Saturday, March 22, 2014

Prominent Theologian and Priest, John Shea, Calls Vatican Teaching on Women's Ordination "Heretical"


http://icc-albany.org/shealetter-lent-2014.pdf

"....Unfortunately, this teaching that “women are not fully in the likeness
of Jesus”—qualifying, as it does, as a theological explanation —is utterly
and demonstrably heretical. This teaching says that women are not
fully redeemed by Jesus. " John J. Shea O.S.A.

Friday, March 21, 2014

"Activist Nun -Change Comes from Bottom" Sr. Forcades Cites Women Priests as Example of Change from Bottom Up by Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP

http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/activist-nun-change-church-comes-bottom

Sister Forcades speaking at Red Emma’s in Baltimore Photo taken by psalmboxkey.com

Sister Teresa Forcades at Photo taken by psalmboxkey.com
See website: http://psalmboxkey.com/
Janice Sevre-Duzynska, ARCWP hands brochure of Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests to Sister Forcades. Photo taken by psalmboxkey.com


"...She said she believes the Roman Catholic church must acknowledge aggiornamento, which means the church must open up the windows and accept change in line with the Second Vatican Council. Forcades suggested Francis might be an agent of change. However, she said it must be the people in the church who will promote the acceptance of contraception and an end to the church's homophobia and who become voices in the struggle for justice for women.
"We now have women priests with the people from the bottom up," Forcades said with a smile. "The people are ready."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Pour it out" Rev. Judy Lee's Homily for Third Sunday of Lent for Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

http://judyabl.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/pour-it-out-rev-judys-homily-for-the-third-sunday-in-lent/

