Saturday, July 8, 2017

ARCWP Ordination Homily July 8, 2017 By Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Lindy Sanford ARCWP

from left to right: Lynn Kinlan, Margaret Alderman, Bridget Mary Meehan, Anne Keller

From left to right: Lynn Kinlan, Lindy Sanford, Bridget Mary Meehan, Anne Keller

By Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Lindy Sanford ARCWP
Today we rejoice, as we ordain Lindy Sanford, as priest, and Anne Keller, Margaret Alderman, and Lynn Kinlan as deacons.

Like the Emmaus disciples – our hearts are ignited with the divine energies of love, the sacred within us and within all in our evolving cosmos, as we share the Christ Presence at an open table of hospitality and mutual partnership.

Let’s begin our reflection by asking who were the disciples on the road to Emmaus?
Luke 24:18 identifies one of the disciples as Cleopas.

According to Dr. James Boice, a scripture scholar and Presbyterian minister, the Emmaus disciples were a married couple.

He cites John 19:25 where we encounter Mary, the wife of Cleopas, who was present in Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.”

Boice believes that the writer of John makes the distinction between two different Marys in the second part of the sentence, Mary, the wife of Cleopas and Mary Magdalene. And it is logical to assume that she was the one returning to Emmaus with him on the morning of the Resurrection. (Mark 15:40, 41: cf. Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:10).

Dr. Boice concludes that the Risen One appeared first to Mary of Magdala and then to Cleopas and Mary before appearing to the so-called “regular” disciples.”(The Way to Emmaus” by Dr. James Boice,

Prolific author Diarmuid O’Murchu also affirms the primacy of women witnesses in the Resurrection appearances. The women were “The first followers, particularly the women knew him to be alive, in fact in a way, that intensified and exceeded his earthy mode of human aliveness. That extended aliveness of Jesus we describe as Resurrection.  … And in the empowering wisdom of the Holy Spirit, first the female followers, and much later the male ones, recommitted their lives to the work of the companionship.” (Diarmuid O’Murchu, Christianity’s Dangerous Memory, p. 150)  

Like Cleopas and Mary who recognized the risen Christ in the breaking of the bread, in our inclusive Catholic communities, we see the face of God in the women and men we meet each day. 

As I  share a simple meal of McDonald’s chicken nuggets with homeless women and men in Sarasota, Florida, I touch the Body of Christ, suffering and struggling to survive in my neighborhood. I know that you, too, could share many stories of compassionate encounters with the Christ Presence in the areas where you live and work.

Like the women followers of Jesus, who were among the first to encounter the Risen Christ, the international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is leading the church to a deeper consciousness of our baptismal equality and mutual partnership in a companionship of empowerment in the 21st century.  
St. Paul teaches that baptism makes us one. He writes that in Christ: “there is neither Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female.” (Galations 3 :28)

Reflecting on Galatians 3: 28 spiritual author Michael Crosby observes:
Just as the church once struggled to surface the risen Jesus in Gentiles and slaves, it continues to struggle with experiencing that same unique person in women, especially in women who have a calling to preside at the Eucharist.”

Today Lindy, Ann, Margaret and Lynn are responding to their call to facilitate the breaking of the bread at the Banquet of Love around the Eucharistic table.  

Lindy Sanford

     Being ordained Deacon and being ordained Woman-Priest is a great honor and receiving, a sacred act.  For we who are ordained here today it is also a public statement that as Jesus treated women as equals, so should Christianity.  So should every religion, every culture, every country in our world today treat women as equals.
     Feeling called can be a long and scary process.  For women in a world that rarely sees us as equals it can be even more so.  Still here we 4 women are; here blessed by your presence and support on this incredible day. 

     On the road to Emmaus Jesus walked with two disciples many theologians think may have been a couple.  He reminded them of who he was by breaking bread...It was an experience that healed the pain that washed through them when he was killed.   He healed healed them by reminding them of what he had taught. Today the Risen Christ is always with us on our journey, and much more.  Like the Emmaus disciples, our hearts are burning with joy and awe and much more.

Jesus taught with his stories and how he lived that Heaven is here and now. That God, like a loving father provides all we need and all we search for.  That God, like a loving mother cries with us when we hurt, smiles when we learn, and laughs with us when we are happy.

When pressed by his friends, Jesus told them that the only thing he could and would insist of them is to love one another.  A simple commandment that takes a great deal of effort. Loving everyone includes seeing each as equal, includes hospitality, inclusivity, acceptance, tolerance, and forgiveness.  It is easy to see people who are like us as equals, and to welcome them.  It is easy to respect those who do what we would do, to include others who make the same choices we would make. 
 To love everyone we meet, everyone in our community, in our country, on our continent, walking this earth, no matter what we say and do, to include others is acceptance, inclusivity...and is hard work!  

Still, we are loved, accepted, respected, cherished by a tender and caring Mother/Father Creator… Like the couple on the road to Emmaus if we open our hearts and minds to Jesus’ message to love one another, we will harness the power of love, and change the world. 

  We are daughters and sons of the Holy One.  We are all called!...To love one another!  To let Love for all creation be a fire burning within us. 

Bridget Mary: Conclusion

Like Cleopas and Mary, the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we awaken to grace in intimate encounters with the Divine, illuminating our paths everywhere we go, and recognizing the Holy One in everyone and everything.

Our brother, Pope Francis advocates a more inclusive society. In a recent TED talk, he said: “The only future worth building includes everyone.” I agree and if Francis connects the dots, this may lead to a more inclusive church. I believe that the only church worth building is a church that affirms everyone, including women priests.

Let us rejoice that “a church for everyone” is already a reality here and now as we embrace the full equality of women in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests and in the Upper Room Inclusive Community as we ordain our sisters Lindy, Anne, Margaret and Lynn in Albany, New York.

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