Bulletin – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

Mass on Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 10 A.M–REMEMBER TO TURN YOUR CLOCKS BACK ONE HOUR BEFORE SLEEP ON SATURDAY EVENING (Fall Back!)

REMEMBER to sign up for the pot-luck supper which will be held after the Saturday Mass at 4:30 P.M. on November 18, 2017–there is always room for more! 

November is the month that we remember all our loved ones who have died.  Next Sunday I will have the Book of Life at Mass and throughout the month of November so that you can add the names of loved ones who may have died. 

This Sunday, Robert and I will be absent from liturgy due to a family wedding.  We will be with our kids and their families for the weekend.   Pastor Dick Dahl will be with you!

Come; celebrate together as we continue to remember that our peace comes from God.

Love and peace,

Pastor Kathy


Readings: 

  • Malachi 1: 14–2:2, 8-10
  • 1 Thessalonians 2: 7-9, 13
  • Matthew 23: 1-12



 

Sharing

Dear Friends, 

Today is All Saints Day! Below is a piece by Sr. Joan Chittister on Saints that I wanted to share with all of you–enjoy! Pastor Kathy


In need of heroes
“Saints”—spiritual heroes of character and courage—are very elusive figures and not always all too comfortable ones either: They carry with them the ideals of ages often quite remote from our own, even, in some cases, psychologically suspect now. They seem to uphold a standard of perfection either unattainable to most or, at least in this day and age, undesirable to many. Their lives are often overwritten, their struggles underestimated and their natural impulses underrated. They have become a rather quaint anachronism of an earlier church full of simpler people far more unsophisticated, we think, than ourselves and whom we think ought to be quietly ignored in these more enlightened times. I disagree.

“Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes,” wrote Bertolt Brecht. And every day the crime sections of our newspapers prove the point. We could use a saint or two, perhaps, to raise our sights again to the heights of human possibility and the depths of the human soul. It might not even hurt to pass one or two of them on to children who are otherwise left with little to choose from as personal idols than what Hollywood, TV, and the music industry have already given them, of course.

Here are five saints to tell your children about.

•Julian of Norwich, a 15th century anchorite who was devoted only to God, gave the world three learnings that would change the very things we call holy: that God is mother; that fear of God is not humility, and that even though we sin all will be well. Those are brave, heroic concepts in a world where God who is all spirit had been reduced to the notion of a male judge.

•The Baal Shem Tov was a man with an eye for the spiritual and a song in the heart. Nothing clearly authentic is known about him but nothing much less has been forgotten about the man either. The Baal Shem Tov insisted that the presence of God lurked in life as it was, that it was there for the seeing, that to live life joyfully was itself the real task of life.

•”The purpose of prayer, my daughters,” Teresa of Avila wrote, “is always good works, good works, good works.” Given her heroic and unending attempts to make religion spiritual and the church holy, she of all people had the right to say so. She did not use prayer as a refuge; she used it as a beacon. Learning to persist in the pursuit of good should make saints of us all.

• John XXIII is really remembered for making the political, the scholarly, the efficient, the clerical and the papal, human. What stands as a monument to his heroism is the indictment of ageism by an old man who turned a system upside down to make it new again. Now, thanks to him, age is no excuse for doing nothing.

• Joan of Arc’s heroic commitment to conscience over authority is a mighty one. There are some things in life that belong to God alone, Joan implies: human life, human responsibility, and human will. Joan of Arc is patron of those who hear the voice of God calling them beyond present impossibilities to the fullness of conscience everywhere.

HAPPY ALL SAINTS DAY, EVERYONE.
—from The Monastic Way by Joan Chittister

Homily – 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends, exegetes tell us that there are three key themes in the readings today. First, each of us is “created in love.” Second, “Love of God and neighbor”—both are important, and third is the “witness of love”—words mean little if the actions aren’t there.  I would add a fourth, that being, “compassion of our God.

