Saturday, July 1, 2017

"'The Anatomy of Trust" with Brene Brown

"Keeping Our Households Together" by Dick Vosko

This time of the year can be wonderful for many families — reunions, graduations, first communions, weddings, the 4th of July holiday. But at the same time family gatherings can also be disheartening when disagreements turn to resentment and even separation.

On a broader scale, the same thing happens in religion and politics. For example, in our church and our nation we have discord over cultural and humanitarian issues. How do we keep our households together?

In the time of Jesus the Middle Eastern household was large and extended. Everyone — parents, siblings, cousins — all lived together in the same compound. To leave the family or marry outside it was unthinkable. Belonging to the family group provided protection, housing, food and value systems by which to live.

The first century followers of Jesus, therefore, could not believe what they heard Jesus say as quoted in today’s gospel — that to be his disciple one must not love mother, father, siblings, children more than him.

Today, in our society households are defined in a variety of ways. Few families live together in the same neighborhood much less the same house like they did during times of assimilation or the Depression.

Of course, this is not true for everyone. While they learn to speak a new language and find work, refugees and immigrants in our Capital District huddle together with family members and friends in worn out apartments not far from this very church building. Like our ancestors who migrated here these people sustain one another until they can get established on their own.

What does it mean to extend hospitality to strangers? The involvement of this parish in the Family Promise program brings to life the story in the first reading. A woman of influence tells her husband they should furnish a room for the prophet Elisha who was holy not because he preached orthodox doctrine but because he did the work of God. Grateful for what we have, we extend hospitality, new life and hope, to strangers because it is the responsible thing to do.

During this Independence Day weekend these readings help us think about the ideological American household and what is keeping us together. We examine the relationships between faith in God and faith in our nation. According toMassimo Faggioli Church teaching actually favors acceptance of the nation-state as the ideal means to develop a political dimension of human life that promotes the common good.

This assertion creates a conundrum for Catholics in the United States. Not all of us agree on every cultural issue. How do we look out for one another at the same time we respect our differences? When do we oppose the passage of laws that deny human beings the right to live decent lives without fear? How do we voice our abhorrence when elected officials use morally reprehensible rhetoric?

The Second Vatican Council taught us that God works through culture. When dominant trends in a society contradict faith in God and Christian values, faith communities tackle the causes of those trends. Confronting such inclinations by employing Christian perspectives on community life becomes a task especially for the local parish family. [1]

Perhaps this is what Jesus was talking about in today’s gospel. Adhering to and acting upon the values he taught will require serious consideration on our part. He was not really commanding his followers to leave their families as much as he asked them to extend the hospitality, the values, the security they experienced in their Mediterranean households.

On local level it may mean being involved in our parish social justice programs — the food pantry, the sister parish in Darien, prison ministry and Family Promise to name a few. On another level it may mean listening to others intently, understanding different viewpoints on issues, seeking ways to keep the family together.
Curran, Larry. Overview of the Notre Dame Study of Catholic Parish Life, Report #10, 1989. An old study but still valuable.

Categories: Homilies | Tags: family, religion, Jesus, refugee, God, immigrant, households, nation, independence, Vatican Council, culture, values, morally, elected | Permalink.

June 24, 2017
1 Comment
Homily – 25 June 2017 – Fear Nothing

5 Votes

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time A – 25 June 2017 – Fear Nothing

Click Here for Today’s Biblical Texts

When he was elected president in the midst of the Great Depression Franklin D. Roosevelt encouraged the American people to regain faith in themselves. The depression took a toll on this country – taxes were rising, industries were unproductive, foreign trade was almost non-existent, farmers had no markets and the savings of many families were erased.

In his inaugural address, FDR outlined in broad terms a perspective he would bring to his leadership. He reminded Americans that the nation’s common difficulties concerned only material things and, that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Not all people in this country today have the same fears that some of our forebears had in the 1930s. But different kinds of anxieties can create a collective panic attack. Journalist Edward Luce lists these symptoms — a growing opioid epidemic, the decline in life expectancy, increasing intolerance for other people’s points of view, and a fading enthusiasm to join social groups. [1]

If you are in prison today you fear the inmates and guards. If you are homeless you are scared of other people on the street. If you are without food you worry about your health. If you are a gay or lesbian or transgendered person you fear prejudice. Whatever your color you are afraid of the consequences. If you are traveling you worry about terrorism.

How does God figure into these concerns? In the first reading Jeremiah delivers bad news to the Israelites. The city of Jerusalem would be captured; Jews would be arrested and detained in a humiliating encampment. Although he described God as one who would protect people from oppression Jeremiah himself was persecuted and jailed for “denouncing” the ruthless king Nebuchadnezzar. (DeBona 193-94)

In the gospel Jesus sent his followers on a mission and, as he often did before, he predicted that they would face difficulties, that their message would be rejected. Many early Christians were persecuted, jailed, murdered for sticking to the moral principles and lifestyles Jesus modeled for them. Nevertheless, Jesus told them to “fear nothing.”

