suggested, “Jesus’ presence before our eyes, in a new way; we might look again, and again at Jesus’ way in the world. 

   Jesus challenged systems that were unfair and unjust toward the poor, the marginalized—such as women.  The powerful of his time objected as they were content, but Jesus said basically, no, until all are content, I won’t be silent. 

   My friends, you know as I do, that there is much injustice in our world.  One of those injustices I addressed here—that of our fractured immigration system.  Our world and especially, our country, struggle with racism and all its ramifications.  We struggle too in our country defining what freedom is—on the one hand, as a friend said recently; we demand, and rightly so, that babies and young children be in secure and safe car seats and on the other hand, nearly everyone who wants to have a high-powered gun in this country, can have one!  We could go on…

   But on this Trinity Sunday, let us pray for each other that we can come to an ever larger idea of who our loving God is—first in Jesus and in how he attempted each day in his earthly life to challenge people to their best—because of a Creator God, he lovingly called, “Abba” –equivalent to our “Daddy or Mama” and then sent his Spirit, like unto himself, only different—to continually remind us of all that Jesus taught in his life among us.  Life can only ultimately be good for me; if in fact, it is good for all others too!   Amen? Amen!

Homily – Pentecost

Dear Friends,

As I said in the bulletin this week, Pentecost signals the time when we need to truly “walk the talk” of our journey with our brother, Jesus. The Apostles were strengthened in the Spirit and we should realize that we as confirmed followers of Jesus have that same strength to calm our fears and more fully do what is “right” in our world. My prayer for each of us is that we would always know that what we do that is good in this world is always supported by our brother Jesus, in his Spirit. Peace and love, Pastor Kathy

P.S. Never hesitate to give a call, 507-429-3616 or email me, aaorcc2008@gmail.com if I can help in any way, or even if you would just like to chat.

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Entrance Antiphon

The love of our God has been poured into our hearts by God’s Spirit living in us, Amen.

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

God of Light, from whom every good gift comes, send your Spirit into our lives with the power of a mighty wind, and by the flame of your wisdom open the horizons of our minds.  Loosen our tongues to sing your praise in words beyond the power of speech, for without your Spirit, we could never raise our voices in words of peace or announce the truth that Jesus lives and loves us with you and this same Spirit—one God, forever and ever—Amen.

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Readings:

  • Acts 2: 1-11
  • 1 Corinthians 12: 3-7, 12-13
  • John 20: 19-23

Homily:

Friends, Pentecost is our clarion call to “walk the talk” of Christianity—Pentecost is for grown-ups in their faith—it is about action, about moving out of our comfort zones, not looking to anyone else for guidance, but our brother Jesus, who truly showed us the way to go, even to the cross. Now, you might be wondering, why would I want to do that, especially the cross part? And, I can only answer, because that was what you and I signed on for on our confirmation day! 

   That day was not just about getting a new set of clothes, having a party with family and friends, receiving gifts, but about making a conscious effort to live more from our hearts, than our heads.  The heart will lead us out of our comfort zones, whereas the head, alone, will never do that. If our confirmation day was the beginning of us as individuals, living more from the heart, then, that was something worth celebrating! And, it is never too late to start! What things in today’s world are in need of this “heart-kind” of living?

   I came upon a real, life example a few days ago that really threw me and I have to admit; I didn’t know how to handle it.  At the end of it all, my “head” was probably more in gear than was my “heart.” As I was leaving the grocery store, in a hurry to my next errand; I became aware of something out of the ordinary.  I heard running water and turned to see a disheveled man, dressed in probably all the clothes he had in the world, urinating on the ground in front of the store. I looked back a couple of times to confirm that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.  When he was finished, he returned to a bench in the front of the store and sat down. 

   When I got to my car, I sat there for a bit and thought about so many things.  This was surely a homeless man, perhaps with some mental illness, apparently alone in the world, without family or friends.  I thought about whether he was hungry and about returning and giving him some money, which, by the way, I didn’t.  My thinking included, why didn’t he use the rest room in the store? Was that even part of his consciousness?  Had he lost all dignity about his personal self? And finally, how do we as a society, as individuals, let our people come to such an end?

   For all the groups in this town that I have been part of, trying to make a difference in getting the basics of a home, food, clothing and healthcare, to our sisters and brothers who share this community with us; here was yet another one who had fallen through the cracks. 

   I have been reflecting on this poor man, realizing that giving him some money would only be a temporary fix to his problems and would have worked at easing my conscience more than it would have helped him.  Additionally, it comes to me, as I write this—should I/we look at the problems of others as simply their problems, or should we see them as ours too, in the whole scope of our lives as Christians? 

