Almost Christmas-Reflections of Three Roman Catholic Women Priests
We must apologize for the lack of activity in a season where there is plenty of reflection and activity to share. I have missed being here with you. My computer crashed and it has taken a while to restore it but we are happily back now. And, perhaps even more than that our preparations for the needs of our people in this season keep us going 24-7. I am happy to share and echo Rev. Chava Redonnet’s reflections about seeing the face of Jesus all around us this Christmas season. And I am also happy to share Rev. Bev’s 4th Sunday Advent Homily.
This Sunday is the fourth Sunday in Advent and we will light the candle of love in our Good Shepherd Community. We will also welcome the Christ-Child a few days early and celebrate Christmas with our community. For many reasons celebrating the Sunday before is an assistance to our people in meeting the needs of their families for Christmas. Our children are planning a great Nativity Pageant and Santa will be visiting both children and parents and adults afterwards. We will be sharing this with you for Christmas.
On this Fourth Sunday we reflect with Second Samuel 7 that from the house of David the temple will be established. From the shepherd David to the shepherds on the plain who heard and saw the announcement of Christ’s birth, the temple of our living God has been in the hearts of God’s people. Mary, who was perhaps a young temple servant before her betrothal to Joseph, chosen to bear Christ into the world, the God-bearer, became the willing temple of God. Asked to be a God-bearer, she said yes, despite her fears (Luke 1: 26-28). And, the prophet Isaiah anticipated this child that would be born to us: Wonderful Counselor, the Strength of God,Eternal Protector,Champion of Peace ((Is 9:2-7). The humble shepherds too, terrified by the astronomical events leading them to the Christ child in the lowly manger, said yes to going and telling the Good News, becoming the first evangelists(Luke 2:1-14). In our church we also see that God calls us, the poor and the little ones of the world to bear Christ and the Good News. So may whatever frightens us and makes us hold back in bearing and sharing the Good News be put in perspective in this season of love and joy, and let us boldly go forth and tell.
Rev. Chava’s Reflections
Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, December 21, 2014
Fourth Sunday of Advent
As the pre-Christmas frenzy approaches fever pitch in this 3rd week of Advent – Christmas parties! Hannukah parties! Buying! Wrapping! Baking! Cleaning! – I love to go into the chapel at the nursing home, and sit in front of the manger scene. It’s not life-sized, but it’s pretty big, with a cave full of straw, and a few more animals each week. This week a shepherd appeared with a lamb, among the cattle and donkeys and sheep, all sitting in silence and calm, waiting for the baby and his parents, who will appear as part of our Christmas service next week.
As I look at all the tinsel and glitter and stuff, elves and snowmen and pre-Christmas sales, I sometimes wonder, “Where is Jesus in all this?” There is so much that feels important this time of year – traditions and time with family, greeting old friends, little acts of thoughtfulness – it’s all lovely, just all sobusy – and in the meantime, there’s that silent, waiting manger.
So where is Jesus, this Christmas?
Here are some places I’ve seen him, lately.
Jesus is being told he has to work on Thanksgiving, getting an order of cabbage ready to ship.
Jesus is sitting in an immigration courtroom, heart pounding, afraid he is about to be separated from those he loves.
Jesus is in a wheelchair, yelling at the aide who is sitting beside her, holding her hand: “Help me! Help me! Why won’t you help me? Is it because you’re a jerk?!”
Jesus is lying on a city sidewalk, unable to breathe.
Jesus is pounding on the door at St Joe’s on a Sunday morning, yelling to be let in to use the bathroom.
Jesus is waiting for his monthly immigration phone call, scared he’ll somehow screw it up and have to go back to detention.
Jesus is looking through garish displays at Walmart, trying to find affordable gifts for loved ones.
Jesus is clinging to the body of her dying daughter, sobbing “I love you,” And Jesus is lying in that bed, rope burns on her neck, a tear rolling down her cheek, listening to her mother grieve the life she chose to end.
Jesus is also marching through city streets, chanting, “Black lives matter!”
Jesus is sitting at a table, organizing ways to advocate for immigration reform.
Jesus is in the farmer welcoming farmworkers to worship in a vacant migrant dwelling.
Jesus is building bridges between countries that have been enemies for 54 years.