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Pastor Judy Beaumont and visiting womam Priest Judith McCloskey serve the Living Water at the Good Shepherd Church 
In the Lenten spirit we begin with a prayer: “Our loving God, we thirst. Our lives are dry as the desert in the noon day sun. We have climbed the craggy mountain to find You and we have miles to go and we are thirsty. We are thirsty for You, for your love, for your truth. Yet we push You away with our self-importance, our busy-ness our arguing and our tests. We thirst for love and You pour it out in our hearts, yet we turn away. Still, you draw water from a rock and place within us a bubbling spring of life. We thirst for justice yet we look for immorality and fault in other people and nations rather than join together in working for your kin-dom.  Help us to drink the water of understanding that Jesus offers and forgive us for our self-centeredness. May we join with inspired and courageous women and men of all nations to build Your kin-dom now and forever….Amen.”
The readings for this Sunday are alive with hope, meaning and symbolism. In the reading from Exodus 17: 3-7 we have hard rough craggy rocks and desperately thirsty people and we have life giving water.  Imagine a land and a people completely dry and thirsty. Imagine wandering in this place for years hoping to find your promised land.  I’m sure I would be one of the loudest grumblers. I remember my terrible thirst when I could not have water by mouth after waking from a major operation. All I wanted in all the world was that water.  Poor Moses, he is doing his best and everyone is turning on him. God has him turn it all around and bring water flowing from the rocks of Mt. Horeb.  Sometimes I wonder if in his frustration if Moses didn’t just hit the rock as hard as he could, like impetuously kicking a stone before you even if it breaks your toe, releasing an underlying stream!  God is still with Moses and the people. The rock is struck and the water flows.  Yet in the Psalm (95) we are asked not to harden our hearts by the kind of faithless grumbling and arguing that took place in the desert with Moses. Hearts can become hard as rocks. Only with faith can we knock them hard enough to find God in our midst and make the sweet water of life flow again.
In the Epistle (Romans 5: 1-2.5-8) we learn that through Christ we can look forward “confidently and joyfully to the day on which we will become all that God has intended” (Rom 5:2 The Inclusive Bible). “And such a hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (v. 5).  Instead of hard, wizened dysfunctional hearts the flowing water of God’s love fills our hearts and enlivens us.   Wow! Like water pouring out of the rock, God’s love is poured out in our hearts!  When one of our founding Bishops, Patricia Fresen, was ordained by the male Bishop in communion with the Church, she was told “this is not for you, it is for the church”. Indeed, the love poured into our hearts is meant to be shared with all of God’s people. It is not for ourselves to keep. By the water liberally poured on our heads in baptism we all are ordained with God’s love to serve one another.  In this Lenten season we need to look within and act outwardly. What are we doing to share the outpouring of God’s love with the most outcast and thirsty for love and acceptance and basic sustenance among us? This is what Jesus shows us in the Gospel when he talks with the Samaritan woman at the well.
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 Good Shepherd’s Pearl Cudjoe and Kathy Overby and Kathy Lauwagie our “Snowbird members” serve a hot meal
as Rev. Judith Mc Closkey stands ready to help.
In the encounter with the Samaritan woman (John 4:5-42) we have Jesus breaking cultural and religious taboos in order to offer the “living water”-not only to a maligned woman who has to come alone to the well in the heat of the day and not with the other women, but to a much maligned nation-Samaria. In Aramaic idiom “living water” is a metaphoric way of saying “true teaching”.  In John 7:37-38 when Jesus says “come and drink” he is saying come and learn. And if we do believe in (and believe in means more likelove Jesus and his way) and drink-learn the way “streams of living water will flow” from us. We too can share the living water with everyone! The living water is the teaching that is salvific, saves lives.
Jesus is breaking stereotypes and making new paradigms. Jesus starts a conversation with a Samaritan woman by asking for a drink of water. It turns out to be the longest conversation that is ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels. The content is extremely important. Jesus tells her who she is, that he knows her, she has had five husbands and is now with a sixth. Perhaps she had to marry her deceased husband’s brothers in a Levirate marriage. She may or may not be a sinner, but Jesus is not condemning her. This is about a sinful nation, one that has turned away from God, more than it is about a sinful woman. She has the temerity to argue with Jesus and to discuss as Rabbis would.  But Jesus is extending himself both to the woman (and by extension to all women) and to the nation through empowering her to be an apostle to her people. He is presenting himself, his teaching as living water, true teaching. But is this water only for the “Chosen” people? No, it is for everyone, for women, for men and children, for all people and for all nations, even those thought to be “enemies” and “worshippers of other gods”, in this case, for Samaria. Samaria was a country known in the Hebrew Scriptures for the worship of Baal and other idols (yes, we recall from last Sunday that Elijah challenged King Ahab and his 850 prophets on Mt. Horeb in what was then Samaria). In John 7 people also called Jesus a Samaritan in a highly pejorative way. The Jewish people saw the Samaritans as a mixed race people having a religion that was not faithful to Jewish Law because of so much intermarriage. Samaria had fallen by that time to five rulers with different religious proscriptions. The Samaritans saw themselves as following the Law. They fought with the Jews over where to worship God and that is one of the dialogues Jesus has with the woman at the well.  He tells her that God is a Spirit Who must be worshipped in spirit and in truth not in a particular place. That prompts her to mention the Messiah and Jesus tells her that he is the Messiah. Imagine that! In his time men did not even talk to women let alone share earth shaking information. She then runs and tells everyone and many come to learn from and believe in, love, Jesus.
Through this woman, whose name we wish we knew, Jesus is offering the living water, his way, and himself to a small, powerful, and despised nation. Jesus is radically inclusive here. He does the forbidden-talking with a woman- and even more taboo, he is talking with a Samaritan. He reveals God’s identity (Spirit and Truth) and his own identity as Messiah to this woman and her people.
He transforms her as one ignored by men and possibly shunned by her own people to an apostle. He certainly does not see her as a worthless woman nor does she act like one when she boldly speaks with him and then goes and tells who he is. She and her people are then transformed by the outpouring of God’s love.
Let us follow Jesus in pouring out God’s love and the waters of life on everyone!
In the pictures below we are singing joyfully.
A-A-A-men.
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Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, ARCWP
Pastor Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community
Fort Myers Florida

ARCWP Ordination of Six Women on May 24, 2014 in Brecksville, Ohio, near Cleveland


You are invited to the
Liturgy of Ordination
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Ordination to the Priesthood

Mary Bergan Blanchard
Mary Eileen Collingwood
Irene C. Scaramazza
Marianne Therese Smyth

Ordination to the Diaconate

Barbara Billey
Susan Marie Guzik

Presiding Bishop
Bridget Mary Meehan

May 24, 2014 - 1:00 pm

Brecksville United Church of Christ
23 Public Square
Brecksville, OH 44141
Balcony will be reserved as a photo free zone.
Reception following the ceremony in Church Hall.


"Your job is not to judge...Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurting."

