Archive | November 2015

Happy Advent! Rev. Roberta’s Homily for the First Sunday in Advent, Nov. 29,2015

We are pleased to present here the homily of Rev. Roberta Meehan, RCWP living in Arizona. We echo Rev. Roberta’s sense of joy in this season. We acknowledge that one cannot always feel the joy when times are difficult. Recent events that speak to hatred more than love, terrorism more than security and comfort and greed more than sharing mar this world even after the coming of Jesus,the Chosen One, the Messiah. And, yet we admit, it is now our turn to bring about the comfort , love and joy this season awaits in the coming of Jesus. We are the ones to follow his Way of love and justice. If we do imitate Christ in his way, we bring the world closer to joy as we wait again for the reign of God that Jesus ushered  in. It will come as we are faithful to it. Blessed be God! Oh come again to us this Christmas, Emanuel, God With Us! We know you are already here, but let our lights show your presence in this time of waiting.  Help us to get ready for your Birthday celebration Jesus by living and sharing love.

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP

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And Now Rev. Roberta Meehan’s Beautiful Homily: 

Homily for the First Sunday of Advent – Cycle C – 29 November 2015

 

Jeremiah 33:14-16

Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14

1 Thessalonians 3:12 – 4:2

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

 

It is often said that the key to the central theme of the readings can be found in the Psalm.  This is usually true.  Sometimes, however, this key is a bit hidden.  That is what we are faced with today – an almost hidden theme, hidden right in plain sight!

 

Let us start by looking at the first line of the Psalm.  “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me….”  Now, that seems like a rather straight-forward verse. And, on the surface it is.  We need to keep it in mind, however, as we go through the readings and try to discern what our theme is for this First Sunday of Advent.

 

Advent should be a happy time because we already know the story.  We may be waiting for Jesus – but he is already here!  We have cause to rejoice. Advent is for rejoicing!

 

Indeed, this upbeat idea fits right into today’s readings!  And, this idea is in that first line of the Psalm too.  “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me.” What are these ways and are they really joyful?  Let us examine each of the readings and see.  The readings are all about our learning and knowing the ways of the Lord, which is the plea of the Psalm.  And each reading is up lifting and happy.

 

In the reading from Jeremiah, the Lord says, “The days are coming when I will fulfill the promise I made to the House of Israel and Judah….In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure.”  The Lord also promises a leader who will do all that is right and just.  Those sound like rather exciting promises!  Imagine the land safe and secure.  Imagine not having to worry about anything that is not right or just and leaders who practice these virtues in all things.  This definitely fits the plea of the Psalm.  This is certainly very positive.

 

The second reading, from the First Letter to the Thessalonians, is a direct answer to the cry of the Psalm.  “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all…to be blameless in holiness before our God….(We) ask and exhort you…(that)…you should conduct yourselves to please God….”  These are the same directives – the same ways of the Lord – that are found throughout Scripture, particularly the New Testament. Definitely positive.

 

The Gospel from Luke also answers the query about the ways of the Lord and specifically mentions right behavior so that we are not caught by surprise. In this reading, however, the emphasis is on end times and the writing itself is almost apocalyptic in nature as it talks about signs in the skies and disruptions among nations and roaring waves and the coming of the Son of Man.  Even so, we are prepared so again we have a positive and exciting message.

 

So, if we look at a succinct overview of what we have here, we see that we are looking for the way of the Lord.  We see the promise and what will happen when the Lord reigns in Jeremiah; we see the directives of Jesus (albeit through Paul) in Thessalonians; and we see the warnings of the end times and the coming of the Son of Man in Luke.  This seems to be very much of an answer to the plea to be shown the way – right through history, from the prophets, through Jesus, to the end.  And it is all there for our happiness, for our benefit.

 

What about this first Sunday of Advent though?  How does this fit – both with the theme and with the statement earlier that Advent is a time of rejoicing?

 

Advent should be a time of excitement, of exhilaration!  We know the end of the story!  We know Jesus has already come!  This is not a time for being morose.  We are getting ready for a birthday party!  Everyone knows how exciting it is to prepare for a birthday party!  People are happy.  They are singing.  They are wrapping gifts.  They are decorating.  Why does the church think advent must be so somber?  What is wrong with Christmas Carols during Advent?  Nothing, I say!  We’re getting ready for a wonderful birthday party.