Pope Francis added his thoughts in a recent TED talk. He warned the world’s powerful leaders to be more humble or face ruin. He called on all of us to join him in a “revolution of tenderness” to “react against evil” by putting ourselves “at the level of the other,” to listen and to care.

We do not face the same problems that existed in this nation after the Depression. But whenever we are afraid to speak up for justice or to practice a Christian way of living we contribute to the problems. Sometimes we let the opinions of others, true or not, prevent us from doing what we know to be right. Sometimes, by ignoring the problems or pretending they do not exist, we perpetuate them.

President Roosevelt died in 1945 while in the fourth term of his presidency. In 1960, his wife Eleanor Roosevelt published a book called You Learn by Living. In the chapter titled “Fear – the Great Enemy” she wrote, ”The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it … You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” [2]

Our belief in God’s unconditional and tender love for us gives us strength and confidence to advance the kingdom of God against all odds. However, beliefwill not by itself accomplish peace and justice in our communities unless we take action. In that 1933 inaugural address FDR also said “this nation asks for action and action now.”

Many of us agree but do not know exactly what to do. Today as we eat bread and drink from the cup, as we claim again that we are the body of Christ, let’s imagine our lives not marked by fear, but rather by bold determination and solidarity.
Luce, Edward. The Retreat of Western Liberalism. (NY: Atlantic Monthly Press) 2017, 38
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his 1841 essay Heroism, “Always do what you are afraid to do.”

Categories: Homilies | Permalink.

June 10, 2017
1 Comment
Homily – Trinity Sunday – 11 June 2017 – Reimagining a Mystery

4 Votes

Trinity Sunday A – June 11, 2017 – Reimagining a Mystery

Click here for today’s biblical texts

Apple just released a new device called HomePod. It is designed to compete with other companies in the field of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality. Farhad Manjoo wrote, “Apple seems to be transforming itself into a new kind of company, one that prioritizes the nerdy technical stuff that will become the foundation of tomorrow’s intelligent machines.”

Many mainstream religions also are experiencing transformations while others avoid making any significant changes. Our church, just like Apple, eager to serve its customers in order to stay in business, also needs to reinvent itself from time to time. Theologian Fr. Joseph Martos wrote, otherwise Catholicism is destined to become a church of beautiful ceremonies that have little to do with the real lives of people. [1]

In this light, how do we grasp one of the doctrinal anchors of Christianity, the Trinity? It cannot be ignored or dissolved but it does need to be reinvented or re-imagined in order to make sense in this age. The doctrine is not explicit in scripture and took close to 350 years to develop in theological circles. So too, to grasp what it means to say we believe in a triune Godhead today requires continued investigation.

Jesuit Roger Haight writes that although God is a mystery the doctrine of the Trinity, should not be beyond our comprehension. Haight continued, it is the story of human salvation as the Christian community has encountered it. [2] For us then it is a very real story of the creative action of God; the failure of humans to care for one another and creation; the liberating mission of Jesus of Nazareth, God’s chosen one; and, the spirit of that mission entrusted to us as a powerful force in our lives.

Today’s gospel helps us focus on one part of the story. The passage this morning follows Jesus’ conversation with a Pharisee, Nicodemus, about what it means to be born again of water and the spirit. The reading calls our attention to the action of God in our lives, revealed in three persons: “God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” How this Godly action is manifested today depends on our response to it.

We strive to love the beauty of creation without trying to control it. We yearn to repair the world and to rejoice in the wonders of God’s continual creativity. We strive to make the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth tangible by our deeds and to pass those teachings on to others. We look for ways to give thanks for our liberty and to embrace our responsibility to redeem others. Our calling is to create a kingdom of God on earth, a beautiful, peaceful world filled with dignity, truth and justice. [3]

These three actions — creation, redemption and revelation — comprise the narrative shared by all of us. They recognize that the work of God continues in our lives today. They remind us of the healing power of reconciliation. They give us hope for tomorrow.

There is really nothing mysterious about the doctrine of the Trinity unless we choose to keep it a secret. Karl Rahner was keen on saying the Trinity resides in us. Built on centuries of human narratives, the teachings about the triune God continue to pave a path for us. Although our journeys are not the same, they are guided by the same holy spirit.

Apple did not invent the computer, the smart phone or any other popular device. It is a successful company because of its willingness to reinvent technologies in order to be relevant in the marketplace. Religions like ours need to do the same.

Our belief in a triune God is not to be underestimated or disregarded. However, our convictions need to be lived out in ways that are constantlybeing reimagined in order to be effective in a modern world.

"Building a Church, Finding a Home" by Rev. Chava Redonnet RCWP, Pastor of Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church,

Pope Francis Replaces Cardinal Muller with Deputy Ladaria as Head of Doctrinal Congregation

88% of U.S. Catholics "Comfortable" with Ordination of Women, CEO of Catholic Relief Services Out of Touch with Groundswell of Support for women priests/See Fact Sheet Compiled by Women's Ordination Conference!

Fact Sheet Compiled by Women's Ordination Conference:

88% of U.S. Catholics would be “comfortable” with the ordination of women, according to a 2015 Shriver Report.

