Homily – 15th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time in a Pandemic

Dear Friends, 

Again, my thanks to Pastor Dick Dahl for standing in for me last weekend supplying us with a fine homily–my gratitude, Dick! 

Another week and we still find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic that doesn’t seem to be lessening…but we have renewed hope in each other that as we do our own part, change and good, can happen! We certainly can look forward to being able to celebrate via ZOOM in two weeks time! 

In the meantime may we all stay safe and remember that we are each, loved by our God–peace and my love to each of you, Pastor Kathy


Entrance Antiphon

You are good and forgiving, merciful and loving, slow to anger, always kind and merciful O God.  We will praise your name forever.

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

Good and Gracious God, you are ever a part of our lives, helping us to grow and produce fruit for your kindom.  Help us to trust and believe in you always, to know that your Spirit will always be near us, showing us the way. We ask this in Jesus’ name, our brother and friend, who is God with you and the Spirit, forever and ever, AMEN.


Readings: 

  • Isaiah 55: 10-11
  • Romans 8: 18-23
  • Matthew 13: 1=23

Homily

My friends, this Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time brings us once again into the middle of so much controversy in our country.  Increasing numbers of infections from COVID 19 are spreading across our 50 states with no apparent end in sight.  Individual states have realized that they can’t look to the federal government that from the top is in denial and can see the growing crisis only in terms of how it affects his re-election with total enablement from those in Congress who have the power to make meaningful change.

Each day the unrest among our black sisters and brothers continues in our states and neighborhoods—an unrest that will seemingly not die out until meaningful change in equality for all in this country happens.

The distress verbally expressed by George Floyd more than a month ago in the words, “I can’t breathe,” as he died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer; has become the accumulated cry of 400 years in the hearts and minds of dark-skinned people in this country.  Floyd’s blatant death was the last straw in the hearts and minds of black people and thankfully, many supportive white people as well.  This, my friends, is not something that will go away until justice is achieved.

A black author, Ibram X. Kendi and a white author, Robin DiAngelo have challenged us—the American people, with two new books that lay out the times that we collectively face.  Kendi’s book, How to be Anti-Racist and DiAngelo’s book, White Fragility, both let us know that racism is in our culture, so deep that most of us are unaware that certain ways that white people act and speak are “racist” even when they might attest to the fact, that they are not, “racist.”

I have not yet read these books, but I plan to as the over-riding principle I am hearing from commentary from the authors and others is that those of us who live under, “white privilege” must come to truly listen to our black brothers and sisters, must come to understand the fear that comes with each day of their lives in a country that as DiAngelo says, is “fragile” due to its culture that uplifts, “whiteness.” She goes on to say that this “fragility” gives us an “inability to withstand the challenges,” becoming defensive rather than facing this social sin and trying to conquer it, making the changes that are needed, now.  And Kendi reminds us that learning, “how to be anti-racist” is not something we do, once and for all, but is on-going and we must do it again and again until equality is achieved.

And my dear friends—the times in which we live have, with each passing day, lifted up the truth of the inequality between the races—truths that have been present for a long time—namely, that too many go to bed hungry every night, too many don’t have adequate shelter and too many are lacking the necessities of a decent life, while at the same time, too much of the good of this world goes to too few at the top and an ever increasing middle class is struggling as well.

As I said, much of the disparity in how people live has been going on for a while, but with a pandemic that has demonstrated that the poor and people of color are hardest hit due to the conditions that our racist culture has allowed for too long, along with an administration in Washington short on compassion and an ability to lead; all of this disparity is now, finally, coming into the bright light of day and we all who claim to be Christian or any follower of any other belief system are being called to finally “see” and do something to make the necessary and needed changes.

As Christians; we look to our Scriptures for answers to live by.  The prophet Isaiah, on this 15th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time has this to say and I paraphrase; just as rain and snow water the earth and make it, “fertile and fruitful,” so does the word of God planted in the hearts of the people.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, talks about what we produce in the world from the heart of God as, “revelation” and that we, along with the, “entire creation has been groaning in one great act of giving birth.”

I do not think that the movement, at present, within our country could be expressed better, than to say, “We are groaning in one great act of giving birth,” in the attempt to set us all truly free! I personally have never, in my lifetime, witnessed a coming together of people, black and white, in the midst of so much suffering, as we are seeing at present and it gives me hope.  And as much as our country could really use the strength and comfort of those in charge, and here I speak of those at the helm, both in State (federal level) and Church hierarchy—we are increasingly seeing that this leadership will have to come from us, as individuals and groups, as it is clearly absent in the afore-mentioned entities.

Our brother Jesus heralds the words in today’s gospel, “If you have ears to hear, then—listen!”  As you know, today’s gospel speaks of the “sower and the seed” and of how the seed, “the Word of God.” This seed comes to each of us and we, plant it, guard and tend it, or, we leave it untended—ignored. As a result, it cannot grow within, enabling us to change our world.