 

We know the story of Advent.  We know about waiting for the Messiah.  Well, here in our readings today we have the whole story!  We have the initial promise, the basic rules for doing what pleases God, and the final coming.  What more could we ask for?

 

Why are we glum during Advent?  I have never understood that.  And I am excited that this year I have heard a number of people wishing each other a “Happy Advent!”  Indeed, it should be a Happy Advent!!  We know the whole story!  We know how the story will end for each of us individually and we know how it will end for the world.  Our individual ends are in sight; the end of the world is probably several million years in the future.  Regardless, we must still be prepared.  And, we do have those directions.  So we should rejoice.  At least that old stand by “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” has the word “rejoice” in it – even if too many people do sing it like a funeral dirge!

 

So, what is Advent really about?  Advent is a reenactment of the wait for the Messiah.  The Messiah is already here; Advent is a reminder, a reenactment.

 

It is also a time for planning a birthday party.  Let us rejoice that Jesus has come as promised.  Let us rejoice that we know the story.  Let us rejoice that we are each invited to take part in his birthday celebration.  The actual wait was over 2000 years ago.  Let us reenact the wait but let us do so with a sense of jubilation because he did come and he is still here among us.

 

Oh, and have a very Happy Advent!!

 

— Roberta M. Meehan, D. Min.

 

 

Thanksgiving Blessings to All

“Let all your works give you thanks, O God, and let your faithful ones bless you….Let every creature praise God’s holy name forever.”Psalm 145:10,21b

Thank you, God, for friends and family. thank you for forever friends and for new friends. Thank you for looking back and looking forward.  Thank you for those we gather around the table with and for those we serve at the Table.

 

Thank you for the beauty of Your world and all of its creatures. Thank you for young and old, cities and mountains and the sea.

Thank you for dance and poetry and joy.

Thank you for LOVE.

 

HAVE A BLESSED DAY OF THANKS!
AMEN!

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP

RC Woman Priest of Migrant Workers, Rev. Chava, Reflects on Christ The King

We thank Rev. Chava Reddonet for this beautiful reflection.

PLEASE  JOIN US in GIVING- CONSIDER SUPPORTING THE DREAMS OF THIS CHURCH THAT SERVES THE LEAST OF THESE WITH DIGNITY AND JOY so that LOVE WINS as Rev. Chava says.  Just click here to contribute: 

http://www.oscarromerochurch.myevent.com

Many thanks and blessings,

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP

 

Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, November 22, 2015

Feast of Christ the King
Dear friends,

This week there was a short video on facebook of a father and son being interviewed in Paris after the bombings there. The little boy, about four years old, told the interviewer that now they were going to have to move. His dad said, no, this is our home. We’re staying. “But Daddy,” the little boy said, “There are bad guys! They have guns!”

“There are bad guys everywhere,” his father answered. “And they may have guns, but we have flowers.”  The father showed the boy how people were placing flowers and candles in memory of the people who died. And the boy said that he felt better.

Isn’t that pretty much what God does in the face of evil? Foolish, lovely things that would seem to have no power, but that give hope and that do, in fact, have the power to change us.

This weekend we celebrate the feast of Christ the King… the king who was born in a stable, little and powerless, no money, in a backwater country occupied by Rome… who became a refugee soon after birth… who grew up poor and unnoticed, and finally at the age of thirty started walking around telling people that the Kindom of God is at hand, talking about forgiveness and being light for the world… and then they killed him. THAT’s our king, killed like a criminal. That’s who we follow. And in rising from that death he showed us that death is not the end of the story – so there is nothing to fear. Love wins.

At St Romero’s the dream of a building, of Oscar Romero House of Hospitality, is like that, I think. One of God’s foolish lights. At the Rural and Migrant Ministries dinner, Gail Mott said to me, “What if one of the things you do at the house is pottery? You could do it in the barn.” I looked at her. I couldn’t believe she’d said that. “Gail,” I asked –“When you said that —- did you know I was a potter?” “No!” she said. It felt like electricity was running all through us. I have a degree in Studio Art and my concentration was pottery, and that was a dream of mine but I’d long forgotten it. What if —– what if our house was  — yes, a refuge, a place for celebrating Mass, and having suppers and English classes, and welcoming people — but what if it was also about abundant life? About exploring one’s creativity? About joy?

