Homily – Mary of Magdala – a celebration for all women and men

Dear Friends,

A group of 18 of us met on the farm today for mass and lunch outdoors and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day! There was a wonderful breeze, excellent food and conversation. We are truly enjoying being together in person once again and we missed all of you who couldn’t join us today.

May this next week be one of peace and joy for you and all your family members–Lovingly–Pastor Kathy

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Homily—Mary of Magdala—Apostle to the Apostles

July 25, 2021

   My friends, this is our 10th Mary of Magdala celebration—since we began in 2011 with this annual celebration of Mary and all women, missing only the year that Robert and I journeyed to Alaska after my retirement, in 2015. 

   Mary of Magdala is a wonderful model for women and for men—I add the men for it seems that if the hierarchy within our Church and its male priests could be more like her and by extension—all men—our Church would truly flourish. 

   What do I mean by that? Mary of Magdala knew her heart and because of knowing her heart, which in the end, is all about love; she found her voice to share the Good News of her brother in faith—her friend, Jesus. This past week, our national and international group of RCWP women and men (a few) met on Zoom for a conference that we have every 2-3 years when all, who can make it, are invited to attend.

   We discussed how we continue the mystery of God working through women for almost 20 years now—next year being this milestone.  What several of us looked at in a joint homily, myself included, was the importance of “listening” —first within ourselves for what our good God is asking of us for the people of God, and then to all others who have, “a piece of the truth” to share about how we women might better serve them by inclusion, openness and willingness to try new ways to invite and make feel welcome, all—everyone at the table. 

   One whole day of the conference was devoted to the issue of systemic racism and that will be the “stuff” of future homilies.  Suffice it to say, our speaker, a black, religious woman, catacomb priest with us, for obvious reasons, shared the words of another, “Racism is as American as baseball.”

   So, just like with racism, our country has a great deal to do with truly understanding how deep within our very DNA is, “sexism.”  Those who are apt to bypass the condemnation of Mary in the first centuries of the Church, as a prostitute and look deeper, have discovered that she probably suffered from a mental illness and in the past, this was called, “being possessed by devils,” of which Jesus freed her.  Only those among us who have in fact suffered a mental illness, or depression that is debilitating, or still do, can truly understand the gratitude she would have felt in being finally freed of such a torment.  And those who can go deeper, as our brother Jesus did, are able to look at what is in a person’s heart and not hold it against them for how they happened to have been born—something they had no say in.  We, my friends, should do the same, whether it be with regard to race, gender, age—whatever!

   And we cannot truly remember Mary of Magdala without also remembering the attempt by past Church fathers to lump all the Marys in Scripture into a composite with the stand-out characteristic being, that she was a prostitute.  In this way, she would not be remembered until very recent times for who she truly was— prophet, priest, and apostle to the apostles.

      Mary of Magdala is someone who calls each of us as Jesus’ followers to our best selves—to knowing our hearts, which means we will always present to our world and its people the face of love, instead of our heads and the rule of law—a place our so-called, “leaders,” many within the NCCB seem stuck at present.   As we have always said in this community; we need laws to guide our path, but not at the expense of love.  If love fails to be served in any situation of law, then there is something wrong with the law. 

   In Jesus’ time, women were expected to keep silence and their opinions were generally not thought much of in public.  When Mary reported to the male apostles that, “She had seen Jesus, the Teacher!” their response was pathetic—they didn’t believe her and had to go and see for themselves!  And today, like this ages’ old response in Jesus’ time, the hierarchical response of men in positions of power in our beloved Church is to, not believe as well—not believe that the God they purport to follow could actually call a woman to be a priest or to lead in any significant way!

   So, my friends; we meet today to remember a valiant woman—one who led with her heart—with courage and truth, always keeping the path clear that followed in her friend, mentor, and savior’s footsteps. That is all, really, that any of us need do in our world of 2021 to be able to say with conviction that we follow Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Christ—lead with our heart.  Our speaker on “racism” said in response to racism within the Catholic church, we, as a body, need to take ownership for the ways our church was involved from the very beginning with enslaving others and sincerely apologize for that involvement.  Simply put, she encouraged us to, “Just do Jesus!  Just do Jesus! And that call is just as needed today where women are concerned—in our Church and Country. “Just do Jesus!”