The majority of Catholics would like to see women have equal standing in ordained ministry: in France (83%), Spain (78%), Argentina (60%), and Italy (59%), and Brazil (54%), according to a 2014 Univision poll.

63% of U.S. Catholics support ordaining women as priests and 81% support ordaining women as deacons. Gallup Organization survey, September 2005

64% of U.S. Catholics support women’s ordination and 69% support married priests. The Associated Press-Ipsos Poll, April 2005

Only 29% of U.S. Catholics say a male, celibate clergy is “very important.” Gallup Organization survey, September 2005

There are 16 national organizations from 11 different countries that advocate women’s ordination and eight Women’s Ordination Confernce local groups that do so in the U.S.A.

More than 180 women have been ordained as priests, deacons or bishops by the group called Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) and the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priest (approaching 250 in 2017, bmm)

In Rome and throughout the Mediterranean, archaeologists have found images on frescoes, mosaics, and tombs that depict women serving in roles specifically reserved for deacons, priests, and bishops. Found in catacombs and early Christian churches, they date from 100 to 820 A.D.

Catholic Relief Services Statement:
"Administration aims to preserve orderliness through processes and rules. Administrators dread questions, and sometimes prematurely equate the call for discussion with rebellion.  As an example, while many Catholic women actually do not dispute the Church’s stand on women’s ordination, it is safe to say that most of them do not understand the rationale. They often stop asking, fearful that a “why?” question will be perceived as adversarial, rather than the desire to know, to understand, to be able to speak to others about it."

from Carolyn Woo, CEO of Catholic Relief Services

Bridget Mary's Response: This statement shows how out of touch the officials of the Catholic Relief Services are!
Bridget Mary Meehan,

Marie Collins' Response to Cardinal Pell- Sexual Abuse Charges in Australia
Marie Collins, an Irish clergy abuse survivor, said she will not pre-judge Pell's guilt or innocence regarding the charges against him. But she said Francis should not have appointed the cardinal the prefect of the new Secretariat of the Economy in 2014.
"What I have no hesitation in saying is that it has been proved that Cardinal Pell is guilty of the appalling mishandling of cases of abuse when still in place in Australia and causing untold pain to the victims in those cases," said Collins, writing in a comment on her personal website.
"He should never have been allowed to hide out in the Vatican to avoid having to face those in his home country who needed answers," Collins said.
"The fact that Cardinal Pell was appointed to a very senior post in the Vatican rather than having to face any sanction for his mishandling of abuse cases was a slap in the face to all those he had let down so badly, not only victims but Catholic people who have spent years now hearing assurance from the Catholic Church that it is taking the issue seriously," she continued."

NCR Podcast: Dorothy Day play; Joan Chittister on the state of the nation

"Why Pastors Are Leaving the Church" by Brian Mclaren , Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Speaks Out and Supports Action on Behalf of Justice
"As a leader in the church I feel I am expected to be silent and non-opinionated on these issues.  Ironic.  When I look to the life of Jesus religion seems to have been low on his list of cares other than to challenge the religious elite of the day.  Jesus cared about people who were on the margins, He cared about the list of things that I feel I cannot talk about as a leader of the church..."
On the contrary, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests speaks out and supports action to change injustice in our world.This is an essential part of our vision and mission. Justice is constitutive to the Gospel and is an important part of our mission of following Jesus and living the Gospel on the margins with the marginalized in the 21st century. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests: Constitution,

"We strive to live as justice makers in right relation to self, to others, and to the earth. Aware of the interconnectedness of all, we believe that action on behalf of justice is constitutive to the Gospels. Because we understand how unjust structures marginalize people on the basis of class, race, gender, sexual orientation, and mental and physical challenges, we collaborate to create alternative structures that are inclusive of all and are deeply based in the traditions of social justice within our church." ARCWP Constitution  

Jeni Marcus ARCWP, Priest, Attorney and Public Advocate of LGBTI Rights

Thursday, June 29, 2017

"New Swedish Cardinal Suggests High Level Advisory Group of Women" by Joshua McElwee, NCR

Bridget Mary's Response:  Cardinal Anders Arborelius 's idea of an advisory body of women will do little to advance women's equality in the church , unless canon law is changed and this Women's Advisory Body is given the same authority as the College of Cardinals. Now that would revolutionize the Roman Catholic Church!
 Currently, canon law reserves decision-making to the ordained. This is a catch-22 for the  hierarchical, male dominated church! Roman Catholic Women Priests are leading the church toward  a renewal  model of inclusivity that celebrates the baptismal equality of all in the celebration of sacraments and ministry. We are changing the model from a pyramid to a circle. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,

"One of the five prelates Pope Francis just made a new cardinal of the Catholic Church has suggested the pope consider creating a special advisory body of women akin to the College of Cardinals to offer more opportunity for women's leadership in the church.
Stockholm Cardinal Anders Arborelius, whom Francis made Sweden's first cardinal in a consistory Wednesday, June 28, said he thinks "it's very important to find a broader way of involving women at various levels in the church."
"The role of women is very, very important in society, in economics, but in the church sometimes we are a bit behind," Arborelius said in a June 28 NCR interview. The new cardinal mentioned that Pope John Paul II had often sought counsel from Mother Teresa and Chiara Lubich, founder of the Focolare movement.
"Maybe it could be made more official," he suggested, adding: "We have a College of Cardinals, but we could have a college of women who could give advice to the pope."