   So, when we think about leading with our hearts, instead of our heads, what do we come to?  “Walking the talk” about being Jesus’ followers, as a true, “grown-up” in the faith—what does that truly mean? 

   Many of us support organizations that help with food and overnight shelter, especially in the colder months and while good and certainly something that we should continue to do, should we not also support legislation and legislators in our city and country that get at the root causes of poverty, homelessness, and all the scourges associated with the above two?  Yes, we should and we must! Unless we didn’t take our confirmations seriously and then, I guess, we don’t have to worry. At the very least, it seems to me, that people living without the basics in this incredibly rich country, should trouble us!

   Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians today, says, “To each person is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”  In other words, if we are going to claim “Christianity” as our own, then our baptisms and confirmations call us to do our part!

   So, this causes me to wonder—if each person is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good—are some of us not accepting the gift? 

  • When people are in positions of power, like our Congress and fail to work for the common good, for law and order and safety for all, many of them supposedly Christians, what is going on there?
  • In our world, is the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict, an ages-old dispute by supposedly religious groups, over the right to a respective homeland, something that should continue over-the-ages with no permanent fix?

Wouldn’t these be places for “hearts” to kick in over “heads” and justice be realized for all?

   Luke’s account in Acts today speaks of many different people gathering in Jerusalem all speaking in differing tongues, yet all being able to understand what the apostles were saying about the wonders of Jesus, the Christ. It would seem, in the presence of Jesus’ Spirit, there can be, “understanding,” when we truly “listen” to each other—probably the larger message here for all of us to grasp—when we take the time to hear another’s story, find out why they feel and act as they do, perhaps more understanding and peace can come.

   So, my friends, with so much in our lives as Christians and deciding what might be the right thing to do in any given situation, we can look to our brother Jesus for guidance.  Where Jesus leads the way, the end result is usually, “peace” – maybe not at first, but throughout the struggle – peace does come. 

   In John’s account of Pentecost, Jesus simply “breathes” out his Spirit upon them, with the words, “peace be with you.”  Shouldn’t we too, as Jesus’ followers bring peace and well-being into the places and spaces that we live?  A huge task, we might think, but together and with Jesus’ Spirit—my hope and dream is that we can all become more “heart” and less “head” people in our response to our world.  Amen? Amen!

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Prayers of the Faithful:

Response: “Come, Spirit, Come!”

  1. Jesus, thank you for the gift of your Spirit among us—help us to always remember that in this gift you fulfill your promise to always be with us, we pray in your Spirit—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come!”
  • O God, let peace reign in our hearts and give us the strength and grace to be people of peace, we pray in your Spirit—Response:  “Come, Spirit, Come!”
  • Jesus, you who said that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend, give us hearts that strive to love unconditionally, we pray in your Spirit—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come!”
  • Jesus, give the gift of hope and a light at the end of the tunnel for those suffering from job loss at this time, also be with all new college graduates looking for work, we pray in your Spirit—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come!”
  • Jesus, you have called us friends—enable us to extend that relationship in our world to those who most need friendship, we pray in your Spirit—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come!”
  • Jesus, you no longer have a body in this world except through us—help us to be your hands and eyes and ears and heart for our world , we pray in your Spirit—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come!”
  • Jesus, your words in Scripture today remind us that we are sent forth—give us the strength to follow your lead in our world and speak truth to power through your Spirit, we pray—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come!”
  • Jesus, in your loving Spirit let us as members of this community, All Are One, always find room at our table for all your people, we pray—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come!”
  •  Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, from COVID and all other causes—give them your peace, and help them to find their way through their grief,  we pray—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come”

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

Let Us Pray

   Jesus, be the strength we need each day to be Pentecost people –true to our calling to be people of peace and of love. Let us never falter in our commitment to you and your world. Let us look at your people, always with love, remembering that you have called us friends—that you have given all that we might have eternal life with you. Let us always remember your never-failing love for each person and that because you have loved us so fully, we too must love fully in return.  We are grateful for the gift of your loving Spirit in our lives. Through that same Spirit, give us renewed hearts, strong in our commitment to speak truth to power wherever and whenever needed. Give us what we most need today so that we can more effectively be your body in our world. We ask all of this of you, our Brother and with the Creator and your loving Spirit— all, one God, living and loving us forever and ever, Amen.

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Let Us Pray—Again, we can’t be together to receive from the table, but do know that Jesus is always with us!

Prayer of Communion

Loving Jesus, keep within us the vigor of your Spirit and protect the gifts you have given to your Church, Loving Creator—all one God living and loving us forever and ever—Amen.

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