Jesus is in the next person who walks through the door, an occupant of the next car that passes by, the light in each person that is walking around, shining like the sun. Don’t miss him!!
Blessings to you this Christmas, and may you find moments of stillness, and grow in ways you’ve never dreamed.
Love to all
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph’s House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620
A member community of the Federation of Christian Ministries
Rev. Bev’s Homily
Just in time for Christmas,
today’s readings shed light on God’s identity—who is God?—
and on our own identity—who are we?
These scriptures speak to us of incarnation—
the mystery that we celebrate this coming Thursday:
God-with-us in human form.
Our first reading from Samuel
starts with King David trying to put God in a box,
but our God-beyond-all-names speaks out:
I have been with you wherever you were;
I was with you no matter what you were doing,
and I will be with you and your offspring,
from all eternity and for ever.
God is with us.
Paul, in our second reading, makes clear who we are:
we are the ones with strength from God;
we are the ones to whom God’s mystery is revealed;
we are the ones who give glory to God through Jesus;
we are the people of God,
giving praise by following the Way of Jesus.
Our identity—our very being—is part of God.
We are in God.
Then our Gospel tells the same truth
in the story of Mary and her cousin Elizabeth,
servants of God and women of courage,
open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
They don’t see how or why, but they go ahead anyway, in trust.
They say yes to carrying children and giving birth
in the midst of the oppression and violence
of the Romans who occupy their land.
They recognize God’s presence
alive in each other and in their children.
Not only is God with us, God is within us.
So the scriptures tell us that God is with and within us,
and we are in God, always, for ever and ever.
But that has to make sense in terms of the reality of our daily lives.
The world we live in
is not always an experience of “forever” and “always.”
It’s not always an experience
of God who is, who is with us, who is within us,
and we don’t always experience ourselves as in God.
Too often life is made up of lost jobs, dashed hopes,
fleeting friendships, broken marriages, and aging and dying
in a world of violence and bloodshed.
It’s as if God has abandoned us,
like in that last line of today’s Gospel: And the angel left her.
Down at Claver House Tuesday
we talked about the morning news report
of the murder of a hundred Pakistani students,
and some of the guests, haltingly at first,
began to talk about the horrors of the wars they had served in.
George talked of Korea,
Jim and Daniel of Viet Nam,
Chris of Afghanistan.
Yet tears came to their eyes when they remembered,
as if it were yesterday,
the grief they felt 40, 50, 60 years ago.
A brother killed on his third tour in Vietnam,
a note from his buddy
found tucked by his name in the Memorial Wall in Washington.
The 18-year-old who took a bullet in his heart
the day after he arrived on the battlefield.
The chaplain reading Last Rites over still bodies.
And the grief they still feel.
The sad understanding how hard it is to unlearn that training to kill.
Their broken families.
Their broken lives.
They marvel that they’re still alive, and they are grateful.
They don’t understand how they survived
and some of their buddies didn’t.
In spite of it, and because of it, they go on,
having faith that God was with them then
and is with them now,
and, they told me,
they believe that God remains
with and in those who didn’t come home.
In the encyclical Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict wrote this:
Seeing with the eyes of Christ,
I can give to others much more than their outward necessities;
I can give them the look of love which they crave.
It’s that look of love that I saw in those men Tuesday—
they listened to each other with respect and understanding,
that look of acceptance and love that each of them craved.
In five [four] days we’ll be celebrating the Nativity of the Lord—
Christmas with its joy and song,
family traditions and special meals with loved ones.
The turmoil in our world—and even in our family circles—
can make us question if God is really with us and within us.
That’s why we have to see our world,
and all the people we meet,
with the eyes of Christ.
As much as we love our perfect spouse and our perfects kids,
as much as we love our perfect selves,
we have to love the in-laws and the outlaws,
the uncle with the off-color jokes, the whiny aunt,
the inconsiderate neighbor, the judgmental friend,
the ex-offender, the old college buddy with too much to drink.
All of them.
We have to love the vet who killed in our name,
and the draft-dodger who left for Canada.
We are called to see our world with the eyes of Christ,
to look on ourselves
and everyone else
with that look of love,
so we can know who God is
and who we are.
So we can see Christmas.
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Rev. Beverly Bingle
Shout it out! AMEN!