The College of Cardinals is the body of all the cardinals of the Catholic Church. Cardinals are usually senior Catholic prelates who serve as bishops in dioceses or in the Vatican's central bureaucracy and have a special tie to the pope as the symbolic heads of Rome's parish churches..."

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Even Pope Francis Uses E-Blessing App

Godblessyoo, the mobile app in question, is developed by the France-based startup GoInPeace. It allows users to share kinds messages and blessings with friends, family, celebrities, coworkers, and anyone else you can think of that deserves a little extra love on a day to day basis.

Silvia Brandon-Perez ARCWP Opens Home to Homeless Families: Oscar Romero and Simone Weil Catholic Worker House

I am happy to announce that my home in Hayward is now the Oscar Romero and Simone Weil Catholic Worker House. / Me complace anunciar que mi hogar en Hayward de ahora en adelante es la Casa del obrero católico de Oscar Romero y Simone Weil.

It is a small blue house that has been housing immigrant and homeless families both in cases of emergency and for the purpose of helping families with small children who are temporarily homeless. The aim is to help a family get back on their feet and get off the streets. / Es una casa azul pequeña que ha estado albergando familias inmigrantes y desamparadas tanto en casos de urgencia como con el fin de ayudar a familias que tienen hijos pequeños y que están temporalmente sin albergue.

We hope to include ESL and history classes soon. Other services such as hot meals are also in the works. / Esperamos incluir clases de inglés y de historia pronto. Estamos trabajando para dar otros servicios tales como comidas calientes. ​

In the meantime, the Language and Community Advocacy Clinic is helping people with their problems, one person at a time, both out of the house and out of our new location at the Social Security Building on Southland Drive, Suite 5B (Basement). Please call for an appointment.​ / Mientras tanto, el consultorio de Idiomas y Defensa Comunitaria sigue ayudando a la gente con sus problemas, de uno en uno, tanto desde la casa como desde nuestras nuevas oficinas en el edificio de seguro social en Southland Drive, Suite 5B (​en el sótano). ​Favor de llamar para concertar una cita.

We need many things for our ministry, but most of all we need volunteers both for the clinic and for the house! / Necesitamos muchas cosas para nuestro ministerio, pero lo principal que necesitamos son voluntarios tanto para el consultorio como para la casa.
See More

It is a small blue house that has been housing immigrant and homeless families both in cases of emergency and for the purpose of helping families with small children who are temporarily homeless. The aim is to help a family get back on their feet and get off the streets. / Es una casa azul pequeña que ha estado albergando familias inmigrantes y desamparadas tanto en casos de urgencia como con el fin de ayudar a familias que tienen hijos pequeños y que están temporalmente sin albergue.

We hope to include ESL and history classes soon. Other services such as hot meals are also in the works. / Esperamos incluir clases de inglés y de historia pronto. Estamos trabajando para dar otros servicios tales como comidas calientes. ​

In the meantime, the Language and Community Advocacy Clinic is helping people with their problems, one person at a time, both out of the house and out of our new location at the Social Security Building on Southland Drive, Suite 5B (Basement). Please call for an appointment.​ / Mientras tanto, el consultorio de Idiomas y Defensa Comunitaria sigue ayudando a la gente con sus problemas, de uno en uno, tanto desde la casa como desde nuestras nuevas oficinas en el edificio de seguro social en Southland Drive, Suite 5B (​en el sótano). ​Favor de llamar para concertar una cita.

We need many things for our ministry, but most of all we need volunteers both for the clinic and for the house! / Necesitamos muchas cosas para nuestro ministerio, pero lo principal que necesitamos son voluntarios tanto para el consultorio como para la casa.

The Catholic Worker Movement began simply enough on May 1, 1933, when a journalist named Dorothy Day and a philosopher named Peter Maurin teamed up to publish and distribute a newspaper called "The Catholic Worker." This radical paper promoted the biblical promise of justice and mercy. / El movimiento del obrero católico comenzó simplemente el 1 de mayo de 1933, cuando una periodista llamada Dorothy Day y un filósofo llamado Peter Maurin se unieron para publicar y diseminar un periódico llamado "El obrero católico." Este diario radical promovió la promesa bíblica de la justicia y la misericordia.

Grounded in a firm belief in the God-given dignity of every human person, their movement was committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, and the Works of Mercy as a way of life. It wasn't long before Dorothy and Peter were putting their beliefs into action, opening a "house of hospitality" where the homeless, the hungry, and the forsaken would always be welcome./ Con un fundamento en la creencia firme de la dignidad de cada ser humano, concedida por la divinidad, el movimiento estaba comprometido a la no violencia, la pobreza voluntaria y los trabajos de la misericordia como forma de vivir. Muy pronto después Dorothy y Peter llevaron sus creencias a la realidad, abriendo una "casa de hospitalidad" donde los desamparados, los hambrientos y los abandonados siempre serían acogidos.