We, my friends, are all “good ground,” as it were—let us pray that the “good seed” of God’s word falls deep within us, that we tend to it, setting roots that will grow strong, that we each might be that “revelation” to the world that Paul speaks of today.  We must say a resounding, “no,” to the racism that spawns poverty, segregation, low standards in education, housing and all the other necessities of a decent life.  Let us as a nation become a “revelation” that opens our borders to those oppressed around our world who are merely seeking a better life for their families.  Let us be a revelation that all people, regardless of color, culture, class, life-style, gender were created equally by our God and deserve the respect accorded as a result of that truth.  Let us as a nation become a revelation to the world—of generosity, goodness, honesty, mercy and love for those (all) that our God has first loved.

The authors that I mentioned in the beginning of this homily speak to the fact that all this needed change in our country puts us in some “uncomfortable” places as we try to address the racism that is a direct result of “white privilege.”  Ibram Kendi says that we must sit in the “uncomfortableness” for a while, realizing that people of color “live there” every day of their lives.

As with all the challenges of Ordinary Time, our hope is in our brother Jesus, my friends, as he will give us the strength and fortitude to sit in the “uncomfortableness” until we find a way to a better life for all.  Amen? Amen!


Prayers of the Faithful

Response:  “Be with us, O God.”

  1. For our community, All Are One, be with us and send your Spirit that we might be always open to anyone coming our way–enable us to welcome all, we pray—Response: “Be with us, O God.”

 2. For each of us here, for our entire Church, help us to respond with love and care to each and every person we meet, help us to grow more spiritually awake every day to the needs of our wider world and help in all ways that we can, we pray—Response: “Be with us, O God.”

  1. For all who are suffering here today or in our wider community, be it in body,       mind or spirit, be our strength and help, we pray—Response:  “Be with us, O God.”

 4. For our brothers and sisters in our country and around the world who continue to suffer from the ravages of nature—give them your peace and strength, and help all of us to see the connections between how we care for this planet and the weather we must endure if we don’t, we pray—Response: “Be with us, O God.”

 5. For our world and its people, teach us the ways of peace, help us at every turn to reject the ways of war, we pray—Response: “Be with us, O God.”

 6. Jesus open our eyes, ears and hearts to be people of justice who daily care about the poor and downtrodden, and all those who suffer for want of daily necessities, we pray—Response:  “Be with us, O God.”

7. Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week—from COVID 19, from racism, from mental illness—give them your peace, and help them to find their way through their grief, we pray—Response:  “Be with us, O God.”

    ***Let us pray for your particular needs—you may say them aloud, we pray, then response

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

Let Us Pray

    Good and gentle God, our source of all strength and wisdom.  We ask that you would give us ears that hear, eyes that see and hearts that truly love and care for your world and its creatures. Teach us to realize that we must be the change that we yearn for, that we must be anti-racist in our racist culture as one measure.  Bless all our attempts at goodness and encourage us when we fail—giving us the strength to try again. All this we ask of you, Jesus, in union with the Creator and Spirit, one God who lives and loves us forever and ever—AMEN.


Let Us Pray—Again, we remember that our brother Jesus walks with us always—lives within us and others.  In the absence of the physical bread, let us remember that we do have Jesus within us and are challenged to share him with all others in our life.

Prayer after Communion

Dear Jesus, we have been fed by your Word and we await the time when we can again of the bread and wine— your body and blood with us.  Help us to go forth today renewed to carry your message of love to all that we meet. We ask this of you who lives and loves us forever and ever, AMEN.


 

Homily – 14th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time in a time of Pandemic

Dear Friends,

Pastor Dick Dahl has given us a wonderful homily this week and I am very grateful to him for that. He has lived up to this time of  “challenge” that Ordinary Time always is and gifted us with much to reflect on. 

As always, if I can be of any help to you or you just want to chat, don’t hesitate to call, 507-429-3616 or email, aaorcc2008@gmail.com.  Stay safe and well–

Peace and love, Pastor Kathy

 


Entrance Prayer

Within your house, O God, we ponder your loving kindness—we raise up your name and bless you forever and ever—you are gracious and merciful, slow to anger, compassionate toward all and just in all your ways. We sing your praises to the ends of the earth.

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

Good and gentle God, help us always to live in your Spirit, just as Jesus lived among us through this same Spirit. Enable us to always model our lives after Jesus, our brother and friend, who lives with you, God, in the Spirit, forever and ever—AMEN.


Readings:

  • Zechariah 9: 9-10
  • Romans 8:9, 11-13
  • Matthew 11: 25-30

Homily from Pastor Dick Dahl—

In his current best-selling book, How To Be An Anti- Racist, Ibram X. Kendi describes that when his parents were college students and before they knew each other, they joined one hundred other Black New Yorkers on a 24-hour bus ride to the University of Illinois to a conference sponsored there by the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, the U.S. evangelical movement’s premier college organizer.

