Homily – 28th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time

My friends, once again this week we are asked to look at the quality of “faith”—what it is and what it in fact, means in our lives.  The Scriptures for today, in two instances, tell us stories of people who believe, and more so, hope, for a cure from leprosy—Naaman, through the intercession of Elisha, the prophet and a Samaritan at the hands of our brother, Jesus.  And even though 10 lepers are cured; we will concentrate on the one that Jesus did—the one who came back to say, “thank you,” which tells us something, I think, about the virtue of gratitude.  And finally, in the letter to Timothy; we see the faith of Paul, who is in prison.

So first, we encounter Naaman, a non-Israelite, in the reading from Kings, cured by the prophet, through Naaman’s faith and then a Samaritan, along with nine others, cured by Jesus of a skin disease that made them outcasts in their own land—again, they were, as Jesus said, “Saved by their faith.”  So, it would seem, as we discussed last week—faith can do great things.

Because “faith” is taking center stage these past two weeks, many people are writing about it—one in particular, Jesuit musician, Dan Schutte. Dan speaks, in an article in the National Catholic Reporter, about his education, from little on with the School Sisters of Notre Dame and later with the Jesuits. He says that in both cases, he was challenged to, “not leave his brain at the door of the church,” so to speak, “but to think deeply about his Catholic faith and to not take everything at face value—[questioning], as a path toward a deeper and more authentic faith, to make his own, the teachings of the Church.” Sounds like a great description of faith for all of us!

Schutte goes on to give another description of faith that he gained, along the way from a priest, in a sermon during the Easter Season.  He didn’t include the priest’s name, but says that he has never forgotten what he had to say on the topic. “The opposite of faith is not doubt,” the unnamed priest said.  “The opposite of faith is certainty.”

Schutte continues, “In other words, when we are certain about something, we don’t need faith anymore.  Walking in faith, Schutte continues, sometimes takes work, not only of the heart, but the mind.  It’s often a daring, courageous journey with Jesus, the Risen One, at our side, guiding us with his Spirit,” he concludes.

I would like to lift up a couple of things that he said in this explanation.  Schutte talks about the “work” that “faith” sometimes is, and I think it is significant that he says, it is the work of not only the “heart, but the mind.”  The significant piece for me is that he started with, “the heart” and only secondly added, “the mind.”  In other words, faith is a “heart matter,” primarily, and we should always start there!  Starting with the mind seems to direct us to the “certainty” that the unnamed priest says, “is not faith.”

The second point that I’d like to call our attention to is the fact that, faith “is often a daring, courageous journey with Jesus.”  In other words, when it comes to faith—believing in things that we aren’t certain about; we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and “trust in the inspiration of his Spirit.”

It was this kind of faith and trust that carried Jesus throughout his life, which inspired Naaman, Paul and the Samaritan leper in the readings for today. And when we think about faith in our own lives, would we describe it as Dan Schutte came to understand it from teachers through the years?  I personally find great solace in knowing that faith isn’t something that I need to have “certainty” about.

When I think of the things that I have taken on faith in my life and probably will continue to, without complete assurance; I realize that it comes from a “deep knowing” in my heart, that something is so, that God wants me to do this.  Examples:  that I should enter the convent, that I should leave the convent, that I should marry Robert, that I should pursue ordination.

For me, it is about my relationship with Jesus and I dare say, if it weren’t for him, what he said and did in his earthly life; I would find belief in the God that the hierarchy gives us, at times, hard to take.

This reminds me of a scene from Franco Zefferelli’s film, Jesus of Nazareth.  This particular scene takes place after Jesus’ death.  Mary Magdalen has just come to share the news that, “Jesus is risen, that she has seen him!”  Of course, the men don’t believe her and she leaves in disgust.

The apostles go on to discuss the matter, rather heatedly and at one point, Thomas, who was known in Scriptures for doubting, questions Peter, “Do you believe her story?” Peter responds, “Yes, I do!” Thomas counters with, “How can you?!”  Peter responds simply, “Because he, [meaning Jesus] said so—that he would rise! And Peter continued, “I have always believed him!”

We can hardly object to what someone says they believe, but knowing a person, their credibility in other things; we come to trust in their assurance, “about things they cannot see,” which is the definition of faith. Now, of course this scene from Zefferelli’s film is not recorded in Scripture, but we can imagine such was part of the apostles’ deliberations in coming to believe all that Jesus said and ultimately, did.