Over many decades the movement has protested injustice, war, and violence of all forms.Today there are some 228 Catholic Worker communities in the United States and in counties around the world. Ours is one of the latest ones, and we hope it will grow both in capacity and in services. / A lo largo de muchas décadas el movimiento ha protestado contra la injusticia, la guerra, y la violencia de todos tipos. Hoy por hoy hay algunas 228 comunidades del obrero católico en los Estados Unidos y en condados a través del mundo. La nuestra es una de las más recientes, y esperamos que crezca en cuanto a capacidad y servicios.

With your help, hopefully we will have a newsletter soon, bilingual yet! / Con su ayuda, tenemos la esperanza de publicar un boletín informativo pronto, ¡y en formato bilingüe!

"Trinity Schminity" by Mark Sandlin, "points to our need for community and each other"

“…the doctrine of the Trinity so easily appears to be an intellectual puzzle with no relevance to the faith of most Christians.”- Karen Kilby, Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Nottingham and Vice-President of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain
"From “extreme monotheism” to “homoousion” to “partialism” to “modalism,” Christianity has a wide and wild variety of understandings of the theory of the Trinity. Frankly, that reality should not be too surprising. After all, the Trinity is in fact a theory and it is a theory that one must be fairly creative with to fit into all the necessary theological perquisites it comes burdened with. That is not to say it is too convoluted to have meaning, but I certainly don’t bestow upon it the meaning that most mainline theologies would like for it to hold.
As a Christian, I’m a follower of Jesus. Jesus was a Jew. (I assume no one is surprised to hear that.) As a Jew, Jesus was a strong monotheist (as opposed to the Trinitarian view of Christianity.) You just have to look at the first line of the Shema (which is the oldest fixed daily prayer in Judaism) to recognize that Judaism is monotheistic: “Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.”
Now, admittedly, it’s been a long time since I’ve played “Follow the Leader.” But, it seems to me that the basic idea of following is to imitate the person you are following or, at least, to follow their instructions. As a Christ follower, frequently referred to as Christian, I have this need to actually follow Christ.
As I’ve said, Jesus was a monotheist.
Even the Bible predominantly practices monotheism. Biblically, God is predominantly addressed with a singular pronoun, not plural. Not only that, but biblically there is no mention of the Trinity.
There are a few places where the Spirit and God are mentioned somewhat closely together but they are few and far between – and even then, the text is far from clear if it is talking about a “Trinity” of some sort. If anything, it seems to be talking about three distinctly different entities.
God did not inhabit human skin in order that he might sacrifice himself and then abandon himself on the cross. Jesus even tells us that the “Father” knows more than he does. If they were of “one substance” does it not make sense that Jesus wouldn’t see himself so separately from God?
Furthermore, Jesus does not promise the disciples that when he leaves them he will send himself back to help them; he says he’ll send someone different, the Advocate (the Paraklete, one called alongside of.) It is clear that Jesus sees himself as distinctly separate from the Spirit.
Not only did the Bible have no concept of the Trinity, but early Christianity also had no concept of the “Trinity.”
Over a few hundred years a small group of Christians started speaking of how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were “one,” but at the same time distinct from each other. It could be that this was a counter-reaction to Pagan beliefs in “many gods and many lords.” In pursuit of defining themselves over and against paganism and in trying to hold on to the Jewish theological heritage of monotheism, Creator, Christ, and Spirit needed to be harmonized with the concept of “one God.”
At the Counsel of Nicaea, in the year 325, the Trinity was presented as a minority theory. The then emperor Constantine, a worshiper of the Sun god, oversaw the Counsel for political reasons. He squashed the majority opinion that God and Jesus were separate entities. The minority view prevailed and set the foundation for the Trinity becoming an “essential” doctrine.
The deal was done, so to speak, at yet another convened counsel 56 years later in Constantinople where due to key members either resigning or falling ill, a popular city senator who just happened to not be a Christian, was put in charge of the Counsel of Constantinople where the Trinity essentially became the Church’s official teaching on the nature of God.
Admittedly, the Trinity is an interesting theory and it certainly quelled some of the early Church’s division on the nature of God, but it is just that – a theory. (A somewhat politically motivated theory at that).
And it’s a theory that the Bible puts absolutely no energy toward explaining.
I’m not saying the theory of the Trinity is wrong. I’m just not saying it’s definitively right, which is exactly what many of its adherents do when they say that if you don’t believe in the Trinity, you can’t be Christian.
Here’s the thing: if the Trinity is that important, doesn’t it seem like Jesus or the book of Acts or Paul or James or Peter or John would have talked more directly about it?
The lack of biblical witness leaves me to believe that either there simply was no understanding of a Trinitarian God at the time books of the Bible were written or that the concept was so unimportant to their faith that it mostly wasn’t mentioned.
So, why do we make it so important? Why is it a dividing line of who is in and who is out?
Frankly, I am not deeply interested in the answers to those questions. I’m much more interested in the validity of those questions. They point to the reality that the concept of the Trinity, right or wrong, biblically should not be a defining position of whether or not a person is Christian.
It’s no surprise that after some 2000 years tradition and dogma have built up in the institution that grew around the followers of The Way, but that is also no excuse for allowing the dogma to divide the community – particularly when you recognize that it isn’t necessarily biblical and that Jesus, the leader of The Way, really didn’t have much to say about it.
“Absolutely nothing worthwhile for the practical life can be made out of the doctrine of the Trinity, taken literally.- Immanuel Kant, German philosopher
All of this is not to say that I find no value in the Trinity. I actually do find value in it. However, I do not see the Trinity as an essential belief in being a Christian.
As Kant alludes, I find value in the Trinity when I stop trying to make it a literal understanding and begin to see it metaphorically.
In the Trinity, Creator, Christ, and Spirit are understood to exist in relationship. How that specific relationship takes place has long been debated and probably always will be which, in my opinion, leaves it to be somewhat uninspiring and unproductive when taken literally, but the relationship part, when taken as metaphor is inspirational and informative.
For those of us who turn, at least in part, to Christian scriptures to guide our spiritual journeys, the relationship between Creator, Christ, and Spirit points to our need for community and each other. After all, it is in the Trinity that God is most fully realized. And, as the scriptures tell it, we are to think of ourselves as being formed in the image of the Divine.
Might it be then, that we find our truest self when we are in relationship? Particularly as we learn how to do so in harmony? Perhaps the Trinity’s true value is in showing us that the fullness of life is in finding a balance between individuality and relationship.
After all, relationship that allows for individuality and yet affirms the importance of balancing it with the importance of relationship and community requires a truly loving spirit.
And, if there is one mainline, theological doctrine that I can completely buy in on, it is: God is love.
~ Mark Sandlin
About the Author
Mark Sandlin is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) from the South. He currently serves at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant. He is a co-founder of The Christian Left. His blog, The God Article, has been named as one of the “Top Ten Christian Blogs.” Mark received The Associated Church Press’ Award of Excellence in 2012. His work has been published on “The Huffington Post,” “Sojourners,” “Time,” “Church World Services,” and even the “Richard Dawkins Foundation.” He’s been featured on PBS’s “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly” and NPR’s “The Story with Dick Gordon.” Follow Mark on Facebook and Twitter @marksandlin

