This Sunday brings us once again to what the Church calls, “Ordinary Time”–an in-between time when no big feast days are happening, but a time that, even so, is not without challenge–following our brother Jesus, means–we are always called to be our best. And these troublesome times in which we live call us to stand up for right, to speak the truth when just, plain truth is called for! My prayer for each of you is that you might more regularly, be able to do that. It won’t always be easy, but with compassionate words, it will always be right! Peace and love, Pastor Kathy
P.S. Please never hesitate to be in touch if I can help you in any way–by phone, 507-429-3616 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
May all the earth give you praise and honor and break into song to your holy name, O God, Most High and Most with us.
Let Us Pray
All loving and ever-present God, your watchful care reaches from end to end, loving all that you have created. Help us to always embrace your desire for good in us. Give us the strength to follow your call, so that truth may live in our hearts and reflect peace and joy to those who believe in your love. We ask this of you all good and loving Creator, Savior and Spirit, One God, living and loving us, forever and ever, Amen.
- 1 Samuel 3: 3-10, 19
- 1 Corinthians 6: 13-15, 17-20
- John 1: 35-42
My friends, in today’s gospel from John, our brother Jesus responds to the disciples’ question, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” with a very intimate response—“Come and see!” His response is in tone and content akin in intimacy to their question. By the time they asked it; they apparently had seen and heard enough of, and about Jesus, that they definitely wanted more.
We might compare this scene and desire to know more and perhaps take next steps to the situation of two people falling in love. After a time, when they are sure that, “this is the one!” one or both decide to take their “love” home to meet their family—they want to take the next step!
Andrew and John, the disciples who inquired where Jesus was staying had more than likely witnessed his baptism in the Jordan—maybe even heard the heavenly words, “This is my beloved, in whom I am well-pleased!” We don’t know, but something affirmed the words of the Baptist within them, that, “This is the Lamb of God” and they took the next step to follow him.
Jesus posed another question prior to the above exchange which is also significant, I think, in the interchange between the would-be disciples and their Rabbi. Jesus asks them, “What are you looking for?” It is an interesting question and a deeper one than simply noticing that these two men are following him. Jesus, I believe, is asking them, what is it that you truly want—what is it that is on your heart? These questions are truly “heart” questions. And what do I mean by that? These questions are about what these men truly want in life on a very deep level. They don’t for sure have all the answers, nor have they truly thought out what following this Rabbi will mean—but on a deep level, they just know, this is right and that they must take this next step.
I just finished reading Kamala Harris’ 2018 book, entitled, The Truths We Hold, written after she was elected to Congress as a senator from California, but before becoming the Vice-Presidential candidate and ultimately, along with Joe Biden were elected to lead our country in the two top positions. Before moving into this final position for which she will be inaugurated on January 20, 2021; she was one who listened on a deep—heart level for the ways she should go, always keeping in mind serving the people most in need. It was why she became a lawyer, why she ran for and became District Attorney of San Francisco and then Attorney General of California.
Being a woman of black and South Asian descent; she knew what minorities live with, including discrimination which steeled her along the way to fight for justice for all—that no one would be without a voice.
Early on in her career as a senator and in her position on the Judiciary Committee; she was called upon to be part of the confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanagh for a lifetime position on the Supreme Court. Within these hearings the country came to know Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who put her life in danger to come before the Senate hearings and tell her very personal story of attempted rape at the hands of a younger, drunk, Brett Kavanagh. Because the Trump administration was determined to get Kavanagh confirmed to the Supreme Court due to his conservative views, placating his base, due process was not followed in truly investigating Blasey Ford’s allegations or those of two other women who came forward with similar charges.
Kamala Harris, truly her mother, Shyamala’s daughter, who spent her professional life searching for a cure for breast cancer, has always been an advocate for women— listening to her heart and then moving ahead. Even though Christine Blasey Ford’s painful public testimony didn’t ultimately work to stop Kavanagh’s confirmation, Harris stated that it was not without merit, because it encouraged other abused women with no voices and those with voices who weren’t listened to, to come forward and tell their stories too! “On the day that Dr. Ford testified, the National Sexual Abuse Hotline saw a 200 percent increase in calls [!]”
