Homily – 2nd Sunday of Easter

All this past week and today, the Acts of the Apostles lets us know what life as followers of Jesus, post-Easter, was like.  In his physical absence; they remembered all that Jesus had taught them about right living.  Their days and nights after the joy of the Resurrection were about living as Jesus had taught them—living in love, with compassion, justice and mercy toward all of God’s People.  Their lives were about sharing with those who had less, so that no one would be in need.

This first week of Easter, I found myself thinking realistically about the living situation at our home.  As you all know, our daughter Eryn, her husband, Adam and our grandson, Elliot have come to live with us, sharing our space, meals, schedules, all of what makes up our life for the most part, as they work to get settled in a new home here.

We are into the 4th week of a possible 10 week arrangement as they are preparing to close on a selected house.  This arrangement calls for patience from all of us to “accommodate” each other, put our singular desires aside in deference to what is best for all of us.  This is our post-Easter experiment and I would say that we are doing quite well, everything considered.

Not unlike the original post-Easter community that “held everything in common,” there are times of stress for all of us, born out of winter colds in a spring that hasn’t found us yet, tiredness and lack of personal routines.  But, there is the joy of being together and sharing the otherwise rare moments that come with this arrangement: a little, clear voice at 6:30 in the morning wanting to begin his day, an afternoon of romp and tumble in huge Minnesota snow piles provided by Grampa’s plow, shared meals, lovingly prepared and presented by different cooks, complete with blessings including all the special things that went on that day in the mind of a four-year-old, and daily conversations with extra voices and shared ideas and perspectives.

Like that first community of believers, it is about joy, it is about dark, it is about light—it is about finding the best that each of us has to offer.  And that, simply put, is what Jesus calls forth from each of us in Easter time, which we know from last week, is about all time—Easter is not an historical event we remember, but an action that is on-going.  So for that reason, sharing our living space with extended family is a wonderful, yet realistic Easter experience.

Joy then, seems to be an element in living after the Resurrection—a joy that was palpable, sensing Jesus’ presence in a new way and trying to allow their actions to radiate that joy.  For us too, my friends, because we have never known Jesus’ actual physical; we must look for him, “in a new way,” in each other.

Joan Chittister names Easter as a mystery of light and darkness—she says that we must go into the tomb, into the dark and decide if we will follow Jesus’ disciples back into the world of the living and here-in lies the light. The only way to respond to death is with light—the light of goodness—inclusivity—justice and mercy.

This past week, we remembered that day, 50 years ago when a prophet of our times, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was taken from us. He is quoted as saying, among other things that “Darkness cannot put out darkness, only light can do that!”

There is much in our world today that seems to be about darkness—from the halls of power in Washington, we see a great lack of moral sense, a lack of general leadership and guidance in deference to selfishness and a lack of true caring for our people beyond what they can do for those in power.  The light and joy that Easter can bring was never more needed than now.

After February’s mass school shooting in Florida, a new surge of moral leadership and fortitude has arisen in our nation’s young people—a light that came out of darkness—a light that we all must uplift and not let die.

I began reading an older volume this week, entitled, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by gynecologist, Dr. Christiane Northrup.  Even though it has a 1998 copyright, the truth she speaks about women and their wisdom and how it has been discounted over time in the patriarchal society in which we still live, to the point of making women physically, emotionally and spiritually sick is something that must be continually addressed until this darkness becomes light.

Another reflection on Easter that I read this past week uplifted the fact that those who witnessed the Resurrection seem to be doing “a lot of running.” So marvelous a thing was witnessed, by Mary of Magdala, by John, the apostle, by the disciples on the way to Emmaus, that the Scriptures tell us that “they ran” to tell the others!

A question we may want to ponder this week is, how excited are we at hearing the Good News that Jesus has risen, and does it inspire us to actions of light, or are we more like Thomas, in need of proof?—“I need to see this or that and then I will believe and act on my beliefs.  The Church gives us 5 weeks to ponder and reflect on our response.

As Joan Chittister also said this week, Easter is not a fairytale with a happy ending, once and for all—Easter is just the beginning!  Our choices are darkness or light—may we choose to be bearers of the light!

Amen?— Amen!— Alleluia!

Homily – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time


Friends, we can hardly miss that last Sunday we were at the crib with the baby and now today we are with Jesus as he begins his public ministry.  Other than his visit to the temple when he was 12 on the occasion of his bar mitzvah; we don’t know much about those “lost” years between then and when he began to share publicly what God, his Abba had sent him to do.

