Saturday, December 6, 2014

"Montreal Massacre Remembered: Dec. 6, 2014 by Barbara Billey ARCWP

Montreal Massacre Remembered: Dec 6, 2014

It was a cold, drizzly day on December 6th, 1989 when a young man brandishing a firearm burst into a college classroom at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada. The 60 or so engineering students had little time to react before the men were ordered from the room and the gunman began shooting the women. Six female students were killed instantly, while three more were left injured.

The killer, 25-year old Marc Lepine was armed with a legally obtained mini-14 rifle and hunting knife: he had earlier told a shopkeeper he was going after “small game.” Lepine had previously been denied admission to the Ecole Polytechnique and had been upset, it later transpired, about women working in positions traditionally occupied by men. Before he opened fire, Lepine shouted: “You’re all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists!”

The gunman then moved through the college corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, specifically targeting women to shoot. By the time Lepine turned the gun on himself, 14 women were dead and another 10 were injured. Four men were hurt unintentionally in the crossfire.

In Canada, December 6th is a Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Michele Birch-Conery, Priest and Barbara Billey, Deacon stood in solidarity with other men and women on the campus of the University of Windsor, Canada to protest violence against women and to remember the tragic demise of the women killed in Montreal. As the feminist writer Andrea Dworkin said: “It is incumbent upon each of us to be the woman that Marc Lepine wanted to kill. We must live with this honor, this courage. We must drive out fear. We must hold on. We must create. We must resist.” 

"Pope Francis, Don't Talk to Me About Human Rights" ... Until I See Some Real Gestures Toward Gender Equality" by Mindy Townsend

..."First, he could take steps toward the ordination of women. After all, there is a human right to not be discriminated against on the basis of sexAccording to a Quinnipiac poll from last year, this wouldn’t be too controversial. (However, that poll just covered American Catholics. The Pope has to represent Catholics worldwide.)
It would take some political bravery on his part, but the ordination of women would go a long way toward showing that women aren’t just some weird, biological necessity with no other value. In fact, if Pope Francis really want to focus on economic justice, equal treatment of women and men in the Church is arguably a necessity:
The struggle over women’s ordination isn’t a culture war issue. It is a movement that shines light on the truth that the Roman Catholic church’s denial of the full equality of women has global consequences. It seeks to dismantle the poverty, abuse and violence that are intricately tied to the systematic belief that women and men are not equal.
Women’s ordination isn’t simply about making women priests. It’s about helping church leaders recognize that if they were to include women in their leadership as their equals, they could truly be a powerful force for economic and social justice for women and children throughout our world.
Or, you know, at least stop excommunicating priests who advocate for such a change. Sheesh.
Second, Pope Francis could signal that it’s OK to ease up on shaming women for using contraception. If a theme to his papacy is mercy, then this seems like a no-brainer. Not only is access to contraception good economically – which could help raise people out of poverty — it also decreases the abortion rate by preventing unwanted pregnancies to begin with.
This can also save women’s lives. According to the World Health Organization, poverty is one of the main causes of maternal mortality. It can also insulate women from unsafe abortions that account for about 8 percent of maternal deaths..."

Friday, December 5, 2014

New York Last Night: Protests- " I can't breathe, I can't breathe" by Denise Menard Davis, ARCWP

My dear sisters and brothers....
Oh how my heart aches today.... yearning to find words to express itself,
and so I share these with you. 
In today's reading from Isaiah, this is written: 
"He lays (the lofty city) low to the ground, 
casts it to the dust. 
The foot tramples it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy" (26:5-6). 

I heard those footsteps last night, the footsteps of protesters who 
marched down Broadway, chanting, "I can't breathe; I can't breathe," as they 
bemoaned the brokenness of our system, a system that allows unarmed Black men,
especially, to be killed by those ordered to protect, with no 
There I sat, along with the thousands of others in the apartments 
surrounding mine, safe and secure, unaffected - we assume - by that broken system.
Oh, we know it's wrong - and some of us even understand why "they" are so
upset, but yet, but yet.... "we" are safe. 

Today's Gospel might reveal how blind we are. From a selection taken from 
Matthew 7:21, 24-27, these were the words not included: "Not everyone who 
says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one 
who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 
'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your 
name, and do many deeds of power in your name?' Then I will declare to
them, 'I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.'" 

