Homily – Mary of Magdala Celebration–A Celebration of All Women

My friends, we have talked many times of who Mary of Magdala truly was, not a prostitute, but a priest and a prophet and an evangelist and in lifting her up, we lift all women to their true status. Women and men alike have always been called by our brother Jesus and always will be—that is what we are here to celebrate today!

A woman of our times, Sr. Joan Chittister, a prophet in her own right, in 2010 said well of Mary that she is “an icon for our Century.”  From her writings in, A Passion for Life,” she wrote in length about Mary and for my homily today, I would like to include her words which say so well, and better than I can who Mary of Magdala was and why we should look up to her in our day.

Her feast day was actually, yesterday, July 22—Sr. Joan has this to say:  “It is Mary Magdalene, the evangelist John details, to whom Jesus first appears after the resurrection.  It is Mary Magdalene who is instructed to proclaim the Easter message to the others.  It is Mary Magdalene whom Jesus commissions to ‘tell Peter and the others that I have gone before them into Galilee.’

And then, the Scripture says pathetically, ‘But Peter and John and the others did not believe her and they went to the tomb to see for themselves.’

It is two thousand years later and little or nothing has changed. The voice of women proclaiming the presence of Christ goes largely unconfirmed.  The call of women to minister goes largely unnoted. The commission of women to the church goes largely disdained.

Mary Magdalene is, no doubt about it, an important icon for the twenty-first century.

She calls women to listen to the call of the Christ over the call of the church.

She calls men to listen for the call of the Christ in the messages of women.

She calls women to courage and men to humility.

She calls all of us to faith and fortitude, to unity and universalism, to a Christianity that rises above sexism, a religion that transcends the idolatry of maleness, a commitment to the things of God that surmount every obstacle and surpasses every system.

Mary Magdalene is a shining light of hope, a disciple of Christ, a model of the wholeness of life, in a world whose name is despair and in a church whose vision is yet, still, even now, partial.”

So my friends, the challenge is clear to all of us—women’s voices in this Church will only be heard when we demand that they be heard, when we do not stand idly by in the face of discrimination, sexism, clericalism—when we no longer worship priests, bishops, the pope, but demand that they be the servants that Jesus, our brother called them to be; when we demand truth from them and accept no less.

And you might ask, who are we doing all this for? Is it so that women can have power over men instead of the other way around? No, it is all about seeing to it that women in this world are respected, accepted for who they are, what they believe, what God has called them to. If this is not done in our churches, it will not be done in the rest of the world. The world is right in looking to religious bodies for an example of how to be with each other—we must not let them down—for Mary of Magdala that she would have her rightful place in our Church, for our mothers and all women who went before us, for our daughters, nieces, women and girlfriends, we must not stop demanding equality, because we will only be richer, better served, both men and women. Amen? Amen!

News Item – Francis and Clare Musical

Dear Friends,

As promised, here is the info for getting tickets to the Francis and Clare musical: This is at the Page Theater, St. Mary’s University.
Box Office Hours: 12 P.M. – 6 P.M  M-F
(507) 457-1715
Or online: go to Page Theater and the offerings are listed and you can purchase tickets
$18–adults
$10–students
August 4th and 5th 7:00 P.M.
August 6th 2:00 P.M.

Bulletin – 6th Weekend of Easter

Dear Friends,

We continue the Easter joy yet again this week, even as the apostles and disciples are  preparing  for Jesus being in their lives in a new way.  He is letting them know, preparing them at every turn for the fact that he can’t physically stay, but that his Spirit will be with them always! This should be great consolation to us as we look back on the scene that no doubt gave his young followers pause and wonderment about HOW they would be without his physical presence. We all learn daily in our walk with our brother Jesus HOW we will be if we choose to truly follow him.

Come; let us walk together, pray together this week! Pastor Dick Dahl will be with you as Robert and I have a family gathering today!

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy


Readings: 

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

Bulletin – Good Friday

Dear Friends,

Good Friday Services, today at 4:30 p.m.

If you can’t be with us, here are the Scriptures for your reflection:

  • Isaiah 52: 13–53:12
  • Hebrews 4: 14-16
  • John 18: 1–19:42

This is a beautiful, solemn service when we will have the opportunity to reflect on the Scriptures, pray for our Church and world, reverence the cross, and receive the Eucharist. Come; be with us to remember with gratitude and love the great love and compassion of our God for us.

Peace and love,

Pastor Kathy

Homily – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

I was away this past Sunday and Pastor Dick Dahl stood in for me–here is his homily.  Enjoy!

