Homily – Pentecost Sunday in a Time of Pandemic

My friends, this is Pentecost Sunday in a time of pandemic. We know Pentecost is the beginning, really, of the Church—for simplicity sake, we call, “Christian” as it forever tries to follow our brother Jesus, whom we believe to be, “the Christ”—the anointed one. The times in which we live call us to be “Christian” as never before—to be honest, truthful, filled with justice, merciful, compassionate and loving—as was Jesus. May we be, as the first disciples, “enabled” by Jesus’ Spirit to be his true followers in our world.

This week Pastor Dick Dahl has gifted us with a homily—enjoy! –Pastor Kathy

P.S. And as always, please be in contact by email, krredig@hbci.com or by phone, 507-429-3616 if I can be of service to you.


Entrance Antiphon

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

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.


Readings:

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

Homily–From Pastor Dick Dahl

Today’s readings speak to us with the power of a tornado and the gentleness of a whisper. They speak about the outpouring, the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit hovered over the abyss at the creation of the universe. The Spirit of God has never been absent. If that were the case, nothing would exist.  But the coming of the Spirit into human life after the departure of Jesus has special powerful meaning.

A powerful force is the root meaning of the Hebrew word that is translated as “spirit.”  It is related, however, to breath as well as wind. In Genesis, God is pictured as creating the universe by simply speaking, “Let there be….”  Then God breathes life into dust from the earth and human life begins.

But, as I said, today’s readings are about the gift of the Holy
Spirit at Pentecost and what this means for us and the world. So, let’s look at one of those readings. I prefer to start with the one from John’s Gospel although it is usually read last.

It may surprise you, but this reading gives us, as it were, the first Pentecost story. The evening of his Resurrection, Jesus appears to his disciples. They are in hiding for fear of capture, so twice he reassures them, “Peace be with you.” In place of wind or fire, he delivers the Spirit by breathing on them, saying “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

(Some biblical scholars think the following words, “whose sins you forgive are forgiven and whose sins you retain are retained,” refer to baptism through which the Holy Spirit is given.)

Next, in the Acts of the Apostles, Luke describes the disciples gathered in the same room when the Spirit whom Jesus had promised comes to them through the sound of a strong driving wind and flames of fire: “They were all filled with the holy Spirit….”

The sound had drawn a large crowd of Jewish pilgrims who had come from all parts of the then known world. When the Apostles spoke, the audience understood them, although the people listening spoke many different languages. The Spirit enabled the Apostles to speak, so that those hearing them were able to understand what they were saying, namely about the amazing things God had done through Jesus.

Intentionally or not, Luke presents a reverse picture of the story of the tower of Babel from chapter 11 of Genesis. In that account early humans who still spoke only the same language, out of arrogance tried to build a tower to the heavens. God punished their pride by confusing their language so that they did not understand one another and then were scattered over all the earth. Now in Acts those scattered and diverse people were drawn together and could understand the Apostles across the barriers of different languages.

In the other reading for today, from Paul’s first letter to the Christian community in Corinth, we see an aspect of this event that had special meaning in the time of Roman rule as well as now. The Roman Empire was a very stratified society.  But Paul writes to the Corinthians, “In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.”

Imagine that! Through the gift of the Spirit, the slave had equal worth to the emperor! This was the first religion to teach such a message. The sense of radical egalitarianism drew many to the early Christian community. Note also, how instead of wind, fire or breath, Paul used the image of water to describe the Spirit’s action, the living water promised by Jesus to the Samaritan woman.

Jesus told his followers, and that includes us, that he and his Father would send us a gift, the Spirit. The Spirit would be our advocate, one who knows what we need before even we do. Jesus told his disciples that the Spirit would teach them everything and remind them of all he had told them (John 14:26).

My sense, and perhaps I’m wrong, is that instead of letting the Spirit teach us, open our vision to all of creation, there is often a tendency to minimize and mentally limit the Spirit’s dynamic and permeating presence. For example, how much do people see religion focusing mainly on church-related concerns or even specific moral concerns (usually about sex) rather than the call of the two Great Commandments—to love everyone with no exceptions. Many have been taught consciously or unconsciously to think of the Church in narrow terms, as if it were confined to the hierarchy and the clergy.

This amounts to having blinders on to God’s outpouring of his Spirit throughout the world, in fact, through all of creation. So to think of God only in the Catholic Church, or even only in Christians is to distort and grossly minimize God’s presence and actions through the Spirit.  On Pentecost the Spirit flooded the world, was poured into all living things, in all of nature, in all creation. This is why one can often regain a sense of peace, of the beauty of God’s presence, when one has the opportunity to spend time outside–in the yard, by the river, in the woods.

I am suggesting that there is a tendency to restrict our sense of God to a place, the tabernacle, a church building, or to people like us, people who believe what we believe, who share our culture, who act the way we think others should act.

Jesus, however, taught us by his example to get rid of such restricted thinking. He offended the religious leaders of his time (and I suspect would do the same today) by reaching out to those considered “outsiders,” lepers, Samaritans, tax collectors, gentiles, prostitutes, “sinners.”  Who are the “outsiders” in our community or wider world today?

These are concrete, not abstract ideas. The murder and riots of the past week in Minneapolis puts a spotlight on an individual act of cruelty and violence, but also on a system of brutality and disrespect which has left many of our fellow citizens enraged and discouraged beyond their ability to hope. I read that Martin Luther King Jr. once said or wrote, “Riots are the language of the unheard.” So when Jesus repeatedly connected with the outsiders, he gave us an example—namely that there are no such thing as outsiders in his eyes. He gave us his Spirit by which the slave is equal in God’s eyes to the emperor, as is the black man under the knee of an arresting officer to you or me, or to the President of the United States.