What if it was a place where the learning goes both ways? We could teach each other English and Spanish. We could share whatever we know how to do. I’ll show you how I make bread, and you show me how you make tamales. Our tag line as a church is “An Inclusive Church of Liberation, Justice and Joy.” Imagine if we were as much about joy as about justice. If we were about abundant life, for all of us. Imagine.

Scary things are happening in the world. Let’s increase the light, the foolish, beautiful loving light.

Love to all , Chava

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Words used by Lilla Watson, Aboriginal elder, activist and educator from Queensland, Australia.

 

Oscar Romero Church  An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in 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

The King Who Bore Witness to the Truth: RCWP, Rev. Judy’s Homily For the Last Sunday in Ordinary Time-11/22/15

“….You say I am a king. I was born and came into the world for one purpose-to bear witness to the truth….” John 18: 32

It is not often that we would associate power with truth in world leaders no matter if they are kings, queens, or presidents, chiefs,governors, mayors or religious leaders. Rather there is a distrust of leaders and of politicians,and their words. Some of the current campaigns for  Presidential candidacy in the USA are more of a side show than a seeking for truth on critical issues.  Indeed speakers in debates are “fact checked” for accuracy later and are often caught missing the mark. I think we desperately want to trust our leaders and we want them to stand for justice and the human dignity and worth of all of their people. We are not optimistic that this will happen, however.

Jesus spoke of himself as a servant and as a shepherd. He said that his kingdom, his realm, was not of this world ( John 18:36). He never intended to lead the oppressed Jewish people to a bloodbath victory against the Roman conquerers, as much as the people wanted that kind of a king.  He was about something else-truth- to reveal God’s love, justice, compassion and inclusion to the world and to take on the religious leaders who hypocritically perverted the truth with legalisms and, sometimes greed, taking advantage of the widows and children that the Law asked them to care for (Mark 12:40). Jesus wanted the religious leaders to live up to the Law with its chesed (Hebrew word)-loving kindness- for the poor and those in need. Jesus came to establish the reign of God on earth,not to reign.  He led by example, serving and healing the outcast and recognizing that the poor were fortunate to have God’s blessing.  Our people, a church of and with the poor, have no trouble in accepting King Jesus-on Palm Sunday they sing with meaning for their lives now, “Ride on, King Jesus, ride on…see his mercy and his love, ride on Jesus,ride.” Indeed only the rarest and best of world leaders would see themselves reigning in humility as servants or shepherds, as shepherd-kings and servant-kings, and as witnesses for truth instead of power brokers.

A few years back The Lion King was a popular Disney movie, adults enjoyed it as well as children. There was something Christ-like in a new young lion king, Simba, who was born to save his community, pride, of lions and did. But when Simba was a young cub, he had typical childish views of power.  He sang “I Just Can’t Wait to be King”: “I’m gonna be the mane event like no king was before. I’m brushing up on looking down. I’m working on my roar!” He saw power as dominance. He needed to learn that a “real” king would love,assist, and care for the community. Would that all of the world’s leaders would learn that basic lesson.

Jesus redefined what it meant to be a king. As the prophet Daniel saw in his dream (Daniel 7:13-14) The Chosen One would come to gather all people, of all nations, races and languages under God’s reign. And in Revelation(1:5-8) we learn that Christ has made us a “kingdom of priests”, all of us, to serve our God and our Creator.  Let us then accept our royal calling as Jesus accepted his, no matter what it cost him, and follow King Jesus,  servant leader, shepherd leader and priest leader for the reign of God’s love and justice, and work endlessly to establish God’s reign and healing in this broken world.

Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP

Co-Pastor, Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers, Florida

 

 

 

RE-JESUSING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

Re-Jesusing the Catholic Church

“To be believable the church has to be poor” Pope Francis

An excellent article from the Bostonglobe.com, November 20,2015, by Garry Wills. I love the artwork by Doriano Strologo where Pope Francis is pruning the tree, in this case removing the dead outgrowths of the church that have nothing to do with the Cross and the teachings of Jesus.  Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP

DORIANO STROLOGO FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

How can a church whose officialdom is worldly and….