The keynote speaker for the second day was Tom Skinner. Earlier in his life Skinner had come to worship an elite White Jesus Christ who cleaned people up through “rules and regulations,” prefiguring some politicians’ vision of law and order. But Skinner said that one day he realized he’d gotten Jesus wrong.

Skinner’s new idea of Jesus was born of and committed to a new reading of the gospel. Skinner declared, “Any gospel that does not…speak to the issue of enslavement” and “injustice” and “inequality—any gospel that does not want to go where people are hungry and poverty-stricken and set them free in the name of Jesus Christ—is not the gospel.”

The system that flourished like that in the days of Jesus continues like a cancer today. The authorities then saw Jesus as dangerous because he was challenging the system to change. That’s why he was locked up, nailed to a cross, killed and buried.

But we believe that three days later he came out of the grave to proclaim liberation to the captives, sight to the blind, and to have his followers go into the world and tell all who are bound mentally, spiritually and physically, “The liberator has come!”

“Liberator” is the word Skinner used in place of Savior. I find it dynamic and meaningful. A Christian is a person who is striving for liberation. Christians cannot accept the status quo when its policies produce or sustain patterns of severe injustice and inequity between racial groups.

However, our Liberator did not march in at the head of a military army. In the first reading today Zechariah marvels at “how humbly your king comes to you.” He will banish weapons of war and proclaim peace.

Jesus never said this would be easy or quick. But without justice for all there can never be peace. In a sense, this is what Matthew quotes Jesus as saying. One doesn’t have to be learned to see this. It’s obvious to little children. They haven’t come up with rationalizations and excuses to hypocritically justify the unjustifiable.

Systematic injustice exists and has existed here in Winona as well as throughout the nation. Its results are expressed in education, policing, housing, and employment.

Two weeks ago over 200 people attended a rally at Winona Senior High School at which former and current staff members, parents and students of color spoke about a lifetime of racist insults and slights they experienced and the dismissal of their complaints by school officials. They described the unequal treatment given to white and black students for identical offenses.

Kendi writes, “Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequities. A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups. Racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequities.” Many look at people whose lives have been affected by those policies and criticize them for how they live or behave. Yes differences divide and alienate. They spontaneously give rise to speaking of “them,” the people not in the room with us, the fear of the other.

Listening, really listening, seeking to find something in common, refusing to be alienated by words I disagree with are challenges that many (probably most) of us find enormously difficult, in fact almost impossible, to do. The writer Parker Palmer approaches this from many angles, but powerfully connects it to Lincoln’s attitude, “We are not enemies but friends. We must not be enemies.”

How does change then come about? Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, “To belong to Christ, one must have the Spirit of Christ. You are in the Spirit who dwells in you.” I think we can understand his admonition and charge this way: “We must not live according to unjust systems that cheat and degrade and brutalize our sisters and brothers. We live by the Spirit when we put to death systems of injustice.”

Do people get weary in this struggle? Of course they do. This past week Father Richard Rohr ended one of his daily meditations with this story from a man named Tom W: I run a food pantry in . . . Massachusetts. During the pandemic, the number of families we serve has doubled, and so has the tonnage of food we distribute. At times the task can be daunting. The readings and resulting prayers [of the Daily Meditations] have shifted my thinking. I no longer think of our work as service, but as an act of solidarity, of becoming one with our neighbors. Service implies a vertical relationship, one above another. Solidarity calls for a horizontal, two-way relationship between equals, one to one. Of course, God is at the center of it all.

All Are One, as far as I have seen, is an all-white community—not by design or intention, but in fact. As a result—despite the problems that exist in each of our lives—we have been protected, and benefited by years and years of privilege that has been denied to our brothers and sisters of color.

We may not be individually responsible for this privilege, but we need to recognize it and the ways in which others are daily denied it. Changing systematic policies that have benefited some at the cost of others first requires awareness. Then it requires unrelenting action. It requires the power of the Spirit acting in us as members of different communities—religious, social, political.

We are each called by the Spirit in different ways. Jesus calls us to take his yoke upon ourselves and learn from him. The Spirit calls some to prepare and distribute meals. It calls others to take political action, especially to get out the vote. Kendi writes, “We all have the power to discriminate. Only an exclusive few have the power to make policy.”

As Stacy Abrams said in an Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) interview on Tuesday, (I’m paraphrasing) “I can’t be sure that voting will change things as they need to be changed, but I know for sure that failing to vote will not bring about needed change.”

What is the Spirit calling me—and you—to do?


Prayers of the Faithful

Response:  “Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, hear our prayer.”