In one of his daily meditations last week Father Richard Rohr wrote: “We see in the Gospels that the people who tend to follow Jesus are the ones on the margins: the lame, poor, blind, prostitutes, drunkards, tax collectors, and foreigners. He lived in close proximity to and in solidarity with the excluded ones in his society. Those on the inside and at the center of power are the ones who crucify him: elders, chief priests, teachers of the Law, scribes, and Roman occupiers. Yet we still honor people in these latter roles and shun the ones in the former.

But when the Bible is read through the eyes of solidarity—what we call the ‘preferential option for the poor’ or the ‘bias from the margins’—it will always be liberating, transformative, and empowering in a completely different way. Read this way, Scripture cannot be used by those with power to oppress or impress. The question is no longer ‘How can I maintain my special and secure status?’ It is ‘How can we all grow and change together?’ I think the acceptance of that invitation to solidarity with the larger pain of the world is what it means to be a ‘Christian.’”


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!”

2. 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!”

3. 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!”

4. Jesus, give the gift of hope and a light at the end of the tunnel for those suffering from job loss or any other set-backs at this time, due to the coronavirus, we pray in your Spirit—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come!”

  1. 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!”

6. 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!”

  1. 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 it your Spirit—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come!”

8. 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 too that our community can remain strong during this time of Covid 19, we pray in your Spirit—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come!”

  1. Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week,—give them your peace, and help them to find their way through their grief, we pray in your Spirit—Response: “Come, Spirit, Come”

  ***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

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 needed.  Be with the black community now—give them strength in this most recent assault by Minneapolis policemen—be with the white community and help all of them, to address the issue of racism in this country.  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 loving Savior and with the Creator and your loving Spirit— all, one God, living and loving us forever and ever, Amen.


Let Us Pray—Again, we remember that we are “Jesus,” if we choose to be, for our world.  Ask him to be with you, now, in a special way, and he will be!

Prayer after Communion

Loving Jesus, may the food we have received today in this Eucharist keep within us the vigor of your Spirit and protect the gifts you have given to your Church—we ask this in your wonderful name—Amen.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homily – Ascension/7th Sunday of Easter in a Time of Pandemic

My dear Friends, 

Blessings on each of you! We have come to the end of our Easter Season with today’s virtual reflection and prayers.  Our task, as you know, is to “be Jesus for our world!” 

My hope as always is that this finds you well–please be safe and take care of yourselves and others as you are able.

I wanted you to know that this past week your board were in agreement to send $300 to Doctors Without Borders to purchase the protective equipment that the doctors are needing to work with our sisters and brothers of the Navaho Nation in the southwest of our country.  The board agreed on an additional $300 to be sent to the Rochester Franciscan Sisters to be used to assist the undocumented in the Rochester area who are especially hard hit at present with job loss, no monies for rent, food and other needs due to Covid 19. 

We continue to reflect on the new ways that we are being called upon to be church, even as we are saddened that we can’t meet in person, realizing that it may be a while before we can do that again regardless of what the Minnesota bishops and others around the country are trying to do.  Let us continue our prayers for each other and please do call me,  507-429-3616 or email me, krredig@hbci.com if I can be of help to you.  Peace and love, Pastor Kathy


 

Entrance Antiphon

O God, hear my voice when I call to you.  My heart has prompted me to seek your face; I seek it, O God, do not hide from me, alleluia!

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

Loving Creator, reaching from end to end of the universe, and ordering all things with your wonderful strength; for you, time is the unfolding of truth that already is, the unveiling of beauty that is yet to be.  Jesus, your Only Begotten has saved us in history by rising from the dead, so that transcending time he might free us from death. May his presence among us lead to the vision of unlimited truth and unfold the beauty of your love. We ask this in Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.


Readings:

  • Acts 1:1-11
  • 1 Peter 4: 13-16
  • John 17: 1-11

Homily

My friends, I am taking the opportunity today to blend the feast day of the Ascension and the 7th and final Sunday of Easter in order to share messages from both for our reflection.  In order to do that; I will use the first reading for the Ascension, celebrated this past Thursday and the 2nd and gospel readings from the 7th Sunday of Easter. I think you will find that the key thoughts blend well in these last days of the Easter Season.

I offer these key thoughts for us to consider today:

1) Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles for the Ascension lifts up for us the question of the angel to the apostles after Jesus has physically left them: “Why are you looking up to the heavens?”

2) In 1st Peter from the 7th Sunday of Easter, Peter proclaims: “Happy are you when insulted for the sake of Christ.”  He continues, “See to it that none of you suffers for being a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a destroyer of another’s rights.”  And he goes on to say that if you must suffer, let it be because you have been, “a follower of Christ.”

3) John’s gospel today includes the part of Jesus’ priestly prayer to his Abba God, for his apostles and ultimately, us, before his death on the cross and in fact, the very words chosen to name us as a faith community, “that they may be one as you and I are one.”

So friends, hopefully you can see how these thoughts are related or at least you will by this homily’s end!  Jesus’ time with his first followers after his death and resurrection was to prepare them for their lives going forward, once he would no longer physically be with them.

They would be expected to share all he had taught them about God’s love for each person—far and wide.  He knew they were afraid and he therefore tried to comfort them, assuring that he would not leave them alone, but send them his Spirit to give them strength, courage and all that they would need to begin the awesome task of sharing with countless others all about, “the way, the truth and the life” of Jesus, the Christ!

Next Sunday, we remember, in a special way, the coming of Jesus’ Spirit on Pentecost.  All of us will recall the indwelling of the Spirit on that special day of our own confirmations and should pray for a renewal of the strength and courage we received then to be all that we can be as Jesus’ followers.