   In conclusion, as we have already shared Sister Joan Chittister’s Litany of Women for the Church—who by the way, is a prophet in her own right—I wanted to include in my ending, her assessment of who Mary of Magdala is for our Church:

   “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.”

When we reflect on these words, I think you can see why Mary of Magdala is a wonderful model for all, men as well as women.

   Mary of Magdala said with great faith and love, “I have seen the Teacher!” That truth was not accepted but it did not diminish the importance of it being said. 

Friends, if we too have seen our brother, Jesus, then we must say so—we cannot remain silent by how we live and act in our world! Or even more simply put, we must, “Just Do Jesus!”   Amen? Amen!

Homily – 16th Weekend in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

It was good to see 16 of us together yesterday afternoon and if you one, we enjoyed you being there! For those who couldn’t be with us, hopefully soon! May your week go well and may you be blessed in knowing the loving presence of our good God, all around you! Peace and love, Pastor Kathy

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   My friends, the beautiful rendition of the 23rd psalm— “Shepherd Me, O God,” speaks well, I believe of the desire of our loving God to not only shepherd and care for the flock—which is, all of us, but also, and more importantly—to care for each of us as individuals.  To God, we aren’t really, “a flock,”—a group that can be cared for, all in the same way, but individuals, with individual needs. 

   In order to get the full import of this “shepherd” mentality; we need to have an idea of where it came from.  Being that the community was a “shepherding” people, the metaphor of “shepherd” was a good one.  Originally, the “shepherd” metaphor referred to political leaders—specifically, the kings whose task and responsibility it was to care for the people and keep them from going astray.  The leaders in question, not only neglected the people, but actually did cause them to scatter. 

   In the Roman Catholic church, as well as in other Christian churches, there has been a long tradition of characterizing its leaders as “shepherds,” in the truest sense of the word.  The crosier, or staff used by the bishop, has long been their symbol.  Despite the fact that the crosier has become many times quite ornate, perhaps a sign that an individual “shepherd” is confusing his/her role, the symbolism is intended to be that of a simple shepherd’s crook. 

   We often hear stories of sheep as not being very smart and needing the guidance of a shepherd to gently bring them back to the flock when they stray.  Now with the thought that we are all, the sheep; I like to think of this creature as being “inquisitive” rather than dumb—simply wanting to check out the territory. In that, we like the sheep, sometimes get into trouble, not thinking through perhaps, our actions and like the sheep, straying after a “wonderful morsel” on the edge of a cliff, that might indeed get us stuck out there, not being able to get back. 

   There is also the reality that sheep, who are apparently quite trusting by nature, can blindly follow a shepherd without questioning where that shepherd is leading them—as long as their bellies are full and water is provided, with the promise of more to come.   It is good for us to reflect on the message of the “shepherds” in our lives—are these people true leaders—encouraging and bringing us closer to the dream of Jesus of Nazareth, that “all would be one”—that “everyone would be welcome at the table,” or are these “shepherds” more concerned about their own advancement and unwilling to do the really hard work of shepherding their flock, tending to needs and binding up their wounds?

   Each of us struggles throughout our lives with knowing the right ways to go—to act, and so much can get in the way:  our well-trained beliefs and whom we trust— “Woe to those shepherds,” who lead others astray!

    Our Catholic church unfortunately is in a bad place as roughly 50% of believers seem caught up in interpreting the “letter of the law” as they are led by their shepherds, who many times seem more concerned about, “keeping order” than about engaging our diverse and wonderful world, as did Jesus of Nazareth.

   Our loving God, through the prophet Jeremiah, minces no words, and apparently our God will show little mercy toward leaders who have led their people astray—again, “woe to you shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture. I am about to attend to you for the evil of your ways!”  Leaders whose ultimate motive, in the end, is of taking care of themselves—by way of advancement rather than tending to the well-being of their people, are no leaders at all! 

