Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ann Harrington, ARCWP Presides at Liturgy with Free Spirit Inclusive Catholic Community in Greenville, North Carolina/Homily for January 25, 2015

Ann Harrington, ARCWP Presides at Liturgy with Free Spirit Inclusive Catholic Community in Greenville, North Carolina

January 25, 2015 Homily

I attended a couple of MLK events last week.  The things that struck me about his message that is relevant to us here today was his call to freedom and his dream.  Freedom is one of our nations deepest calls, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is in the Declaration of Independence.  I daresay, freedom is at the core of who God made us to be and who God longs for us to be--a free people.  The women's priest movement is a social justice movement living the Gospel of Jesus freely.  No longer do we submit to the hierarchy's definition of God and we dare to claim the right to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit for ourselves. And I hope you feel free enough to confront me if something I say hurts you or our community.  Like Simon and Andrew we are dropping the nets of entrapment from our old understanding of church to the freedom of a post Vatican II, circular, egalitarian model of church. We believe we are following Jesus, who never claimed in the Gospel accounts to be God but did say, "follow me".  I do believe in the Promised Land, I see glimpses of it here and now.  I see it in your faces, I know the good things you do.  I think Jesus was pointing how to experience Kingdom living now, the parables tell of how God is working, alive and present in this world.

One thing that is always a tension for me, is how involved to be in this or that thing that comes along.  The temptation of "good deed doers" is to do too much.  Hence our Zen parable.  How to know what my package is?  Many years ago I read a book that gave me a daily focus.  What tasks do I need to do today? Who do I need to love today?  I use this as a prayer most mornings.  These questions help, along with a centering prayer practice in giving me a good sense of when to say no and when to say yes.

There is much to be concerned about in our hurting world.  Each day the news is filled with stories of horror and destruction.  How do we keep hoping in the face of this?  I remember a commercial back in the 60's asking, do you see this glass of water half empty or half full.  It was a promotion for Peace Corp and it really impressed me.  If we use the glass metaphor and move it to our world, we can say, is the world half good or half bad?  I think there is more good than bad here on planet Earth and it is important to remind ourselves of this by reading the good news and the bad news.    Last week some young people visited Mark and I from Third Street Center.  They are trying to build a community center for all of Greenville.  They left some cookies and some information (if anyone of you is interested in learning about National Building Day on April 11, see me later).  They were certainly a bright spot in my day.  I shared with them our budding community and gave them my card.  Something good is moving across the land.  We are living in a time of great transition and transformation.  We stand at a crossroads in human history and we can wring our hands and curse the darkness or we can join together to increase the light.  Being here in community increases the light.  And each day we have the opportunity to increase the light, even if it is something as simple as smiling and saying hello to a stranger.  I know well the challenges are not often that simple.  But doing our best day by day and reflecting on how well we've done at the end of the day are ways to be the body of Christ..

I urge you to go outside this week and look at nature.  In my yard the daffodils are sprouting and here we are just one month into winter and most likely will have snow and ice sometime soon.  But there they are, those daffodils, they died last spring, out of our sight they multiplied and now they are on the verge of bursting with new life.  This is reality, Jesus, the image of the invisible God, showed us this reality with his life:  he lived fully, he  surrendered to the reality of his life on earth, he died and he rose to new life.  This is the Way of God.  This is our faith.  We are part of this drama whether we want to be or not.  It is in our DNA.  The more we open to the Spirit, the more life and love we will experience.  Mother Church has told us this from the beginning.  The mystics tell us to surrender, that when we stop resisting the Truth of Life, living gets much more wonderful.  The fruits of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,  become our companions.

My questions for reflection:

What new thing is trying to be born in you?
Are there obstacles to you living a more free life?
What is your dream for this community?

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