Homily – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

My friends, regular readers of my homilies have realized that I have lifted up the idea that during “Ordinary Time” in the Church; we, here at All Are One consider it as, “Extra” Ordinary Time because of the challenges given us each week to be so much more than “ordinary” in our following of our brother, Jesus.  But it came to me, this past week, no doubt from the Spirit, that the Church, in the deepest wisdom that can be found there, perhaps has the intention for us to consider that the, “ordinary” way to be a Christian is, in fact, to be “cutting edge,” as in, “top of the line.”  Just by merit of calling ourselves, “Christian” might mean that in the world, in which we live, we are to stand-out, and to stand-up as the “spirit, in the Voice” called and “brought” Ezekiel to do.

   Maybe being a Christian demands more from us in that ordinary sense than being a “mere mortal” does. Just a thought to ponder and so for the time being, I will drop the “extra” in my homilies and as a way to consider Ordinary Time. 

   Recently, I have been lifting up what has been happening in the world in which we live, and then, taking it to the Scriptures.  This week, I’d like to look at key thoughts from the chosen readings for today, and then take them to our world. Either way, it is what responsible Christians, those who take their faith seriously, are called to do.

   From Ezekiel, we know that often we might find the world and its people, “rebellious” and unwilling to do, the “right thing” –the thing or things that would make the world more fair and just, safe, and good, for everyone.

   And we see this in the face of so many who profess to be “Christians.”  How can that be?   A recent study, in the news, asked people 16-30 years of age to comment on what comes to mind when they hear the word, “Christian.”  Of the first ten highest-rated comments, only 3 were positive and the top 3 rated comments were as follows when hearing the word, “Christian.”

  • Anti-gay
  • Judgmental
  • Negative

If one weren’t a Christian, there is not much here that would draw a person to want to become one!

   But yet, our God says to Ezekiel, “Mere mortal, I am sending you…”  And if we think that God’s call here to Ezekiel is just for him, we would be wrong!  My friends, God’s call to Ezekiel, to “send him” must be taken up by ourselves too, and for us, unlike Ezekiel, we must allow ourselves to be sent in the memory of our brother, Jesus of Nazareth. 

   Jesus, in his time found, “stumbling blocks” –those who looked at the world through too small a lens—”we know his parents, his brothers and sisters—where did he get all this wisdom?”

   Wouldn’t it be much better to say, “Wow! How wonderful that Mary and Joseph, through their faith, produced such a son!  Of course, to say this, we have the advantage of “looking back,” instead of being in the “thick of things” in 1st Century Nazareth and surrounds. 

   So, how do we do in our own world?  Can we look about us and see “miracles,” see the prophets in our midst who are willing to stand alone at times, to say what must be said and rather than ask, where did this come from? —we can see it as part of something bigger than that person! Can we simply recognize when we have been visited by God?  Can we simply listen to the message we hear the prophet speaking and praise God for it?

   Sadly, if we are waiting to see such “prophets” among our religious leaders, we will be waiting awhile.  Most, if not all, are “stuck” looking at a small picture, when a view of the “grand vista” is needed!  Why do we hear their voices regarding “the beginnings of life” and not “throughout the lives of these same individuals? Why is it an abomination to end a life in the beginning stages through abortion but not at the end through capital punishment?  Our God is so big, so inclusive—why are God’s so-called leaders so small in what they can see as good, holy, and miraculous?!

   The psalmist today has a direction for us— “So, [keep your] eyes on God!” 

   And Paul, who suffers from, “a thorn in the flesh,” presumably to keep his human nature in check, is a reality check for us too.  Sometimes what we strive for, and think is best is not always what is best, and the Spirit helps us to shift gears. Sometimes this is hard to do, but experiences, “of the heart” tell us to keep trying, keep moving forward and the way will become clear.  If we just, “stay in our heads,” ceasing to believe in what we can’t yet fully see, we make it impossible to see and “do” miracles, just like in Jesus’ time.

