Friday, January 15, 2016

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 2 OT, C Jan. 17, 2916 by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Today's scriptures bring us a clear message:
The times, they are a-changin'!
Some of us who were around 52 years ago
heard that message in our society and in our church.
It was January 13, 1964,
when Bob Dylan's prophetic song was released.
It spoke to the mood of the times,
reflecting protests across America.
And in our church the Second Vatican Council was half over,
calling for a change to
the way our Church had been doing things.
We heard ourselves called the “people of God.”
We heard about Catholicism's long tradition of social justice
based on the right and dignity of all people.
We were called into dialogue with other Christians,
a call that continues
as we begin the Week of Christian Unity tomorrow.
Today we hear Isaiah prophesy,
after the Jewish people returned from exile:
God is in charge, he reminds the people,
and justice will shine forth!
And we hear, in John's Gospel,
with its highly developed Christology,
about the Cana wedding.
Two weeks ago we heard about the epiphany—
the manifestation of God among us—
in the star over the stable.
Last week we heard about the epiphany I
n the voice over the waters at Jesus' baptism—
another manifestation of God among us.
Now we have a third epiphany
as the water of ritual purification
turns into the good wine of celebration,
sign and symbol of the hope
that what has gone wrong with the tradition
can and will be renewed to become even greater.
Each of these manifestations of God, these epiphanies,
reveals a foundational truth.
As the International Theological Commission put it last year,
“the faithful have an instinct for the truth,
which enables them to recognize and endorse
authentic Christian doctrine and practice,
and to reject what is false.”
So the magi follow the star.
Jesus listens to that inner voice telling him he is a child of God.
The disciples see the meaning of the wine out of water and begin to
follow him.
Throughout the scriptures,
throughout all the religions of the world,
the observation holds:
God can and does speak to each and every person.
First century Judaism
sprouted a good number of variant communities
because people could see the contradiction
between what they knew to be holy
and what they saw and experienced
in some of their Temple leaders and civic rulers.
What happened to Jesus' disciples to give them strength to go on—
in spite of the crucifixion and the persecution—
was their experience of God's presence in their lives.
Jesus' way made sense to them.
It was their instinct for the truth,
their sensus fidelium—the sense of the faithful.
These days people are walking away
from the Roman Catholic Church and other mainline religions.
It's their sensus fidelium.
People living in this 21st century world,
with 21st century science and 21st century society,
find themselves in a 15th century religion.
The world is real.
Their religion becomes more and more unreal.
People experience God in their lives—like Jesus did—
and God in other people,
sometimes Catholics but also in other Christians
and in people of other faith traditions
and in people of no organized faith at all.
And in their patriarchal, hierarchical Catholic Church
people sometimes find too little celebration of,
or even recognition of,
the validity of their own experience of God
and too many rules
aimed at celebrating someone else's experience of God.
Even so, many of us stay.
We believe, as our tradition teaches—
from Augustine to Hans K√ľng to Pope Francis—
ecclesia semper reformanda—
the Church is always reforming.
We have hope.
And we try to live the change we hope for.
People who are seeking authentic religion
are listening to the prophets of real faith,
theologians like Ilia Delio and Elizabeth Johnson;
ecclesiologists like Rick Gaillardetz;
pastoral folks like Jim Bacik and Joan Chittister;
and here in our Holy Spirit Community,
spirit-filled and spirit-driven people—
each one of you,
with your unique gifts and charisms
and open minds and open hearts.
God is good.
And we are the people of God.

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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