  1. For our community, All Are One, continue to send your Spirit upon us to enable us to be an inclusive community, open and welcoming to all, we pray—

Response:  “Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, hear our prayer.”

 2. For each of us here and for our entire Church, help us to respond with love and care to each and every person we meet, and additionally, in these times, let us be hope for each other, each and every day, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, hear our prayer.”

 3.  For all who are suffering here today or in our wider community, be it in body, mind or spirit, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, hear our prayer.”

 4.  For our brothers and sisters throughout our country who are suffering from our racist culture—be with each one and give them your deep and abiding peace to know that somehow, all will be well, as you God open hearts to see the ways we have failed in this regard, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, hear our prayer.”

  1. For our world and its people, that we might begin to study earnestly the ways of peace and then do whatever is necessary to turn our backs on the ways  of war and conflict, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, hear our prayer.”

 6.  For each of us here and for our wider Church, that we would realize today and always what a loving and compassionate God we have, slow to anger and rich in kindness, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, hear our prayer.”

  1. Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, from Covid 19 and in all other ways—give them your peace, and help them to find their way through their grief, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, hear our prayer.”

      ***Let us pray for your particular needs—you may say them aloud, we pray, then response

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

Let Us Pray

Good and gentle God, our source of all strength and wisdom.  We ask that you would give us peace—filled and loving hearts—the energy to always seek after peace through the gifts of lovingkindness and mercy.  Give us understanding and mercy that we might see what our black and brown sisters and brothers have lived with for so long and make the necessary and needed changes—now.  Help us to remember that our real task in this world as followers of Jesus, our brother, is to love Your people and this world. We ask that we might have the strength for this great task.   All this we ask of you, Jesus, in union with the Creator and the Spirit, one God who lives and loves us forever and ever—AMEN.


Let Us Pray—Again, my friends, we can’t meet and receive communion in a physical way, so we must remember that we are Jesus to each other and that he is present in all we meet if we have eyes to see.

Prayer after Communion

Jesus, our brother and friend, may we always praise you and thank you for the gift of the Eucharist that we have just received. May your words of love and care, “Come to me and I will give you rest” always resound in our hearts and draw us back. All this we ask of you who lives and loves us forever and ever—AMEN.


 

 

Homily – 13th Sunday in Extra Ordinary Time during a Pandemic

Dear Friends, I keep hoping that we can once again be together for liturgy, but we are not there yet.  As I mentioned in the bulletin, with the help of a family member; I have begun the process of offering some select liturgies on ZOOM and am hoping that I might be ready to do that soon as I am feeling that from what the science and medical communities are telling us; we really can’t safely be together again until we have a vaccine, which will take us into next year. With that in mind, the ZOOM alternative may need to be as much as we can hope for until then. 

I am trying to be in contact with you as much as I can, but if you need me in between my calls, please don’t hesitate to be in contact. By phone, 507-429-3616. You will have noticed that I have given you my HBCI.com address in the past just because I feel it is easier to remember, but lately, there has been some trouble with that address, so I will switch to the church address which you should use going forward as it is a gmail address. aaorcc2008@gmail.com. 

Thanks all–be safe and stay well–peace and love, Pastor Kathy


Entrance Antiphon

All nations, clap your hands! Shout with a voice of joy to God.

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

Loving God, the light of Jesus has scattered the darkness of hatred, sin and death. Called to that light we ask for your guidance. Form our lives in your truth, our hearts in your love.  We ask this in Jesus’ wonderful name, and with your Spirit, all One God, living and loving us forever and ever, Amen.


Readings:

  • 2 Kings 4: 8-11, 14-16
  • Romans 6: 3-4, 8-11
  • Matthew 10: 37-42

Homily

My friends, I have customarily said to you that Ordinary Time should be renamed, “Extra” Ordinary Time because of the continued challenge that the readings in this season bring us to follow in the footsteps of our brother Jesus. Events of this past week give us a bit of a twist on this.  By now, many of you have probably read the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) article delineating the serial grooming and abuse of young women over the past 30 years by church composer and musician, David Haas.

In the past 30 years, Haas has composed such beautiful hymns that we all know and love: You Are Mine, We Are Called, We Have Been Told, and many others. What are we to make of the dichotomy of beauty on the one hand and such evil on the other?

My initial reaction, unlike a good friend, was to say that I would continue to use his hymns at my masses because they are reflective of his “best” self and pray for him and his victims when I do.  I also said that I have to wonder what happened to him in his younger, innocent years that turned him into such a monster in his adult life, because you don’t act this way if everything has been good in your own life.