By Garry Wills NOVEMBER 19, 2015

DORIANO STROLOGO FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
How can a church whose officialdom is worldly and corrupt present Jesus to the world? Pope Francis thinks it cannot. He once told people at the morning Mass in his small chapel, “To be believable, the Church has to be poor.” He has spoken of personal revulsion at seeing a priest drive an expensive car. When he spoke of money as “the devil’s dung” (he was quoting a church father, Saint Basil), some took this as an attack on Western capitalism. But it was a more general message, part of his apology in Bolivia for the church’s role in colonialism. And when Francis looks around the Vatican, he finds the same devil-stench. In one of his earlier interviews as pope, he said, “The Curia is Vatican-centric. It sees and looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, for the most part, temporal interests.” He said to assembled Cardinals that some approach the Vatican as if it were a royal court, with all the marks of such courts — “intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism, and partiality.’’

That list of sins could be taken as a table of contents for the scandalous activities recorded in Gianluigi Nuzzi’s new book, “Merchants in the Temple,’’ a title taken from the Bible account of Jesus driving money lenders from the Temple court. Nuzzi is the journalist who received the “Vatileaks” from the papal butler, revealing the scheming and profiteering that occurred during Benedict XVI’s papacy. He demonstrates an equal access to secret documents and conversations in the papacy of Francis, which show a concerted resistance to papal efforts to make the Vatican bear at least some resemblance to Jesus, however remote.
The official church is wealthy and poor because it always overspends itself. It lives on display, favoritism, and unaccountability. Its 14 personnel agencies create honorary posts for clients who will be subservient to their patrons. This is as true of the Vatican State Department as of the Vatican banks. We know of the scandalous and money-laundering Institute for the Works of Religions — commonly called the Vatican Bank. But another money manager is equally unaccountable — the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See.

In what is called Peter’s Pence, Catholics from around the world send money to be spent on the poor. But four-fifths of that money is spent on maintenance of the bloated Vatican itself. The official church owns large amounts of real estate inside and outside Italy, but these holdings drain as much wealth as they collect, because so many of them are given at low or no rent to prelates and their flunkies, who redecorate them to their refined tastes, using Vatican money to do it.

Francis, who handled financial scandal in the diocese he took over in Buenos Aires, knew that he could not get control of the Vatican unless he had a true audit of where all the money was going. So he set up a special body to find this out – COSEA (Commission on Organization of the Economic Administration of the Holy See). This commission hired outside auditors, internationally recognized experts, to go over the money in all the papal departments (dicasteries). But faced with this demand for records from lay experts, the skilled ecclesiastical maneuverers in the departments reported sluggishly, incompletely, or not at all. COSEA’s frustrations over this may be why their members leaked tapes of their meetings to Nuzzi and others. Indeed two of them (a monsignor and a lay woman) were arrested in early November by Vatican gendarmes for leaking — though these leaks are on the pope’s side, unlike the earlier leaks.

Controversy about the official church has normally centered on doctrinal disputes, over things like contraception and abortion. These are seen as struggles for the mind of the church. Francis is more interested in the soul of the church. Does the church really speak from prelates’ posh apartments in Rome and from bishops’ palaces around the world? In our trips to Rome, my wife has given up entering Saint Peter’s, since she cannot find anything like Jesus in that riot of celebration of the great papal families, with monstrous large statues of past pontiffs in all their ecclesiastical regalia. Jesus did not wear expensive chasubles and jeweled mitres (or any ecclesiastical garments). What Francis is engaged in is less a matter of theological dispute than a re-Jesusing of the church. If he fails, we have failed Jesus.

Garry Wills, a professor of history at Northwestern University, is the author of “The Future of the Catholic Church With Pope Francis.”

