Archive | March 2016

Easter Blessings from the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

Photo by Donna Cullen, Copyrighted. We are thankful to Donna Cullen for this beautiful photo of our community. Although some were not able to stay for the picture and some were not able to be there, all of us wish you a blessed Easter Octave. As our church proceeds with the rest of the RC Church through the eight weeks of Easter when we remember Christ’s substantial appearances to the faithful after rising from the dead and savor the teachings that he will leave with us-mainly that we love and serve one another and spread the Good News of God’s love with the blessed help of the Holy Spirit, we pray for a world and a church at peace and justice and equality for all, no matter what.

Love and blessings, Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP and Rev. Judith Beaumont, RCWP and the w8x10wwritingD74A2498 (2)

We Rise With Christ: Easter Sunday 3/27/16


Wishing all of you a blessed Easter! Our world needs Easter like never before. As we observe the Easter Vigil, see the Light of Christ in the holy fire lighting the Easter Candle, see it, feel it  pierce the darkness. Rejoice in the Light. See the sun rise at Dawn and know that death could not hold Jesus. He is risen! Let the people respond: He is risen indeed! And in our Good Shepherd Church we add:With Christ I rise! I rise! We rise! For through the living Christ we are stirred to life NOW, and leaving behind our burial clothes and any remnants of sadness and death,and all obstacles that separate us from our loving God, we enter the fullness of life with Christ both now and forever! Thank God for the living Christ, thank God for Easter. Shake off your burial clothes and live as Easter people! Amen!


This is the Resurrection Narrative for this Year:

The Resurrection
of Jesus.
But at daybreak on the first day of the
week they took the spices they had
prepared and went to the tomb. They
found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered, they did not find
the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were
puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling
garments appeared to them. They were
terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them, “Why do you seek the
living one among the dead? He is not here,
but he has been raised. Remember what he
said to you while he was still in Galilee, that
the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third
day.” And they remembered his words. Then
they returned from the tomb and announced
all these things to the eleven and to all the
others. The women were Mary Magdalene,
Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the
others who accompanied them also told this
to the apostles, but their story seemed like
nonsense and they did not believe them. But
Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down,
and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went
home amazed at what had happened.
Luke 24:1-12

Thank God for the faithful women that did not abandon him-even at the tomb. Thank God they carried the news to the other disciples.  How sad that the men did not believe them until they saw for themselves. But thank God, they did see for themselves! May we honor all who share the Good News with us-and this is the Good News: He Lives, and we too live!


Below Rev. Jane Via, RCWP, Rev. Janice Sevre-Dusynska, RCWP, Rev. Roy Bourgeoisc7fe3-embassy2b3

As we are living this Holy Week, this Triduum, this three days before the Resurrection, and Easter, I am not yet able to reflect on it here but as it settles in the next week I will share our Good Shepherd journey and my journey with you. These days have been profound for me. In the meantime I am happy to share here the moving poetry for each day by Rev. Roberta Meehan, RCWP from Arizona. With gratitude to Rev. Dr. Meehan.

With love and blessings,

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP-Co-Pastor Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community of Fort Myers, Florida


(Below) Poetry For the Triduum and Easter by Rev. Dr. Roberta Meehan, RCWP

Maundy (Holy) Thursday – 24 March 2016


Holy Thursday


The meal complete, he looks around.

Are they ready?  His humanity wonders.

Challenge and pain curl his brow.

And emptiness closes his eyes.

Tightness grips his chest as he surrenders to the moment.


Then back – a slight smile spreads across his lips.

A laugh teeters in his throat.

Now!  He thinks.  Now!  Now is the time.


They look at him – not knowing what to expect.

Wondering what he is thinking, planning….


He reaches for the breadbasket

And pulls it toward himself.

He chooses a small loaflet.

Elbows on the table, piercing dark eyes in a gentle teaching mode….

“Do you know what this is?”


Disbelief shrouds their sighs.

“A remnant of bread?” ventures one.

“From our Passover meal?”

“Not so,” he instructs.  “Not so.”

“Think!”  He pauses.  “Think and watch.”


His attention shifts to his cup.

He toys with the edge and again questions them.

“Do you know what this is?”

“Your wine?” One asks.

“You haven’t finished your wine.  Do you need more?  We have plenty.”


He becomes somber.

“No.  Not so.  You do not understand.  Think.  Think and watch.”


He studies the bread – contemplating, visioning.

A serious focus embraces the wine.

Back and forth he gazes, blessing and knowing –

Past and future merge!

Bread and wine converge on NOW!


He holds the bread, intently, carefully.

“This,“ he instructs, “This is my body!”


“Here, take it!”  A commanding offer.  “Take it and eat it.”

His eyes meet the first and move from one to another.

“All of you!  Eat it!”  And they do.


He holds his wine cup – studying it, swirling it.

“And this,” he says, “This is the cup of my blood!  This is the cup of salvation

Which will be shed for you and for many.

Here.  Take this cup and drink from it.”

Again their eyes meet.

“All of you!  Drink from it!”  And they do.


Solemnity falls on those assembled.

They look each to the other.

They know only vaguely the enormity of what has happened.


He looks lovingly, sadly, at each of them.

“You,” he says.  “Now you are my body; now you are my blood!

Furthermore, I tell you to do this.  Do this in remembrance of me!

Do this until the end of time!  And I am with you!”


He looks down.  They become – all of them – one in him and he in them.

And he whispers, “It is finished!”



Good Friday – 25                      March 2016


Good Friday


Beyond reality

Beyond the pain

Nothing matters; fulfilling the mission

“This is why I am here.”