This world of ours, the here and now, calls us and needs us to be more than those who, “are looking up to the heavens” for the answers!  Our God, in Jesus and the Spirit has given us all that we need to affect change in our world.  Will this task be easy—will we always be understood for hard decisions and actions that we must take to be Jesus’ true followers?  No, it will not always be easy, but as Peter tells those who will listen, “See to it, that if you are called to suffer,” that it is not among other things, because you are “a destroyer of another’s rights,” but because you are a, “follower of Christ.”

For the remainder of this homily, I would like to lift up two examples, one that follows Jesus’ way and one that does not, or perhaps, we could say, “falls short.”

All the Catholic papers this week are remembering Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si and the fact that it is now five years old.  I read a commentary this week that said, it may take 40 years for our world to truly understand—maybe more to accept what he is saying in this wonderful statement on care and love of our planet.

The trouble, of course, with the above statement that it may take 40 years to accept what Francis is saying, is the fact that we may not have 40 years to heed its warnings that global warming is a real threat, now!

Those who will probably still be alive in 40 years, like Greta Thunberg, teenage activist from Sweden has these past couple of years become a world-wide figure sounding the alarm that we must all work to save our beautiful planet for the next generation—hers!

Within the Catholic church hierarchy, aside from Pope Francis, we have the example of many of the country’s bishops declaring that they will open churches for Masses once again on May 31st—Pentecost.  To speak to this further, I will turn to the example of my home state of Minnesota.

Our governor, Tim Walz has set out a plan, based on the best science available, the input of reliable medical people, the leaders in the business world as well as input from church leaders and so on about the perceived needs of our people—across the board as to the best way to reopen our state.

Regarding churches reopening, his plan suggests that this be done incrementally with gatherings of 10 or less and then when we see how that goes, adding to this amount. Businesses are part of this plan and will be opened in the same way with the underlining measure being, “how long you are in a particular place “of business, church—whatever it might be.”  Because people are generally in church at least an hour or more, whereas people going to “big box stores” for necessities can be “an in and out” type of venture, the amount of people allowed in at any time is different with the idea of keeping people safe.

The bishop’s complaint is that if the stores can be open to larger amounts of people, the churches can be too.  Thus, the Minnesota bishops plan to defy the governor’s more incremented plan and open early allowing one-third the capacity of the church’s space to be filled with stringent measures of social-distancing, use of masks and good sanitation measures in place.  The bishops’ further explanation goes something like, “The people need the Mass and the sacraments.”

Now, I am aware that there are differing views on this issue, but I would just say that this example shows the bishops’ consistently small—minded thinking where matters of faith are concerned.  Where were these same bishops a few weeks ago when Cardinal Timothy Dolan was falling all over himself in support of the president in order that he would support their key issue—fighting against abortion?

We must recall that this is a president who does not support any other life issue; immigrants and their children, the poor, the homeless, care of the earth and if truth be told, doesn’t support those who want to see legal abortion eliminated in our country either, except to get the Catholic vote.

So again, I ask why do these same bishops not come together and make a statement criticizing their brother Timothy for supporting a president who is against a multitude of human life issues.  Probably because it is always easier for most of us to support a cold, sterile law (Sunday Mass attendance) than it is to support the human,  life-giving needs of the People of God. For Jesus, it was all about love—and for us, as his followers, it must be too!

The bishops say that the people want and need the sacraments.  I would tell them that there is also the “sacrament” of assisting state leadership trying to keep all of us safe!  As I tell my parish, these times call us to be “church” in other ways—the “eucharist” is truly about “thanksgiving” and can happen in many ways, outside of church attendance.  These times truly call us to get outside of our “small boxes of thinking and acting!

In conclusion, today’s gospel calls us to reflect on the prayer of Jesus’ heart the night before he died. He so wanted us to be one in our love, our giving , our being, even though he realized how hard an undertaking this can be at times.

As we prepare for Pentecost, let our own priestly prayer be one with our brother Jesus—to get past ourselves, seeing the bigger picture, with the Spirit’s help, “to be one” as much as that is possible, for the good of us all.  Amen?—Amen!


Prayers of the Faithful

Response: “Jesus, hear our prayer”

  1. Jesus, today we remember that your life among us has taken on a new form, but help us to remember that you are with us, always, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear our prayer”
  1. Jesus, let peace reign in our hearts and give us the strength and grace to be people of  peace, especially in this time of pandemic and be with those suffering now from Covid 19 in any way, physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we pray—Response:  “Jesus, hear our prayer”
  1. 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—Response: “Jesus, hear our prayer”

4.  Jesus, give the gift of hope and a light at the end of the tunnel for those suffering from job loss, especially now due to Covid 19, from chronic illness, or discouragement of any kind, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear our prayer”

  1. Jesus, you have called us friends—enable us to extend that relationship in our world to those who most need friendship, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear our prayer”
  2. 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—Response: “Jesus, hear our prayer”
  1. Jesus, your words in Scripture today remind us that we are to be one—to make a place for all at our table—help us to always remember that is why we are here in this community—to welcome all to our table—to your table, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear our prayer”    

8.  Jesus, remind us this week as we prepare for the feast of Pentecost, that your Spirit lives within us enabling us to be your body for the needs of the world, we pray—Response: “Jesus, hear our prayer”

  1. Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, especially from the coronavirus—give them your peace, and help them to find their way through their grief, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

       ***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

Jesus, be the strength we need each day to be a people renewed—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.  Give us ever more open minds that we might see your face in each person we meet and therefore cease to judge others, but simply try and understand, to put ourselves in another’s shoes and then to simply look on them with love. We await anew the gift of your loving Spirit into our lives. Give us what we most need today—be especially with all the front-line workers caring for the sick, keeping them safe. Be as well with all those necessary workers who aren’t able to shelter-in-place or social-distance—keep them safe.  We ask all of this of you, our loving Savior and with the Creator and your loving Spirit— all, one God, living and loving us forever and ever, Amen.