And what is that will of our beloved Creator? It seems that many in our 
midst do not know it.... 
And so I am reminded yet again how important our mission is.... and those 
of our sisters and brothers around us who also know, really know, our 
Beloved's will. Last night at Riverside Church as we ended our prayer service,
while holding candles and each others' hands we sang these words:
"I pray for you; you pray for me. I love you; I need you to survive." 
Yes, we need all to survive.... but this I will add: we need all to thrive
as well for only then will God's beauty in all truly shine forth...
Gratitude wells in me as I know once again that I am in the midst of 
people called to break through the oppression so many of us face in so many very
different ways.... 

Much peace to all.... denise 

Calling on Faith to Defend Women's Rights Religious leaders, scholars, and activists from several continents participated in a human rights forum at The Carter Center in June 2013 to explore the role that religious leaders can play in ending gender-based violations of human rights

Zainah Anwar, a Muslim activist said " God cannot be God if God is unjust... If we are equal in the eyes of God, how come we are not equal in the eyes of man." 
Sister Simone Campbell stressed that we must hear from women's lived experiences if we are to engage as equals in the world. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Advent Two: Reflections with Rev. Chava and Rev. Judy

There is something about advent that quiets us down in our spirits and helps us to reflect on the essential meanings of the coming of Christ. Florida is known for its long and bright days even in winter. But still the darkness comes earlier and evening is longer than we like. Activities stop earlier and there is time to think and reflect on the beautiful prophetic readings about the long awaited messiah, Deliverance, Emanuel,God With Us. The reading from Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11 is particularly moving to me. The early verses in this Scripture herald John the Baptist who is the voice, the thundering voice, in the wilderness making straight the way of our God. The Gospel,Mark 1:1-8 has John thundering his message to the people. Turn yourselves around, turn back from your way to God’s way, to loving God with all your being and your neighbor as yourself, turn back to a life of justice and peace. Turn back to Love.  The last time I preached on this text I dropped a huge book on the floor with a great clamor. Speak up, speak up with God’s message!  This is not a time to mumble! The best news is coming, announce it. God’s love and justice has been born among us and we will learn to live love and justice as we follow the way of Christ.

Isaiah 40:11 speaks to our congregation growing from the bottom up, full of children, mothers, youth and new Christians. On Sunday we had 21 children with us, including six that have been coming for just a few times.  “Like a shepherd you feed your flock,gathering the lambs and holding them close,and leading mother ewes with gentleness.”  The same strong and gentle God who holds the little lambs close, the God with Mother/Father arms to embrace,protect and comfort, sends his own Beloved child as a helpless baby to be cared for and loved.  With this same God love and faithfulness will meet and justice and peace kiss each other and embrace(Psalm 85:10). And God will help us when we just cannot get this right. I think of the mothers in my flock who carry the heavy load alone, sometimes near breaking. I think of those who have been beaten,used and exploited in the name of “love”. I think of the children who do not have what they need to grow materially, physically,intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. I think of the children being raised by other relatives and foster parents who have lost both parents to drugs, alcohol, violence death and illness. I think of those living with those types of caregivers here and now in our midst. Then I think of the one parent who faithfully rounds up all of the children in her neighborhood to bring them to church.  We will hold them close and treat the ewes with tenderness. But it will take more than us to turn this around.  I am sickened by the violence all around them. Our little nine year old who lost his five year old cousin to a drive by shooting a few weeks ago now has a husky eleven year old telling him “watch your back, I’m going to get you”. And that happened right after church so I could intervene. But it will take God to keep him safe and to bring justice and peace to his world.
And so my heart resounds with Rev. Chava’s reflection on her little flock. She is so right that the number in the flock is immaterial, God is there for each one, carrying each in God’s ample arms. And sometimes God’s arms are our own tired limbs. Sometimes they help someone change out of soiled clothes, and sometimes they help people step out of soiled lives and take on new life.  Rev. Chava’s love holds them close and her passion for justice never tires, although I know she does. I sometimes join her in wondering “shall we continue?” “Are we doing enough”? And even CAN we continue? This shepherding is hard work! And justice is so far off. I rejoiced with Rev. Chava as her young man from Mexico was granted his wish of a Voluntary Departure in a speedy way as someone spoke for him-and was heard, miracle of miracles. Someone representing justice. I was glad in an immigration system where there is little justice that some little justice did happen. I was glad last week when President Obama made some definite beginning steps in repairing that broken system and can only pray that partisanship can finally be put aside to serve the needs of all concerned for we need the labor as much as the workers need the work and the recognition of their families. Perhaps that is a “Hail Mary” but we can pray for it.
As we face the coming of the Christ-child, let us hold all children close and work and pray for justice.
Rev. Judy Lee,Co-Pastor The Good Shepherd Community
And here is Rev. Chava;s lovely reflection:
Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, November 30, 2014
First Sunday of Advent
Dear friends,
Happy Advent! May the peace and stillness of this waiting time fill your
soul, and balance the sometimes frantic energy of the weeks that lead up to
We had a lovely Advent Mass at St Romero’s this morning, with a surprise
visit from Ann and Nancy who visit about once a year from Penn Yan. Bob
McBride is almost always present these days. He’s the member of the St
Joe’s community with responsibility for our overnight shelter. Another
woman came in as well. It’s usually like that – Bob, and one or two people
who come once or twice. Last week there was a man who is part of the
Sanctuary Village under the bridge, and Carol who is one of our regulars.
Every now and then I ask God if it’s time to stop the Sunday Mass. In the
past, any time I asked that question a dozen or so people would show up for
Mass. For us, that’s a crowd! Lately the answer to that question has not
been numbers, but a deepened appreciation for what we offer in this simple
Mass. There are some people who come back over and over, for whom I think
our Mass is a place where they are known and loved, no matter how long they
have been away. There are others who come once and are never seen again,
but the moment when they were here was a blessing. I’m thinking of a time
when it was just one man from the street, and me. His faith was so deep!
After communion he asked if he could sing something, and made up a song on the spot about what a blessing it was to be worshipping together.
We have tossed around the idea of looking for another place for Mass on
Sunday mornings.  Some folks who live at St Joe’s have said they would come if it didn’t feel so much like work – and that’s a reasonable thing for
them to say, because in fact Sunday mornings can turn into a sort of extra
hospitality time. We try not to do that but sometimes there’s an emergency,
like the Sunday a woman came in who had soiled her trousers and needed
sanitary supplies. Most of the Mass time was devoted to taking care of her,
and I was awfully glad we were there to do it. Then she and I had a lovely
Mass together.
I don’t think numbers are important to God. God loves us one person at a
time, and I think it’s enough when we do the same.
In the migrant ministry it was an interesting week, as I accompanied one
young man to court. Ironically, he wants to go back to Mexico – he has been
here ten years and misses his family. A year ago he wanted to go back, but
his court date got postponed for a year. So he found a job in a dairy farm
and has been working. Finally his court date came around. He quit his job
and moved in with his aunt, making plans to go to Mexico a few days after
his court appearance. He was hoping for Voluntary Departure, in which one
pays one’s own way out of the country, and has no deportation history to
prevent coming back at some later time.  Either way, he knew he was going
back, and he’s ready!
So we went to court. His lawyer, Richard Link, told the judge he wanted
Voluntary Departure. The judge checked with the government attorney, who
said there was no obvious bar to his being granted that. “Okay,” the judge
said. “We’ll schedule him for a hearing. Next available date is in April
My heart sank! Richard said, “Ah, your honor? He was hoping to go back to
Mexico this weekend!” And to the judge’s credit, he found a way to schedule
the hearing that very afternoon. Richard and I made phone calls and
rearranged our days, and the three of us went to lunch and then returned
for the hearing.  Our young friend was put in the witness box. “Have you
ever been arrested?” the judge asked him. “No.” “Have you ever done
anything for which you could have been arrested?” again, no. Actually, this
young man is the sort of person we ought to be begging to stay! But he was
granted Voluntary Departure, and should be able to get his bond money back,
as well.
I tried to explain the meaning of the word “irony” but couldn’t do it.  The
next day, he and his aunt and uncle came over to my house for Thanksgiving
dinner, and we said goodbye. If all goes well, he will be back with his
family by Christmas. Please pray for him as he journeys home.
Much peace to you this Advent. You are always welcome at Sunday morning
Love to all
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph’s House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620
A member community of the Federation of Christian Ministries
A Blessed Second Week and Second Sunday of Advent!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Living Nightmare for Detained Immigrants in Georgia"

Bridget Mary's Response: This is a gross violation of human rights. We need to do everything possible to get Congress to close this horrific prison. It is a scandal to our country. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,
"Reports are mounting of a living nightmare in Lumpkin, Georgia, at Stewart, a 1,750-bed detention facility housing immigrants facing potential deportation. According to multiple interviews with detained immigrants at Stewart, they are dealing with maggots in food, improper medical care, sweltering temperatures, and in many cases no communication with staff due to no translators on site. The Corrections Corporation of America operates the facility for profit, adding fuel to an already roaring fire of opposition. ...

Advent Prayer by Jay Murnane

Advent Prayer
by Jay Murnane (Jay, who is now deceased, was the spouse of Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP and  a priest in the Diocese of Albany.)

Living One, you are continually creating the universe,
continually giving birth to all of us.
We sense the need to do the same,
to set ourselves free from a sense of emptiness and barren hopelessness.

The signs of our times are frightening
and often we hear only the confusing sounds of Babel -
all the lies and the anguished cries
of a wounded earth and its wounded creatures.

Your wisdom invites us to draw on our tradition,
as old as the stars,
shining through Sarah and Abraham,
shining through your prophets in every age and every culture,,
shining through
Miriam of Nazareth.
If we can blend that enlightening, enlivening tradition
with what we are,
we can risk fidelity to a dream:

Filled with your spirit, we can give birth in our day
to your living word,
for the sake of hope
enfleshed in
creativity and confrontation,
healing and reconciliation,
universal and unconditional love.

Let it be!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sarasota Graveside Service in Memory of Jean Donovan on the Anniversary of her Martyrdom in El Salvador

About a dozen people from the Sarasota area gathered today for a Memorial Vigil at Jean Donovan's gravesite.
Jean was a missionary and martyr for justice who worked with Dorothy Kazel distributing food for the poor and the refugees and carrying out family education programs.
"Two weeks before she was murdered, with the bloodbath already begun, she wrote to a friend in Connecticut: "Several times I have decided to leave El Salvador. I almost could except for the children, the poor bruised victims of this insanity. Who would care for them? Whose heart would be so staunch as to favor the reasonable thing in a sea of their tears and helplessness? Not mine, dear friend, not mine." 
The destinies of Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan were joined together in just the last months of their lives. Murdered together by National Guardsmen in El Salvador on Decemer 2, 1980, their deaths became martyrdom for a church of the poor in El Salvador and for thousands of Christians in the United States. Their deaths are understood as martyrdom because the women did what Jesus of Nazareth did, and what he told us we should do to show we are disciples in this world- they loved the poor, and laid down their lives for them. In this way, they became friends of Jesus."
All: May they rest in peace, may she rest in peace; may the martyrs reign on high!
Memorial Vigil at gravesite of Jean Donovan on Dec. 2, 2014

Jean Donovan's Gravesite in Sarasota, Florida
(Photos by Jim Martin)

Black Friday Special: From Pope Francis/Indulgences!

  ...On Black Friday, Francis announced “Get out of Purgatory Free” 


otherwise known as plenary indulgences. 

For those unfamiliar with the term, “Purgatory” is where one’s soul is 

excoriated until it shines brightly enough for heaven. 

Though the sacrament of penance forgives people of their sins, 

forgiveness in the Catholic dogmatic style does not include 

freedom from punishment.  

The Catholic Church teaches that people commit sins, and 

God forgives them using priests in confessionals as conduits, 

but then God will still exact at least a pound of flesh in punishment,

 typically in this quaint place called Purgatory. 

 It’s kind of like saying, “I forgive you for eating my cookie, but trust me, Bucko, 

I’m still going to make you pay for doing it.”  

This might sound to the inexperienced as a non-forgiving 

form of forgiveness but let us not get caught up in pesky details 

lest we miss out on Pope Francis’ Black Friday special...."

"The Good Cardinal's Revealing Interview" by Tom Fox, National Catholic Reporter/Cardinal O' Malley on Sixty Minutes

...."It was in 1976 the Pontifical Biblical Commission released a study examining the exclusion of women from the ministerial priesthood from a biblical perspective, stating: "It does not seem that the New Testament by itself alone will permit us to settle in a clear way and once and for all the problem of the possible accession of women to the presbyterate."
When presented, the few arguments for the ordination ban seem unconvincing to many, resting mainly on past precedents and adverting to vague ideas about gender imagery and complementarity that imply women and men must have different vocations for service in the church. Services that involve total inclusion of authority and total exclusion of authority. This has given us a distinctly two-tier church. 
Meanwhile, appeals to constant teaching continue to fall flat. The church has changed its "definitive teachings" repeatedly -- in regard, for example, to liberty of conscience, Jews, the Crusades, slavery, usury and torture, to name a few.
The road to an inclusive church, one in which all are equal, all are blessed, all are called, will not come easily. O'Malley has again affirmed this reality. But distinctions that set people apart, into classes of greater and lesser authority and power, cannot last, cannot withstand increased access by laity, including women, to education, particularly theological education. In the end, the ban will fall because it misreads the teachings of Jesus. "