Because of the visceral reaction of my good friend to this most disturbing news about Haas; I re-read the NCR article and was struck by the comments of a woman named Megan who said, “I have been wrecked, knocked on the floor,” and again, “…the way he would look at you when he sang, You Are Mine,” makes me realize that it would be most cruel to sing his hymns in public knowing that some hearing them would be reminded of some horrible memories.  For this same reason; I have chosen,

in my professional position as your pastor and priest not to wear a clerical collar because of the pain the mere sight of it would cause those abused by male Catholic priests.

In the beginning of this homily, I indicated that the events of this week gave, “a bit of a twist” to the notion that the Scriptures offer continued challenge throughout Ordinary Time.  With the news this week of David Haas, it is the events of the world that challenge us to find or make some sense within the Scriptures for this week. Let’s take a look.

The first reading from Kings relates the story of the prophet, Elisha, who receives hospitality from, “a woman of influence” in Shunem.  Elisha responds to her care for him with the basic understanding and resultant action that a goodness has been bestowed and a response in goodness is only fitting.

The psalmist in number 89 for today, says, “I will sing the story of your love.”

Paul to the Romans lets us know that because of Jesus, we have the possibility of new life should we decide to take it. He goes on; we must consider ourselves, “dead to sin,” but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

The gospel from Matthew has this to say, and I paraphrase, as baptized followers of our brother Jesus; we are called to do, the right thing.  This gospel has Jesus telling us that following his word has to be more important than caring for our families.  A hard saying, but we must remember that we can’t, like in most of Jesus’ sayings, read this literally.  Jesus wants us to care for our family members, yes—but never at the expense of doing what is right.  If it is considered part “of caring for our family,”

keeping a secret that should be exposed to the “light of day,” such as abuse of any kind, then doing the right thing is ultimately the best care for our family, albeit, the harder thing.

Martin Luther King Jr., while in prison for civil disobedience in the 1960’s wrote of this overriding principle:  “In a real sense all life is inter-related…all [people] are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.  I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.  This is the inter-related structure of reality.”

Now, of course, we can move through life not paying any attention to others, “doing our thing,” so to speak, with the assumption that this is our right, but if we are serious about following Jesus; this is never an option.

So we come back to what we learned of David Haas and his selfish, manipulative and cruel actions under the guise of musical minister and mentor to young and upcoming female music ministers.

At this juncture, many of us are laboring under feelings of disbelief, betrayal—followed by disgust and anger against those who knew for a long time of his behavior and did nothing to stop him.

Given my personal experience of never having been physically or sexually abused; I cannot speak to the pain of those who have, but I have been emotionally and spiritually abused by the Catholic church that continues to teach that women are not as good as men,

nor able to respond to a call from God to lead the People of God as a priest and when they do, are told that, “their sin” is akin to the abominable actions of a pedophile priest.

So, in that regard; I perhaps have some standing to comment on what issues like David Haas’ abuse have to say to us in light of the Scriptures.

Perhaps when we can get past the feelings of disgust, anger and rage, a better part of ourselves—the place where I think Haas’ music came from, even if he used it to take advantage of others, will see that he too was abused and taken advantage of at a vulnerable age.  None of us comes into this world as a “bad person,” or perhaps better said, “One who does bad things”—we become that partly through what has been done to us and then our decision to respond negatively to that hurt in our lives.

And in all of this, we are confronted by the Scriptures—by a God who has loved us, no matter what!  Can we be like God?—perhaps not, in the face of such hurt and betrayal as the story of David Haas presents, but we cannot cease to try.  The God of love that no doubt inspired Haas to write, “We have been told, we’ve seen his face, and heard his voice, alive in our hearts…” speaks to us as well and calls us beyond the hurt and anger, when we are ready.  For me, for now—I choose to pray for David Haas and his many victims, of which, he is one, but refrain from using his music at our masses for the reason given above.  Please let me know of your feelings in this regard.  Amen? Amen!


Prayers of the Faithful

Response: “Jesus, hear us.”

  1. Jesus, thank you for the gift of the Eucharist, along with your presence in all your creatures—the piece we have been called to see even more now in the absence of “physical communion—give us the eyes to see you, that you might be close, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”

2. O God, let peace reign in our hearts and give us the strength and grace to be people of peace, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”

  1. Jesus, you ask us to be people of faith, and trust—we believe, but help our times of unbelief, we pray —Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
  1. 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, and heartily welcome them, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
  1. Loving Creator, Savior, Spirit—give us your patience, your strength, your love for our world, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”

6. Loving Jesus, give each person in your body, the Church, strength to live well and the courage to be the voice at times that speaks truth to power, for the good of all, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”

  1. Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week,—from      COVID, from racism and all other ways—give them your peace that they may     find their way through their grief, and we especially remember all the loved ones of Eric Bartleson as they continue to grieve his loss, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, hear us.”