Let Us Pray—again, we remember that “communion,” receiving the “bread” we know to be Jesus’ life in this special way has to wait a safer time.  Ask that our brother Jesus be with you in a special and new way at this time and he will be!  Then, share that “bread” –his life, with others.

Prayer after Communion

Loving God, hear us and through this holy mystery, give us hope that the glory you have given Jesus will be given to the Church, his body, for he is our loving Savior, forever and ever, Amen.


 

Homily – 6th Sunday of Easter in a Time of Pandemic

Dear Friends, greetings once again in our new “normal” which has us meeting virtually, but together just the same. Hopefully you are each doing what is needed now to keep you and your family safe. Know of my loving thoughts and prayers for you and of my gratitude for remembering me in your prayers as well. A thought for this week might be to consider what God is calling you to, in particular, during this time–how might you grow to become your best self? Blessings on all your discoveries! Please let me know of any ways that I might be of service to you–call: 507-429-3616 or email; krredig@hbci.com

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy


Entrance Antiphon

Speak out with a voice of joy; let it be heard to the ends of the earth:  Our God has set us free, alleluia!

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

 Loving Creator God, the crown of your creation is Jesus, the Christ, born of a woman, but without beginning; he lived and loved for us, but lives forever.  May our mortal lives be crowned with the ultimate joy of rising with him, who lives and loves us forever and ever, with you and the Spirit, Amen.


Readings:

  • Acts 8: 5-8, 14-17
  • 1 Peter 3: 15-18
  • John 14: 15-21

Homily

My friends, another week has passed in this time of pandemic and through my checks to those of you in the Winona area and even those that I have contact information for who are “sheltering in place” in different areas; I can report that all are safe and well! My prayer is that you all can stay that way!

An interesting article that I read from the National Catholic Reporter, (NCR) this past week, addressed the result of Catholics experiencing COVID 19 who became quite ill with the virus, but came out of it.  In all cases, “gratitude” was the overarching feeling in women and men alike.  Now, this feeling of gratitude is most understandable in those interviewed who were gravely ill to the point that each spoke of never being so sick and seriously wondering if they would make it through the night on any particular day.

Gratitude then became coupled for each one with the sense of a renewed and greater appreciation for life, not only their own, but the lives of others, their family members and even those outside of their families—our sisters and brothers in this world—they became, in other words, more sensitive to the needs of others that perhaps they had ignored or hadn’t let themselves be bothered with before.  It seems that the “slowing down” that COVID 19 has brought forth in many of us, especially those of us with means, is a good thing in that it has awakened us to the reality with which many in this world live most of the time.

If you have been watching or listening to reputable news stations, you have heard the reports stating that those who live in poverty, and/or, are dark-skinned, have been hardest hit by the coronavirus.  And the truth of the matter is that the poor in this world, who are poor for many reasons, suffered as a rule, even before the coronavirus pandemic, which should tell all of us who live with enough of this world’s goods, that there is something wrong with this picture—that is if we want to claim that we are followers of our brother, Jesus.

It seems that in much of what I am reading, there is that sense that we cannot go back to the “normal” that said that the discrepancy between the rich and the poor in this world is somehow, OK.  We need to understand that when there aren’t enough dollars to feed one’s family,  you buy what is cheapest and will fill bellies, not that which may be most nutritious and this leads ultimately to diabetes, obesity, heart disease and so on. All of this, of course makes a person more susceptible in a time of pandemic.  We Christians know in our heart of hearts, that Jesus would not be OK with this!

This week’s Scripture readings are instructive in how we should respond to present day problems as Jesus’ followers, and go about sharing his message.  The first reading from Acts lets us know that we must be inclusive of all—no exceptions!  God’s love is big enough for all and that God wants “good” for everyone.

Before Jesus came into the lives of the apostles, none of them would have gone to Samaria to spread a doctrine of love and inclusion because mainline Jews made a point of ignoring their Jewish sisters and brothers in Samaria that they considered, as “less than” themselves.  But with Jesus, they learned that they must not judge who is worthy and who is not. Thus we see Philip going to Samaria to share the “Good News” and the people’s response is one of joy!  The fact that Peter and John then follow Philip to Samaria to “bring the Spirit” to them is basically saying, as we proclaim here at All Are One, that all are welcome!

The reading from 1st Peter continues this theme as he tells us to “venerate Jesus Christ in our hearts,” treating others, “gently and with respect,” as we share the reason for our hope.  Jesus must always be the one we check back with when we don’t know what we are being called to do—what, in fact is the right way to go.

We see this lack of “checking back with Jesus,” the one Christians say they follow in the recent actions of Timothy Cardinal Dolan in his blatant support of the current U.S. president who has demonstrated a lack of Christian values through actions that show hatred of immigrants, children, women, the poor and disadvantaged and the list could on. I try, my friends, not to be political in my comments to you, but to simply lift up Jesus’ words for us to reflect on, “You will know them by their fruits.” Perhaps Cardinal Dolan feels that supporting our current president is what God is calling him to, but whatever else it might be, it certainly is not Christian!

In response to NCR’s editorial of a couple of weeks ago denouncing Dolan’s “cozying up to” Trump and lack of response from any other bishops or the pope, Catholics from around our country, Canada and England responded positively in support of NCR’s stance.

One of the responses was especially interesting coming from a British man who spoke to the phenomenon of what he calls, “American Christianity.” He says, “American Christianity is an ideology of racism, hierarchy, patriarchy and xenophobia.  Christianity, he continues, is only a mask for hate, racism and bigotry.  This “Christianity” (italics mine) is pro-life but only insofar as it excludes capital punishment and caging of kids in detention camps.  American Christianity, he goes on, is about power and domination. Do not misconstrue it, he says, with Jesus of Nazareth—the guy that is famous for compassion, mercy and forgiveness!”

