Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gaudete, Rejoice! Dance in the Rain, Everyday is Christmas! - Homily Reflection by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

The message today is found in our second reading: Rejoice, Pray always, and give thanks in all circumstances for this is will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

A story that has circulated on the internet is one example of living this message in our daily lives.

A man had breakfast everyday with his wife who had suffered from alzheimer’s. She no longer knew him and was in a nursing home. When asked why he kept it up, he said “she does not know me, he said, but I still know who she is.”

So the author of the story summarized it this way: “love is an acceptance of all that is, all that has been, all that will be and will not be. Life is not about how to survive, but how to learn to dance in the rain.”

In the responsorial psalm we prayed the Magnificat. In her prayer for justice, Mary, a young, pregnant, woman, who could have been stoned to death, reminds us that God is on the side of liberation and justice. “The Bible reveals God”, Elizabeth Johnson writes, “as compassionate lover of justice, on the side of the oppressed to the point where those who oppress the poor insult their Marker.” (Proverbs 14:31)Quest for the Living God, p.76.

In an excerpt from the Associated press story, 3 women accept Nobel Peace Prize:

Gbowee, 39, challenged Liberia's warlords as she campaigned for women's rights and against rape. In 2003, she led hundreds of female protesters through Monrovia to demand swift disarmament of fighters, who continued to prey on women, despite a peace deal.

"We used our pains, broken bodies and scarred emotions to confront the injustices and terror of our nation," she told the Nobel audience in Oslo's City Hall.

She called the peace prize a recognition of the struggle for women's rights not only in Yemen and Liberia, but anywhere that women face oppression.

"We must continue to unite in sisterhood to turn our tears into triumph," Gbowee said. "There is no time to rest until our world achieves wholeness and balance, where all men and women are considered equal and free."

In the Gospels we encounter Jesus who reveals God’s compassion to the poor, the rejected, the outcastes and “offered table companionship so inclusive that it gave scandal.” Johnson concludes , “Deeply affected not only by poverty, but by the sin of sexism in the structures of church and society, women, the excluded among the excluded , realize that God’s preferential option for the poor is an option for poor women.” (Quest of the Living God) p. 77

With Mary, we rejoice, pray always and give thanks in all circumstances that God will triumph over every injustice.

Like Mary and Elisabeth, we are called to support one another as companions on the journey in our struggles, doubts and fears, over our tears. Sometimes this occurs over conversations that take months, --even years and many cups of tea. Like Mary, first priest, who could say, this is my body, this is my blood, we are all called as the Body of Christ to birth Christ in our world in all that we do and say each day, no matter what the cost!

We rejoice, pray always and give thanks in all circumstances as we wrap presents, decorate, write Christmas cards, serve others, that while Advent is a special season of preparation, every day is Christmas!

Mindy Lou Simmons sang “Every day is Christmas”
(For those in the Sarasota area, you can experience Mindy Simmons' beautiful music on Dec. 16th, Friday at 7 PM at St. Boniface Church. Siesta Key Tickets available at the door.)

Sharing by Community in Dialogue Homily (After hymn, the community shared their responses to readings for 3rd Sunday of Advent. )
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

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