From  Nancy Hale Goethe

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Discover Mystical Ireland with Bridget Mary Meehan September 3 - 12, 2014 - starting at $2998*

http://www.travelscouter.com/mystical-ireland/#
Discover Mystical Ireland in Quest of the Celtic Soul 2014
with Bridget Mary Meehan, author of "Praying with Celtic Holy Women".
September 3 - 12, 2014 - starting at $2998*

Locations include:
Dublin • Glendalough •  • Rock of Cashel • Cobh • Blarney • Adare • Bunratty Castle • Cliffs of Moher • Connemara • Croagh Patrick • Kylemore Abbey • Knock • Corrib River Cruise • Clonmacnoise • and more 

Includes:
Deluxe Motorcoaches • Guided Sightseeing • Entrance Fees to Sites Visited • First Class & Superior First Class Hotels • Buffet Breakfast and Dinner Daily • Program Fees • Fuel Surcharges & Government Taxes (subject to change) • Roundtrip Airfare from NY (additional baggage and optional airline fees may apply)
Mary MeehanBridget Mary Meehan, a native of County Leix, Ireland will share prayers and reflections that will draw us into a quest for the Celtic soul in this musical mystical Isle. This will remind us of our oneness with creation, the indwelling presence of the Divine, the nearness of our ancestors, and the communion of the saints in the thin times and places where earth and heaven embrace. Bridget Mary Meehan is an author of 20 books including Praying with Celtic Holy Women. She is a Roman Catholic Woman bishop. (www.arcwp.org)

"Praying with Celtic Holy Women" books available for purchase before or during tour at the discounted Price of $20
Make Checks Payable to:
SOFIA/Spirituality of the Feminine in Action
3221 Pink Oak Terrace
Sarasota FL 34237 USA

Discover Mystical Ireland Itinerary
Sept 3 - Day 1 - Wednesday - Depart USA
Depart on your international overnight flight.

Sept 4 - Day 2 - Thursday - Arrive in Dublin
On arrival at Dublin Airport meet with driver and English speaking guide. First stop you will be at Monasterboice, one of the most famous religious sites in the country. It was built in the 5th century and is said that the monastic site was founded by St. Buithe, a follower of St. Patrick. With two churches, a round tower and two High Crosses, it is one of the most visited religious sites in Ireland. The treasure of this site is the high Cross-of Muiredach. Muiredach was the Abbott in Monasterboice until 922 and the prayer at the base of the cross is translated as "a prayer for Muiredach for whom the cross was made." Check into your hotel in the Malahide area for dinner and overnight.

Sept 5 - Day 3 - Friday - Downpatrick and St. Patrick Center
Today visit Downpatrick, home to the Saul Church (the first church that St. Patrick established in Ireland). Down Cathedral is best known as the burial site of St. Patrick - Ireland's patron saint. According to legend, St. Brigit and St. Columcille also lie buried with St. Patrick, making the site especially revered as the final resting place of a trinity of saints important in Irish history and culture. The Cathedral is the property of the Church of Ireland and has been a place of pilgrimage and Christian worship for centuries. Benedictine monks first established the site of the church in 1183. The structure you see today dates back to the remodeling of the old church carried out between 1789 and 1812. Visit the St. Patrick Centre in Downpatrick. It is one of Northern Ireland's major Millennium Projects, housing the exhibition entitled 'Ego Patricius'. The exhibition uses state of the art interpretation that gives visitors a real understanding of the arrival and establishment of Christianity in Ireland. Appropriately, the Centre is located in a stunning new building below the reputed burial site of St. Patrick. Overnight in Malahide.
IrelandSept 6 - Day 4 - Saturday - Kildare and Rock of Cashel
Travel to Kildare where you will visit both St. Brigit's Holy Well and beautiful Cathedral, the site of her monastic foundation. According to the Irish Life of St. Brigit, she was ordained a bishop and presided over a double monastery of celibate and married monks. See the Rock of Cashel, the traditional seat of Irish kings. Here St. Patrick is thought to have converted the King of Munster. The present ruins are from structures built in the 12th and 13th Centuries, during the Norman era. Dinner and overnight in Cork.

Sept 7 - Day 5 - Sunday - Cobh and Blarney
In Cobh, you will visit the Heritage Center. From this port, between 1845 and 1860, more than 2.5 million people sailed to America. If you have an ancestor who came from Ireland to America, chances are they departed from this very place. Find your family name on the archived passenger lists. There will also be time for reflection, meditation and worship in town here. Then we'll travel to Cork to visit Blarney Castle and Blarney Woolen Mills Shop. At the Castle of Blarney you will see the fabled Blarney Stone. Legend says that those who kiss the stone acquire a gift of eloquence. Overnight in Killarney.