Bad News or Good News: Two RCWP Homilies for 33rd Sunday in OT- 11/15/15

This Sunday we hear what initially sounds like very bad news from the book of Daniel(12:1-3) and from Jesus in Mark 13:24-32. The great suffering and frightening,often cataclysmic, signs of the times are as real to us today as they were in the times of Daniel and later,in the times of Jesus the Christ. Daniel and Jesus both spoke to the faithful  in secret messages to give them hope and get them through the bad times. (See Rev. Bingle’s definition of apocalyptic writing below). They did it with what the poet Walt Whitman called “faint indirection”, veiled messages, with the use of poetry, symbols and hidden meanings due to the times of persecution they lived in.  The references in Daniel’s work related to the times in which he lived and told of earlier times where the faithful overcame terrible times. An argument can be made that although we do not all face religious or national persecution, a world armed with nuclear arsenals and leaders with short fuses is a much more scary place to live. A world where total greed determines the waste of resources needed for clean air and water and stable climate may indeed perish. Even the violence of our day is more frightening-war and violence is no longer just person to person but modern weapons can wipe out hundreds with one tiny effort. In my time street gangs inhabited ghettos like they do today. But zip guns that were handmade and killed a rival gang member or innocent bystander killed one by one. Automatic machine guns used by gang members and unbalanced killers today are a lot more lethal. Yet the people of Daniel’s day faced the kind of  raw and senseless persecution that the Syrian Christians and others face today. Daniel wrote to get them through it. .

Daniel talks about a time of unspeakable great suffering in the life of the Hebrew people. But the good news is the first news of resurrection in the Hebrew Scriptures. God’s faithful will be rescued and “some who lie sleeping(dead) will rise up, some to life everlasting.” Moreover, “the wise will shine like the bright heavens,and the leaders of justice like the stars forevermore”. The author of Daniel, a pious Jew, wrote during the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes 167-164 Before Christ, Before the Common Era. To encourage his fellow sufferers he retold the stories of Daniel that were written down and took place earlier during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and the days before and after the Persian conquest.  According to Lamsa (Idioms in the Bible Explained) the “four great beasts” in Daniel 7 and 8 are the four great imperial powers: the Chaldean Empire, The Persian Empire (the Ram);the Grecian Empire (and Alexander the Great-the he goat) and the Roman Empire. The “Ancient of Days” is the Messiah. The people hearing the stories would have known what and who the code names  stood for and basically gotten the message: faithful and loyal Jews will have victory over their enemies even as Daniel and his friends had victory over Nebuchadnezzar. The Messiah will come. But even more than this, death is not for ever, some shall rise again, and those who lead in justice will shine among the the living and the risen. And that message is clear, for then and for now: if the people of God fight for justice they will prevail and shine brighter than the stars.  Yes, times are hard. Yes, maybe worse than ever. But FIGHT, fight for JUSTICE, and you will prevail. No, no one person or group will change the direction of the world, but each one fighting for justice combined with the next one will make a mighty effort that may turn things around. As Rev. Beverly Bingle noted, all is interconnected, a group fighting for trees to live, is fighting for the poor to be employed as well, and so on.  The perspective is ecological, all in creation is dependent and interdependent upon other things-nothing is isolated. So an impact for justice in one place has a ripple effect that can be astronomical. Don’t give up, says Daniel, fight for what is right and keep on keeping on.

But what of great personal suffering? what does Daniel, and Jesus in Mark 13 have to tell us about that? In the last few months we have been walking with a family who has had difficulty upon difficulty and tragedy upon tragedy. After barely recovering from several hospitalizations and difficult diagnoses, as I write this both parents are in the hospital, different hospitals at that , for life threatening illnesses. The grandmother and extended family are caring for the children and the children are caring for each other. The stress of losing a job due to this recurrent illness, having a car repossessed and the threatened loss of their home certainly has contributed to the onslaught of ill health, but the onslaught just seems so endless. At the same time young relatives are shot and struck down by gang warfare. Their only peace in the midst of this is that our church has pledged to walk with them and not to let them become either “carless” or homeless. ( A car has been donated to them and the rent and utility bills have been supplemented). And members from our church are on a community task force to analyze the causes of gang violence and suggest remedies. Life hits hard yet God provides and is always there.