Joan Chittister recently commented in her weekly column that we can sometimes be “seduced by the good.” In other words, we can decide that we have always said or done some good thing a certain way and get upset if someone suggests we “do our loving” in a different way.  A good example is how our country is satisfied to simply send “our thoughts and prayers” at each succeeding act of gun violence in this country instead of putting some concrete laws into place that will keep us safer.  The law to love convicts us to this action.

In the passage from Exodus—the ancient law codes of Israel; we see that human nature is built in, as it singles out the alien, or stranger, the widow and the orphan—basically, those most vulnerable.  Here, as we know, the term “widow” generally meant a woman without children whose husband had died and she wasn’t able to return to her family of origin.  All was set up on the system of patriarchy—women had status—protection, care, only in so much as they had men in their lives—father, brother, husband, son—women and girls were simply out of luck in this society unless some care came from the men. If there was no man in a woman’s life, she was basically reduced to begging which could be very dangerous.  The culture is being challenged here beyond the immediate men in any particular woman’s life to care for these unfortunate ones—here we see the compassion of God.

It is interesting to think of what is going on at present in our culture—the discussion of several days now in the media concerning blatant abuse of women in society/in the workplace. This abuse has gone on so long that it has taken our culture an equally long time to understand and to take action. The #MeToo action on Facebook is calling attention finally to the culture of sexual harassment of women that exists in Hollywood, in business and really across our world: sexual innuendo and the understanding, spoken or not, that if you want to move ahead in whatever field you happen to be in, you will give a powerful figure, (read male), what they want, sexually.  The culture also allows for unwanted comments, at the expense of women that are accepted as the way we do things.  This aspect in our culture is so insidious that women have to come to understand that sexual jokes, passes, and innuendo at their expense are not acceptable and don’t have to be tolerated.  Jesus, for his part, cuts through all the law codes of Israel and says—there are really only two laws you need concern yourselves with—love God and your neighbor as yourself.

The term “alien” or stranger was used not just for people passing through the land, but those who lived among them, who had no resource, no family, no support system; much like the immigrants in present day looking for a better life. So, with that definition, women could be both widows and aliens in their own land.  The laws of Israel forbade taking advantage of those who were already unprotected by the social structures—the special reason for this consideration was that the Israelites were once alien residents in Egypt.

God will not look kindly on those who inflict hardship on others or who refuse to lift a hand in support—it would seem good for this world to remember that.  The Israelites came to see their God as one for the oppressed because of how God had been there for them in Egypt, and they came to see that they must do the same. This is confirmed by Jesus in the gospel; love God and your neighbor as yourself. How can we say we love God if in fact we don’t love our neighbor?  Or, why would you do to your neighbor what you wouldn’t want done to yourself?  We have come to see here that “neighbor” is a broad classification—one that includes anyone in need.

Our God is for the oppressed—consul is given here not to make worse the plight of the vulnerable—there should be concern for those in financial straits—the piece about asking for your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge of payment was going beyond what should be unless in fact you gave it back before sunset, because a person’s cloak also served as their blanket at night and to ask for that was to exacerbate an already dire situation for one’s “neighbor.” For these reasons we at All Are One, do not keep a surplus in our bank account but give back to those in our midst who likewise represent the widow, the alien, the orphan.

The term for love in Hebrew is ra-ham and it means “womb love”— the intimate love that a mother or father has for their young; this kind of love our God has for us. When I think of how much I love my children, my grandchild—it amazes me to think of God’s love for us—in this same way and so much more.

In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, we hear that teaching the gospel is one thing, but the example of living it out in one’s life is most important.   Paul and his companions showed the Thessalonians the way, and they in turn were able to make the transition in their lives to live as they saw Paul doing and their example was seen by others.   Those of you who are parents know that to teach with words alone just doesn’t “cut it” so to speak—the kids will do what they see you doing. Francis of Assisi is well known for this adage: “Preach the gospel at all times—if necessary, use words.”

Turning to the gospel; we see that the question posed by the Pharisees was intended to trick Jesus. It is good to know a bit of background as we look at what is really going on in the gospel today. The history of the Law at this point shows that there were 613 commandments, 365 prohibitions (one for each day of the year) and 268 prescriptions (one for each bone in the body)—and of course some carried more weight than others—we might recall lists of venial and mortal sins.

Exegetes tell us that the lawyer challenging Jesus would have been more aware of the weight of each commandment and prohibition better than Jesus as Jesus wasn’t a scribe, but his interest again was to catch Jesus supposedly annulling a part of the law and then they could diminish his place in the community as a teacher.

Jesus goes to their Scriptures to answer the question posed about which is the greatest commandment. He points to the “Shem,” which is the most significant prayer of the Israelite religion—“to love God with one’s whole heart and soul” and Jesus adds, “mind” in order that the person’s whole being would be engaged and their response would not be a superficial thing.

Jesus not only gives one commandment, but two—basically saying that one can’t truly be done without the other—to say we love God whom we can’t see and not our neighbor, whom we do see, is a lie. Placing his answer within the Shem, their most significant prayer; Jesus uplifts the one-ness of the God they all worship and that there is no other. In order to love this God of their prayer; they must then love their neighbor as they do themselves.

So, in reviewing the themes of this day, the fact that each of us was created in love, our response must be to return the love. Jesus teaches that love of God and neighbor is what it is all about. It is easy to love those who are easy to love—our task in loving as our God does is to make our love more expansive—to reach out to the hungry, the poor, the imprisoned, and to remember that people are hungry, poor and imprisoned in many more ways than materially—due to ignorance, illness, discrimination.  In addition, our world calls each of us to reach out in love toward our planet earth and do all that we can to preserve it.  Caring for the land, the water, the atmosphere is so very important, not just for us in our time but for all those who will come after us. All is gift, given in love for no particular reason other than our God first loved and cared for us and wanted to share—can we do less than respond in love?

Homily – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

Find below a homily that Pastor Dick Dahl gave in my absence on October 1, 2017. My apologies for the lateness. Pastor Dick has given us a wonderful message as always–Enjoy!

 


 

I often find myself saying or reading the liturgy as one might read a book. The words flow, but the richness and depth of their meaning can be just skimmed over, rather than slowly savored and appreciated. I find the following words in today’s liturgy utterly amazing when I stop to think what they really mean:

The opening Antiphon, for example, speaks of God’s “greatness of heart.” Who comes to mind in your life whom you would describe as having “greatness of heart”? Obviously the words of the Antiphon are having us unconsciously transfer our experience of such a person to our awareness of God.

The Antiphon goes on to ask that we be treated with God’s “unbounded kindness”—not just kindness, but unbounded kindness—no boundaries based on our worthiness, the strength of our faith.  God’s kindness is not based on us, or on our behavior, but on the very nature of our God.

The opening Prayer today speaks to God who shows us “mercy and forgiveness” and who does so “continually!” Have you ever asked someone to forgive you? Has someone ever asked you to forgive them? Have you given or sought that forgiveness “continually?” This is what we acknowledge God does for us.

The prayer also asks that we be “filled.” What do we ask to be filled with? “Your gifts of love.” What are gifts of love in your life? What gifts of love have you treasured? What gifts of love do you desire? We ask to be filled with God’s “gifts of love.”

The prayer then expresses a desire—“to see you, God!” How? “Face to face.” We want to know God as God knows us. We express in this prayer a desire to be intimately close to God,  as a lover is with his or her beloved, face-to-face.

This reminded me of a scene from the Vietnam War series by Ken Burns that was televised during the past two weeks. In one segment a member of the North Vietnamese army described how many of their men deserted but were not punished because it was known that these men would return. They often just became so homesick that they left their comrades to walk a thousand kilometers north—to see their mothers “face to face” which comforted and renewed their will to return to the horrors of fighting and often dying. Our Prayer today expresses a similar desire to experience God “face to face”—so that we can be comforted and continue with the daily challenges of our lives.

