Saturday, May 3, 2014

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

Got a phone call the other day;
a friend asked, "Have you ever had a mystical experience?"
Well, yeah, I said.
Of course.
Again and again.
Like waking up to the rooster's crow.
Finding the first sprout in the garden.
Running into an old classmate and sharing memories.
Driving past a cemetery and having a talk with Saint Dad.
Thanksgivings with my Toledo cousins and kids.
A trip to Detroit this week
and the chance to hear Bishop Patricia Fresen
talk about prophetic obedience
and break bread with other women
who are Roman Catholic priests and candidates.
Mystical experiences.
Inbreakings of awareness of God, here and now.
Ecstasy. Happiness. Joy. Energy.
But, as my old spiritual director Fr. Earl Loeffler--
may he rest in peace--used to tell me, mystical experiences
are not something that we can make happen,
not something to stop and gaze at,
but something to carry us as we stumble along the way.
Emmaus is just that,
that mystical inbreaking of God in our lives.
Sharing the story, breaking bread,
experiencing God with us, in us, among us;
and going on with "ordinary" life
with new insight and renewed energy.
It was Karl Rahner who wrote that
"In the days ahead,
you will either be a mystic
(one who has experienced God for real)
or nothing at all."
So we are all called to be mystics.
And what does that mean?
To have communion with,
identity with,
or conscious awareness of
an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God
through direct experience, intuition, instinct, or insight.
(Got that off the internet.)
Cleopas and his wife are mystics.
They experience their teacher Jesus, the crucified one,
alive in their lives
as they head home to Emmaus from Jerusalem.
The experience lights a fire in their hearts.
The story is not over.
With renewed energy, they go back to Jerusalem.
They share the story
and break the bread
and go on walking the Way that Jesus taught.
Lately many of us
have been reading and talking about
Michael Morwood's It's Time,
and as a result we have been struggling with who we are,
who God is,
and how we are to "be" and "become"
with this new cosmology.
We had been taught to pray to an "elsewhere God" for help
even while we memorized the catechism answer
that "God is everywhere,"
but now we begin to understand
the reality of our "everywhere God."
Our own experience--our mystical experience--
has shown us the "here-ness AND everywhere-ness" of God,
both transcendent and imminent,
permeating all that is.
Whether our mystical experience comes
in nature or in our thoughts or in another human being,
we end up in the same spot:
awestruck, grateful, energized,
and compelled to share the story, and to share our selves.
So we come here to celebrate.
We share our stories as we talk before and after Mass
and as we lift in prayer the names of our loved ones
and the urgent issues of our times.
We listen to the story of Emmaus.
We break bread and share it.
We recognize Jesus in one another.
Like Mr. and Mrs. Cleopas,
we understand what Teresa of Avila was talking about:
Christ has no body now on earth but ours...
ours are the eyes
through which Christ's compassion
is to look out to the earth,
ours are the feet
by which He is to go about doing good
and ours are the hands
by which He is to bless us now.
We are indeed blessed.
Glory be to God!

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

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

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