So, my friends, my purpose here is not to “sew up faith,” as it were, because we know that is not possible. My purpose in fact is to challenge us to think ever more deeply about what our faith means—and further, what it calls us to do.

Jesus had a sense—a trust, that he was mightily loved by his Abba God, that he was sent on a mission of love and something about his trust in God’s love and care for him, allowed him to give to the final measure.

We see this same type of love in the love of earthly parents—their willingness to bring children into a world that they have no assurance will be a good place for them to grow up in, except for what they have experienced in their own lives.  This same type of love is present within anyone who chooses love over hate in our world, good over bad.

In conclusion then, no assurances, but faith will lead to some awesome places if we can let go of our need for certainty and our response to this new-found freedom is likely to be that of the one, returning leper—now cured—gratitude.  Amen? Amen!


Homily – 27th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time

My friends, the operative word in today’s readings is “faith.” We probably all have some sort of definition in our heads and hearts of just what “faith” is.  It has been said, “Faith is belief in things that we cannot see.” In the letter to the Hebrews, not one of our chosen readings for today, it says, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  So, we might say that faith and hope are a team.

Many of us might say that it is “faith” that gets us through in our lives, whether we place that “faith” in God or in others in this world.  And usually, our faith has its source in something tangible that has happened in our lives.

If our faith is placed in God, it is based, no doubt on times when God has “been there” for us—we have felt a support perhaps beyond ourselves.  If our faith is placed in others, likewise, we have felt their support and love and can therefore believe that they have our best at heart.

Faith is a tenuous thing, whether it is placed in God or others—it takes a balancing act, because so much, for us humans, is dependent upon the seen reality.  Yet again, those wiser than us say faith is, “belief in what we cannot see.”  Curious.

For our purposes here, I would like to speak primarily about placing our faith in God whom we do not see, but say we believe in.  If we say that we do not believe in God, but place our belief in others; I think the same things are operative, but for simplicity, let’s look at “belief in God.”

It takes a great deal of being present to our world, to “seeing” God all around us, or at least trying to, in creation—the animate and inanimate, because, as we know, none of us sees God, as God is, in this life.  We might recall though, as a way to move forward, that Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen God,” -John 14:9.

So, does Jesus actually mean that?—that if we have seen him, we have seen God?  And for us, who have not seen Jesus, as his first followers did, what are we to make of his words?  As I see it, what we do have are his words—a sharing of those who actually, in most cases, did know him and see his actions.  What they saw and experienced was so compelling that they were able to leave everything and follow him, and this fact changed the whole world.

So it would seem that when any of us sees beauty, goodness, mercy, justice and love displayed in this world—a selfless giving of oneself for others; we should realize that we have seen God!  Do you believe that?  Because, really, we should!—the Scriptures tell us as much in Jesus’ words when the apostles asked him to “show them [the God of us all].”  “You have seen God, Jesus said, when you have seen me!”

We can only “see” Jesus now, through his words and actions in Scripture, but when we see all the goodness spoken of above, we are seeing what Jesus came to show us about right living, what his apostles first saw—and we are then, in fact, seeing the face of God.

Because this is so, none of us should ever doubt the presence of a Higher Power (God) in our midst, because even though, there is much evil these days to worry and upset us, there is likewise, much goodness that abounds.

We know this to be true in groups like, Moms Against Gun Violence—those valiant women and the men who support them, taking on the National Rifle Association (NRA), trying to call them back to common sense beliefs about gun ownership that would make our country safer, Everytown for Gun Safety—the group of parents that grew out of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012, the work of Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, through the Giffords’ Foundation, to make our country safer from gun violence.  Gabby Giffords, former Congresswoman, you will recall, was shot in 2011 along with 18 others at a gathering of her constituents in Tucson, Arizona.  All these groups on just ONE issue and there are so many others on other issues—those caring for the ill-used and abused at our southern border, and watchdog groups speaking truth to power in Washington.  Goodness abounds amid those things that still need the actions that our brother Jesus has called us all to.

So, in our quest to be, “believing people,” we must remember the other part of the definition of faith from the Hebrews:  “Faith is confidence in what we hope for”… Faith and hope, YES—do go together.

