Sunday, July 29, 2018

Jesus Fed Everyone at His Meals Including Sinners, Prostitutes, Tax Collectors, So Should the Catholic Church Welcome Everyone to Eucharist Today!

As I prepare to leave for Ireland on Tuesday evening, I believe that the hierarchy is failing to see Jesus today by failing to welcome LGBTQI families to be represented at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in Aug. 2018. Jesus welcomed everyone to the Table, so should the Catholic Church. LGBTQI families reflect the face of God like all families do and should not be excluded from leadership in this celebration. 
Roman Catholic Women Priests are leading the church into a new era of inclusivity and hospitality where everyone has a place at the Table. Everyone is welcome to receive sacraments, no exceptions. As Tony Flannery writes, the Church is called to embrace the spirit of radical equality that Jesus demonstrated in the Gospels and treat everyone as a beloved image of the Divine in our midst. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, https://arcwp.org
sofiabmm@aol.com, 703-505-0004

Will LGBT families be represented at world meeting in August? by Tony Flannery, Irish Times  https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/will-lgbt-families-be-represented-at-world-meeting-in-august-1.3527003


"Radical hospitality will always... reach beyond current boundaries, always put stress on the system in place. This is why Jesus’ meals with “sinners” were so disconcerting to the religious folks: they could sense that things were shifting, and that they would need to shift too. And when Jesus says, “The tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you” (Matt. 21:31), he is telling the elitists that they are missing what he is doing, that the table is expanding despite them, and that they’d better make room in their community and in their hearts. Because they were so unwilling to welcome those they believed to be inferior to them, they never saw Jesus fully in their midst...This makes Jesus’ act of service all the more radical in its counterintuitive kindness; he extends hospitality to one who had essentially become his enemy. The gesture is a living parable for us, a reminder that we are to be the washers of feet , not only for those whom we deem worthy or with whom we have affinity, but also for those we are offended by, angered by, or disagree with—those we are least inclined to welcome. It means that whatever caveat we would add as a condition to welcoming or serving another (race, sexual orientation, gender, political affiliation) will need to be removed. This kind of lavish acceptance is something people are craving but experiencing less and less in the Church these days, and they’re rightly going elsewhere for it." John Pavolitz, The Bigger Table 





"As Richard Rohr often reminds us, we see things not as they are, but as we are. Lately, I've been trying to see things through the banquet lens. Surely, that was one of Jesus' best images for his reign: a table overflowing with favorite foods, wines gleaming like rubies in glass goblets.
Since special meals are so unique, pause now to imagine your favorite. Maybe it's Abuela's tamales, a warm cherry pie, a buffet on the deck of a cruise ship, cheese fondue at the top of a ski slope, auntie's eggrolls, the French amuse-bouche, champagne brunch at a posh hotel, Spanish tapas ... Since this is all in the imagination, calories or cost don't count.
Now transfer that image to the blessings of an ordinary day: maybe nothing more unusual than a warm, dry home or clean, running water, both as nourishing as fresh bread. Maybe there were fresh peaches that day, a sense of accomplishment for finally answering pesky emails or cleaning out that swelling closet, a compliment, a favorite song on the radio, a movie, joke, poem, or conversation that lifted spirits. We could make a meal from the rainbow prisms of snow, the sweet fragrance of sheets dried in sun, or an energizing walk in fresh air. Sometimes just finding the car keys is a hot fudge sundae!
God cooks the feast, but we attend, appreciate and savor it. How sad it is to prepare a fine meal that no one eats. Does God ever feel that we've overlooked all God's creative efforts? Do we miss Cana miracles in our midst because we're on the starvation diet?
Jesus would have known the banquet image from Isaiah 25:6: "On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines." He spoke to a people hollowed by hunger, not burdened with weight as we sometimes are. Yet it's often just as hard for us to do what the ancient Israelites were called to do. As Walter Brueggemann explains, they were asked to leave behind in Egypt "the myth of scarcity," and in the freedom of the Promised Land, embrace "the lyric of abundance."
This isn't a Pollyanna view at which to fling overly ripe tomatoes. But do we focus on the losses or the blessings? Sure, people are sick, homilies can be boring, and the bank balance looks thin. The banquet lens encourages us to look beyond sad realities to a God as intent now on feeding God's people as Jesus was in his lifetime. When he gave bread and fish to 5,000, there was enough; indeed, there were leftovers. If we could stop hoarding and distribute wealth more equitably, we could end the planet's tragic hungers.
Dorothy Day specialized in bread lines. Yet, surrounded by the ugliness and squalor of New York tenements, she insisted on the "duty of delight," offsetting a temptation to sadness. Every Saturday, she listened to the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast that nurtured her soul.
As an entry into gratitude, we could write our own version of the Hebrew Dayenu prayer:
If we had only been given Jesus as savior, it would have been enough.
If we had received only an education, it would have been enough.
If we had only one friend, it would have been enough.
If we had only our health, it would have been enough.
If we had only one star or one sunset, it would have been enough.
If we saw only one color or heard only one song, it would have been enough.
I think of the banquet at our parish Eucharist, where we sometimes sing John Becker's Litany of the Saints, with its refrain: "All you holy men and women, pray for us." When the choir voices roll like caramel over us, it's possible to see a few saints gleaming quietly in our midst. That heroic mom of five boys, for instance. Or the couple who's made a tender marriage despite financial setbacks. The widow who volunteers in the nursery, the teenager collecting clothing for the poor. And countless others whose stories I don't know.
Sure, a few may be scoundrels and a few are having bad hair days. But the genius of Jesus never suggested that tidy, precise spreadsheets symbolized the kingdom. Instead, he asked to be remembered through a meal. He promised overflowing pitchers, brimming baskets and full bowls, steaming trays of meat and chilled plates of fruit. He seemed much more interested in feeding people than in insisting they keep the rules.
We all come hungry to Eucharist. We all brighten at the invitation to a feast. If we know how to look for hidden nurture in our lives, we'll be well-fed indeed."
[Kathy Coffey is the author of many books like Women of Mercy, Hidden Women of the Gospels and God in the Moment: Making Every Day a Prayer.]
This story appeared in the Nov 21-Dec 4, 2014 print issue under the headline: Seeing all of life through the banquet lens .


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