This British gentleman concludes his comments by recalling the rebuke of present-day Afro-American historian, Vincent Harding: “We first met the American Christian on slave ships.  We heard his [God’s] name sung in hymns of praise while we died in the thousands, chained in stinking holds beneath the decks, locked in with terror and disease and sad memories of our families and homes.  When we leaped from the decks to be seized by sharks we saw his name carved in the ship’s solid sides.  When our women were raped in the cabins, they must have noticed the great and holy books on the shelves.  Our introduction to this Christ was not propitious.  And the horrors continued on American soil.”

My friends, in the Gospel today from John, Jesus tells us that he “will not leave us orphans”…that he will send us his Spirit.  That Spirit, we know is not about sanctioning fear, suffering, hatred, power and control, but in affirming Jesus’ healing touch through love, caring, justice and understanding—basically, the works of mercy.  We as Jesus’ true followers have always known this, and we simply must not lose sight of which actions constitute true Christianity.

We may at present may be lacking in the kind of true leadership that is needed in our American church, but that does not let us, “off the hook,” so to speak, in following the ways of our brother, Jesus.

This time of year is the usual time when bishops confirm new young people as adult followers of our brother, Jesus—a practice that will perhaps be postponed this year due to the coronavirus.  But let those of us already confirmed in our faith truly live out our confirmations no matter how long ago that may have happened—may we as Jesus’ true followers cast out, through our love and caring response to our world and its people, the demons of mistrust, hatred, anger, violence, disinterest and disdain of those that we don’t understand. Amen? Amen!


Prayers of the Faithful

Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

  1. Jesus, in your risen state, be our guide to live out your loving example toward all people, especially the least among us—help us to do this primarily by following ever closer your way of goodness and justice toward all, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

2. O Risen Jesus, let your peace reign in our hearts—the kind of peace that comes from lives of loving service, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

  1. Jesus, risen Savior, you who were a healer in every way, freeing people’s minds, hearts and bodies of illness of every kind, grant us health in these same ways, especially for those suffering now from COVID 19, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

4. Risen Jesus, you who have said, you will never leave us—help us to look for you earnestly each day in the faces and lives of those we encounter, we pray— Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

  1. Risen Jesus, our brother and friend, you have promised that you will always be with us in your Spirit—increase our faith and help us to be comforted by your closeness, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

6.Risen Jesus, in your new, resurrected life, continue to be our constant model of one who lived very simply upon the earth, and show us new ways to live in our changed economic climate going forward—beyond COVID 19 to refocus on the needs of all in our world, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

7Risen Jesus, you who never turned anyone away, be with our community, All Are One—continue to bless us and assist us to be open to all of your people and guide us to remain a community during this time of pandemic, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

  1. Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, especially from the coronavirus—give them your peace, and help them to find their way through their grief, we pray—Response: “Hear us O Risen Jesus”

     ***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.  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.  We ask a special blessing this week for all those in this country and around the world giving frontline care to those afflicted with the coronavirus—keep them safe.   All this we ask of you, Jesus, our Shepherd and Friend,   AMEN.


Let Us Pray—Again the reminder my friends, that in this time of pandemic, our reception of Jesus must come in other ways—we must ask him and he will come to us in just the ways that we need. Then, we must share him, “the bread” and body with others.

Prayer after Communion

Loving and ever-living God, you restored us to life by raising Jesus, the Christ from death.  Strengthen us by this Easter sacrament; may we feel its living power in our daily lives.  We ask this in Jesus’ wonderful name. Amen.


 

 

 

 

Homily – 5th Sunday of Easter with Accompanying Materials during a time of Pandemic

Dear Friends, 

We “gather” again, in our new way, during this time of pandemic, longing to see each other face to face, yet knowing that for now, this is best to keep us all safe. We “gather”  to reflect together on being “community” in the best sense of the word. We are challenged anew this week with the gentle, yet insistent call of our brother Jesus, “to do greater things than he,” skeptical at times as to if that is even possible as we many times feel our inadequacies for the task. Yet, he trusts us and lets us know that he will be with us always. So, with that my friends, stay safe and well–call, 507-429-3616 or email, krredig@hbci.com if I can be of service to you. 

Peace and love,  Pastor Kathy


Entrance Antiphon

Sing to our God, a new song, for God has done marvelous deeds!  Our loving God has revealed to the nations saving power, Alleluia!

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer–Good and gentle God, look upon us with love. You have revealed to the nations your saving power and filled all ages with the words of a new song.  Hear the echo of this hymn, sung in love and praise to you in this season of joy.  We ask this of you, and with the Spirit, in Jesus’ wonderful name—Amen.


Readings:

  • Acts 6: 1-7
  • 1 Peter 2: 4-9
  • John 14: 1-12

Homily

My friends, it is fitting today at the beginning of this homily, to recall that 12 years ago, on this very day, Sunday, May 10, 2008; we celebrated our first Mass within the Lutheran Campus Center space on Huff Street in Winona, Minnesota! I can still remember the words of my sister priest, Alice Iaquinta, recommending that I not wait for this first until my Mass of Thanksgiving, which is customary for a new priest, but begin celebrating Mass immediately, the first Sunday after my ordination on May 4th.  Those of you that have been part of the parish from the beginning know that is what we did and as they say, “The rest is history!”

And on this Sunday, as our Scriptures tell the continuing story of the early church of the 1st Century learning what being “community” was all about, following in the footsteps of their brother, leader and pastor, Jesus of Nazareth, it is appropriate here to remember our humble beginnings.  We have been a wonderful work in progress as we try to keep our eyes on Jesus, checking and rechecking to hopefully, get it right.  The mere fact that we have not been accepted by the local powers-that-be is a sign that we are probably on the right road, as Jesus experienced the same in his time.

Our Scriptures today lift up a few key thoughts for us to ponder as we, in our time, consider what it means, “to be church,”—to ultimately be, community.