As Jesus says in Mark 13:29 when the green fig tree begins to bear fruit, “the Promised One is near, right at the door”. As each of us ripens in faith and wisdom and begin to bear fruit for God’s kin(g)dom, that is love and justice translated into everyday life, God is very near. Love in families and between friends and in church communities makes all the difference.  In my extended family there is a young couple with two beautiful children.They have strong and active faith in Christ and the support of marvelous parents and siblings who love them and the children completely. Recently the young mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her response was noteworthy and amazing: to be thankful for her life and all of the love in her life, and to remain strong in her faith. She has blogged each day of her faith journey. The tumor was removed surgically and most of it is out. They now await news of the biopsy. Wendi Lee’s faith is strong as they wait. She is an inspiration. She has complete trust in our loving God. One can marvel at her mature faith and know “The Promised One is near”.

One of our church elders and one of my dearest friends faced the knowledge of blood clots in dangerous locations last week. Another lives with dialysis three times a week and directs her attention to others. Another faces the decline of her beloved husband with end stage cancer whose faith and fight have kept him going for years beyond expectations. And another faces breast cancer with devout faith, no family to help but the wealth of a few faithful friends. Another faced the loss of a parent and an only sibling within months. These are the personal cataclysms that require faith in the resurrection and that the Promised One be near.  For each, faith and love keep them going.  For another dear woman, after facing cancer and treatments as difficult as the diagnosis, she is having terrible dental issues and must attend to having teeth pulled in the midst of cancer treatment. Today her tears just could not stop as she shared her literal and other pain with me. Her dental work is not fully covered and she worried that she could not afford it. she also cannot afford the supplements she feels will help save her life. She cried again when she learned that “we have her back” all she needs we will assist with. I explained to her that “this is the good news in the midst of suffering: God has got your back. God has provided people and resources to help you”.  Whether in times of cataclysmic suffering throughout the world, specific suffering of persecuted peoples, or seemingly endless suffering in the lives of individuals and families-the just will rise again to “life everlasting” beginning now and lasting forever, and the Promised One is near. God has not forsaken you. This is the Good News in the midst of bad news. And it changes everything.

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP-USA-East

Co-Pastor, the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in fort Myers, Florida website: goodshepmin.org

The love of friends and family and church is evidence that the Promised One is near-no matter whatIMG_0083DSCF0680DSCF1013IMG_0081

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Rev. Beverly Bingle’s Homily