   Also, the expectation of a leader is one who will, from time to time, stand away from “the crowd,”—the “status quo” opinion, to speak the hard truth when those who are following (the sheep) are not moving in that direction. I, for one, for a long time, have been, “hungry” for this kind of leadership.  The 23rd psalm is probably one of the most beloved pieces of Scripture, speaking of the “good shepherd” and that is probably because of a deep need within each of us to be loved and cared for amid the trials and burdens of our days and throughout, our lives. 

   My friends—Jesus, our brother and friend shows us the way that we can be shepherds.  In some way, we all have the responsibility of leadership.  We are to tend to the needs of the kin-dom—whenever and wherever the kind-dom presents itself in our lives.  Even my use of “kin-dom” here, as most RCWPs use, speaks to our mission more than the older, more familiar, “kingdom” does.  “Kingdom” speaks to the realm of an earthly sovereign whereas “kin-dom” speaks more to the people that the sovereign, or shepherd is looking after—the needs of the many, rather than the one.  The “kin-dom” is truly what our brother Jesus was about!

   In the end, if we are about anything other than being, “Jesus” for our world—wherever that “world” is, be it large or small, seen or unseen, then we are perhaps, “missing the boat,” so to speak.  We may be very engaged, very passionate about what we are doing in the name of “religion,” but unless we are about, “the work of love” in our world; we might call that, “religious,” but it certainly is not, “Christian.”  Amen? Amen!

Homily – 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

Fifteen of us met this morning for liturgy and as in the previous few weeks, it has been wonderful to be in person again! If this didn’t include you today, we hope you can join us soon!

Remember to continue signing up for our July 25th gathering on the farm, which is a Sunday to celebrate Mary of Magdala and all women as chosen, and found worthy by our loving God, in Jesus.

We will follow the 10 A.M. Mass with a pot-luck picnic, so write soon to let us know that you can join in and what you can bring.

We are putting some things in place for those who experience difficulty with walking and I will share more on that in the next two weeks. Have peace all and share your love with others in extraordinary ways! Be in touch with me if I can ever help in any way–aaorcc2008@gmail.com or 507-429-3616. –Love to you all–Pastor Kathy

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Homily

   My friends, last week I gave up, for the time being, using “extra” with Ordinary Time to suggest that calling ourselves “Christian” carries with it, already, the challenge, to do more, standing up, standing out, from the crowd.  That having been said, with the challenges we have had the past few weeks and today to be prophets—where we live, in our seemingly, ordinary lives, with the realization that it is part and parcel of what it means to be Christian, you can see why my emphasis on this time, being, “extra,” so as not to miss the point.  But we will keep to our thinking for now that Ordinary Time always calls us to be more.

   We will probably always struggle though, as do the main players in today’s first two readings, that, truly they are—Amos and Paul, called to be prophets—it goes with the territory, when we say, we have faith, or claim our Christian heritage.

   Now, our “Catholic” heritage—well, that is another issue.  There was a time when we could say, with more pride than at present, that we are Catholic Christians.  The hierarchy of our Church has sadly, sullied this heritage by forgetting, too often, who it is that they follow and remaining true to that memory. 

   We only need think of the attempt to use the Eucharist as a weapon to keep high profile people in line, or the despicable uncovering of mass grave sites in Canada of First Native children, “incarcerated” in mostly Catholic-run schools to obliterate their cultures and languages, making them into “acceptable” human beings.  And when they died, which far too many did, from illness and abuse, they were buried on the school grounds, never returning them to their families.  My, the need for prophets was huge here!

   Being a prophet has never been an attractive, nor desired position, but a needed one, just the same.  Jesus knew that and often prayed for the strength of his Abba to do what he knew he must. 

   Amos, in today’s first reading did not want the role and when he is rejected, he says, [Look,] “I did not want to be a prophet, but God said, go,” so I went!  We get the sense here, that when God asks, the faithful one responds in the affirmative. 