In the first reading from Acts, Luke tells the people that Jesus’ message was always meant to be heard on a grand scale, not just for a select group of Israelites in 1st Century Palestine.  The people that the apostles were encountering as the message of Jesus spread, were Jews, yes, but Greeks too, as well as many other groups and nationalities and the needs of all had to be considered as is demonstrated in the simple example of the “sharing of the bread,” physical bread that is, in the reading today.  There could be no favorites and the community called the apostles to task on this very issue.

A couple of things are important to address in this reading from Luke.  First is the goodness and wonder, really, of problems arising within the community, “The People of the Way” as these early followers of Jesus were known, referring back to Jesus saying that he is, “the way, the truth and the life,” in John’s gospel selection today, and the community having input as to the solutions.  Would that the same could be true in today’s official Church!

The second issue that we must address is the notion of the apostles apparently seeing themselves above “waiting on tables.”  They are distinguishing “speaking/spreading” the word of God” from “acting” on the word—“serving at tables.”  Apparently they all missed Jesus’ wonderful example at the Last Supper of, washing their feet!

So, clearly, the twelve probably did need help in, “spreading the word” and were right to appoint additional helpers “for the harvest,” but not because “serving or waiting at tables,” was beneath them or separate from, “spreading the word!”  Hopefully, some of these first followers of Jesus came to understand this key idea as they grew and fine-tuned what it truly meant to be Jesus’ followers. In our humanity, over time, it seems that ministers in the Church—priests, bishops, cardinals, popes would need to be reminded as Francis has done throughout his papacy, that he and they are to be “servants,” not “princes” of the Church.

In the 2nd reading from Peter, he speaks of Jesus as “the stone that was rejected.” Again, we in our parish can reflect on this notion as we continue to witness to our call to be a Vatican II parish in this community, even though not accepted nor recognized by the local bishop. But beyond that recognition; we remain an alternative place for the faithful to find God in Winona—a place that accepts all to pray with us—all that want to be with us, no matter faith background, who you happen to love, or any other perceived roadblock to unity.  Within this community people also find that God’s call to women as to men is recognized—a call to serve at the altar, to lead and conduct liturgy.

An interesting aside with regard to Jesus as, “the stone rejected” is a point that Pastor Dick Dahl inferred with his weekly bible study group when he said that, “rock or stone was as plentiful in 1st Century Israel as trees and woods were in early America.” We always think of Jesus’ earthly trade as that of a carpenter and then come to the conclusion that his building material was wood. In all actuality, Joseph and his earthy son, Jesus, were probably stone masons—carpenters yes, but with the medium of stone.  In this sense, Jesus being “the stone that was rejected” is all the more meaningful.

My friends, in our own “fine-nuancing”—a life-time task, of what it is, to live as Jesus did, his words in John’s gospel today are most uplifting:  “Do not let your hearts be troubled!”  Basically, I am with you and will show you the way.  And many times, we get stuck, I  think, in small things like Thomas does in the reading today when Jesus assures him and the other apostles, and us, ultimately, that he will guide us because having been with them for three years already—“they know the way.”  Not the way to a place, but “the way” to a life!

And finally, Jesus addresses an issue that is key to being his follower. He tells the apostles [and us] that this experience of his time with them on earth has been all about them being able to understand how much they are loved by God. Because of how Jesus loves them and in their seeing and experiencing that love, they truly have seen God! This, my friends, is something that we too must get—we need to be able to see God in our sisters and brothers on earth and if we can’t, then we very likely won’t ever be able to see God anywhere else, either.

In my neighborhood of rural Winona this past week, we all lost a wonderful woman, neighbor and friend in the person of Sandy Kammerer Stiever—a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and friend to those who knew her.  I was privileged to walk with her in her final year and in her words, “help her to come to peace,” over the cancer that would eventually take her life.  Sandy was someone who continually reached out to others, giving her best to make life better for others, as a nurse at our local hospital, as wife to Roger, mom to Jill and Jana, gramma to 8 kiddos and friend to so many.  I always saw Jesus in the ways she gave to others, and thus, saw God too.

I would like to conclude with a story from Sister Joan Chittster as she speaks well to what our life as Jesus’ followers must be about:

“An old rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when night had ended and the day had begun. ‘Could it be,’ asked one of the students, ‘when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it’s a sheep or a dog?’ ‘No,’ answered the rabbi.  Another asked, ‘Is it when you look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it’s a fig tree or a peach tree?’  ‘No’ answered the rabbi.  ‘It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your sister or brother. Because, if you cannot see this, it is still night.’ ”

Friends, we must always see life on a larger scope than the students in the story did—Jesus, the Christ who came to be one of us, we remember as, “the Light of the World” –if we are to truly follow him, we must too, bring light and not darkness.

Joan ends her reflection of the old rabbi by saying, “Pay attention to the new nativism,” [that seems to be spreading from Washington and the followers of the present administration, because] as Joan continues, “if you don’t, we may never know when the night has ended and the day has begun.”  Amen? Amen!


Prayers of the Faithful

 Response: “Loving God, hear us.”

  1. Jesus, in your risen state, be our guide to live out your loving example toward all people, especially the least among us, we pray—Response: “Loving God, hear us.”
  1. Jesus, let peace reign in our hearts and give us the strength and grace to be people of peace, we pray—Response: “Loving God, hear us.”

3. Jesus, you who said that we will do greater things than you, we ask that you would always remain close to us guiding our lives in the ways of love, especially now, during this time of pandemic, we pray—Response: “Loving God, hear us.”

  1. Jesus, grant each of us a renewed faith during this Easter Season to remain true to you living our lives in truth, justice and love, we pray—

      Response: “Loving God, hear us.”