What’s all this end-of-the-world stuff about?
Our first reading gave us Daniel’s vision of the end-times.
Then we heard the passage
that’s referred to as Mark’s “Eschatological Discourse,”
presented as if Jesus is teaching it.
_________________________________
It helps to know that this kind of apocalyptic writing
was a common way of talking about change and renewal
in ancient times.
The Greek word apocalypse means “uncovering.”
It’s a lifting of the veil, a revelation.
As if the events haven’t happened yet,
the apocalyptic writer recounts historical events
up to the moment of writing,
then vaguely writes about future cosmic events
and how God will reward the just
and condemn the unjust.
_____________________________________
Scholars say that it’s highly improbable
that Jesus ever used apocalyptic images
in the way Mark puts them together.
Mark frames Jesus’ message about the reign of God
in apocalyptic language to encourage his own community
to stay alert and follow the Way,
At the start of this chapter, Mark had Jesus describe
the “tribulation” that starts today‘s reading,
citing events that have already happened.
Mark has Jesus say that the Temple will fall,
not one stone left on another.
The disciples think it will last forever.
It’s too big to fail.
But Jesus sees it differently.
He sees the foundation cracking and the facade crumbling.
It’s not God’s dwelling place; it’s a den of thieves.
It needs change, not repair.
_________________________________________
Over time our institutional church has ignored the message
that Jesus was trying to communicate.
We were taught a literal interpretation
telling us that we can earn after-life in heaven
if we unquestioningly obey church rules and church rulers.
We can see the dangers of that approach
in the wrongs committed in the name of our Church
throughout history—the massacres of the Crusades,
the silencing of Galileo and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,
to name some of the more notorious of the past,
and in recent times the expulsion of progressive priests,
the suppression of theologians,
the Vatican investigation of the U.S. religious sisters,
clergy sex abuse, and the coverup by church officials.
___________________________________
It seems that Pope Francis was trying to teach Jesus’ real message
last Tuesday in Florence,
looking at the Temple that is our church
and saying that “Catholicism can and must change.”
Francis said that it’s not useful
to look for solutions in conservatism or fundamentalism.
He said it’s not useful
to try to restore “obsolete conduct”
or forms that are no longer “culturally significant.”
He said that doctrine is not a closed system;
it generates questions and doubts.
He called for open and honest dialogue.
He called for a church which is poor and is for the poor.
He said that “We are not living an era of change
but a change of era.”
________________________________________
Whenever a new way of thinking takes over,
it overturns the established order.
For people used to the old way, it feels like the world is ending—a
cosmic collapse.
Today we’re experiencing a new reality
in the global spread of communication, technology, and trade.
In Paul’s letter to the Hebrews Jesus is the new reality of his time.
The old order had passed away.
In our time the old order of Roman Catholicism is passing away.
As Francis says, we’re entering a new era,
a time of transition in our church and in our world
that is troubling and challenging…
and at the same time promising.
___________________________________________
Winter is upon us,
but even now the buds are forming for next year’s sprouts.
Just as the signs of nature are clear,
so are the signs of this new era.
Our scriptures, ancient wisdom that they are, show us the way:
we must watch and listen and,
as the book of Daniel tells us,
lead the way to justice.
_________________________________________
Our local “Tree Toledo” project
to mitigate climate change by planting trees
takes another step this week and next
with the planting of 2,000 more oak seedlings
in the Metroparks.
It might seem like we’re just another bunch of tree-huggers,
but a closer look shows that we’re
making a more just world for future generations,
those grandchildren and great-grandchildren
who will breathe the oxygen
given off by the trees we’re planting.
We’re working to keep them from suffering the climate catastrophes
that are even now disrupting lives
and killing people around the world.
____________________________________________
In the old world, the light seemed to focus
on those who worked for their own good
without thought or concern for the common good.
The old world rewarded those who profited on the backs of others.
This new world is different.
In this new world, the ones who will shine like the stars
are those who do justice.
Ohio citizens are there, shining in their vote
for an end of gerrymandering of state legislative districts.
The students and faculty and even the football team
at the University of Missouri are there,
shining in their insistence on an end to racial injustice.
The MultiFaith Council of Northwest Ohio is there,
shining in its work for religious tolerance
and building a more compassionate community.
We’re there, too, shining, with our Tree Toledo effort
and our pleas for divestment from fossil fuels
and our parish community contributions
to programs that give the poor a hand up.
The old world is passing away.
The reign of God is at hand, here, among us and within us.


Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

www.holyspirittoledo.org

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006
419-727-1774

Roman Catholic Woman Priest Sister Letitia Rawles To Celebrate first Public Liturgy-Nearly 5000 in Support

DSCF0935Rev. Letitia Rawles with Rev. Judy Beaumont  at Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in fort Myers, Florida

About FIFTY more signatures are needed to top 5000 signatures: please sign. 

Excommunicated Nun Celebrates First Public Liturgy: 5,000 Sign Petition in Support
From: Bridgetmarysblog

http://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/pope-francis-reinstate-fired-nun

November 12, 2015

On Friday, November 13, Sister Letetia “Tish” Rawles will celebrate her first public liturgy as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest at 3 p.m. in the chapel at Atria Northgate, 9191 Round Top Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45251. Ordained in April of this year with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, Sister Tish served her community faithfully, offering the sacraments to the sick and dying. Sister Tish served as a “catacomb priest” in order to allow herself to remain a member of the Sisters of the Precious Blood. In late October, her ordination was discovered, and she was dismissed from her Congregation.

Since her dismissal, over 5,000 people have signed an online petition in support of Sister Tish, asking Pope Francis to overturn her excommunication and the excommunications of all women priests and their supporters. The petition represents people of faith and good will from all over the globe, including signatories from Africa, Europe, and South America. Over 1,000 clergy and faith leaders, including Catholic priests and over 150 Catholic sisters, have signed the petition.

In response to the petition, Sister Tish stated: “The theme of my first liturgy will be ‘Gratitude and New Beginnings’. l enter this Eucharist grateful for all who signed the petition and the new beginnings that my public priestly ministry will offer.”

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests and Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA will deliver this petition to Pope Francis as part of the Church’s Holy Year of Mercy. It is our hope that the reform-minded pontiff, who has called for an open Church, “not a closed system,” will end gender-exclusive ordination and overturn all excommunications.