With the help of our imaginations, as Joan Chittister names, “a distinct gift from God;” we can assume that this passage of time included much listening, much communing with his Abba—another term for Loving Parent, about just what he was to do.

He no doubt spent a good deal of time studying the Torah, the first five books of the Bible that all good Jews were knowledgeable in, the Psalms of David and the Prophets.  It was the words of the prophet, Isaiah that he would later come to proclaim and fulfill, “I have come to bring good news to the poor,” and so on.

It is good for us to try and imagine what this “coming out” must have been like for Jesus—he left the comfort of his hometown to show himself around the Jordan River where John the Baptist was preaching.  He apparently looked like everyone else—nothing outstanding as John had to point him out to his disciples and friends, “There is the Lamb of God!” and instructed them to follow him, now.  These two, Andrew and John must have had great faith to have left the Baptist and follow Jesus, whom they didn’t know.  Could we have done that?

Then, it is good to reflect on the interchange between Jesus and his first two disciples.  When they catch up with Jesus, he asks them, “What are you looking for?” At this beginning of another new year, we too might ponder Jesus’ question, “Just what are YOU looking for?” What would make your life better, in the truest sense of the word?” Could you imagine it?

Their response to Jesus tells us a great deal—they want to know where he is staying! This is a question that tells Jesus that they want to come to know him much better.  We might think about this question in terms of two people dating for a while and at a certain point they want to take their special friend home to meet their family—to share what they have found!

Jesus’ answer is equally intimate; “Come and see!”  These first two disciples found Jesus to be the One they had been waiting for—by spending time with him, listening to his words—which, by the way, is a very good definition of prayer.  In all of this, these first disciples came to know him as the Messiah.

The readings for this Sunday as we transition once again into Ordinary Time for a few Sundays before we begin the Season of Lent on February 14th, call us to be listeners, intent on hearing God’s voice.  Sister Joan Chittister, through her monthly calendar, The Monastic Way, is taking this New Year to look at women who imagined great things and acted upon those imaginings–St. Joan of Arc was burned as a heretic for claiming that God talked to her through her imagination and when questioned about this seeming phenomenon, she answered, “How else would God speak to me; if not through my imagination?”

Samuel, in today’s first reading is told to listen and if he hears God’s voice, he should reply, “Yahweh, I am listening.”  He already had a sense of being present to Eli, the prophet and knew that when he heard Eli call, he should say, “Here I am,”   which meant he was ready to do the prophet’s bidding. Samuel was soon to learn that his response to God should be the same, “Here I am!”

Are we ready to do what God may be asking of us on this day, in our time? And how will we know if it is truly God who is calling?  My kind of litmus test for if it is God calling is if “peace” also comes with the request—somewhat the feeling of, “I can do this!” And while I may not be entirely sure, I am at peace that I won’t do it alone, that God will be with me.  Maybe this is the year that I can step out of my comfort zone and respond to Jesus’ request to, “Come and see.”

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is basically a discussion between the material and spiritual world.  He is trying to help them see that following Jesus’ call means that they should respect themselves and others—try to be their best selves, try to seek after good and that good will come back to them.  It is through Jesus’ Spirit that we can come to know our God better, become more able to see God in others—which is really, “communion” again, in the truest sense of the word.”

The Spirit was alive and well at the Golden Globe awards a week ago when the whole program was transformed by women and the men who support them speaking their truth in a way they have never been able to before due to the unnamed sexual abuse and domination that was present in Hollywood. The climate this year was changed due to those brave women who have come forward this last year through the “Me Too” movement, exposing the pain and suffering which came to be accepted as, “the way it is!” Women in all walks of life have said definitively through another movement that, “TimesUp.”

Time is up to accept anything less than to be treated with the respect that is due each person.  Now-is-the-time, especially for Christians and all other believers, for those in fact, who claim to be human, to open their eyes to the abuse that we give license to when we do not respect the fact that we are all equal and treat each other that way—that I am not better than you and you are no better than me.

It is to each of us, wonderfully made by the Creator, that Jesus came to-be-one-with.  Let us make a New Year’s resolution that we will listen well to each other’s stories and remember that we cannot truly thrive in this world on the backs, the souls of others.  Our world needs now, people who can imagine a better existence for all of earth’s inhabitants and then act upon those imaginings knowing that we won’t be alone—that our brother Jesus is with us loving us into greatness.  Amen? Amen!

Bulletin – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,


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


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



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.

—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?