In the Post Communion Prayer we (will) ask “make us one with you.” As we share the bread and wine, which Jesus tells us are his body and blood, we seek and surrender to this oneness with him.

So, although we know that Liturgy can be viewed as a repetitious, mindless formula, it becomes clear that if we let the words soak in and refresh our spirit, they can become a reponse, even a rapturous response to a Lover, a face-to-face encounter with the One who loves us—who always has and always will.

I also want to call your attention to today’s second Reading, which Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi in Greece. He quotes an ancient hymn of the first Christians. It reveals revolutionary insights. The hymn marvels at the thought of God becoming a human creature. Think what this means for the entire material world and universe. For the land and all its resources, air, water, all creatures great and small. And then—as if this were not enough—the hymn sings of this incarnate God emptying himself completely—to humiliation, torture and death. This cannot be read quickly and passed over. It cries out to be dwelt on, unbelievable as it is, and absorbed.

Our liturgy then is about awakening, becoming aware of what is, the mystery that enfolds us. Father Richard Rohr writes, “The spiritual journey is about realization, not perfection. You cannot get there, you can only be there.”  He notes that this foundational Being-in-God can seem too hard to believe, too good to be true. “Only the humble can receive it because it affirms more about God than it does about us.”

The message has often been: “You can only come to God through us, by doing the right rituals, obeying the rules, and believing the right doctrines.” This is like telling God who God is allowed to love! The problem is: we don’t know who we are. . . . We suffer from the illusion of separation—from God, from Being itself, from being one with everyone and everything.

Meister Eckhart (1260-1327) was a thirteenth-century German friar, priest, mystic. For Eckhart, heaven is now. We are invited to participate in the eternal flow of Trinity here, in this lifetime. The only thing keeping us from God and heaven is the ultimate and damning lie that we have ever been separate from God. Before transformation, one prays to God, as if God were over there, an object like all other objects. After transformation one prays through God, as official Christian prayers say: “Through Christ our Lord. Amen!”

News Item – Red Boot Group

Dear Friends,

Pastor Dick Dahl has shared the following information with me about a group he plans to start and wanted you all to know about–it sounds as though it will be spiritually fulfilling. His contact information is below–please direct all inquiries to him. Thanks Dick for offering this group–blessings to all–Pastor Kathy


I would like to invite members of the All Are One Community to participate in a Red Boot group I am forming. A description of it follows.  Thanks, Dick

The Red Boot Way (formerly known as the Red Boot Coalition) was begun by Molly Barker. The name was inspired by the gift of a pair of red boots from her two kids on her 50th birthday. Having participated in a Washington DC bi-partisan commission seeking ways to bridge the political divide in Congress, Molly decided the problem was bigger than Congress. It was all of us.

Molly traveled from Charlotte, NC to Las Vegas, Nevada listening to hundreds of people who talked about their fears, concerns and hopes. Many themes emerged from this wide variety of conversations and these became the foundation on which she created an 11 step program to give people a way to engage in honest sharing and compassionate listening. In the Red Boot 11 Steps we create places where people feel safe, connected, and loved.

I have been through the 11 Step program a couple times and have recently completed training to guide a group. It will consist of people who agree to meet one a week for an hour for eleven weeks. Each meeting focuses on one of the 11 Steps. which are listed below (in very condensed form).  The guidelines are to speak only for oneself by using words like “I” or “my” and avoiding saying “you” or “we.”  No one has to speak but can pass when their turn comes if they prefer to give the gift of compassionate listening. Participants are guided to avoid the urge to fix, save, advise, or correct anyone else.

Step One: We matter.

Step Two: We are empowered.

Step Three: We are transparent.

Step Four: We are intentional.

Step Five: We are open.

Step Six: We are trusting.

Step Seven: We are present.

Step Eight: We are joyful.

Step Nine: We are grateful.

Step Ten: We are whole.

Step Eleven: We are engaged.

If you would like to participate in a Red Boot Group, please contact Dick Dahl by e-mail (richard.dahl580@gmail.com) of phone (507/453-9861).