We humans are “hard-wired” to love—it is in our DNA, so to speak. We are spiritual people here having a human experience, just like our brother Jesus.  All those who came before us in time, who have passed on the faith of our brother Jesus, basically a stance that we are here to be our “best selves,” to share life with others and to one day, return home to the God who has loved us mightily—always!

So what does a faith that calls us to be our “best selves” ultimately ask of us?  The Scriptures for today give us some help:

  • Our friend, Habakkuk, in the first reading says that “arrogance” cannot be our stance as part of our human experience, if being our best selves is what we are after.  Those who are “arrogant,” this prophet says, “have a soul that is not right within them.”  Additionally, this one says, “Those who are just, will live by their faith.”
  • The psalmist today cries out, “That we would not harden our hearts, if today we hear God’s voice.” This is great confirmation, isn’t it, that our stance in this world should be to, “lead with our hearts?”

So my friends, this business of “being our best selves,” leading with our hearts, which ultimately will mean that we will need to be just, good, kind, and merciful in our world, will, as you know, not always be easy—it will drop us into some “gray areas” that won’t always be simple to navigate around—we may have to jump into the fray.

  • Paul assures us in his letter to Timothy today that “the Spirit of God is no cowardly Spirit, but One that makes us strong, loving and wise” and additionally, he says, as Jesus’ followers, we need to “bear [our] share of the hardship that the gospel entails.” Perhaps speaking up when everyone else is going along with something that they shouldn’t be going along with.
  • Our final encouragement is Jesus’ call to each of us, an assurance really, that, “faith the size of a mustard seed, can uproot trees” and in another place, “move mountains.” Much of what plagues us in this world feels like, “uprooting trees, trying to move mountains, at times, but I place my continued trust in Jesus’ words e and hopefully, you can as well.  Amen? Amen!

Homily – 26th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time

Friends, once again this week we are challenged to care for those who in our society and world, live with less because we live with more.  You all know that we in the First World have managed to accumulate the lion’s share of the world’s goods and we are willing to fight to keep it, and whether we personally believe that or not, our country does and that is why we fight many of the wars that we do, to protect our interests around the world.

Lives are being lost today, as throughout history, on both sides of battles, over nations wanting more, rather than trying to find a way for all of us to have the basics which will ultimately mean some having less so that everyone can have some.

Our United States is really good about giving humanitarian aid throughout the world when disasters strike, with the exception of the last few years possibly, and so we should!  We can look at the unequal distribution of the world’s goods and say truthfully, that no one of us is responsible for this situation—but people of heart and character will always struggle over what to do to help, and so we should!

The Scriptures today don’t speak so much against having wealth when others do not, but against being complacent in our lifestyles.  Complacency seems to be the greater evil for which the prophet Amos has his dander up with the Israelite people today.  Complacency is about being so wrapped up in our own world, our own lives, and our own projects that we cease to see the “Lazarus” people at our door, looking for the scraps.

Recently, figures came out letting us know that the poor have become poorer and the rich—richer, since the last census figures were taken.  Complacency drives us to see our own children and their needs and wants without realizing that we are likewise connected to all the children throughout the world, especially to those who have no food.  And furthermore, we do, each of us, bear some responsibility toward those in this world who suffer from lack of the necessities of life.  This is so because of our membership in the human race, to say nothing of our membership in the People of God, which in a very broad sense, is what all our religious denominations are about.  Every religious belief system calls its people to service of the less fortunate and the deeper message and challenge is always to understand why the imbalance exists, and then, to do what we can to right it.

I think we find ourselves troubled by the story of the rich person and Lazarus today—probably more so by the cruel-seeming outcome for the complacent rich person.  We speak often here in our gatherings of the great love and mercy of our God—a few weeks ago we had the story of the prodigal child—wasteful of this world’s goods and the prodigal, wasteful, almost, love of the parent in accepting the wayward one back.  So why today, do we see no leniency for the rich person?

It seems the difference is that this wealthy person never made the connections in his life, even though fiery prophets such as Amos and others, one after another, came and proclaimed, challenged that there be a better, more just way of life for all.   The rich person didn’t heed the message whereas the prodigal found the way home and did see the light.