"Pope Francis' New Man in Newark" by James Carroll

“What keeps despots, dictators awake at night, what topples evil empires is the little person who goes into the square in the middle of the town in the dark of night and scrawls on the wall, ‘No!’ ” the Catholic prelate told the congregation. “And I want to say to you, we are the ‘No!’ that God scrawls on the wall.” This was at an interfaith gathering in Newark, New Jersey, in early May, to oppose the Trump Administration’s immigration and deportation policies. The speaker was Cardinal Joseph Tobin, and the meeting was in defense, as another participant, Bishop Dwayne Royster, said, of “undocumented folk,” “black folk,” “poor folk,” and “folk needing health care in this country...”

Monday, June 26, 2017

Leading: Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) Summer Newsletter

"Blue Boat Home" Music Video

U.S.Roman Catholic Bishops Urge Senate Changes to Draft Health Care Bill/Must Provide Access to All Regardless of Means At All Stages of Life

"In a statement signed by Bishop Frank Dewane,  Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, the bishops express their concern regarding some points in the legislation they fear will harm those most in need.
The bishops praise some fundamental elements in the  bill but point out that an acceptable health care system must provide access to all, regardless of their means, and at all stages of life. 
They also say such a health care system must protect conscience rights, as well as extend to immigrant families.
The statement calls on the Senate to act to make changes to the draft to protect those persons on the peripheries of the American  health care system."

Liturgy to Celebrate the Feast of Saint Mary of Magdala for July 22, 2017 , Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

 TABLE OF PLENTY by Dan Schutte
Refrain:   Come to the feast of heaven and earth!  Come to the table of plenty!  God will provide for all that we need, here at the table of plenty.
1st Verse:  O Come and sit at my table, where saints and sinners are friends.  I wait to welcome the lost and lonely to share the cup of my love.
2nd Verse:  O Come and eat without money; come to drink without price.  My feast
                       of gladness will feed your spirit with faith and fullness of life.
3rd Verse:  My bread will ever sustain you, through days of sorrow and woe.  My  
                      wine will flow like a sea of gladness to flood the depth of your soul.
                                              Copyright © 1992  OCPPublications, Inc. All rights reserved


Presider:  In the name of God, our mother and father, and of Jesus our brother, and of the Holy Spirit, our wisdom and guide. 
ALL:  Amen.
Presider:   God, the Blessed Holy Three, you are with us, as we work together for partnership, justice and equality for women in church and society! 
ALL:  And we rejoice in your love empowering us each day. 

Presider:  O God, we see your feminine face in our female ancestors and in all women.  
ALL:  We open our hearts, like Mary of Magdala to the Risen Christ.
Presider:  Jesus the Christ, we see the divine reality in the person of a woman especially in women who are called to serve you.
ALL: We, like Mary of Magdala, proclaim the Good News with courage.  
Presider:   God of love, You forgive us our lack of trust in your Spirit Sophia moving with us, in us, and through us, leading us to guidance, courage, healing and empowerment.  
ALL: Amen.