Sept 8 - Day 6 - Monday - Adare, Bunratty Castle, Cliffs of Moher and another St. Brigit's Holy Well
Enjoy the beauty of the thatch roofs of Adare. The church here has a Norman Castle keep at its center. Travel through the enchanting Irish countryside, an ever-changing patchwork of green and dotted with ruins, to Bunratty Castle near the town of Limerick. Bunratty is Ireland's most complete, authentic and elaborately furnished medieval castle. Stop at St. Brigit's Holy Well. As you travel through the Burren Region, you arrive at the Cliffs of Moher, sheer cliffs dropping 600 feet to the water below, one of the most impressive stretches of shoreline on the west coast of Ireland. Head to Galway for your Overnight.
IrelandSept 9 - Day 7 - Tuesday - Connemara, Croagh Patrick, Kylemore Abbey, Knock
This morning we will visit the Connemara Region. famous for its rugged scenery. The National Park consists of 5,000 acres where ponies and Irish red deer roam freely. The scenic mountains, bogs and grasslands are a feast for the eyes. We will visit Croagh Patrick, named for Saint Patrick, who reputedly fasted on the summit of Croagh Patrick for forty days in the fifth century and built a church there. It is said that at the end of Saint Patrick's 40-day fast, he threw a bell down the side of the mountain, banishing all the snakes and serpents of Ireland. We will travel to Knock, where in 1879, it was claimed that the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist were seen at the gate of the parish church at Knock. Millions visit this sacred shrine to Mary Mother of Jesus to pray for healing each year. You will spend the balance of your day in Knock for reflection, meditation and worship. Overnight in Galway.

Sept 10 - Day 8 - Wednesday - Corrib River cruise, Clonmacnoise, and Dublin
Enjoy a Cruise on Lough Corrib along the Majestic River Corrib and onto the lake, providing you with wonderful views of the historic monuments and scenery, which make this one of the most spectacular waterways in Ireland. Visit Clonmacnoise, founded by St. Ciaran in 548-9. Dermot, a local prince, helped Ciaran build his first church on the site and later when Dermot was elected High King he richly endowed the monastery. It was plundered six times between 834 and 1012, and burned 26 times between 841 and 1204. Clonmacnoise was a great centre of learning, and many manuscripts, including the Annals of Tighermach (11th century) and the Book of the Dun Cow (12th century), were written here. The heritage centre contains early grave slabs and the three remaining High Crosses, replicas of which now stand in their original location. Continue on to Dublin and enjoy the balance of your day at leisure for some personal shopping or sightseeing. Overnight in Dublin.

Sept 11 - Day 9 - Thursday - Dublin 
Today you will enjoy the beautiful scenery of Wicklow County - known as the 'Garden County' of Ireland. You will stop in Glendalough where St. Kevin founded a monastery in the sixth century. From this beginning the site grew to become famous as a center of learning throughout Europe. Enjoy a panoramic tour of Dublin City as an ideal introduction to "Dublin's Fair City". The tour will introduce you to the principal sites, which you may then revisit at your leisure. You will visit Trinity College, with the 8th century Book of Kells and the long room with its 200,000 books. Brian Boru's harp said to be the "oldest harp in Ireland" and a copy of the 1916 proclamation, one of the most important documents relating to Irish history are also on display in the long room. Continue on your way to the Phoenix Park with its many monuments including the Papal cross. Return to the city centre via the Quays, passing by the Guinness brewery and Collins Barrack (which is now part of the national museum) before arriving back into O'Connell Street and the city centre. Overnight in Dublin or area with dinner bed & a full Irish breakfast at your hotel.

Sept 12 - Day 10 - Friday - Depart USA

Price: $2998 Full deposit of $300 per person required.
Final payment due by 105 days prior to departure.
Bookings made within 105 days of departure require full payment and any late additional fees.
Passport must be valid for up to 6 week after travel date and required 105 prior to departure.
If for some reason the group does not fill, there is an alternative itinerary with the same dates and two different stops will be replaced, so please tell all your friends and family to sign up!