My friends, we all have free wills—no one from on high or from below will ultimately be able to force us to do anything—we will need to choose.  The responsibility is ours and so too the consequences.  I believe that Jesus wants us to get the message, in no uncertain terms, that many things, while not good, can and will be forgiven, but when we simply don’t care or can’t be bothered, or for whatever reason, don’t attempt to see the connection to the whole; we are on shaky ground. I have to wonder about some in Washington these days—if any belief system is part of their lives—talk about complacency!

It has been suggested that the poor, destitute person, Lazarus, has a name in the story and that the rich person does not to uplift the plight of the poor man and to downplay the actions of the rich person. It has also been suggested that we try and see how we might be like the rich person; not that the situation is the same—of not feeding the hungry, but maybe there are other ways that we are capable of sharing in issues of inequality. Can we perhaps make a call; write a letter, saying “no” to a congressperson that we don’t agree with? Who are the people right in front of me, at my doorstep, so to speak, whose needs I am ignoring?

And friends, that is truly what it is all about—taking the Scriptures and making them come alive today; applying them to our current life situations. That is what Jim Wallis, international speaker, writer, and founder of Sojourner Magazine, in his new book, Christ in Crisis: Why We Need to Reclaim Jesus is doing.  Going back to the message of Jesus and asking, where are we in our nation going wrong?  He, a religious leader, along with many other religious leaders are in agreement that our nation has lost its soul and if many of us who claim to be truly Christian, would return to the words of Jesus; we would find our souls again!

The Spirit of God is continually renewing the face of the earth, calling each of us to be our best selves; and that isn’t about a narrow, strict following of man-made law and regulation, but about the law of love, prodigal loving even, that Jesus talked about.  We simply can’t be about living our lives with reference to “black and white” rules when the solutions to many of our world’s problems; climate change, gun violence, unending wars, hypocrisy in leadership in both Church and State throw us into “gray areas” where “heart action,” not “head action” alone, is needed.

Being “black and white” as a response to the needs of this world, can often leave us feeling really disconnected from our best selves.  We can’t fully know what it is like to be on the receiving end of a law, such as those against the LGBTQ community, women and more, that are devoid of love, or to be discriminated against for the way we were born, if that hasn’t been our reality, unless we walk in someone else’s shoes for a while.  We can’t always do that, but we can try very hard to treat others as we would want to be treated.  In every situation where we encounter strife, animosity or division; we must apply the law of love.  We can’t just talk about labels devoid of the human component. Once we give the label a human face; we can never again be complacent; we can never again say, “It’s not my business.”  We can no longer walk away.

If we choose to stay and confront the evil present; (remember, evil is easy to spot—it is that which is devoid of love) then we must be good listeners of people’s stories; we must have ears that can truly hear and hearts that can feel their pain.

It isn’t an easy thing to confront the powers-that-be when they speak.  We have all been taught to give them the respect of the office; but we must always remember that we answer to a higher power.  We all know right from wrong and must simply speak up when people are being misused and abused—no matter who is speaking the untruth.  It was what our brother Jesus did, and it is what we must do!

We have such a wonderful example at present in Swedish-born, Greta Thunberg. She spoke with much emotion this past week at the United Nations, imploring the leadership of this world to lead in order to save our planet for the next generation.  And she was right-on to ask, to demand even that each of us steps up, refusing to be complacent any longer.

The times in which we live friends, are crisis-laden, lacking in morality—selfish times, that we must, simply must address with love—continually ask our brother Jesus to stand by you as you endeavor to be “the light” this world needs.

In conclusion, looking back at today’s gospel, the rich man was apparently “condemned” not for his selfishness, but for his complacency that effectively allowed him, “not to see” the suffering right in front of him! Let us not be guilty of the same! Amen? Amen!


Homily – 25th Weekend in [Extra] Ordinary Time

My friends, last week we talked a good deal about the call that each of us has to be a prophet, in our own personal lives, where we stand, where we live, where we engage our world. We also discussed last week the seeming difference between the God of Moses, a vindictive God and the God of Jesus, a God of love.

In today’s first reading, we encounter the power of Amos the prophet, and realize that it is the prophets who call the people of the Old Testament to be their best selves. There is no way to get around Amos’ message today or to get it wrong—ignoring the needs of the poor in our midst for personal gain is not to be tolerated!  Present day examples: the incarcerated on our southern border—the homeless throughout this great country of ours, climate change as diagnosed by the lion’s share of scientists, something that eventually will affect the entire world and its people.