***Let us pray for your particular needs, you may say them aloud—then response

***Let us pray for the silent petitions on our hearts, silent pausethen response

Let Us Pray

O good and loving God, made manifest so wonderfully and beautifully in Jesus, our Savior and Friend, you know what we need before we ask—do give us what we most need today! Help us to be people of faith, strong in our trust of you and believe that no storm in our lives is too great for you to calm. Help us to reach out to you for the strength we need to be our best selves, you who are our Creator, our Savior, our Spirit Friend—we ask all of this in Jesus’ wonderful name—AMEN.


Let Us Pray–this time of pandemic calls us all in a special way to remember that Jesus’ presence is all around us; in each other, in nature–in all of creation. May we be refreshed and “nourished” by this reality.

Prayer after Communion

 Jesus, our Brother, may this communion with you give us a share in your life and help us bring your love to our world. We ask this in your loving name, Amen.


 

Homily – 12th Sunday in Extra Ordinary Time in the Midst of Pandemic and National Unrest

Dear Friends, I am sending this a bit early, as I will be gone this weekend–you can save for Sunday, if you wish.

We continue in this pandemic time, uncertain of what comes next, but trusting that our God is with us and will show us the way. Besides being back to “Extra” Ordinary Time, this is Fathers’ Day and we bless and thank those who have been “fatherly” in their actions to others, whether physically, emotionally, spiritually, or in all these ways. God calls us today, as always, to be our best selves, so the challenge is there my friends–let us go forth! 

If I can be of help to any of you, please don’t hesitate to contact me by phone, 507-429-3616, or email, krredig@hbci.com.  Have peace, stay safe and well! –Pastor Kathy


Entrance Antiphon

God is our strength.  In God, we are chosen and we live in safety. Save us O God who share in your life, and give us your blessing—be our shepherd forever.

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

God of the universe, we praise and thank you! You are ever close to us, we rejoice in you. From this world’s uncertainty we look to your covenant.  Keep us one in your peace, secure in your love.  We ask this in Jesus’ wonderful name, who with you and the Spirit live and love us, forever and ever, Amen.


Readings: 

  • Jeremiah 20: 10-13
  • Romans 5: 12-15
  • Matthew 10: 26-33

Homily

My friends, we have gone through the Easter Season now and all of it has been accomplished through, “distancing,” to protect us from COVID 19.  From the last weeks of Lent through the special feasts after Easter wherein we celebrate the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost, the greatness of our God, three in one on Trinity Sunday and “the Body of Christ”–all of us—in the world, as Jesus’ representatives, until now.

This has been a hard time, being separated physically, and it has called us to be strong in new ways as we all try and stay safe and well.  Our human natures tug at “pushing the envelope” a bit—meeting in smaller family groups, as our family has done and yours too, I have discovered, in talking with you. We have laid our brother, Eric Bartleson to rest with most of you not being able to attend, except vicariously, through my homily.

Those wiser than us, scientists and medical people tell us, to be careful and the wisdom of this counsel has proven itself to be true as we see upticks of infection in areas that either opened too soon and /or didn’t abide by the protections of “distancing,” wearing of masks and good hand-washing.  So, for now, our modus operandi will continue as is, but stay tuned for changes! There is the possibility of us getting on ZOOM in the near future and that could be an option for a bit of closure with Eric and our Mary of Magdala celebration.

So my friends, we are once again into Ordinary Time, which I have presented to you in the past as “Extra” Ordinary Time, in that the challenge to live as our best selves, in the footsteps of our brother, Jesus, is always there, whether we have a major time like Lent or Advent or special feast days like Easter or Christmas.  And as we return then to Ordinary Time—this week is no exception.

Friends, we can hardly miss the fact this week, through the chosen readings, that we are loved by our God! The prophet Jeremiah begins by stating that, “Our God is with me (us) like a mighty champion” [!]  The psalmist prays, “O God, in your great kindness, answer me, with your constant help…in your great mercy, turn toward me…for God hears the cry of the poor.”

This idea that our God loves and truly cares for us is continued today in Paul’s letter to the Romans.  Paul tells them and us, basically, that until humans created “laws,” there was no “sin,” per se.  The Scripture reads, “Sin entered the world through humans.”  Now, it’s important to remember the definition of, what it is to be human.  Simply put; we are imperfect—we don’t always do it right!  Now, if you want to call that character trait, “sin,” as do most in the hierarchy of the Church, you can, but it is good to remember that it was not our good God that started that thinking!

When we get “stuck” on the first part that, “sin entered the world through humans,” the second part of Paul’s message gets forgotten; basically that, “grace abounds for all,” meaning that no matter what we may have done, God loves us anyway!  For God, the important part is, that we keep trying!—that is what God loves in each of us—our ability to keep working at being our best selves.