   Our God tells Paul in his pain and suffering that, “my grace is sufficient for you.”  Additionally, that, “power is perfected in weakness.”  Paul is eventually able to say for himself, “When I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.” 

   Too many times, my friends, I think we forget all that is back of us when we make attempts to do good in our world.  We experience setbacks that deflate our enthusiasm and say, “Well, that’s that!”  instead of seeing an apparent failure as an opportunity to grow, become better, see, or hear a new plan or idea—become all that God is calling us to—to, in fact, be the “prophets” that our baptisms empower us to become—to speak the truth that is ours to speak—the words that if we do not speak, very possibly won’t be spoken by anyone else! 

   And in the end, whether we are accepted, or our words are listened to, or acted upon is not as important as that, we—speak them!  And if nothing else, the hearers of the words will know, as did the hearers of Ezekiel’s words, “that a prophet has been among them!” We aren’t, my friends, called to anything more than this, but we are certainly called to no less! Amen?  Amen!

Homily – 13th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

Nine of us met for our first Sunday Mass in 14 months and it was very much like, “old home week” –we visited, some of us until 1:30 p.m.! We solved all the world problems! If only that was the case! But, these past two weeks have been so good being with those of you who could come. Let’s keep working our way back to each other!

Peace and love, Pastor Kathy

P.S. Please be in contact if there is anything that I can do for you–aaorcc2008@gmail. com or 507-429-3616.

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Homily

My friends, last week I mentioned another, good friend, Dan Corcoran and of how he brought everything he had done the week before to bear on the homily of the present Sunday. And of course, moving into the next week, the pattern continues as it should—life—living—taking it to the Scriptures—then back to life.  We must always keep living and reflecting on the life of Jesus to know, “how” to do, what we decide to do.  So, let’s first look to our Scriptures given for this day.

   The first reading comes from Wisdom literature.  The writer tells us that, “we are modeled on the divine” and I would submit that because we are, modeled on the divine; we are called to act in accordance with the high and profound “creation” that each of us is.  In simpler terms—as always, we are called upon, to strive for our best.

   We know from all the Scriptures re-telling Jesus’ life among us, that to emulate the divine, to rise above our humanity cannot be just for ourselves, but about what is good for everyone.  

   The Wisdom writer continues, “God created all things to be alive—all things of the world are made to be wholesome.”  It would seem, that true justice comes in here.  A couple of things from this past week might lift up this point:

  • Derek Chauvin received 22.5 years in prison this past week for the death of George Floyd. He didn’t receive the maximum sentence requested, but more than the original conviction stipulated.  George Floyd’s brother speaking before the sentencing, indicating the sentence he wanted, stated, “My brother got life!”
  • A Lutheran minister friend of mine asked me this week what I thought of the Catholic bishops attempts to place restrictions on Catholic public figures’ reception of the Eucharist based on their stance on abortion. I immediately replied that this action will negate the sacrament they are attempting to restrict. Whatever else it might be, it has ceased to be Eucharist in this case!

   This reminds me of an author from my Masters’ Program, Edward Foley, who wrote, From Age to Age: How Christians Have Celebrated the Eucharist.  In this book, he shared one, wonderful thing that I’ve always remembered and for which the book was worth whatever I paid for it.  Foley’s take on Jesus’ “table service” on the hillside was that because everyone wasn’t acceptable in the synagogue due to gender or ailments of the flesh, he took the meal “outside” where everyone was welcome! Eucharist is about “uniting” and should never be about “dividing and conquering” us.

   As someone recently shared on Facebook—the invitation to the Eucharist does not come ultimately from priests or bishops, but from God and it is not the responsibility likewise, of us humans to decide who is worthy or acceptable!

   In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus demonstrates in two different actions of healing touch how we must, each of us, approach our world, how we must, in fact, bring justice.   Healing is often needed when justice is not present.  Both examples speak of a certain kind of “death,” which we know, can be physical, emotional, or spiritual. 