Call 941-870-0691 or email anna@cruisescouter.com
for more information or to put down a deposit

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Your Turn, Pope Francis, Recognize Women's Contributions

http://www.sctimes.com/article/20140318/OPINION/303180002/Your-Turn-Pope-Francis-recognize-women-s-contributions?nclick_check=1

"Chicago area Nuns Weigh Popes First Anniversary"/Women's Equality Issues Still Unresolved

...Sister Suzanne and her Prioress, Sister Patricia Crowley, both said the Pope’s popularity and symbolic acts like openly refusing to judge gay priests are creating a new image of the papacy and the church.
And while they acknowledge he’s had a busy first year, they are waiting for him to take on women’s issues in the church.
The Pope previously said he has a “vivid hope” women will play a “more capillary and incisive” role in the church. In an interview with Latin American nuns, he told them if they got a letter announcing an investigation similar to U.S. nuns, not to worry.
Sister Patricia is cautiously optimistic this could translate to action. Someday, she  said, she even hopes to see women’s ordination. But she admits the church moves slowly.
“I think it’s gradual,” she said. “But basically, I’d like to see that women are equal to men within the church because the first witness to the resurrection was a woman, and I think that’s a pretty clear gospel message that indeed women are equal to men.”
In the meantime, Pope Frances still hasn’t lifted oversight from many U.S. nuns. That doesn’t surprise Charles Reid, a Catholic blogger and professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

“When he renewed that investigation, he was brand new on the job. He wasn’t going to upset apple carts that quickly,” Reid said. “I do not think he will do what (Pope) Benedict was doing, and that is relentlessly pursue nuns.”

Reid explained that Pope Francis – who’s a Jesuit – comes from a tradition that values spirited academic debate.

“Will he open doors to the ordination of women? No,” Reid said. “Will he open the doors to scholarship that could lead there in 20 years? Maybe, maybe.”

That day can’t come soon enough for Sister Donna Quinn, a local activist nun. She wants women to have an equal voice and vote in the church.

“I really don’t see any action,” Sister Donna said. “I see this nice wonderfulness of words and the media. Why doesn’t the media pick up on the fact that the church is all men? All men are in power....”
Bridget Mary's Response:
Pope Francis is a warm friendly, and compassionate pope.  However, he needs to open up top leadership positions in the Vatican and throughout the church to women. The full equality of women in the church, including priesthood, is the will of God in our times. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org


A Woman Priest, Janice Sevre Duszynska, Celebrated Liturgy on 33rd Anniversary of Assasination of Archbishop Romero at Convent Chapel in San Salvador/March 2013

http://judyabl.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/a-woman-priest-janice-sevre-dusynska-celebrates-the-life-of-oscar-romero-in-el-sal/

Janice Sevre Duszynska, ARCWP, joined male priests and  a bishop from Honduras  in a liturgy of remembrane of  the 33rd anniversary of the assasination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in San Salvador. The liturgy took place in the chapel where he was murdered by officers trained by the School of the Americas. 
Janice was a member of the SOA Watch Delegation to El Salvador. She felt that Monsignor Romero would have invited her to co-preside with him if he were alive today. We also believe that he would be a strong advocate for women priests, alongside Roy Bourgeois.  www.arcwp.org

Woman Priest Chava Redonnet's Lenten Reflections

http://judyabl.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/woman-priest-chava-redonnets-lenten-reflections/

Monday, March 17, 2014

WITNESS FOR JUSTICE for Homeless at Sanctuary of Sarasota


Homeless Ministry Team from Mary Mother of Jesus and St.Andrew UCC Support Sanctuary of Sarasota in Florida ,  Homeless Camp Threatened with Closing

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
March 15, 2014

On March 15, a dozen volunteers from Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community and St. Andrew United Church of Christ gathered to express prayerful solidarity and to share food with the homeless who are serviced by Sanctuary Sarasota, led by Valerie Guillory, from Trinity Without Borders. The City of Sarasota has issued a notice to vacate the homeless camp where Trinity Without Borders provides support services. Valerie said: “It’s a given that the camp has to be closed. We need funding released so people can have homes not a place on the floor.”
When we arrived, Valerie shared the schedule for the day which was divided into classes, painting and prizes for the children and later an adult sing along. 
We began with a prayer circle to pray for a just and compassionate resolution to the homeless camp closures so that the homeless will be provided adequate food, housing, and  other necessary services.  I asked everyone to join hands and express solidarity with all those in the camp by sending loving energy to help bring about justice for those in need and homes for the homeless. "Amen" everyone affirmed!