   In the selection from the Ephesians today, Paul spends most of the reading speaking about how Jesus came to redeem us of our sins.  Most reparable theologians today deny that this was Jesus’ mission, so what Paul has to say here regarding this issue, I will simply let lie.  The end result though, that we would become “heirs” in the family of God is closer, I believe, to the truth.

   The wider, grander view—is that Jesus is our hope, yes, and the “salvation” he truly offers us, is “the way, the truth, and the life”—that is, how to live—our one precious life—being the best people we are capable of being.

   The Gospel passage from Mark gives us a view of the compassionate brother that Jesus was to those first followers.  Knowing that being a prophet can often be a lonely task, “he sent them out in twos.”  The purpose, no doubt, was for support and strength—a reminder to us as well—that at times we may have to stand alone, but, when at all possible, a companion for the journey, is best.

   That is why our community here, All Are One, becomes so important, as we struggle to faithfully, and courageously, carry out our part of Jesus’ mission on earth.  Through our prayer, listening to the Word and sharing the Eucharistic meal, sign, symbol, and reality of Jesus with us, we acknowledge our deep need for companions and our call to be “companion” to others.  We stand for something different in the Catholic community of this area—we go against the grain—some say, we cause “confusion” for others, and therefore, we do need the support of each other to be the prophets that Jesus calls us to be.   

    Additionally, Jesus asks his followers to, “go out simply,” and they were supposed to be prepared to “shake off the dust!”  In Jesus’ day it was common practice to, “shake off the dust” when leaving a foreign place as a sign that their views were not the same.  In our present day, I think we struggle with knowing when to be accepting of others’ stands and when to stand our own ground for the perceived right. After all, most of us, brought up with religious backgrounds, learned well not to question, but accept, and then of course, there is “Minnesota Nice” to contend with!  Perhaps there is a place in the middle, a balance between listening-hearing, and acceptance.  

   The other piece of their task was, “to proclaim repentance as they went.”  I think we sometimes don’t proclaim the message of our loving God in its fullest sense when we look at this line too narrowly.  Was Jesus simply telling these first followers to “forgive sins,” or was there more?

   I read this to mean, our loving God forgives all that has been, in order that, putting the wrongdoing aside, we might have the strength to pursue our best once again.

 If we simply stop at the wrongdoing and concentrate on that, (Jesus died for our sins), there is no movement forward to something better.  In this regard, I think of the compassion of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery, (presumably an action she did by herself) who received Jesus’ pardon, but not without his encouragement to go forward in a better way.

   So, this brings us full circle—our call as Jesus’ followers, just like to the first ones, to the task of prophesying.  Why is it, do you think, that people of old and people in present times find that so difficult?  Do we lack the faith to know and believe that we can do anything to make a difference? Perhaps.  I think sometimes we are of the misconception that to be a prophet means we have to travel or be someone important, more than educated, of some means, and the list goes on to discount ourselves from even considering such a “lofty” task.

   But let’s look at who God has chosen:  fisher people, shepherds, tentmakers, the poor, the afflicted, women—no less, to speak truth to power in a way that because of their ordinariness, ALL people will know that the power unleashed through them—through us, is really the power of God.

   All the readings today confirm for us that God chooses ordinary Christians and gives them extraordinary responsibilities! Really, this is another sign of how we are loved and trusted by our God. When you think about it—don’t we mere humans give the tasks that take the greatest responsibility to those we love and trust most? Our loving God will not be outdone by us. 

   All of us are simple people too, educators, grandparents, electricians, farmers, in the social and human sciences, nurses, moms and dads, pastors, children—and it is within these ordinary professions and stages of life that we are called to make a difference by the way we live our lives—it is where we touch hearts and minds and souls with the tenderness of our God—it is there that we heal people with our touch, our words.  It is there that we help to drive out the “demons” that have strangleholds on people—just as those first apostles did.  In very ordinary ways, ordinary people are called to do extraordinary tasks for the kindom.

    In the first decade after the Second Vatican Council, we used to sing a hymn— “They Will Know We Are Christians by our Love” and that wasn’t just a catchy tune!  Amen? Amen!

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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