Monday, March 30, 2015

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community/ Holy Thursday by Beverly Bingle RCWP

The Sign of the Cross—
it’s the prayer
with which we Catholics begin and end our prayers.
When we made the Sign of the Cross to start Mass tonight,
we marked the end of Lent and the beginning of the Triduum—
the three holy days.
And we will not make the Sign of the Cross
when we leave here tonight.
We will leave in silence.
We will continue this three-day prayer tomorrow,
and we will complete it when we make the Sign of the Cross
to end our Holy Saturday celebration of Easter.
It is fitting that we start this Triduum tonight
with the great symbol of Christian service—
the washing of feet—
and that we will end it Saturday with the great symbol
of the result of Jesus’ service and our service—
the resurrection.
These three days are one continuous prayer of thanksgiving.
And we have much to be grateful for:
life and love, freedom and dignity, to begin with;
all the blessings of friends and family, of work and play.
But we look around our neighborhoods and our planet
and see people who are deprived of these basic blessings.
When we wonder why,
we see the structures of greed and selfishness
that control way too much our world.
The response to worldwide economic crisis
was to bail out the wealthy.
The response to Katrina’s destruction
was to rebuild New Orleans businesses.
The response to toxic algae in Lake Erie
was to focus on protecting the industries
that make money from recreation activities.
The poorest people still live in shelters,
still owe money for homes they can no longer live in,
still flounder in a dump of plastic water bottles.
Our response to crisis
too often serves the needs of those who profit,
not those who suffer harm.
We just heard John’s Gospel of the Last Supper,
but—unlike the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke—
we did not hear about the supper itself.
In all the Gospels Jesus tells his followers to imitate him.
His instruction at the meal is to “do this in memory of me,”
that is, to share our food and share our lives.
Tonight we hear about Jesus washing the feet of his followers
and telling them to do as he has done.
The four gospels all carry the same truth:
the moral reality underlying these different holy actions
is solidarity—
that we are one holy people of God and, as such,
we are required to serve others and give our lives for them.
So much in our world operates against this oneness,
this commitment to the common good, this solidarity.
Those of us who are blessed with good lives and good friends
have the responsibility to live in solidarity
with those who are deprived of those blessings.
Here at Holy Spirit we focus as a community
on the right of all people to life and dignity
and so we use our energy and dedicate our resources
to turning back the climate change
that is depriving the poor, right now, of life and dignity:
refugees from wars over land and resources,
island communities in the path of hurricane and flood.
We pray for them.
We also change our lives for them.
We cut back on our own personal “carbon footprint.”
We write letters calling for renewable energy priorities.
And we plant trees.
Last Saturday we spent Earth Hour
praying and meditating
in solidarity with the MultiFaith Community
and with people around the globe.
We turned off the non-essential lights for an hour
in that holy space at Queen of Peace Chapel.
What good did that do?
Everyone who gathered in that room
was already aware of and committed to the effort.
The God to whom we prayed, by whatever name and all names—
Allah, Elohim, Lord, Christ—God knows about climate change.
God knows about the way we humans are destroying the earth.
None of the media showed up to tell about it.
So what good did we do?
Some of the early followers of Jesus
had to have asked themselves that same question.
We followed him, they said to themselves, but he died.
What good was all that?
We cannot see the future.
We can do the right thing;
we can plant the seed.
Two thousand years after Jesus,
we see the fruit of his life and his love.
Our faith remains firm
that following his Way
will also bear fruit.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006

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