First Reading:  Romans 16:1-7, 16
Litany of Women for the Church
Reader:  Dear God, creator of women in your own image, born of a woman in the midst of a world half women, carried by women to mission fields around the globe, made known by women to all the children of the earth, give to the women of our time the strength to persevere, the courage to speak out, the faith to believe in you beyond all systems and institutions so that your face on earth may be seen in all its beauty, so that men and women become whole, so that the church may be converted to your will in everything and in all ways.

We call on the holy women who went before us and who stand beside us, channels of Your Word in testaments old and new, to intercede for us so that we might be given the grace to become what they are and have been for the honor and glory of God. 

Sing: Come, O Jesus, send us your spirit, renew the face of our Church (2X)
       Saint Esther, who pleaded against power for the liberation of the people, pray for us.
       Saint Judith, who routed the plans of men and saved the community, pray for us.
       Saint Deborah, laywoman and judge, who led the people of God, pray for us.
       Saint Elizabeth of Judea, who recognized the value of another woman, pray for us.
       Saint Mary Magdalene, minister of Jesus, first evangelist of the Christ, pray for us.
Sing: Come, O Jesus, send us your spirit, renew the face of our Church (2X)
       Saint Scholastica, who taught her brother Benedict to honor the spirit above the system, pray for us.
       Saint Hildegard, who suffered interdict for the doing of right, pray for us.
       Saint Joan of Arc, who put no law above the law of God, pray for us.
       Saint Clare of Assisi, who confronted the pope with the image of woman as equal, pray for us.
       Saint Julian of Norwich, who proclaimed for all of us the motherhood of God, pray for us.
Sing: Come, O Jesus, send us your spirit, renew the face of our church (2X)
       Saint Therese of Lisieux, who knew the call to priesthood in herself, pray for us.
       Saint Catherine of Siena, to whom the pope listened, pray for us.
       Saint Teresa of Avila, who brought women's gifts to the reform of the church, pray for us.
       Saint Edith Stein, who brought fearlessness to faith, pray for us.
       Saint Elizabeth Seton, who broke down boundaries between lay women and religious by wedding motherhood and religious life, pray for us.
Sing: Come, O Jesus, send us your spirit, renew the face of our Church (2X)
       Saint Dorothy Day, who led the church to a new sense of justice, pray for us.
       Sr. Joan Chittister, who is passionate for change and challenges us to take the leap, pray for us.
       Sr. Simone Campbell, who brings commitment and humor to the serious business of social justice, pray for us.
       Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, who leads Catholic women everywhere to honor their call to Ordination, pray for us.  
       Mary, Mother of Jesus, who turned the Spirit of God into the body and blood of Christ, pray for us. Amen.
Sing: Come, O Jesus, send us your spirit, renew the face of our Church (2X)
Joan Chittister, OSB, Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania; amendments by G. Mog 

Gospel Acclamation:  ALLELUIA!    (sung)
Reader:  A reading from the Gospel according to John 20:1-2, 11-18    
ALL:  Glory to you O God.

Reader:  The good news of Jesus, the Christ!
ALL:  Glory and praise to you, Jesus the Christ!

In response to the homily today, we invite you to take a few minutes to pray, reflect and then share with one another.  You might consider the following question:
How can we, like St. Mary of Magdala, promote the Good News of Gospel justice, equality and partnership rising up in our church and throughout the world.

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 oppression, exploitation and injustices.  We believe that God loves us passionately and forgives us everything.  We believe that we are radiant images of God who calls us to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously.  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 Heart of God.  We believe that women’s liberation is human liberation.  Here we dwell in loving relationships.  Here we live our prophetic call of Gospel equality.

Lector 1:  Jesus healed St. Mary of Magdala of a very serious illness and then she chose to follow him, supporting his mission with all of her resources.  Thank you O Christ, for all the ways you heal us.  Open our hearts to receive your healing grace and let us, like St. Mary of Magdala, put all we have at your service.  For this we pray. 
Response:  Loving God, hear our prayer.
Lector 2:  Mary and the other women and men disciples persevered with Jesus, even when he was persecuted by his own religious leadership and government authorities.  God of Strength, help us stand in Jesus’ truth and healing love especially when we experience persecution for justice’ sake.  For this we pray. Response:    Loving God, hear our prayer.
Lector 1:  Because of her witness and fidelity, St. Mary of Magdala is known as the Apostle to the Apostles.  Help us, O God of Righteousness, to accept your apostolic call “to go and tell our brothers and sisters of Jesus’ power to heal… even wounded structures which exclude.” For this we pray.
Response:   Loving God, hear our prayer.
Lector 2:  Women were faithful disciples of Jesus and significant leaders in the early Christian communities.  Help us Most Inclusive One, to reclaim our baptismal call to leadership.  For this we pray.
Response:  Loving God, hear our prayer.      
ALL: Amen

(a free will offering will be taken at this time)

A PLACE AT THE TABLE by Lori True, Katherine True
(Music on CD...see separate 'song' sheet)

Presider:  God dwells in you. 
ALL:  And also with you.  
Presider:  Lift up your hearts and pursue justice. 
ALL:  We lift them up to God, Pursuer of Justice.  
Presider: Let us give thanks to the Creator of all.  
ALL: It is right to give God thanks and praise.