My friends, I share this today because it fits so well into the chosen Scriptures of this Sunday. Today’s readings are all about God’s call in life, to each of us, whomever and wherever we are to live out our dignity and divine natures through our one, wonderful human life. Andrew and John heard the call to take the words “on stone tablets and make them ‘flesh’ within them—on their hearts,” as Franco Zeffirelli said so well in his 1977 epic film, Jesus of Nazareth.
The boy Samuel is instructed by his mentor, Eli, to respond to God’s call very simply, “Here I am, I am listening [!]” The intention of course is that Samuel will do God’s will and the Scriptures tell us that indeed, for Samuel, this was the case.
The fact that each of us is called to do God’s will, “committing” acts of justice, peace, mercy and love in our world as did our brother Jesus before us, as does Kamala Harris in the present, is confirmed as right by Paul’s words to the people of Corinth in today’s second reading, “Your [bodies are temples] of the Holy Spirit.” In other words, “we would only expect this kind of action from you!”
My friends, these are such troubling times where one, self-centered person has been able to turn otherwise intelligent people against scientists, environmentalists, historians, economists and journalists—all people who have devoted their lives to their craft, as is quoted in a Facebook piece by Bob Farnham. The reasons are many, but the reality is the same—our country has become much divided. Worse yet, for us who have come out of a Catholic background, is that this devotion to one person on the “seeming support” for one life issue has severely divided our families and our churches to the point that we can’t even communicate with each other. This inability to communicate seems to be based on whether we can agree with a black and white view of the world that names our living God as vengeful, hateful and with no understanding or mercy for the “gray” areas in life where many people find themselves.
With a thought toward what is needed in these troubling times where some people are convinced that it is their right to tell others what they must believe, how they must act and how they must vote; the words of Pope Francis are instructive: “The Church is called to form consciences, not to replace them.”
My friends, that is why I try very hard, to simply challenge your well-formed consciences, not to tell you what to believe, or how to act. Each of you knows “right” when you experience it and likewise, “wrong” when you experience that too! Peace, for the most part, is the by-product of doing what is “right.” Anxiety, tension and anger are just some of the by-products of doing what is intrinsically wrong or evil.
As we move into this New Year more with each passing day, may our hearts be filled with hope and anticipation as we strive, “to listen” to our God, through the world around us, the poor, the suffering, those without “voices,” as we likewise strive after what is right and good at the “heart” level—doing all that we can—to be our best selves, not only for us as individuals, but for all of our brothers and sisters in this world. Amen? Amen!
Prayers of the Faithful
Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
- Jesus, our Brother, as we welcome Jesus, our Messiah into our midst today, help us to be able to respond as Samuel did, “Here I am, I come to do your will, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
- O God, be with all elected officials, especially our new leadership coming into office on January 20th —instill within each one, the wisdom of your Spirit to lead their people well. Help all world leaders, to find the ways to peace, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
- Loving God, give each of us health of body, mind and spirit–especially those struggling with life—threatening illnesses, COVID and all others—give each one your strength and wonderful gift of peace, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
- Loving Jesus, help those looking for work to find what they need, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
- O God, in this new year help us to strive to be people of peace—be with all in our country to strive for unity—help us to remember that Jesus has glorified our humanity by his presence in it and help us to treat people and our world accordingly, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
- Loving God, be with each of us today giving us what we most need in life, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
- For our community, All Are One, during this New Year, 2021 continue to give us welcoming hearts to be open to all who come to us, and inspire us in new ways to reach out this year to those most in need of our ministry. We pray additionally that we again soon join in person as a community, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
- Loving Jesus, be with all families who have lost loved ones this week, especially from COVID, but from all other causes too—give them your peace, we pray—Response: “Come, O Jesus, hear us”
***Let us pray for the silent petitions on our hearts—pause, then response
Let Us Pray
Loving God, you know what we most need today—be our strength, our peace—give us your heart to love our world and your people. Let us never be afraid to speak the truth especially when people suffer for lack of the truth. Help us to be able to walk a bit in others shoes especially those we find hard to love—give us your understanding and your mercy in these cases. Surround our lives with your care. Bless us, keep us, and hold us in your love—we ask all this of you, Creator, Savior, Spirit—one God, forever and ever, Amen.
Let Us Pray—Again my friends, we can’t be together nor receive communion, but just know and remember that our God in Jesus is always with us.
Prayer of Communion
Jesus, fill us with your Spirit and make us one in peace and love—we ask this of you, the Creator and Spirit of us all, Amen.