Monday, March 24, 2008

Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic Community's Easter Vigil

Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic Community

These photos provide a glimpse of the joyful celebration of our Easter Vigil on March 22, 2008.
Over 30 people gathered in our House Church. Jack Meehan led the music with his saxophone with a lively version of Jesus Christ is risen today.
Our homily was a dialogue with many of the community offering insights. I began our reflection on the theme of Jesus's appearance to Mary of Magdala. According to all four gospels, Mary of Magdala is described as being present at both the cross and the tomb. She is the first one to encounter the Risen Christ and she is entrusted with the proclamation of the central message of Christianity. "go, tell the disciples" that Christ has risen. In Luke's account, the disciples dismiss this proclamation as "idle chatter, and in both Luke and Mark's account they do not believe Mary and the other women. John's Gospel, portrays a close relationship between Jesus and Mary of Magdala. She is weeping in the garden and embraces Jesus. Jesus regards Mary of Magdala as an equal with the male disciples and calls her to be the apostle to the apostles. In the newly discovered gospels and sacred texts, Mary of Magdala plays a prominent role as a leader in the early Christian community who tells Peter and the disciples to proclaim the Gospel without fear. She reminds them of the Savior's presence. These documents also display Peter's resentment to her leadership. In the Gospel of Mary, Mary shares a vision she has received from the Savior and Peter and Andrew react with scorn. Levi chastises Peter: "Peter, thou hast ever been of hasty temper. Now I see that thou dost exercise thyself against the women like the adversaries. But if the Savior has made her worthy, who then are thou to reject her? Certainly the Savior knows her surely enough. Let us rather be ashamed, put on the perfect man as he has charged us and proclaim the Gospel."
So today we have come full circle. The hierarchy is challenging our orders. Prophetic voices and communities (like Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic Community House Church and many others from across North America -from British Columbia to southwest Fl, from Boston to California, are walking with us and living Jesus' vision now. Yes, like Mary of Magdala , we are not afraid, and we are now ready to"go and tell."
The Roman Catholic Womenpriests' initiative is reclaiming our ancient heritage and rightful role as partners and equals in the Gospel . The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala. Christ chose Mary to proclaim the central message of Christianity to the male disciples. The church should follow the example of Jesus.
Go and tell. Like Mary of Magdala, Roman Catholic Womenpriests, proclaim the Gospel. We offer the community of believers, the Roman Catholic Church we love, the gift of a renewed priestly ministry in a Christ-centered community of equals.
Go and tell. Father Mark Bozek, a St. Louis priest, who has been condemned by Archbishop Burke, stood in solidarity with Roman Catholic Womenpriests when he attended the ordinations of Elsie McGrath and Rose Marie Hudson at Central Reform Congregation and courageously witnessed: " I could not remain indifferent to the injustice being done to all those women graced by God with the priestly vocation."
Go and tell. Joan Chittister , a prophetic voice for women's rights in church and society, who reminds us that "the unequal status of women is all to often taken for granted as 'normal." I asked the community to share what they wanted to "go and tell "this Easter. Several shared that they felt that they felt hopeful that they are members of our House Church community where they experience the Spirit moving us forward together to live Christ's Easter message. They had lots to share that they would "go and tell". One family shared they would be going to Rome in the coming weeks and they would "go and tell "of their experience of a womanpriest there too!