Monday, December 1, 2014

Liturgy for Advent/Christmas at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, Sarasota, Florida/Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Liturgy for Advent/Christmas

Opening Song
Advent: Carol At The Manger,
Marty Haugen
Christmas: "O Come All Ye Faithful"

PresiderNurturing God, you became human in Jesus and showed us how to live life fully. You know what it means to laugh and cry, to walk and talk, to love and be loved. We know that your mothering presence is always with us. May we, like Mary, rejoice as we give birth to God within us, and may we give birth to God in everything we say and do.  ALL:  Amen.

ALL:  Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.  O loving God, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.  O Jesus Christ, holy Child of our loving God; You fill us with joy in your presence. You who are with our God, receive our prayer.  For you alone are the Holy One; you alone are Messiah.  You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ; with the Holy Spirit in the glory of God.  Amen.

First Reading
Second Reading
Gospel Acclamation:  ALLELUIA!  (sung)
Reader: A reading from the Gospel according to ...   ALL:  Glory to you O God.
Reader:  The good news of Jesus, the Christ!
ALL:  Glory and praise to you, Jesus the Christ!
Dialogue HOMILY

Profession of Faith:  ALL:  We believe in God who is creator and nurturer of all. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who is our love, our hope, and our light. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to build caring communities and to challenge injustices.  We believe in the communion of saints our heavenly friends, who support us on life’s journey.  We believe in the partnership and equality of women and men in our church and world.  We believe that all are one in the community of creation. We believe that God who calls us to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously.  Amen.

Presider:  For a deeper coming of Christ in our world, let us pray.  
Response: Nurturing God, hear us.
Presider:  That we may experience the coming of God anew in our lives, we pray.  R.  Presider:  That people who suffer from destitution and despair may experience the mothering comfort of God we pray.  R.
Presider:  That the sick and suffering may receive the nurturing, healing love of God, we pray.  R.  Presider:  That those who have died may rest in God's eternal embrace, we pray.  R.
(Other Intentions)

Presider:  Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation. 
ALL:  Blessed be God forever.
Presider:  God is with you.  ALL: And also with you.  Presider:  Lift up your hearts.  ALL:  We lift them up to God.  Presider:  Let us give thanks to our God.

Voice One:  Mothering God, you brought forth all creation from your Life-Giving Womb. O Love of the Ages, we praise you and leap for joy in your presence.

Voice Two: Holy One of ancient Israel, you revealed yourself in Mary's womb, in a shining star, in humble shepherds, in a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. You embrace us with infinite love in every situation and relationship. You dwell in the depths of our hearts.

Voice Three: We invite you this day to deepen our awareness of your boundless love as we gather around the table of abundant life. With grateful hearts, we proclaim your praise:

ALL:  Holy, Holy, Holy, Creator of heaven and earth.  All beings are pregnant with your glory. Hosanna in the Highest. Blessed are you who  dwell in all things. Hosanna in the Highest.

Voice FourPraise to you, all-giving God, born of Mary. You are the body and blood of woman. We glorify you, nurturing God for the dawning of the sacred promise of God's Anointed, fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ.

Voice Five: We celebrate the birth of Jesus, our newborn Emmanuel , who came to give us the fullness of life. During this holy season we share the bread of freedom and lift the cup of salvation.  

(raise hands toward bread and wine for Invocation of the Holy Spirit)
All:  Come Holy Spirit deepen your Presence within us and in these gifts of bread and wine, that they may become the Body of Christ.

Presider:  As Jesus gave birth to the New Covenant, he took bread, gave thanks, broke the bread, and shared it with all those present saying:
ALL: Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body.
PresiderThen Jesus took a cup of wine, blessed you, Loving God,  shared the cup with all those present saying:
ALL: Take this all of you and drink from the covenant, poured out for you and for everyone. Do this in memory of me.
Presider:  Let us proclaim the sacred presence of our nurturing God:
ALL: Christ, by your life, death and rising, you have blessed us with abundance that will never end.

Second Invocation of the Holy Spirit: (Place hands on each other's shoulder)
All: God of all people, You call us "beloved." Give us courage to accept your faith in us and to live your compassion in the world. You infuse us with Sophia, Holy Wisdom, to serve you in the last and the least.