   The unnamed woman suffering from an undiagnosed and misunderstood blood flow for many years comes to Jesus in faith and hope to be relieved of this ailment, which, to her, was like a death. She needed to be healed in more ways than one.

   Because her ailment was unexplainable, she was ostracized from the community and her family.  There were all kinds of taboos about associating with women during their monthly flow of blood, to say nothing of someone whose flow was continual.

    On top of that, women had no significant place in the world in which Jesus lived; thus, it was not even important, apparently, to give her a name.  And Jesus would have been aware of all of this, so that when she reached out in faith and hope, he reached back with his healing touch. 

   We hear a like story in that of Jairus’ daughter, again, unnamed.  Jairus is a man of faith and hope too.  Realizing that his daughter is gravely ill, and that physical death may be imminent, he reaches out to someone he believes can help.  Again, Jesus reaches back in love and caring, confirming Jairus’ faith in him. 

    So, are these two stories just for 2,000 years ago or do they have something to say to us today?  I would say they demonstrate for us how we are to be in our world.  We need to see past the fears that cause all of us to act less than divine and at times, less than human.  We need to see another’s suffering and pain as if it were our own.

   Most of us understand the dynamic when it is about our own children, our families—those we hold dear—but to truly be “modeling the divine” calls us to go to the next step and see the care of all individuals in the same light.

   Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, has some wisdom to share in that regard when he says, “The one who gathered much has no excess and the one who gathered little did not go short.”  As followers of our brother Jesus, we each must deal with this one.  If we are honest with ourselves, we realize that, “We did not pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps,” but that we had a good deal of help along the way.  So, if we are doing well, according to Paul, and Jesus would agree, we owe a share to others who may not be in a position now, to help themselves.  We could just as easily find ourselves in need one day!   Paul seems to be telling the Corinthians and us that we must seek “balance” in our lives—sharing the goods.  In present day parlance— “what goes around, comes around.”

   So, my friends, a final note as we think about our daily lives, bring them to the Scriptures—back and forth, in and out, one final bit from the past week that I need to lay on the Scriptures—to find the meaning worth holding onto. 

   In today’s Gospel, the synagogue official is afraid for his daughter’s life and Jesus responds first, to his fear, by recognizing it, “Don’t be afraid” and then giving him the solution, “Just believe.” 

   In today’s world, simple belief doesn’t always “cut it” with those who rely on facts and figures, plans, diagrams, and proofs.  But I am one who firmly believes that once as many facts, figures, plans and diagrams as possible, are acquired, and in place, and we aren’t yet sure, then “belief,” born of all the above, is in my mind, a fine way to go!  Amen?  Amen!

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Homily – 12th Weekend in [Extra]Ordinary Time

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

Love and peace, Pastor Kathy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Homily – 11th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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Entrance Antiphon

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

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

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

Readings:

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

Homily:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Prayers of the Faithful:

Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

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

3.  Loving God, give each of us health of body, mind and spirit–especially those struggling with life—threatening illnesses—give each one your strength  and      wonderful gift of peace, as they walk through what life brings, we pray—Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

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

O God, help us to strive to be people of peace, not war—help us to remember that Jesus has glorified our humanity by his presence in it and help us to treat people and our world accordingly,  we pray—Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

For our community, All Are One, give us welcoming hearts to be open to all who come to us, and inspire us in new ways to reach out to those most in need of our ministry, we pray—Response: “Jesus our Brother, hear our prayer”

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

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

Let Us Pray

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

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

Prayer of Communion

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

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Homily – Corpus Christi Sunday

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

Have peace and know that you are loved–Pastor Kathy

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

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Entrance Antiphon

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

Let Us Pray

Opening Prayer

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

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Readings:

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

Homily:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Prayers of the Faithful:

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

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

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

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

Let Us Pray

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

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

Prayer of Communion

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

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