Instead of expanding on the three readings we have just heard, this homily is based on the larger message spoken to us from the beginning of time which has often been distorted so that we have often not heard it or been transformed by it.

To make a major shift from our familiar way of thinking to a transformation of our worldview is a paradigm shift. It is rare in both science and religion, but when evidence is overwhelming for it, one is blind not to make it.

This homily is based on Jesus’ words but may seem  like a paradigm shift from the way we have been taught about them. It is based, some of it word for word, from Father Richard Rohr and his recent book “The Divine Dance.”

Most Christians and Catholics say they believe in God as Trinity, but the word has little meaning for many, if not most. The message has seemed to be, “Don’t worry about it. It’s a mystery and you can’t understand it anyway.”  In fact, for some, God is often emotionally related to as an unchanging monarch living remotely some place else.  The Holy Spirit is so ephemeral as to be for all intents and purposes non-existent. Thank God for Jesus! We hold on to him. But many think he came to save us from God the Father who required  Jesus to suffer an excruciating and humiliating death in order for us to be “saved.”

How did we come to think of God as the Eternal Threatener? This is not the Father Jesus loved, the Father Jesus called Abba, Daddy, the one he told us to call our Father. God is not an object in the sky or elsewhere. God is the Life Energy who flows into the Son and through the Spirit,  in a self-giving, creative love—a trinitarian dance of love that flows through everything, without exception, and has done so since the beginning. Thus, everything is holy—from subatomic particles to remote galaxies, from people around the world to those of us in this room. God saw what he created and saw that it is good.

In one word, Relationship is the deepest characteristic of God. A Trinitarian relationship embracing all of us. The very nature of Being is relationship, is love. The very shape of Being is first of all communion. Inside that love we were created.  Every time we inhale, the Spirit  immerses us in the flow of the Father’s love for the Son and for us, and vice versa. Connection is why we are here…is what gives meaning and purpose to our lives.

If we understand the Trinity as the basic template of reality, our minds will slowly transition from the concept of a pyramid or triangle with God remotely on top,  to a circle with all of us together, which utterly changes our consciousness. Although a circle is a metaphor, it is a better image of our relationship with Father, Son and Spirit and each other. People hold hands and dance in a circle. Father Richard Rohr calls it the “Divine Dance.”

The implications of this understanding of God as all-embracing Trinity are enormous: For example, God’s love is never determined by the worthiness or unworthiness of the object. God loves each of us (and everyone else in the world) not because we are good, but because God is good. That love makes us exist and be worthy. We repeatedly fall into the illusion that we must earn God’s love, that we can be in control of God by being a good boy or girl, man or woman. In true fact, we are all already united to God in this universal dance and flow of love, but only some of us know it. Most of us doubt and deny it. It’s just too good to be true. It’s the Good News, Grace, unmerited acceptance. We are already loved, like the prodigal son who acted like a self-centered jerk, but who was always loved without limit by his father. That’s how we are loved, no matter how hard it is for us to believe it and accept it.

So when we get caught up in what Father Rohr calls “worthiness games” or “achievement rewards,” we become dis-eased. We cannot imagine a love that is not evoked by the worthiness of the object. We lack the ease that comes from accepting in surrender to an all-embracing love. No amount of effort will make God love you any more than God loves you right now.

The flow of Trinitarian love doesn’t have to do with you or me being perfect. It doesn’t have to do with our being right. It is never about our belonging to the right group. We don’t have to understand this. How can we? When Jesus met the man who was blind from birth, he didn’t ask him what he believed or how good he was. He just asked the man, “Are you willing to let me touch you? Do you want to be healed?”

You are precisely the gift God wants, as you are right now—in full and humble surrender. We learn so much more by our mistakes than our successes. Sin is not a way we hurt or anger God. Sin is a way we hurt ourselves despite the ongoing embrace of the Trinity. All the time, however, we have been “in Christ.” As Carl McColman wrote, “Because we are in Christ, we see the joyful love of the Father through the eyes of the Son and with every breath, we breathe the Holy Spirit.” Our humanity is just a matter of allowing and loving the divine flow, which Christians usually call the Holy Spirit. What finally motivates one in the spiritual life is gratitude, never fear. The end of history is a banquet to which all are invited.

Father Rohr ends his book with this prayer:

God for us, we call you Father.

God alongside us, we call you Jesus.

God within us, we call you Holy Spirit.

You are the eternal mystery that enables, enfolds and enlivens all things,

Even us, even me.

Every name falls short of your goodness and greatness.

We can only see who you are in what is.

We ask for such perfect seeing—

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

So be it.