We shared over 70 sandwiches, fruit, drinks and cookies.

Our ministry team joined other individuals and volunteers: a local Girls Scout Troop, Jorde, a gifted artist who was there to provide paint adventures showcasing rocks and the oneness of nature.
Jorde, the artist
Jorde's decorated bus
Jorde's  bus and prizes for children

Bob Ferkenhoff, Lee Breyer,,Carol Ann Breyer, Bridget Mary Meehan., ARCWP
Before I left, a woman from the homeless camp asked me to pray with her.  We joined hands and I prayed that God would send angels to protect, guide, and embrace her during the coming days and weeks.
Gini C. Hyman, wrote: on her Facebook page: "The most touching thing I observed was the Bishop praying with a woman who had just lost everything, including whatever meager belongings she had at the Camp. She was drug free and seriously depressed, without hope. Then I saw Bishop Bridget Mary with her.”


Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Finding God on the Mountain Top" by Judy Lee, ARCWP, , Second Sunday of Lent

http://judyabl.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/finding-god-on-the-mountain-top-rev-judys-homily-the-second-sunday-in-lent-31614/


MT. Hermon /Sion  Israel
In today’s Gospel (Matthew 17:1-9) we accompany Jesus as he takes three of the disciples, Peter, James and John up to a high mountain where his appearance dramatically changes before their eyes. They see him in a very different light. This is recorded in all three synoptic Gospels with minor differences in the story.  In Luke Jesus is praying as his appearance changes and astonishes the disciples.  (See also Mark 9:2-8 and Luke 9: 28-36). In the three Gospels this trip up the mountain occurs 6 to 8 days after he tells the disciples that he will die and be raised to life. He is headed toward Jerusalem and all that will unfold there.  What also astonishes and frightens the disciples is the appearance of, or the vision of, Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus as they are enveloped in a bright cloud and Jesus is affirmed as he was on the day of his baptism. “My Own, my Beloved, on whom my favor rests. Listen to him!” They are terrified and fall forward on the ground. Jesus touches them and tells them to get up and not to be afraid. They then dare to look up and only Jesus is there with them.
How are we to understand this powerful and apparently mysterious experience? And what is its connection to the first reading where (in Genesis 12:1-4) Abram and Sara are told by God to leave the land they have lived in for many years and go to a land that God has prepared for them? Abram is already 75 years old and probably is not up for a long trip South with his family and all he owns. And he and Sara are childless and so he is prepared to die without a legacy.  But God promises that God will make a great nation from Abram and that all families of the earth will be blessed in Abram’s seed. Abram, who is the patriarch of faith, does not argue with God. They get up and go. When they arrived God repeated God’s promise that Abram’s offspring would have this land. Abram then went to the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent and built an altar where he prayed. (Gen 12:8).  We know the end of the story-that Abram and Sara (becoming Abraham and Sarah) do, after further trials, become the patriarch and matriarch of the Hebrew people and that Abram’s seed through both Isaac (the Hebrew people) and Ishmael (son of Hagar, the Muslim people) and through Jesus, also through Isaac and Ruth, Jesse and David) are in “number like the stars in the sky”.  Through faith, Abram becomes the father of Judaism, Christianity and the Muslim religions.
In the Gospel account, Matthew is connecting Jesus to the pillars of Judaism through its greatest prophets, Moses and Elijah. While Moses represents the authority of the Law and Elijah, the prophets,  both represent great faith and loyalty to God in times of exile and great doubt about who God is and what God is like.  The implication is that Jesus fulfills and surpasses the Law and the prophets. The “Listen to him!” (said also at Jesus’ Baptism) means God has given Jesus the authority and Jesus’ Way (teaching and actions in life, death and resurrection) is the new Way that God is reconciling God’s people to God’s self.
Both Moses and Elijah were tormented and persecuted as they served God and God’s people. Both climb mountains to be in holy space where God speaks to them, directs and guides them. While Moses is given the commandments, the Law, on Mt. Sinai, his first mission is given to him on Mt. Horeb, called the Mountain of God, where God speaks through a burning bush and says “I have seen the misery of my people, I have heard their cries, and I want you to go tell Pharoah to let my people go!” (Exodus 3: 1-10).  Elijah climbs Mt. Horeb to flee from King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel after Elijah shamed 850 prophets of the gods Baal and Asherah (who “eat at Jezebel’s table”) on Mt. Carmel as God acted with fire to show God’s strength.  On Mt. Horeb Elijah hides in a cave and waits to hear from God. There is a powerful wind, (like a Hurricane) and an earthquake and a great consuming fire. But God is not speaking through any of these. Finally God spoke in a “still small voice” in a “gentle whisper” and Elijah was told what to do next.
Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and what lies ahead. He climbs the mountain (scholars think it was Mt. Hermon which is over 9,200 feet of snow- capped peaks) to be close to God and to pray.  He takes those particular disciples with him “to be alone with them” according to Matthew, as they have reached a higher level of understanding. Nonetheless they fall asleep as he prays. They wake up to see Jesus “transfigured”- shining like the sun with his clothes as bright as a flash of lightening, according to Luke. Moses and Elijah appeared as well “in glorious splendor” as they discussed “his departure that had to take place in Jerusalem”.  It is then that the whole group are enveloped in the bright cloud and the voice affirms Jesus as Chosen/Beloved who is to be heard. Jesus has to touch the disciples and tell them not to be afraid and they respond to his touch and see only Jesus there.
We remember that the Hebrew and Aramaic languages convey meaning in metaphor and with much symbolism. Jesus, Elijah and Moses may well have climbed real mountains but we and they have many kinds of mountains to climb. Here the mountain is that place close to God, where we can speak to God and God can speak to us. The mountain is also high and represents a difficult journey of understanding. It is hard to do the climb and requires effort. It is a place to pray where enlightenment can happen, sometimes in dramatic ways.  The cloud represents, and both indicates and sometimes hides the mysterious presence of God.  The bright lights and fire and even the gentle voices where God speaks also represent our understanding and en-light-enment as we communicate with God who loves us and affirms us and guides and directs us.  Sometimes literally as we climb a mountain the light is different so we can see in a new way. The air is also clean and clear and we can breathe easily and fully. The breath (Spirit) of God can fill us. We also have the perspective of the wider view, we can see all around from the mountain top. And, like Jesus and the disciples we have to come down from the mountain tops of very special experiences with God and faith, and enter the valleys and lower ground of everyday life. Christ accompanies us and we are emboldened by faith and grace to share what we have experienced and do what we have been asked to do, even when it takes all we have and the courage of Abram and Sara, Moses, Elijah and Jesus.
Who is our God and what is our God like? For Abram and Sara, God provides.  For Moses, God is a God who is moved by the suffering of God’s precious people and hears their cries. God sends someone to help. Moses is sent to lead God’s people out of terrible exile and oppression-to liberate God’s people.  For Elijah, God comes through time after time. Elijah is ultimately not a laughing stock although 850 prophets of false gods stand ready to ridicule. God also cares deeply when Elijah is so depressed he tells God that he wants to die. God tells him to get up and eat as a good parent would and prepares water and food for him. Eventually God takes him right past the death experience unto life. We see God around and in Jesus. God is radiant, glorious, shining and ultimately affirming and loving. God gives the authority to be heard, the authority to lead, and the authority to change lives from misery to joy. God gave this to the prophets, and to Jesus, and to us as we climb the mountain and make the effort to communicate with God and to listen,hear and follow. Unlike Elijah, God’s Own, Beloved and Chosen is going to have to go through suffering and death to vanquish death and be raised from the dead. Right before this mountain top experience Jesus asks the disciples to deal with suffering and follow him. How beautiful it is that resurrection is on the other side of death. Let it be so for us, here and now and forever.
In this Lenten season, may we have the faith of Abraham and Sarah, the prophets and Jesus. May we be disciples who have the strength to go where God sends us and to follow Jesus up the mountain. Whether the mountain is a bout with serious illness, family struggles, the loss of a loved one,  daily dealing with our difference, rejection and exclusion, ministry and career challenges, difficult life transitions or environmental challenges, or just facing another day, may we know that God is there as we climb.  May we see and experience the glorious God that Jesus, the prophets and the disciples knew. May we know deeply that we stand on holy ground and that we are holy ground. May we too be affirmed and experience ourselves as deeply loved by God as Jesus and Elijah were.  May we have some friends to climb with.  May we act to liberate God’s people with the faith and strength of Moses and may we face our “Jerusalems” as Jesus did filled with God’s Holy Spirit.
Amen.
Love and blessings throughout this Lenten season,
Pastor Judy Lee, ARCWP
The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community
Fort Myers, Florida

"Desiring the Sacred Feminine" Homily: Rev. Mary Sue Barnett,ARCWP

Isaiah 58: 6
Book of Wisdom 6: 12-16
Mark 5: 41-43

Psychiatrist and internationally known author Jean Bolen says that

there is a call in the world today from the Sacred Feminine to bring the

feminine principle into consciousness.