So, what am I saying?  That we don’t have to be concerned about “sin,” evil in the world? No! Only that we keep it in balance, like everything else.  When we concentrate too much on “the bad we may have done,” we can “get stuck” there and not move on, trying once again to do the good that Jesus asks each of us to do in the world.  My personal feeling about all the rhetoric of us being a “sinful people” in need of “beating our breasts,” without the accompanying message of “being truly loved by our God,” is about controlling people and nothing more.

We continue on then in Matthew’s gospel where we hear, “Every hair on our head has been counted” by our loving God and we must then be secure in the fact that we are loved! This is the gospel where Jesus is sending the apostles off in twos to “freely give” to others what they have been “freely given”—basically that knowledge that they are loved.  He tells them, “Do not fear anything!”

So, my friends, tying all the readings together; I would direct you back to the psalmist who says that our God, “hears the cry of the poor” and the understanding is that our God, in turn, implores one of us to help!  We know this to be true through Jesus’ invitation to the apostles in the gospel story today, “Freely you have received, now, freely give!” God wants us to be our best selves—no matter that we are imperfect beings.  God wants and knows that we can rise above our imperfections and do the right thing.

The times in which we live—NOW, are calling for the best in each of us.  Let us friends, rise to that level!  Amen? Amen!


Prayers of the Faithful

Response:  “Jesus, hear us.”

  1. Jesus, thank you for asking us to be “bread” for our world, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, hear us.”
  1. O God, let peace reign in our hearts and give us the strength and grace to be people of peace—be with all world governments to always strive for the peace-filled solution, we pray— Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
  2. Jesus, you ask us to be people of faith and trust—we believe, help our times of unbelief, we pray— Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
  3. 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, hear us.”
  1. Loving Creator, Savior, Spirit—give us your patience, your strength, your love for our world, we pray— Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
  2. Loving Jesus, give each person in your body, the Church, what they most need today, we pray— Response: “Jesus, hear us.”
  3. Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week,—give all who have lost, your peace, that they may find their way through their grief, continue to surround the Bartleson family with your love and care as they grieve, along with us, the passing of Eric, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear us.”

***Let us pray for your particular needs, you may say them out loud—then response

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

Let Us Pray

  O good and loving God, made manifest so wonderfully and beautifully in Jesus, our Savior and Friend, you know what we most need before we ask—do give us what we most need today! Help us to be people of faith, strong in our trust of you and believe that no storm in our lives is too great for you to calm, you who are our Creator, Savior and Spirit God and Friend, we ask all this, in Jesus’ wonderful name, who lives with us and loves us forever and ever—Amen.


Let Us Pray—my friends, the bread of the altar in physical form is kept from us once again, and so, we must remember that Jesus is always with us and has asked us to be “bread” for our world. Let us do that with confidence, with strength and with mercy.

Prayer after Communion

O God, we have been reminded of Jesus’ life and love through the reception of the bread and wine—we ask you to renew Jesus’ life within us through this most wonderful food. Show us your mercy and bring us to eternal life one day—all this we ask of you, our Creator, Jesus, our Savior and the Spirit that lives within us—Amen.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homily – Corpus Christi Sunday in a Time of Pandemic and National Crisis

Dear Friends,

We find ourselves once again unable to meet due to this time of pandemic, along with struggling as a nation to get to the heart of systemic racism within our country–its very culture.  Even though this is stressful to deal with, I find myself being hopeful in that this time seems to have struck a cord with people throughout our nation wanting to really try this time to make a difference. Our prayer must be that our loving God would give us all the strength we need, the perseverance and the will to finally, finally make the needed changes!  God be with us all.


Entrance Antiphon

Bless the Creator, O my Soul, God who gives us peace, who strengthens us for all trials and disappointments, who shares our joys, who wants good for us and not bad. Bless the Creator, O my soul, glorify God forever.

Opening Prayer

Today O God, You remind us how much we are loved by you through the incarnation of Jesus, Your First Born. Help us to always  lovingly receive Jesus into our lives through the gift of the Eucharist—Jesus, let us always be totally aware of your intention for this gift—that it should be shared with all who come to the table in order that we all can truly be You, O Jesus, for our world. We ask this of the Creator and the Spirit, in Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.


Readings:

  • Deuteronomy 8: 2-3, 14-16
  • 1 Corinthians 10: 16-17
  • John 6: 51-58

Homily

The feast of Corpus Christi—the Body of Christ is one of those feasts that should leave us unsettled, especially if we are looking at it rather, one-dimensionally.  Many times this feast has been presented as a Sunday to uplift the Eucharist, its physicality—place it in a golden case and then onto a golden stand.  This, of course, is a pre-Vatican II ritual that, as we have grown up in our faith, have realized that this feast is really about so much more.

Our brother Jesus, who always had deeper messages to convey than his first followers understood initially, couldn’t truly have meant for the gift of the Eucharist to be something static—bread that we worship.  All his words, his actions in Scripture certainly showed us that the only “body” he wanted us to care for—to care about, was the “body” that we found in our world in all its many forms, colors, sizes—human, non-human, animal and so on.