I think of another of the Old Testament prophets—one of my favorites, Micah, who said, in chapter 6:8, “God has already made abundantly clear what ‘good’ is, and what YHWH needs from you: simply do justice, love kindness, and humbly walk with your God.”

The prophecy continues in Paul’s letter to Timothy today on the danger of “power” in our lives and especially, “power in the hands of rulers.” His prayer for these individuals and ours, he encourages, should be that they, who would purport to have power over others, “may be able to live godly and reverent lives.”

As I think over my life and the people I have witnessed who have been given authority to lead, it has been clear to me that those who do best with it, come into the position with a great deal of humility, realizing the gift that they have been given is all about service to others.  If it becomes service to themselves and how to get ahead, they always, ultimately, fail.  The world is not better for them having been there and it takes a good deal of effort on the parts of others afterward, to basically, clean up the mess.  You can probably think of such individuals in your own lives or in our greater world who have abused their gift to lead.

Jesus’ words in Luke’s gospel for this week are more of the prophetic in how best to live our lives.  At face value, we might wonder at what Jesus is trying to teach with this story—is he really telling us that the dishonesty of the steward, in basically taking care of himself is to be praised? Exegetes tell us, “no”—that Jesus is really lifting up, “creativity,” in finding a way to better a situation; serving not just ourselves, but the needy in our midst—this comes with the territory in claiming to be a Christian.

I came upon an article this past week entitled, “The Dead Theology of Thoughts and Prayers,” with regard to an answer to our crisis with guns in this country.  The writer was basically appealing to the creativity that Jesus is lifting up today.  “Thoughts and prayers” may have sufficed at one time as a response to the pain, suffering and grief caused through gun violence and we have probably all reverted to it in the past. Those days my friends are gone!

Being a follower of Jesus or any other manifestation of God in this world demands the type of action that betters the situation—calling and writing our Congress people, demanding that they become the leaders they were elected to be.  Prophets speak truth to power, whether it shows itself in our country, our city, or within our families.

In this regard, we must remember the prophetic words of Amos today about the responsibility of claiming power, of acting justly, or the more succinct words of the prophet, Micah, that we “simply do justice and love kindness.”

Recently, I was reminded of the beautiful story of Jacob in the Old Testament.  You will recall that as a young man Jacob stole his older brother Esau’s inheritance through a deceptive act.  As an older, more mature, and even spiritual man; Jacob became repentant and returned to his brother, seeking forgiveness. As the story goes, Jacob was able to embrace his brother and say, “Coming into your presence is like coming into the presence of God.”

My friends, it would seem that when we can face others with more open hearts, becoming listeners of others’ stories—what they in fact, walk with, struggle with, then and only then, will we be able to see the face of God in our midst.  And that really is the goal, isn’t it? It is this that gets us beyond, “thoughts and prayers” to action—to being prophets as our brother Jesus was!  Amen? Amen!


Homily – 24th Sunday in [Extra] Ordinary Time

My friends, today’s readings, especially the lovely, long reading from the Gospel of Luke, speak profoundly about mercy and love.  In fact, the God that is depicted in the first reading from Exodus is the total opposite of the God in the story of the Prodigal in Luke.  Moses’ God speaks of mercy mostly through the absence of it!  The God we see depicted here could almost be said to be one of our own creation as humans, or in other words, this God acts as we humans are more prone to acting! It was for this very reason that the late Pope John Paul I, with us as pope only 33 days disliked the God of Moses! That in itself should tell us something wonderful about this pope who was with us such a short time!

Moses is given credit for much of the writing in the book of Exodus and we might say that he appears more merciful than God does, questioning God about being so violent toward the people.  This story shows us the need for having Jesus come into the world to make clear that his Abba is not so vindictive, but truly a God who loves us in an over-the-top way.  This reading from Exodus and its completion in the story told by Jesus of the Prodigal reminds us how important it is to allow God to be God—who is so much more generous, understanding, merciful and loving than we could ever be.