Voice Six:  As we wait with joyful hearts for the fulfillment of your loving presence in our lives, we remember the prophet,martyrs and saints who have gone before us: Deborah, Isaiah, Mary of Magdala, Peter, Martha, Bishop Oscar Romero, Ita Ford, Maura Clark, Jean Donovan and all those we remember as heros and heroines in our church who inspire us today. (Community names mentors whom they want to remember, living and dead. This list is only partial. Each community needs to create their own according to custom and culture.)
Voice Seven:  God of our dreams, may we give birth to the Word Made Flesh in us everyday. May we give birth to the church of our dreams and hopes. May we give birth to a deep reverence for earth and live in harmony with all creatures on the earth.

ALL:  Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, all praise and glory are yours, Holy God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

ALL:  Our Father and Mother ...

Presider:   Let us join hands and hearts and pray for peace in our world as we sing “Peace is flowing like a River”, love, joy, alleluia…., or other suitable hymn

ALL:   Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power.  We will do so.  Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will do so.  Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world.  We will do so. 

Presider:   This is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, loving us forever. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.  ALL: May we be who we are the Body of Christ.   
Presider:  Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ!   ALL:  Amen.

Sing a favorite Advent or Christmas song such as "Silent Night" or "Away in the Manger" etc.

PresiderGod of new beginnings, thank you for nourishing us in your sacrament. May your tender presence continue to open our hearts to the daily miracles of life that surround us each day, through Emmanuel, God-with-us.
ALL: Amen.

Presider:  Our God is with you.
ALL:  and also with you. 

(everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
ALL:  May our loving God fill us with radiant joy.  May our liberating God fill us with  deep peace, and may our compassionate God bless us always with strength to serve the broken and excluded.  Amen.

Presider:  Let us birth Christ anew in our world today. Go in the peace of Christ.  ALL:   Thanks be to God.

Advent: "0 Come, 0 Come Emmanuel" , Joy to the World, Go tell it on the Mountain

 by Bridget Mary Meehan with edits by MMOJ Liturgical Ministry Team on Nov. 29,2014,

Liturgy Resources for all seasons from Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests- worship aids

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Homily:" Keep Your Eyes Open", First Sunday of Advent by Rev. Judy Lee, RCWP

It is a cartoon by Martin Espramer,OSB,  of a young woman sitting in a chair asleep with something like a broom leaning on a wall behind her and an angry bald headed man standing over her.  I don’t quite get the scene, is it a girl and a teacher, a cleaning woman and a boss, a father and a daughter? I am not sure and I am not inclined to accept the angry looking man as a God-figure-or the view that God is angry at our shortcomings.  But I am sure that I do fall asleep on the job. I am sure that I do too much and reflect too little. I am sure that I am not often true to my nature anymore because I rarely take time to be quiet, to experience, to think, pray, and ponder, appreciate, and write poetry. I am such a complex combination of needing to work actively for the kin-dom and live the social justice teachings of Christ and the church as in our Matthew 25 readings of last week, and needing to stop and be quiet and share the inspirations of the Holy Spirit in words and poems. With that dual focus balance is needed and I have lost it for the time being. I am running (away) too much, as Janda suggests and as the prophet Isaiah (63:17) suggests when he says we are wandering far from God. I can identify with Isaiah’s feeling that even our good deeds are polluted and we have all withered like leaves (Isaiah 64:6). I know when I am “off balance” because I get grumpy and angry and exhausted. I feel very much like a withered leaf. I have often said that it is God’s creation, particularly the life abundant at my little lake that grounds me. And yet, there are days when I do not spare even the few minutes it takes to step outside and feed the ducks, ibis, fish and turtles and appreciate the deep beauty and meaning of those moments-the “Thank you, God!” and restoration that those moments bring. There are times when I let that which means the most to me become just one more chore. But, whenever I make even the slightest effort I am rewarded with peace and joy and awe of that God who restores us (Psalm 80) and strengthens us (I Cor 3:9) and is, as Isaiah says, our Mother/Father and the potter who shapes and molds us with care and love.
So, I appreciate Advent when we are to stop a while and open our eyes to what is around us and really see it, as if for the first time. That is what alertness and being watchful means to me. Not to wait for something or someone to come, but to open my eyes and see who is already here and what is surrounding me. To really see and experience the moment. The beautiful spiritual poet J. Janda captures this need to watch, and see. (This is from the St. Louis website, under Spirituality of the Readings