Monday, August 26, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - August 25, 2019 - Presiders: Kathleen Ryan, ARCWP, and Bernie Kinlan

Kathleen Ryan, ARCWP, and Bernie Kinlan led the Upper Room liturgy for August 25, 2019. Kathleen's homily starter is below the readings.

Opening Song: Namasté by Mark Hayes 

Reading from Kitchen Table Wisdom

We are, in a certain way, defined as much by our potential as by its expression. There is a great difference between an acorn and a little bit of wood carved into an acorn shape, a difference not always readily apparent to the naked eye. The difference is there even if an acorn never had the opportunity to plant itself and become an oak. Remembering its potential changes the way in which we think of an acorn and how we value it. If an acorn were conscious, knowing its potential would change the way that it might think and feel about itself. The Hindus use the greeting “Namaste” instead of our more noncommittal “Hello.” “Whatever your appearance I see and greet the soul in you.” Most of us don’t realize the extent of our influence on others and the potential of our inner world of attitude and belief to affect them. Sometimes we can best help other people by remembering that what we believe about them may be reflected back to them in our presence and may affect them in ways we do not fully understand.

These are the inspired words of Rachel Naomi Remen, daughter of the Holy One. We affirm these words by saying AMEN

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke

Jesus said to them, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what can I compare it? It is like the mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in the branches.”

And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

These are the inspired words of Luke, a disciple of Jesus. We affirm these words by saying AMEN (Luke 13: 18-21)

Kathie’s Homily 

Jesus was born in the Middle East. His theology/philosophy/culture/ was Eastern. When we read his parables and reflect on his words, we must remember who is sitting in front of him, he is speaking to people who understand his metaphors and cultural stories. They too were Easterners. You and I hear Jesus’ words with our western logic. We may have lost much in the translation. Today’s gospel is a good example of losing something important in the translation.

We hear mustard seed and think of a small seed and how big it grows. What great potential. Maybe the mustard seed story reminds us of the old adage “Out of little acorns mighty oak trees grow.” However, when those who were listening to Jesus heard him talk about the kingdom being like a mustard seed they most likely thought-mustard seed? Really? They knew that mustard seed grew into a pain in the neck weed that took over their gardens and fields. Mustard seed did not grow into lovely trees but into scraggly bushes that ruined crops.

While they are thinking mustard seed-Jesus gives them another example-a small amount of yeast mixed with three measures of flour.

Three measures? What is a measure? I don’t know anything about baking bread, so I always thought a measure must be about a cup full. Three cups filled and overflowing. Sounds about right. Turns out one measure is 50-60 pounds of flour. Three 50 lb bags sitting on your lap filled and overflowing. Not exactly a great image. 

What might be the message Jesus is teaching in these two examples? I am going to push the envelope here and suggest perhaps Jesus is saying: 

You and I are like the kingdom of God--sometimes a pain in the neck mustard seed, scraggly and out of control but still important to those looking for shelter. Sometimes we are a little yeast mixed with three measures filled to overflowing producing more than enough for everyone. You and I are the kin-dom of God- we are more than enough.

Jesus reminds us over and over who we are, how we are loved, and what great potential we have. We need to continue to remind each other of our potential, who we are and how we are loved. Namaste.

Blessing: May you recognize the God in you touches everyone you meet. May you know and accept your potential as gift. May the mustard seed and yeast in all of us grow- increasing love throughout the world.


Closing Song: Go Light Your World by Chris Rice

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