Jesus truly wanted the people of his time to get this one point—that of the over-the-top love that our God has for us by telling 3 stories depicting how much God does indeed, love us: The Good Shepherd, who left the 99 in search of the one, lost, the woman who turned her house upside-down in search of one lost coin—by the way, an equally wonderful image of God—and the best depiction of all—the story of the “prodigal dad.”

I put the emphasis on the “loving parent” because he is as “prodigal” in loving as his son is “prodigal” in not loving as is evidenced by his disrespectful, selfish and uncaring manner toward his father, his family and his community.

Again, a bit of back story will help us to truly understand the depth of love that is depicted by this dad. Family and one’s inheritance was everything to people living in this culture. All one had was their family, so for this son to turn his back on all of this was extremely selfish, uncaring and foolish.  To ask for one’s inheritance, which would rightly come only at the death of the father, was additionally, rude. And because families were so intertwined with the community-at-large, the Prodigal son’s actions were an assault on the community as well.

In that light; we can better understand this prodigal dad running to meet the returning son.  First, he runs out of deep love for the wayward son, telling him by this action, that no matter what he has done, the only thing that is important is that, he has returned. This great love here can be juxtaposed to that of the vengeful God of Exodus.

Secondly, this dad “runs” to save his son from the humiliation that awaits him at the city gates upon his return. Because his actions were not only an assault to his father and his family, but to the community-at-large, in rejecting their culture and way of life, a representative from the community met the “offending” member at the city gate and broke a clay pot at their feet, signifying the “broken relationship” that existed.  Apparently, there was no “fixing” this relationship—the offender lived the remainder of their life as an outcast. We humans certainly know how to punish, don’t we?!  But isn’t it wonderful that our God’s mercy, as displayed in the “Prodigal Dad” exceeds that of the God in Exodus?!

With that bit of explanation; we can more fully appreciate this loving parent being willing to take the shame upon himself and welcome his son back with full and open arms, instead of allowing the community to heap shame upon him.

An additional piece to this story which is good for us to know and remember because it speaks to the depth that love will carry a person to make that love known, is the enthusiasm with which this parent welcomes the son back—Scripture tells us that “he ran” out to meet his son, not waiting for him to get all the way home, and in order to do this, he would have had to lift up his garments, exposing his legs, something against the decorum of the day—you see, nothing was more important to this dad than letting his wayward son know, that he was loved—welcoming him back, not the sensible thing, not the righteous thing, not what was the culturally, religiously acceptable response, as the older son would have preferred—only the loving thing.  Those of you who have given birth physically or in other ways to children know the truth of this.

Jesus, our brother takes great pains, with 3 different stories, to make sure that we all get this one message—we are each, individually loved and cared about and will never be shunned, turned away—made to pay unceasingly for our misdeeds, or excommunicated—all these punishments are human-made and not of God.

The use of power to control people through shaming, exclusion, excommunication, whatever punishment we might come up with, are simply not of God, and we should wonder at a Church or community which would dole out such responses, especially when we hope to keep them interested in becoming their best selves and part of our communities.

I just finished reading Sister Joan Chittister’s book, The Time is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage and it is basically a work on prophecy and of how each of us is called to the work of prophecy.  Chittister says, “The prophet is the person who says no to everything that is not of God.  No to the abuse of women…the rejection of the strange…crimes against immigrants…to the rape of the trees…the pollution of  the skies…the poisoning of the oceans…the despicable destruction of humankind for the sake of more wealth, more power, more control for a few of us [and] no to death.”

With hope, Joan continues, “And while saying no, the prophet also says yes…to equal rights for all…to alleviating suffering…to embracing the different, yes to who God made you, [and] yes to life.”

We can’t just say what is wrong Sister Joan teaches, but what is needed in its place, and what part of the work we will do! There is a real urgency in her writing for us as individuals, for our country, our Church, our world.  If not us, who? If not now, when?

And along with the urgency came a bit of reality too—“whatever you’re doing to bring justice as well as mercy, keep on doing it.  Do it, even when it doesn’t seem to work.  Do it when it’s long and hard and boring.  As the Roman poet, Ovid wrote, “Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force, but through persistence.”  I think of the persistence of the postcard-writers each Thursday morning at the Blue Heron, I think of the work of this small community of faith-filled Vatican II believers who keep speaking truth to power by our existence—believe that it all makes a difference and don’t ever give up! Amen? Amen!