The message of the Sacred Feminine today, she says, comes from

a Maternal Voice and this voice is calling out saying,

"Gather the women, Save the world!"

"Gather the women, Save the world!"

And all around the world~~~~

Women are hearing it . . .

Men are hearing it . . .

Children are hearing it . . .

And most importantly, little girls are hearing it.

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, both New York Times journalists,

have co-written a book titled, HALF THE SKY: Turning Oppression Into

Opportunity For Women Worldwide---in the book they assert that the

paramount moral challenge of the 21st century is the

struggle for gender equality around the world.

In the world today, girls are burned with acid and shot for going to

school~~~~~~

In every country of the world today, girls and women are trafficked into

brothels------

All over the world today, women are murdered by husbands-----

In many places of the world today, little girls are forced into marriage----

In this country, colleges can be hostile places for young women;

Dartmouth College has been in the news lately for a campus website that has

a rape guide. A young woman's name and photo can be posted and she is

suddenly made a target for sexual assault on campus.


This last week, the Women's Center and the Dean's Office at the Louisville

Presbyterian Seminary hosted a screening of the film "Girl Rising."

One of the stories featured in the film is about a little girl from Haiti

named Wadley.

Wadley is a bright and determined little girl.

Although she and her mother are poor, she is able to attend school.

Wadley loves going to school!

But the earthquake of 2010 changed everything.

She was ripped from her home and from her beloved school.

Death was all around.

The storyteller repeats the words, "ashes to ashes, dust to dust,

ashes to ashes, dust to dust" as the camera shows Wadley

walking along the debris.

The teacher at the makeshift schoolhouse that was set up

amidst the rubble refused Wadley as a student

because her mother did not have the money.

But Wadley, the bright and determined little girl that she is,

told the teacher that she was going to show up at the school every

day until the teacher decides to let her stay.

Wadley is a little GIRL RISING from the dust of poverty and devastation.

Wadley is a little girl who hears something in the secret recesses

of her soul a message about her immense worth.


Many scholars, mystics and pastors today are hearing the voice of the

Sacred Feminine. There has been brilliant work done in the uncovering

of the Sacred Feminine in our Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

When first century Christians reflected on the saving significance

of Jesus of Nazareth, they turned to Female Personified Wisdom in the Old

Testament. What Judaism said of Sophia, early Christian hymn-makers

and Gospel and epistle writers said of Jesus. The early Christians presented

Jesus as Sophia Herself, even though Jesus was biologically male.

Carmelite Sister Constance Fitzgerald explains the impact of Jesus Christ

Sophia in the soul of 16th century Spanish mystic John of the Cross-----

"After the silence and suffering of a long dark night, secret Wisdom

awakens" him. And John of the Cross writes,

"How gently and lovingly you wake in my heart,

where in secret you dwell alone;

and in your sweet breathing,

filled with good and glory,

how tenderly you swell my heart with love."

The Christ Sophia Who dwells deeply in the secret recesses of the heart

of this mystic is the Jesus Sophia Who walks into the room of the little

girl in today's Gospel. In this room of deep, dark despair where

the parents are grief-stricken,  where the little girl lay lifeless,

there was a touch of hands, and words spoken,

"Little girl, get up."

The little girl hears the words of Jesus Sophia, the words of the

Sacred Feminine, and the Girl Rises.

During this season of Lent we can make a conscious decision of the heart

to desire the Sacred Feminine.

We can pray to hear Her as She summons us to Her table, to wait at Her

gate.

Like John of the Cross, we can be desire that She enter into the secret

recesses of our soul for our own healing and nourishment.

In the context of a Catholic Woman Priest movement and in the context

of a world where hatred of the feminine disparages so many,

we can ask that She breathe and whirl through our collective,

communal soul.

We can ask Her to energize us to prophetic living where we,

like Isaiah and Jesus Sophia,

insist that every yoke be broken and the oppressed

are set free~~~

And together we can joyfully say those holy words, "Little girl, get up."


Saturday, March 15, 2014
Christ Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community


Louisville, Kentucky