  1. Jesus, be with those in leadership positions both in Church and State—let your Spirit guide them all for the good of all, we pray—Response: “Loving God, hear us.”
  1. Jesus, during this month of May, help us to look to Mary, your mother that she might be a guide for us toward compassion, strength and care for our world, we pray—Response: “Loving God, hear us.”
  1. Jesus, help us to see you every day in the faces of all we meet—help us to see your face in all the ordinary events of our life , we pray—Response: “Loving God, hear us.”
  1. Jesus, you who never turned anyone away, be with our community, All Are One—continue to bless us and assist us to be open to all of your people and guide us to always make a place of welcome at our table, and help us now to remain a community, during this time of separation due to the pandemic, we pray—Response: “Loving God, hear us.”

9. Jesus, send your Spirit into the lives of all your followers to enable them to do all within their power to renew your church so in need of that renewal, we pray—       Response: “Loving God, hear us.”

  1. Risen Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, especially those who died due to Covid 19—give them your peace, and help them to find their way through their grief, we pray—Response:  “Loving God, hear us.”

***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.  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. Help us always to look for inspiration from your mother Mary, who we especially remember during May, as a pillar of strength, faith, gentleness and courage. We ask that we might have the strength for these great tasks.   All this we ask of you, Creator God, Jesus, our Brother and your Spirit, one God, living and loving us, forever and ever, AMEN.


Let Us Pray—Remembering that the “bread” in this time of pandemic will come in different ways—and the reminder that we must, each, be that “bread” for each other—in the ways that we can.

Prayer after Communion–Jesus, be with us each and every day. We believe as you told us that we will do great things in your name—give us the grace to follow your lead—we ask all of this in your loving name, Amen.


 

 

 

 

 

Homily – 4th Sunday of Easter and Accompanying Materials during this time of Pandemic

Dear Friends, again we are separated when we would wish to be together–we are a community in spirit as well as in body and let us pray for each other and all that may be on our hearts–of concern. Peace and love to each of you–Pastor Kathy 

P. S. And of course, if there are ways that I can be of help, individually, do let me know–krredig@hbci.com or 507-429-3616. 


Entrance Antiphon

The earth is full of the goodness of our loving God; by the Word of God the heavens were made, Alleluia!

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

Loving and Ever-Living God,  though we walk in the valley of darkness, no evil should we fear; for we follow in faith the call of the Good Shepherd whom you have sent for our hope and strength. Attune our minds to the sound of Jesus’ voice, lead our steps in the path he has shown, that we may know the strength of his outstretched arm and enjoy the light of your presence forever. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Brother and Friend and with the Spirit, who is with us, God, living and loving us, forever and ever, Amen.


Readings:

  • Acts 2:14, 36-41
  • 1 Peter 2: 20-25
  • John 10: 1-10–as a response to the readings, you might want to sing the refrain–“Shepherd Me O God, Beyond my Wants, Beyond my Fears, From Death into Life.”

Homily

I begin today with a story as it serves well, I think, as a fine example of what we are each to be as Jesus’ followers:   A person stopped for the yellow light, and the person who was tailgating, furiously honked because they missed their chance to get through the intersection.  Still in mid-rant, that person heard a tap on the window. The officer ordered the person to exit the car with hands up, was ultimately taken to the station, searched, finger-printed, photographed and placed in a holding cell.  After a couple of hours, a police officer escorted the would-be criminal back to the booking desk and the arresting officer who said, “I am very sorry for the mistake, but I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, and giving the person in front of you the finger. I noticed the “What Would Jesus Do?” bumper sticker, the “Choose Life” license plate holder, “Follow Me to Sunday School” bumper sticker and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally I assumed you had stolen the car.

Good to remember that people are watching!

   With this story as a backdrop; we can move into today’s main theme, which is clearly about a God who “shepherds” the beloved sheep—who, in fact, is a pastor.  This is Good Shepherd Sunday and John’s gospel lays out for us what a “good” shepherd is.  Now being that most of us have no notion of what being a physical shepherd of sheep is all about, a bit of explanation for us 21st Century Christians as to how 1st Century Christians would have heard Jesus’ words is in order.

Large sheepfolds were generally constructed outside of town and several flocks would be kept in one sheepfold.  Someone would be hired to look after the sheep.  There was one gate to enter the enclosure. Those who would be about the good—the welfare of the flock, entered through the gate. Anyone else, a thief, would sneak in another way.  When the owner of a particular flock came to retrieve their sheep, the owner would call their sheep in a distinctive way that only they would recognize, and come. Many shepherds knew their sheep as individuals and called them by name.  It is this same kind of care and attention that each of us is promised by our God and that Jesus had in mind when he said, “I came that you might have life and have it to the full.”

With that much of a prelude to today’s readings; I would like to turn to a piece of news shared this week through the National Catholic Reporter (NCR).  It seems that the president of the United States reached out to Catholic male leaders, “princes of the church,” some would say—bishops, that is, this past Saturday, via conference call.  Originally, there was to be a few key, so-called leaders talking with the president and when all was said and done, it turned out that 600 individuals were on the call!

Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York was a key figure on this call and it was reported that he gushed over the president and at one point, said that the president was “a great gentleman.”

And you might wonder why a “supposed” man of the Church would so prostitute himself, with regard to the personal record of this president in any number of human issues, and the answer is simple—for the president’s so-called support on the issue of abortion.  The cardinal was also looking for monies for Catholic education, but his primary issue was abortion.

The staff writers for the NCR have spoken of the bishops thusly in regard to this call:  “They [the bishops] lack credibility in this issue of abortion—an absolute rule for women from an all-male culture that has shown itself quite adept at accommodating a level of violence against already-born children, covering it up and wishing to move beyond the facts and the wrecked lives of thousands of victims and their families.    Their own behavior over decades of covering up abuse puts the lie to the sanctimonious posturing about the absolute dignity of every person.”