Focus the journey nears its end.


Why do they scourge me?

Romans – Jews – doesn’’t make sense

Who are they?  Doing a job

Why do they crown me?  Doing a job

Forgive them; forgive them; forgive them.


Where are they?  My family, my friends

Last night – I gave them me

Now, where are they?  I need them!

Did they leave me?

So alone!  Why?


Carrying the cross – heavy – help

Hold the end – thank you

Wipe my face – yes.  Thank you.

Grateful – can’t think.

Falling, falling, falling.


Nails, nails, nails –

Support my arms!

Trouble breathing

Ease my pain

Fog my thoughts!


Stripped naked

All of me – hanging from a tree

Nothing hidden – nothing ever hidden

No shame

I am me; stripped as me.


Thirst – terrible thirst

Sweat – blood – no, not gall!

Oh – worse – why – doing a job

They don’t know what they are doing.

Forgive them; forgive them; forgive them.


Crowds mocking me.  Friends too.

Scorning me.

Saying terrible things

They don’t know what they are doing.

Forgive them; forgive them; forgive them.


Two men here


One understands – he’ll be with me

The other doesn’t know.

Forgive him; forgive him; forgive him.


Family and friends

I see some now.

My mother – my beloved

Others too

Hold each other!  Love each other!  Love each other!


Am I forsaken?

Am I delirious?

Take my spirit!

Forgive them!

It is finished!


Holy Saturday – 26                    March 2016


Holy Saturday


The barren cross bespeaks the truth.

He is gone; he is not here.

Unfilled promises and empty dreams

Engulf and strangle the ones who are near.


Behind the rock his body lies

Entombed in silence in a borrowed grave,

Stilled from life, alone in a shroud,

Transcending time but ensouling the now.


What did he teach them, and what did they learn?

How could he leave them forlorn and afraid?

He taught them to love; he gave them himself.

He instilled in them hope and a reason to be.


They look around and try to make sense

Of the emptiness and their fear-filled lives.

They try to make sense of his cross and his death.

They try to make sense of the time they have lost.


They look around and try to make sense

Of the Passover meal, the bread and the wine.

It’s all a blur, they feel so lost.

Nothingness fills the sorrowing, empty day.


They wait in agony to go to the tomb

To mourn, to sit, to hope, and to pray.

Their loss on this Sabbath is much more profound.

His echoing words – for whom was this Sabbath made?


They’ll go in the morning to prepare his remains.

There is nothing left of this Sabbath of God.

He gave himself in the bread and the wine.

He gave himself in his death on the cross.


And now they wait for the promise of life,

For the promise of hope in the bread and the wine,

For the promise he gave to always be near.

Could they find meaning in his death on the cross?



Easter  27 March 2016 





“Where is he?”  Desperate scream —

Anguished widow-church at the empty tomb


Her Self detached

— as stark reality impaled her

— as emptied bowels contorted her.


The oneness they were

The embodiment of unity — the bounds of creation

Diversity branching from unity — divinity ensouling humanity


She was his beloved – his moment of creation.

This is my body!

And she consumed him and he was hers.


The hope, the kingdom,

The church they would build

The promises-dashed and broken.


Hanging from the cross

Crushed and buried

This is my body!


And now — wrenched from her very soul

Even his body — no more —

Taken — this last violation.


Alone — too drained for fear, she moved

Each step bearing the weight of the unsaved world.


“Mary!”  She turned.


Involution of unclaimed brilliance

Exploded in one majestic NOW.


Their eyes met

Joy erupted from the very fonts of their beings.

Reaching fingers touched.


And once more — divinity engulfed humanity.

This is my body!


Breaking News! Women Priests and Male Priest Fast and Occupy Steps of Vatican Embassy

Breaking News! Women Priests and Male Priest Fast and Occupy Steps of Vatican Embassy in Washington DC

Roman Catholic Women Priests: (left to right)
 Jane Via, Janice Sevre Duszynska, and former Maryknoll Priest Roy Bourgeois occupy steps of Vatican Embassy on Holy Thursday to protest Vatican policy on women priests.

From right to left: Roy Bourgeois,  Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP and Jane Via RCWP wash feet in remembrance of Jesus call to service at Last Supper. 


On Holy Thursday, March 24th at 10 a.m., people from around the country gathered for a foot washing ceremony and protest in front of the Vatican Embassy, 3339 Massachusetts Ave. NW in Washington, D.C.

After a Holy Thursday foot washing ceremony, three Roman Catholic  priests Janice Sevre Duszynska, ARCWP, Jane Via, RCWP and Roy Bourgeois delivered a statement to the Papal Nuncio for Pope Francis calling for women’s ordination and justice for women and gays in the Roman Catholic Church. They are fasting and occupying the steps of the Vatican Embassy in Washington, DC. until they get a response from Pope Francis. See the attached statement below: 

Stole and Statement placed on Vatican Embassy Door by Roman Catholic Priests
Read statement below to Pope Francis

On Holy Thursday, March 24th at 10 a.m., people from around the country gathered for a foot washing ceremony and protest in front of the Vatican Embassy, 3339 Massachusetts Ave. NW in Washington, D.C.

Janice Sevre Duszynska, ARCWP in front of Vatican Embassy on Holy Thursday, March 24, 2016


“Where there is injustice, silence is complicity. We have come to the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C., to speak out against the grave injustice being done to women and gay people by the Catholic Church.

