Saturday, August 2, 2014

Homily for 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time: “Called to be the Heart of Compassion” by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP and Terry Binder, Co-Presider

Did you ever say to yourself  ‘I’ve got too much on my plate! I need some peace and quiet.
I have no idea how it is all going to get done with my meager resources!’
In this Gospel, Jesus was dealing with the murder of John the Baptist his dearly loved mentor. He needed to retreat to a quiet place to grieve his friend’s loss.  But the crowds kept coming, and the disciples, tired and frustrated, were a cranky lot. It must have been one of those ‘Jesus, you have got to be kidding moments’ when Jesus told them to feed the people with five loaves and a couple of fish.  Say what! We don’t know how the multiplication of the loaves and fishes happened, we just know everyone was fed and there were left overs.
I had one of those kinds of moments on our Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Retreat in Cincinnati two weeks ago.
I was so looking forward to a time of peace and quiet and sharing with my Sisters. However, on day one there was a crisis. Debra Meyers, one of our women priests, who was invited to pray at an opening ceremony at Lydia’s House, a Catholic Worker Home for homeless and abused women informed us that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati withdrew funds that had been previously been promised for a washer and dryer at the shelter.  Immediately we opened our purses and we came up with $1000! J anice Sevre-Duszynska and I who work on ARCWP media started work on the press release to spread the news. As a result NBC news covered and National Catholic Reporter published a story.  So much for peace and quiet on the retreat!  
However, as you know,   Lydia House was abundantly blessed with an outpouring of money ( $7000) They shared their excess with some to other ministry groups to benefit those in need. So once again, I can declare the hierarchy is the gift that keeps on giving and giving! It is a modern day multiplication of the loaves and fishes story!
We are the Body of Christ. Everyday, we are called to be  blessed, broken and shared. We are called to be the Heart of Compassion loving in our world!
Today, approximately one-third of Catholics have left the institutional church. Many are alienated or feel spiritually homeless. When they die, their relatives will have problems procuring a Catholic service or funeral. Sometimes, as one of our community recently learned, one has to go through a 20 questions drill; Did you go to Mass each Sunday? Did you receive Communion? Did you go to Confession? Etc.
I believe that inclusive Catholic communities are called to be the Heart of Compassion in our world. We are the bread blessed, broken and shared. As we give of ourselves, God will pour out abundance, making what we do more than enough to meet the needs of those who are grieving and in need of spiritual comfort.
 As an inclusive community, MOJO could provide a Memorial or Funeral Service to Catholics who are denied such a service by the Institutional Church. . I know that our married priests couples have presided at funerals, and last year that our MMOJ community celebrated a Memorial Service for a woman who died without resources.
Michele Birch-Conery and Barbara Billey, two of our Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Canada have designed a Heart of Compassion Memorial Ministry. I’d like to invite your comments on my proposal to offer this ministry in our local area.
Heart of Compassion Memorial Ministry

We are members of Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
who serve persons who have died in
financial hardship and social isolation
as well as Roman Catholics who have not been
connected to the Church yet seek a
funeral rite within this tradition.

Often family members
or friends of the deceased
request a modified, affordable memorial
service tailored to their religious tradition
or a memorial ritual  that helps the family honor their loved one.

We consult with them
to fashion an inclusive liturgy or ritual
sensitive to their needs and preferences.
When there are no family or friends
we offer a memorial service
that brings dignity to and makes sacred
a person’s life and death, as a reflection of God’s presence in our world.

Open discussion with the community

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