Now, it would be one thing for the bishops to claim their pro-life stance, if indeed it went beyond the one issue of abortion, but this same group doesn’t seem to be able to publicly call attention to their own abuses of children and the subsequent coverup, or the abuses of this president that they are cozying up to, with regard to his abuse of immigrants and their children, people of color, the poor, or his total disregard for women except for how they may bring him pleasure! These bishops who fail to speak up against this president and his actions that are devoid of anything we would name as “Christian” simply to get his so-called support for one human life issue, ignoring the rest, is abhorrent!  These bishops and their followers are simply abdicating their morality that allows themselves to say that they are Jesus’ followers! It must be remembered and history proves it, that this president was for abortion before he discovered that it was more advantageous to him to be against it!

Now if our bishops were to show the same concern for life once these babies are here, “the Seamless Garment,”  as Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, former archbishop of Chicago spoke of all life issues, that would be an entirely different thing, but, as it is,  these bishops, headed up by Timothy Dolan, are, in the words of the NCR, “lacking credibility.”

For now, it suffices to say that the issue of “abortion” in our Church is a very polarizing one and if truth be told, no one wants to get an abortion, but are many times forced down that road, because if one wants to be “a good Catholic” what options are given, that are acceptable?  If Church fathers want to rule women’s lives, then it behooves them to give women something to prevent the need for abortions.  Facts show that where viable birth control measures are available to assist couples in spacing their children, abortion numbers go down.  Another fact to keep in mind is that 2.6 million children die each year of malnutrition—that is, 7,200 a day, or, 300 every hour of every day! Yet, we hear no bishops decrying that fact and these are fully-formed, born children.

A final point would be to say that most modern-day women resent being told by a group of so-called, celibate men who clearly have no regard for their well-being, how they are to live their lives, by legislating rules for women without any input of women’s stories or how they are affected by their black and white decisions.  And again, I know there are differing views among the hearers of this homily, but until our Church, in its hierarchy, moves to a more even and just way for us, as women and men to be Christ in our world, such a one-sided answer to a very complex problem, really has no merit.  And it further has no merit when these same men are being duplicitous in their own actions as named above.

The reading from Peter today as well as the gospel from John speak of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, one who knows his own and calls them by name—who has “put up with suffering [for us] for doing what is right” and only asks that we try and do the same.  If our stance toward our world is going to be one of “pastoring” as opposed to that of “legislating,” we will have to see our world through a lens that is often more gray as opposed to black and white.

And with that idea in mind, it would be much better if the leaders of our Church would more consistently follow their brother Joseph advocating the “Seamless Garment” approach to life issues because it hardly makes much sense to be vocal on saving babies in the womb and then ignoring them, or worse, abusing them, once they are here.

I began this homily with a story that asked us to consider if we merely “proclaim” our Christianity or actually “show it” through our actions.  Only we can determine how that will be for us.  Only we can determine if we will live, as Jesus did—trying to understand, giving a response and action that is reflective of justice, mercy and love for each other, or not.  Amen? Amen!


Prayers of the Faithful

Response: “Good Shepherd, hear us.”

  1. Jesus, in your risen state, be our guide to live out your loving example toward all people, especially, the least among us, we pray—Response: “Good Shepherd, hear us.”
  1. Jesus, Good Shepherd, let peace reign in our hearts and give us the strength and grace to be people of peace, we pray—Response: “Good Shepherd, hear us.”
  1. Jesus, Good Shepherd, you who left the 99 in search of the one lost, instill in us the faith to know that you will always be there to support us in every way, especially now, we pray—Response: “Good Shepherd, hear us.”
  1. Jesus, Good Shepherd, grant each of us a renewed faith during this Easter Season to remain true to you, living our lives in truth, justice and love, as we learn ever more clearly, what that means during this time of pandemic, we pray—Response: “Good Shepherd, hear us.”
  1. Jesus, Good Shepherd, guide us to see our world as a gift to everyone—help each of us to share in all ways that we can, we pray—Response: “Good Shepherd, hear us.”

6. Jesus, Good Shepherd, be with the president and Congress of this great nation—be their light, we pray, to work as colleagues for the good of your people, especially now—Response: “Good Shepherd, hear us.”

 7. Jesus, Good Shepherd, help us to see you every day in the faces of all we meet—help us to see your face in all the ordinary events of our life , we pray—Response: “Good Shepherd, hear us.”

  1. Jesus, Good Shepherd, you who never turned anyone away, be with our community, All Are One—continue to bless us and assist us to be open to all of your people and guide us in this time of pandemic into new ways to be “community,” we pray—Response: “Good Shepherd, hear us.”

9. Jesus, Good Shepherd, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, especially those dying from Covid 19—give them your peace, and help them to find their way through their grief, we pray—Response:  “Good Shepherd, hear us.”

***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

Jesus, Good Shepherd, be the strength we need each day to be people of the resurrection—true to our calling to be people of peace and of love. Let us never falter in our commitment to you and your world. Give us the strength and grace to do what we can to make our world better—especially now during this pandemic—help us to be the change we want to see—let the lessons of this time not be lost on us with regard to homelessness, and other issues that show the disparity between the rich and the poor.  Let us always remember your never-failing love for each person. Give us strength to live with the criticisms that may come due to answering your call of service for the People of God.  Help us to remember that you were many times received in like manner. We ask all of this of you, our Savior, Brother and Friend, with the Creator and your steadfast Spirit— all, one God, living and loving us forever and ever, Amen.


Let Us Pray  (Again, we remember, especially during this time of pandemic, that Jesus is always with us and for a time, we must be aware of his presence in a different way. Do share the “bread” with others in all ways that you can this week).

Prayer after Communion

The Good Shepherd knows each one of us and we know his voice—pray that we would each take time every day to listen for his voice in our lives, guiding us along right paths—we ask this in Jesus’ wonderful name, Amen.