1. WOMEN IN THE CHURCH: God created women and men equal: ‘There is neither male nor female. In Christ you are one.’ (Galatians 3:28) God calls both men and women to the priesthood, but Catholic women who are called are rejected because of their gender. Who are men to say that their call from God is authentic, but God’s call to women is not?

The ordination of women is not a problem with God, but with an all-male clerical culture that views women as inferior to men. The problem is sexism and sexism, like racism, is a sin.

2. GAYS IN THE CHURCH: The official teaching of the Catholic Church states that homosexuals are ‘objectively disordered.’ For millions of gay people, this teaching instills shame and self-hatred. It has contributed to gay people being rejected by their families, fired from their jobs, bullied and even killed. This teaching has also contributed to suicides, especially among teenagers.

God does not make mistakes in creation. Our all-loving God created everyone of equal worth and dignity: gay and straight. Our Church’s teaching on homosexuality is cruel and is based on a theology inconsistent with the teaching of Jesus. 

We are here today to call upon Pope Francis and the Catholic Church to ordain women and start treating LGBT people as equals.”

Jane Via, Ph.D., J.D. is a former professor of theology, a retired county prosecutor and an ordained Roman Catholic Woman Priest. In 2005, she founded an independent Catholic parish in the Roman Catholic tradition which thrives in San Diego, CA. She is married and has two adult, feminist sons.”

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, D.Min., a retired teacher and journalist, is an activist priest in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests and an international leader for women’s equality in the Roman Catholic Church. Her journey is explored in the award-winning documentary, “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican.”

Roy Bourgeois served as a Catholic priest for 40 years. He is a Purple Heart recipient and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. In 2012, he was expelled from the priesthood and the Maryknoll Fathers because of his public support for the ordination of women.

For decades the Roman Catholic Church only washed men’s feet on Holy Thursday, Pope Francis has ordered a change in the law. However, Pope Francis must go further, the full equality of women including ordination is the will of God because women are created in God’s image, Jesus called women and men to be disciples and equals and the church ordained women during the first 1200 years of its history. 
 Bridget Mary Meehan, 
bishop of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, email

Holy Thursday: The Bread of Life, The Bread of Our Lives

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Bondings 2.0

Last Supper by Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS (20th-21st century)

In each of our lives Jesus comes as the Bread of Life–to be eaten, to be consumed by us. This is how He loves us.

Then Jesus comes in our human life as the hungry one, the other, hoping to be fed with the Bread of our life, our hearts by loving, and our hands by serving.

In loving and serving, we prove that we have been created in the likeness of God, for God is Love and when we love we are like God.

–Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “Jesus Christ: He Wants to Love With Our Hearts and Serve With Our Hands,”  1997.

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Rejoice! Blessed is the One who comes…Two Roman Catholic Women Priests reflect on Palm Sunday


Churches all over the world will be adorned in palm branches this Sunday commemorating the joyful entry of Jesus into Jerusalem seated on the back of a donkey. In our church as in many Roman Catholic and other churches, people will gather,carrying palms and singing Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest, as was done for the first time by the crowd welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem. Here we present my Palm Sunday reflections along with that of Rev. Chava Redonnet of Oscar Romero Mission Church in Rochester, New York.

This year the Gospel of Luke 19:28-40  will be read and we will see Jesus enacting the prophecy about the coming of Zion’s ruler in Zechariah 9:9-10. “Rejoice in heart and soul….Shout with gladness daughter of Jerusalem! Look! Your ruler comes to you: victorious and triumphant, humble, riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”(TIB) The NAB translation of this verse read: “Shout for joy…See, your king shall come to you; a just savior he is, meek and riding on the foal of an ass”.   The Peshitta (Near Eastern translation from Jesus’ Aramaic) reads “…he is righteous and a Savior, lowly and riding…upon a colt, the foal of an ass”.  The fulfillment of this prophecy about the Messiah is why Jesus sent his disciples to get the colt he would ride on into Jerusalem.  To ride on a donkey in that age was more a sign of humiliation than royalty, for only the poor rode on donkeys. Royalty rode on fine horses or in transport pulled by powerful steeds.  So, here is Jesus the king of the poor and outcast, for he had loved them, healed them, taught them and won their hearts, now welcomed by them with great joy. They spread their cloaks on the ground before him and the “whole multitude of his disciples”praised God for the mighty things they had seen. They  shouted “Hosanna” which means “Save” in Hebrew but is a song of praise. Matthew’s Gospel says “the whole city was stirred up” at his arrival.

The account of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem is in all four Gospels. John’s Gospel (Ch 12) adds that the people recalled the raising of Lazarus and thronged around him. “Look, the whole world has gone after him! (12:19b). In Luke’s (Ch 19) account Jesus was asked by the Pharisees to quiet his disciples. He said that if they were quiet even the stones would cry out! This was a time of acclamation and joy, the universe itself was in accord. I think that the joyful shouts of acclamation filled Jesus’ heart and even for a short while he knew that despite what lied ahead, and he had already predicted that, he had accomplished his mission- the ordinary, the poor, the sick and the outcast along with his other disciples, men and women and children, knew who he was and would carry on his work. This deep knowledge and his always close Abba, Amma God (Papa, Mama) gave him the strength to face what was ahead of him.

And, then as he drew close to Jerusalem , Jesus wept for Jerusalem(Luke 19:41) and the people as they did not accept the prophets before him, or him-“you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you”- and destruction not peace would come to them.  The oppressors would win after all in Jerusalem and for this, he wept. Then, he entered the Temple and further enraged the authorities by throwing out the money changers and the sellers of animals, doves and others, for sacrifice. In essence, He set those birds and animals free and put the place where God was supposed to live back into God-perspective. God doesn’t want any form of animal or living sacrifice, God wants lives and hearts full of justice and love for everyone.   This is to be a house of prayer!  The ensuing parable of the tenants in the vineyard ( Luke 20:1-19) where the owner has to send his son because the others collecting the debt were killed and the son is also killed tells us what will happen next.

On Palm Sunday I like to stop a while and savor the victory with Jesus.  Let us take time with Jesus to deeply feel the affirmations of those we have come to serve and of those who love us. Take time to feel the love. Take time to feel the joy of the moment when we too fulfill what we have come to do and when all is well. Do not rush ahead to when the price we pay for living the Gospel and the inevitable troubles of life weigh heavy on us. Jesus’entire ministry is about loving relationship as he shares his loving Abba/Amma God with all around him in his every action and word that says ‘all are welcome, come closer’.

Jesus’ joy was short- lived because his work was not done-he got off that little donkey and kept on going with his actions and his teaching that angered the establishment. I think the strength of the heartfelt Hosannas propelled him on. I also think that it may well have been a different crowd that shouted “crucify him” while his loyal group of lowly folks, lowly like him, lowly like we are, were overwhelmed by the greater powerful interests of the religious establishment and the Roman Oppressors.

The Roman Catholic Liturgy for Palm Sunday really rushes Jesus’ moments of victory as once the palms are placed down, the entire Passion is read for the Gospel (this year Luke 22:14-23;56). Some have explained that because so many of the”faithful” will not attend the events of Holy Week but will return on Easter, this is the only chance to share the events of “Holy Week” that precede Easter with them.  How sad, but how human to choose to miss the events of self-emptying on Holy Thursday and the Passion of Christ on Good Friday. How like us to want the joy of Palm Sunday and Easter without a reminder of the inevitable suffering that life has for Jesus, and yes, for all of us. For those of us stricken with major illness or life altering loss this year, and that is real once again for me, and for many in our congregation, and those who work tirelessly for justice and peace when it is so slow to come,  the Jesus who weeps for the people and who loves and forgives even from the cross (Luke 23: 34 and 43) is the Jesus who knows and abides with us in suffering. We are not alone, no matter how sad, frightened or frustrated we may become.  To me, the rising from the dead makes no sense without the anguish of service and suffering. It is anguish and suffering we rise from , not only after death, but in all of the small deaths that life may bring us. The life given us is blessed by God as good and beautiful from its inception and from our birth. But for so many there is so much difficulty as we proceed to live in the worlds and skins we have been born in. We need a Christ who can understand and be with us in the real world.

Yes, Jesus will be killed in a brutal and slow tortuous way. But even there he will make a statement of victory. When we rely on the English translations from the Greek alone we may miss this shout of victory from the Cross. In Matthew 27:46 we have Jesus saying the Aramaic words “Eli, Eli, L’mana Sabachtani.” In English that is translated “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” It is phrased as a question and is taken to mean the abandonment of God. But Aramaic scholar Rocco Errico (Let There Be Light, pp. 12-13) points out, it can also be understood as a declaration: “O God! O God To what (a purpose) You have kept me!” or “O Sustainer, O Sustainer! To what a purpose you have left me.” “Left” does not mean abandoned but it means spared to fulfill an end or destiny”. God never forsook or abandoned Jesus, and God will never forsake us.   It is a cry of “I have accomplished it” (Like the “it is finished” in other accounts). The Lamsa version of the Aramaic translates, “for this was my destiny!” In other words, in addition to the words of forgiveness and inclusion (for the thief) from the Cross we have a sense of completion of Jesus’ work -only to be topped by the resurrection! And that indeed is the conclusion of Holy Week and of the holy weeks of our lives-rising from the dead!

Amen to the Victory of Palm Sunday and the Victory of the Cross-God is with us until the end, and will raise us up! Amen!!!

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP

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

And now we present Rev. Chava Redonnet’s 2014, Reflection on Palm Sunday. 

On Palm Sunday I think of something Dom Helder Camara of Brazil said once,

that he imagined himself in the Triumphal Procession into Jerusalem… and he
was the donkey. That’s a lovely image for us as church: to be God-bearers
for each other, bringers of love. We don’t have to be perfect, we don’t
have to get everything right: we can be humble bearers of the love of God.
I guess I was a God-bearer for a man I met this week who remembered the
joy of communityfrom the past, too, because it gave him so much
joy to learn that I was there, too. He ended his recitation of what we’d
done on those marches, holding out his arms to me and saying joyfully, “And
YOU were there, TOO!”Another day this week, I met a different man. This other man had cut
himself off from everyone in his life. Everyone he was related to, he spoke
of with anger and disgust. When I asked about God, he said, “There is no
God!” I listened to his litany of anger and rejection, and finally said,
“Sounds like a lonely life.” Tears filled his eyes. This man seemed to me
like a cell without water,unable to connect with anyone around him, not
even God. He didn’t want prayer but I told him I would send good energy his
way. He liked that. Maybe that’s a little crack of openness to love in his
soul. I hope so.Lastly, a story from our Sunday Mass at St Romero’s last week. We were a
very small group. Just as we were about to share Communion, he left the
room, using his telephone. I was surprised but went on,serving communion
and praying, then just waiting for him. Finally he came back. “I just
remembered,” he said. “Jesus said if you’re mad at someone you need to
reconcile before you come to the altar. So I had to call someone and
apologize before I came to communion.”Look for God wherever you are, this week! May we all be God-bearers for
each other, carriers of love and hope. Have a blessed Holy Week.Blessings and love to all,
ChavaOscar 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 14620HAVE A BLESSED PALM SUNDAY!

Last year, Cyrillia Rismay led us in singing “Enter Into Jerusalem” , a popular hymn in her country of St. Lucia. She plans to do it again this year. It begins:“Let us go to God’s house

With the healthy and the sick

The worker and the weak;

Let us go to God’s house

Enter into Jerusalem.

Let us go to God’s house

Swaying with the breeze

With the God who reigns in peace,

Let us go to God’s house.

We will celebrate,

We will celebrate,

We will celebrate, O Israel….”

And celebrate we did, even as we read the Passion in several parts and felt every blow and insult hurled at Jesus. This is a Congregation that has been to the Cross in every day life. For us, Jesus triumphs not only on the ride into Jerusalem but on the Cross. He cries out through the pain  that he forgives and that he completed his work. That is a wonderful thing to feel as life ends. We are blessed to know that he will rise in three days. But we can wait and be with him in his dying and burial because of the triumph of the Cross.


“I Am Doing Something New”:Two RCWP’s Reflections and Homilies for 5th Sunday of Lent

God is doing something new according to the reading from the Hebrew Scriptures for this Sunday (Isaiah 43:19) and in the Gospel we see Jesus doing something new, something that enacts compassion, justice and mercy toward women and those with the cards stacked against them.  Today we present Rev. Beverly Bingle’s challenging homily that asks us to consider the judgments that we must make now in this time of political cacaphony in the United States when many say they want something new but fall back on fears and hatreds as old as time.   And then I reflect on the texts as well. And so we have the homilies of two women who are validly ordained Roman Catholic priests but banned by unjust church traditions/man-made laws from enacting God’s call to the priesthood. In thus presenting I challenge the Church and the world to dare to really do something new in our times: to allow the female half of the human race (and all those who are oppressed and exploited) to respond to God’s call to the fullness of life, whatever that may be for each one. And, to enact justice and compassion and mercy where it is sorely lacking.

Rev. Dr. Beverly Bingle’s Homily

Today’s Gospel is not about adultery.
It’s about how to judge.
Jesus’ message is not that we should not judge
but that we must make considered moral decisions
when we do judge.
We must form opinions through wise and careful discernment,
with reason and common sense
and most of all, with heart.
It’s about good judgment and bad judgment,
about judging others and judging ourselves.
It’s about merciful forgiveness.
The scribes and Pharisees are all riled up…
at the woman… and at Jesus.
And he puts the brakes on their anger
and their self-righteousness at her
and their wily attempts to use her to trap him.
He stops and considers.
Then he gives them a response
that reminds them of a passage in Deuteronomy
about casting the first stone.
They think about it
and change their minds about stoning the woman
and they leave off their attempt to trap him.
Tuesday is primary election day here in Ohio,
and we all have some judging to do.
How will we decide
about whether to vote for or against a tax increase?
How will we decide
about who to nominate to run in November
for County Commissioner or District Court or U.S. Senator…
or President?
Jesus has a lot to say about how to judge.
In this Gospel passage, Jesus says,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone.”
In Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount
he teaches to “stop judging.”
Earlier in John’s Gospel, in Chapter 5,
he teaches that what makes a judgment just
is first to listen to the facts and opinions and witnesses
and then to follow God’s will, not our own.
That doesn’t mean we are to imitate the terrorists in the Middle East
who murder people who don’t agree with them
and claim to be Muslims doing God’s will.
Nor does it mean we are to imitate
the demagogues in our own country
who denigrate people who disagree with them
and claim to be Christians doing God’s will.
The Presidential race has been headline news for months,
accusations from all sides
tweeted around like sparrows on steroids.
But we have to judge.
It’s our responsibility as human beings and as citizens…
and it’s our responsibility as Christians.
We are called to exercise faithful citizenship,
to enter into a process of conscientious discernment
for justice and the common good.
In our discernment process
we are blessed with the long tradition
of the principles we call Catholic Social Teaching,
yardsticks to help us judge rightly,
all based on the right and dignity of the human person.
So we listen to how each candidate talks
about the economics and law and policy
that affect human rights and human dignity.
We listen for the impact that candidates’ ideas have
on the common good and the well-being of all,
whether they will help or harm the poor and vulnerable.
We listen to what they say
to find out if their policies will protect human rights.
We pay attention to whether a candidate’s platform on the economy
will serve people,
and not the other way around.
We want to see that they respect basic rights to productive work,
to decent and fair wages, to unionize, to a safe workplace.
And we look at candidate positions
to see if they reflect the fact
that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers,
one human family regardless of national, racial, ethnic,
economic, religious, gender, or ideological differences.
We check out each candidate’s policies
on caring for our common home.
And then, this coming Tuesday, and again in November,
we will judge.
We’ll make serious choices,
keeping in mind that every person is precious,
that people are more important than things,
and that the measure of our society
and of our own soul
is whether we choose to threaten or to enhance
the life and dignity of every human person
and the earth we call home.
Glory be to God, this is a holy business we’re about!

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Holy Thursday, March 24, 5:30 p.m.
Holy Saturday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

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

I Am Doing Something New-Rev Dr. Judy Lee’s Homily

Did you ever wonder where the man who was also caught in the act of committing adultery was when the religious leaders of Jesus’ time hauled the woman off to Jesus to trap him in his knowledge of the law? The Law is pretty clear (In Leviticus 20 and Deuteronomy 22-24), that most instances of adultery demand a strong response to both the man and the woman.  Could this have been the rare case where only the woman was to be punished,that is killed, or were the leaders remiss in their own understanding of the law? Or, most likely, could it be that in their patriarchal society that women were punished much more than men, no matter what the Law said or intended? That is truly the case in many societies today as the recent documentary short “A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness”, Oscar winning Short film by Pakistani producer Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, demonstrates. I will comment on this excellent film in a moment.

For this 5th Sunday in Lent we see the religious establishment of Jesus’ time enforcing laws on sexual behavior and trying to trap Jesus in his understanding of the Law  (John 8:1-11). We see a woman “caught in adultery” brought before Jesus and a community armed culturally and religiously to stone her. Now,  There is something wrong with law when it does not provide justice and there is something wrong with those who enforce laws when they act unjustly. The plaintive cry”black lives matter” addresses a level of  that injustice in the USA. It is the job of the prophet to call us on it when either of these things happen. According to the prophet Isaiah, in the first reading, God is asking God’s people not to dwell in the past but to see that God is “doing something new”!( Isaiah 43:16-21). And, what we see in today’s Gospel Jesus is doing something new.  If one reads Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22-24 we see the complexity of the Torah/Halakah on matters of sexual behavior and infidelity. While the law is clearly stacked against the woman in this patriarchy there is some sense of fairness. In most cases both the man and women are to be punished. Yet, in this event only the woman is brought before Jesus.  The religious leaders are angry at Jesus for doing something new-in this case, for being inclusive of women in his ministry and in his healing and teachings. Not only did they blame Jesus for hanging out with sinners and even hated tax collectors, but for hanging out with lowly women as well! Luke 8:1-3 names several women who followed Jesus along with the male disciples,including Mary of Magdala who was the first to see Jesus after his resurrection, and to tell of his resurrection thereby becoming the apostle to the apostles. The meaning of this Gospel is, as Rev. Beverly Bingle  so wisely,says beyond adultery to learning how to judge, but it is also about the injustice toward women perpetuated by both the Law and society that Jesus, in his every action prophetically exposed,challenged and and changed. He allowed Mary to anoint his feet, that is to actually touch him,(it was forbidden to women to touch a man and a rabbi at that), he healed a woman with endless menstrual flow(“ritually unclean”), talked with a Samaritan woman who then preached the good news, and he was friends with Mary and Martha and Mary of Magdala among others. I bet the religious leaders very much wanted to get him to participate in the stoning of a woman!!! This would help put women back in their place, and it would make a teacher of nonviolence participate in violence at the same time. They thought they really had him this time! And yet he would remind them of the spirit of the Law, of the Torah, with its fair, though by our standards, harsh, intent. “Let the one among you  who has not sinned, cast the first stone!” Some of the ancient manuscripts said that what Jesus wrote on the ground was the sins of each one there who held a stone.  There was no one left to condemn her and, advising her not to sin again, he did not condemn her. She was free. what an upset to the world that was so eager to stone her.

In the Oscar winning  Documentary “A Girl in the River:The Price of Forgiveness”, a young Pakistani girl named Saba, from a small village runs away to marry a young man that she loves. As only the father is to arrange marriages, this girl has broken the law (both Quranic and local) and has sinned big time. It is noted that the Quran has many more complexities and fair intents than the local law. The family and the village justifies the father and brother killing the girl and dumping her in the river. (Every year over a thousand girls in Pakistan are killed for the honor of the family when they refuse the marriage contracts the father wants to arrange).  Miraculously, however, Saba, though scarred, lives and is able to start a life with her husband and her in-laws. The father and brother are jailed but to get them out with no further punishment and to make peace between the families the girl is asked by village elders (all male) and both families to forgive them.  She is initially advised by lawyers who believe in justice for women and want then punished. But her lawyer is changed by the elders.  She is pressured on all sides to forgive them and does so with words but not within her heart. Injustice, letting the men and the society off “Scot-free”  is seen as the price of forgiveness although reconciliation with her mother is a precious gain for her especially as she expects her first child. She bravely hopes it is a girl who will be able to be free. This moving and insightful expose of today’s injustice to women under religious and societal laws was well deserving af an award. But it leaves us with questions about the meaning of forgiveness and the place of women all over the world in the 21st Century. The story of Malala Yousefi , the girl who was shot for championing education for girls is another case in point. Malala, Saba and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy are prophets in their own time. The courage they display is amazing. Even as the courage Jesus displayed in taking on the religious and political establishments of his time was amazing and indeed dangerous. Thank God for doing something new -something that sorely needs to be done. Thank God for Jesus who treated women equally as his friends and followers.  Thank God for showing us the path to justice, compassion and mercy. May we, including our religious establishments, try harder to live it.

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee,RCWP




Welcome Home: Roman Catholic Women Priests Reflect on The Prodigal Child For Lent 4

“Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this child of mine was dead ,and has come to life again;was lost and has been found…” Luke 15:23-24

This parable of our loving God’s parental love and forgiveness is a favorite with our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Church in Fort Myers, Florida.  Our resident artist Hank Tessandori has two paintings adorning our walls showing the welcome home.  All of us from preacher down to smallest child resonate with that loving welcome. We are a congregation of sinners and outcast people who celebrate our return home and redemption. Our people have hit bottom in so many ways, living without financial resources, homeless, outside, and desperate. Some have experienced addictions and others mental illness; some have experienced and some have perpetrated failed relationships, abuse, violence and the loss of children. Some have tried so hard to work and enter the mainstream only to be met with serious illness, aging and the lack of work. Some live with being different as members of the LGBTQ community and  and know well that human families and some churches  are often not as welcoming as our loving God is.  Some have lost all that meant anything to them and have their own version of wallowing with the pigs.  And yet,for most, the experience of returning home to be welcomed without reservation is the cause for daily celebration. Ours is a church of welcome home.  Week after week there is testimony to what inclusion finally feels like, and it feels like coming home. Brenda and Pat, Roger and Gary and Nate and so many others still weep and thank God that they now have a home; yes, they mean a place to live of their very own, but they also mean a church home. Our people, young and old, poor and well off, mainstream and outcast call us,  simply, ‘home’. And so it is that today’s Lucan Gospel lifts us up and gives us courage to continue on. We thank God for coming alive again and for our welcome home, for finding and being found, for love and inclusion, no matter what.

Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP,

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


Below we read the Parable of the Prodigal Daughter by Rev. Morag Liebert, a Roman Catholic Woman Priest in Scotland.   It is exciting to change the prodigal son into the prodigal daughter and to join Morag in dreaming of such welcome.  It also reminds us that this parable is sometimes called the parable of the Prodigal Father, who is repenting of whatever he has done to alienate his child and waiting for the opportunity to welcome the child home and do things differently. 

The Parable of the Prodigal Daughter Lk 15: 11-32

 I am sure you have all heard sermons on the Parable of the Prodigal Son many times, but have you ever thought about the Parable of the Prodigal Daughter?

A man had a son and a daughter.  The son worked with his father on the family farm.  Certainly he worked very hard, but he shared in the making of decisions about the running of the farm, its buildings, and the people, who lived and worked there.  He also shared in the teaching of the farm workers and household servants.    The daughter also worked very hard on her father’s farm.  She cleaned, cooked and served meals, made clothes and did the mending, cared for the old, and the ill, and sometimes also worked in the fields.  But she had no say in any of the decisions that were made! Indeed she was rarely consulted about anything!  Her father and brother, and sometimes her mother too, simply took her for granted.  She rarely complained, or protested, but if they ever did pay any attention to her, it was only to denigrate her and make the situation worse.

One day she decided, she had had enough!  She asked her father for her share of the inheritance.  Her father was extremely annoyed and anxious about her request, but she insisted, so he gave his daughter her share of his property.  The daughter promptly packed her possessions and left home.  She travelled to a great city and spent her money studying with the best scholars and Rabbis.  She worked very hard and became a respected, knowledgeable scholar.  Eventually she was consecrated as a priest in a synagogue of the Diaspora and people came to hear her preach and teach.

Meanwhile, there were more problems on the family farm.  Her mother had died, her brother’s wife had divorced him for domestic abuse and finally the housemaids had left to work for the farmer across the road, who was much more ethical and considerate in his attitudes.  He paid them decent wages and treated them much better.   The farmhouse was now in a state of crisis! The kitchen was in chaos and there was no food in the pantry.  What was worse, everyone far and wide was talking about them! And needless to say, news of the daughter’s academic and professional success had reached the farm.  Eventually, the father and brother came to realise that they would simply have to change their attitudes and take drastic action.

So the father packed the saddlebags of a donkey with what he needed for the journey and travelled to the town where his daughter lived.  On the way he contemplated about what he would say to her, and decided that he would say, “Daughter, I have sinned against heaven and before you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your father:  treat me like one of your students.”  However, the daughter saw him in the distance and ran to greet him.  The father made his confession and she flung her arms around him and kissed him.  The daughter forgave him and agreed to return home with him.

After they arrived at the farmhouse, all the farm workers and neighbours gathered in its great kitchen and prepared a feast to celebrate the daughter’s home coming.  Her father presented her with a set of the best priestly vestments and sat her beside him at the head of the table, where she presided over the Passover feast and the local people asked her to be the priest at their synagogue, which had not had a rabbi or a priest for several years.  So they spent the evening feasting and rejoicing, because the daughter, who had been oppressed and rejected, had been brought home and given dignity and equality.

Morag Liebert  7/9/10, Edinburgh, Scotland

And here is an excerpted and pointed variation on the theme of the Prodigal Daughter by Rev. Annie Watson, ARCWP (From Bridgetmary’sblogspot)

“….It’s one thing to celebrate grace given to a wealthy young man, a person of privilege in every culture in every time and place. It’s rarer to celebrate grace given to women, that half of the human race that has rarely enjoyed such things as grace, forgiveness, compassion, and, of course, fairness and equality.

Personally, I have experienced this inequality of grace in my involvement in the Roman Catholic Women’s Priest movement. We all know how the men have been treated in the Church’s hierarchy and priesthood.

The robe, ring, sandals, and fatted calves are readily available in the church for any male who hears the call of God to the priesthood. None of that is available for women who receive the same call in their lives.

Furthermore, we know that the men can fall into “dissolute living” in all sorts of ways—the pedophile scandal being just one example—and the male bishops will meet them while they are still far off with hugs and kisses. Women, on the other hand, who aspire to be priests, are considered worse than pedophiles because we are excommunicated and the male priests are not. 

Again, it is appropriate to celebrate the father’s love, compassion, and forgiveness in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. And yet, when will we be able to tell the same stories about women? 

Rev. Annie Watson


And here is the insightful homily of Rev. Dr. Beverly Bingle of Toledo,Ohio.      