The Eucharist, the “bread of life” was meant as a comfort, yes, because the Jesus of 1st Century Palestine couldn’t stay with us in that physical form, so he gave us a sign—to remind us that our God is indeed with us, but, this is only the beginning. The Eucharist must be reciprocal—we have received; now we must give!  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.

Diane Bergant, Scripture scholar, states that “blood symbolized life itself” and for us, that means the life of Jesus, his words—his actions—all that he taught about living-loving, dying and rising to a new place. She goes on, “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 Jesus’ “essence” with the community is where the true goodness lies. This feast of Corpus Christi should not leave us “settled” in simply, worshipping the body and blood, because if it does, 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.  You might want to read this line again so as not to miss its meaning!

Looking at the Eucharist in this way, is indeed another level—receiving communion is not just between us and God, but us, and God, (think Jesus) and our world. Receiving communion is a community action for the larger community. A wise person once said, “Eucharist is really a verb, not a noun.  I would agree because it is all about, “becoming.”

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 the Eucharist. When we make conscious efforts to live as Jesus, we do give his “body and blood,” on a deeper level, to our world.

Take this thought and apply it now to the world in which we live.  We are in the midst of Covid 19, a pandemic that truly threatens all of us because it is an unseen organism and there is no vaccine at present to stop its spread.  We as Christians, as followers of our brother Jesus must do our part to truly share his love, his compassion in our world by doing all that we can to keep ourselves and others safe through “distancing,” wearing of masks and good hand-washing—simple measures, but so life-giving.

I have stopped adding “social” to “distancing” because as someone said, as humans, we need the aspect of being “social,” of relating to others—this pandemic has taught us that much, even the most introverted among us—we need others and should all try during this time, to reach out to others through a call, a card, an email—to let them know they are missed, are loved.  This is all about being, “the Body of Christ!”

Add to the pandemic; our country has been shaken to its core these past two weeks at the death of yet another black brother, George Floyd, at the hands of a white police officer.  With his death that has been accepted as murder by many, one of too many before it; our nation apparently is beginning to say—“this is enough!—we must change!”  This is all about “being Jesus’ body and blood” in our world—Eucharist!

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—can be “Eucharist for others. That is why each week that we have been unable to meet as a community with each other, I have been able to say to you, let us remember that we are bread for each other because Jesus lives within us!

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 at Mass end there—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.  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.

I had the privilege of officiating on Saturday at the funeral liturgy of our brother, Eric Bartleson.  In a time of pandemic that none of you could attend—only a couple of close neighbors and family, we did our very best to celebrate his good life among us.  For those of you in the Winona area who knew Eric, I promise a time in the near future, when it is safe to do so, to appropriately remember him—a time of eucharist!

When we celebrate those larger times of eucharist 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 each time we celebrate the Mass. Let it be so! Amen? Amen!


Prayers of the Faithful

Response: “You satisfy the hungry heart.”

  1. For all in our country and around the world who suffer due to the forces of

nature—surround them with your love and care O God and help each of us to do

all that we can to help protect and safeguard our world, we pray—

Response: “You satisfy the hungry heart.”

  1. For each of us here, that we might receive today a new appreciation for what

Jesus’ incarnation into our history really means, we pray—

     Response: “You satisfy the hungry heart.”

  1. For anyone here today, suffering in any way, be it in body, mind or spirit, we

pray—Response: “You satisfy the hungry heart.”

  1. Bless our community, All Are One—keep us O Spirit close to the heart of Jesus

and help us to be ever ready to accept any and all into our family, we pray—

Response: “You satisfy the hungry heart.”

  1. O God, work within each of us, within our leaders, to be people of peace and to

work for peace within our war-torn world, especially be with all in this country as

we work against the sin of racism, we pray—

     Response: “You satisfy the hungry heart.”

  1. Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week—from Covid

19 and be especially with the Bartleson family as they grieve the loss of Eric,

including Pat Przybylski, his friend and companion—give them your peace to find

their way through their grief, we pray—Response: “You satisfy the hungry heart.”

***Let us pray for your particular needs—you may say them aloud, then response

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

Let Us Pray

O good and loving God, made manifest so wonderfully and beautifully in Jesus, our Savior and 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, our Spirit Friend—we ask all of this in Jesus’ wonderful name—AMEN.


Prayer after Communion—(we again remember that the “Eucharist” is more than the “bread of the altar,” but the body of us all that Jesus was for our world.  We remember that he is always with us in our commitment to follow him—in our commitment to share his love with everyone we meet).

Let us pray—

You have satisfied us O God with yourself—guide us as we leave here today to bring your love, your life to all we meet. Help us to remember that we are gifted in order that we might be a gift to our world. We ask all this in Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.