Saturday, April 26, 2014

Homily for Second Sunday of Easter at Holy Spirit Catholic Community by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

The last three Wednesdays I've stopped downtown at Oneida Farm
and spent two or three hours
poking tiny seedlings out of flats
and transplanting them into 3" pots.
I didn't plant the seeds, and I won't harvest the vegetables.
But I know that someone planted those tiny seeds,
one at a time in the 1/2 " diameter holes,
and someone else will pick up the plants next month
and plant them in a community garden somewhere,
and someone will have fresh vegetables
right in the middle of Toledo
where there used to be a vacant lot full of trash.
I believe it will happen that way
because it happened that way before.
Unless some disaster hits town before August,
it will happen again.
So all things being equal, it will happen.
In today's Gospel the evangelist John
describes a parallel type of belief.
The disciples gather,
as was their way before Jesus died,
on Sunday evening.
They are afraid, but they get together anyway.
And, just as before,
they experience Jesus' presence in that locked room.
They are filled with peace:
the peace that Jesus taught them fills them again.
They had run from Golgotha and hidden in fear,
but now they are filled with a sense of being forgiven,
the forgiveness Jesus preached.
The experience is real--
Jesus lives on with them and among them--
and they spread the good news to those who had lost hope.
The following Sunday evening they gather again,
and they experience Jesus' presence once more.
What are these signs of Jesus' presence
that cause them to believe?
For the author of this Gospel,
the signs are peace and forgiveness.
The author of Acts describes wonders and signs--
actions of daily life,
like sharing their resources
and breaking bread
and praying together.
Those simple, ordinary actions were miracles,
brought about through the disciples' teaching and example,
causing them to live in reverent awe
and attracting people to join them.
Day by day more people were being "saved"--
that is, more people were being set free
from their fear and self-centeredness
and deciding to follow the Way of Jesus.
"There is," as the first letter of Peter puts it,
"cause for rejoicing here."
The signs of our times call for the same rejoicing.
Take Los Angeles.
Fr. Greg Boyle, who spoke at Lourdes University last week,
became pastor of Los Angeles' St. Dolores parish in 1986,
where his compassionate response to gang members
planted the seeds for training, work experience,
and the opportunity for rival gang members
to work side by side.
The result, known as "Homeboy Industries,"
has become the largest gang intervention,
rehabilitation, and re-entry program in the United States.
Certainly, cause for rejoicing there in L.A.
Or take Boston.
Last Monday the running of the Boston Marathon bought to light
countless stories of miracles
in the lives of the families of those who were killed
in last year's race
and those who were seriously injured.
They suffered--
and they rose from the devastation to a new freedom
and brought the City of Boston along with them.
Cause for rejoicing there in Boston.
Or take Toledo, designated Friday as a City of Compassion.
Just three years ago a small group of inner city pastors
formed the Toledo Community Coalition
to speak truth to power in our town.
Their efforts have led to collaborative work
to combat racism and racist systems.
Cause for rejoicing here, in Toledo.
Each of these people, each of these groups of people,
overcome their fears and walk forth in freedom.
They have hope that they can make a difference,
and they take action.
In that they are saved--set free--
and they make miracles happen.
So do we.
This weekend we'll gather after the 5:30 Mass
to consider the first steps we will take
to make a difference in the systems
that degrade our environment
and threaten the lives of people around the world.
Back in July of 1963,
I recall President Jack Kennedy quoting Lao Tzu;
he said, "A journey of a thousand miles
must begin with a single step."
So there's cause for rejoicing here:
one step, one seed, one hand reaching out.
The miracles continue.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Mass at 2086 Brookdale (Interfaith Chapel):
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Mass at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

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