You may have noticed that today‘s Gospel reading

starts with three verses at the beginning of Chapter 15

and then skips a ways
to pick up at verse 11 with the parable of the prodigal son.
Luke frames the whole chapter
as Jesus’ response to the Pharisees and scribes
who are complaining because he eats with sinners,
and today‘s passage
is one of three very familiar parables there.
In addition to the prodigal son story,
Luke has Jesus tell the story of the shepherd
leaving the flock of 99
and going in search of that one wandering sheep,
and then the story of the woman searching all over the house
until she finds that one coin of the ten that she had lost.
In each of these three stories what was lost is restored,
what was out of place is back where it belongs,
whether it’s through a shepherd’s care,
a woman’s perseverance,
or a parent’s love.
Even though Luke puts these parables together
in order to further his narrative,
scholars are fairly certain that all three go back to Jesus,
just as they have little doubt
that Jesus was criticized
for sharing meals with outcasts and the poor.
When people get to be as old as I am,
we can look back over our lives and find ourselves
in every character in today‘s Gospel parable.
Been there, done that.
I’ve been the one who pointed a finger
at the kind of people someone chose as friends,
like those Pharisees and scribes did.
I’ve been the ungrateful child,
like the younger son.
I’ve been the despairing worker,
scrabbling to make a pittance at a job I hated,
wishing I could go back home again.
And I’ve been the one
who was hurt and angry
about the favorable treatment
of those who didn’t work as hard as I did,
like the older son.
On the other hand,
from time to time I’ve tried to be the one who forgives,
no matter what,
like the loving father in that parable.
But not very often.
And I’ve even tried to be the one who points out injustice,
like Jesus did.
But again, not very often, and not often enough.
St. Paul reminds us, in that second reading,
that we who are in Christ
are called to be ambassadors of reconciliation.
I find the etymology of that word ambassador noteworthy.
It comes to us from Middle English through Old French,
based on two Latin usages meaning mission and servant.
Literally, we who are ambassadors of Christ
are servants sent on a mission
with a message of love and mercy.
We are called to welcome the wayward
just as the prodigal son is welcomed.
Sometimes we are able to do that.
But, we know, sometimes it’s just not possible,
as in trying to reconcile a relationship with an abusive partner
who will not admit the problem or seek help.
When we are able to reach out in mercy and love,
we become, as Paul puts it,
messengers of God’s own righteousness,
of God’s own justice.
That’s when we carry the very holiness of God to the world.
It’s a big job,
but we aren’t alone.
Just as the ancient Israelites
walked through the desert nourished by manna from God,
so do we walk through each week
surrounded by, uplifted by,
God’s presence in our world.
Sometimes we travel through a desert,
subsisting on the promise that God is with us
even though we feel alone and abandoned.
Sometimes we find ourselves resting in that promise,
surrounded by all the gracious gifts of God.
And on the weekends
we gather to celebrate the very holiness of our lives.
Through it all—
whether we’ve been stumbling through in a desert
or renewing ourselves in an oasis—
we walk in communion with God and with each other.
Thanks be to God!

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
Holy Thursday, March 24, 5:30 p.m.
Holy Saturday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

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


Let Women Not Be Silent….

Let women not be silent in churches, say Catholic scholars

Mike Theiler/Reuters
Demonstrators calling for the Catholic Church to include women priests gather prior to the arrival of Pope Francis at the Cathedral of St Matthew the Apostle, for a prayer service and meeting with US bishops, in Washington last September.

Women should be allowed to preach at Roman Catholic Mass, according to a series of articles in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

One of the articles was written by French Dominican nun, Sister Catherine Aubin, of the Pontifical University in Rome. She argued that the society in which Jesus lived and moved was structured on a patriarchal model where women were socially invisible and that Jesus himself challenged this exclusion.

“An overview of the history of Christianity leads us to consider the female figures, prophetic and charismatic, who with their authority, in rough centuries, have helped to evangelise a world,” she said.

They included saints such as Joan of Arc, Hildegard of Bingen and Catherine of Siena.

Women are already preaching, guiding retreats and giving conferences, she added. “Let us sincerely ask a question: then why can’t women preach in front of everyone during a celebration?”

Christ made all men and all women he met along his path, witnesses, messengers and apostles, she said. To include women in the pulpit would make the Church “even more lively and attractive”.

Another of those cited, Enzo Bianchi, who heads an ecumenical community in Italy, said many voices were being raised to ask for the role of women in the Church to be enhanced. This would “constitute a fundamental change” in Church life.

He referred to past centuries when, in the Middle Ages, lay people were allowed to preach, including some women. This was banned by Gregory IX in 1228.

The ignorance of some preachers at the time had led to heresy and confusion rather than building up the Church.

In 1973, experimental permission was given to some lay people involved in pastoral work to preach for eight years. This included some women. Women are also allowed even today to preach at Masses for children.

“Do not forget that Jesus preached in the synagogues of Nazareth and other cities without being either a priest or an ordained rabbi, but he did it for prophetic charism and because it was commissioned by the heads of the various synagogues,” said Bianchi.

Pope Francis is among those who have called for women to have a greater role in the Church.

He recently decreed that women can and should be part of Holy Thursday foot washing ceremonies. Women’s Ordination Worldwide said in response to that announcement: “We commend Pope Francis for moving our Church one step closer to the inclusiveness modelled by Jesus. This may seem like a small move forward because women have already been included in this rite for many years in some churches.

“The fact that it is still prohibited by some parish priests around the world betrays the reality of the challenge women face at a local level, with many Church officials refusing to include women in the Last Supper commemoration.”