Part One:  O loving God, O blessed Holy Three, who brings to birth the world of our dreams for mutual respect and partnership, we do well always and everywhere to give you praise.  You give us courage to act justly and work collaboratively to change systems that keep people poor and marginalized in our society. We thank you for the women and men who are working for justice and equality in our church and world. Your gift of the Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, gives us hope that one day all will be one at the eternal banquet of heaven. With thankful hearts in the company of the angels and saints, we praise you, God of Abundance and Welcome.

ALL: Holy, Holy Holy
Holy, holy, holy, Christ Sophia.
Gentle pow’r, compassionate presence, your glory fills heaven and earth.
Blessed are you who comes in God’s holy name.
Hosanna, hosanna in the highest. 

Part Two:  You are holy indeed O Mothering God. You are the Heart of Love. You affirm women’s bodies as holy and women’s stories as sacred.  Pour out your Spirit upon all who work for justice and equality.  Pour out your spirit upon this bread and wine so that we may become the body and blood of Jesus, the Christ, in whom we have all become your daughters and sons.

(please all extend hands as we recite the consecration)
Presider:  On the night before he died, Jesus came to table with the women and men he loved.  Jesus took bread and praised you, God of compassion. He blessed and broke the bread, gave it to all his friends and said:   
ALL:  “Take, eat, this is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of    me. 

Presider:  After supper, Jesus poured the final cup of wine and blessed you, God the Creator.  Jesus shared the cup with his friends, and said:   
ALL:  This is the cup of the covenant of my love poured out for you.  As often as you drink of it, remember me.

Presider:  Let us proclaim the mystery of faith (sung)
ALL:    Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.

Part Three:  In memory of Jesus, who showed us the path to liberation and empowerment, we offer you, Loving Creator, the bread of life, this saving cup. We give thanks that we live in your Enfolding Presence and serve you with grateful hearts.  May all of us who share in this sacred banquet of Christ be brought together as one in the Holy Spirit and be filled with courage to live Gospel equality in inclusive communities working for justice and peace in our church and world.

Part Four:  God, remember your holy people throughout the world, make us one in love, together with Francis, our pope, our female and male bishops,  and all God’s people. Remember our sisters and brothers, who face oppression, discrimination and joblessness, who have lost homes, partners, and hope.  Remember all those who work for justice. Remember those who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again, bring them and all the departed into your everlasting arms.

Part Five:  Have mercy on us all; make us one with Mary, Mother of Jesus, our sister and champion of the oppressed, and the apostles through the ages, especially Mary of Magdala, Junia and Andronicus, and all the holy women and men who have done your will throughout the ages.  May their courage inspire us to confront patriarchal systems that discriminate against women.  God, may we be free at last from all bondage and injustice, and give you glory through Jesus the Christ.

ALL:  Through Christ, With Christ and In Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, may our work for justice, peace and equality give You glory and honor, Holy God forever and ever.  Amen.

ALL:  Our Father and Mother, who art in heaven…

Presider:  Protect us, God, from all evil and dismiss all anxiety from our minds.  May a thousand angels guide our steps to live justice, partnership and equality now as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of God in our time where all can say “thank God we are free at last!”

ALL:  For the kindom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.


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

Presider:   This is Jesus, who called women and men to be partners and equals, and who liberates, heals and transforms us and our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love. 
ALL:  Jesus you make us worthy to receive you and become you for others.  We are the Body of Christ.

Communion Song
Peace is flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me.   Flowing out into the desert, setting all the captives free.

God's love is flowing like a river. . .
God's healing is flowing like a river. . .
Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia . . .
Copyright © 1975 Carey Landry & North American Liturgy Resources. All rights reserved.

Our God of love and compassion, just as you called Mary of Magdala, you also call us to go forth and to tell the Good News.  We answer you as people who are often unsure of our desire to be so embraced.  Guide us closer to You and to each other.  Strengthen us in our walks of life and build us into the Reign of God and seal us with the Spirit of your promise.  We ask this through our Holy Sophia.  Amen.


Presider:   Our God is with you. 
ALL:  and also with you.
(extend your hands over one another)
ALL:  May the fire of the Holy One's love warm our hearts.  May we live justice and equality in our church and world.  May the love of Christ fill us and radiate through us forever.

Presider:   Go in the peace of Christ.  May Mary of Magdala be our model of courage and faithful service.  By her example may we delight in the presence of Jesus and shout with joy:  "I have seen the Rabbi!"
ALL:   Thanks be to God.

“We Are Marching”   (South African)

We are marching in the light of God, we are marching in the light of God,      (2x)
We are marching, marching, we are marching, marching,
We are marching in the light of God.
We are dancing…   singing…   praying…
Copyright © 1984, Utryck, Walton Music Corporation, agent


Bridget Mary Meehan
Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests