Thursday, October 10, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy - Sunday, October 13, 2019 - Presiders: Kathleen Ryan, ARCWP, and Tim Perry

Kathleen Ryan, ARCWP, and Tim Perry led the Upper Room liturgy with the theme: “More than Gratefulness.” Their homily reflections follow the readings.

Opening Reflection

Take a moment. Breathe. Breathe deeply.
Put aside for this hour your worries, things on your “to-do” list.
Think of the gift of being alive on this sunny, warm Fall day in upstate New York.
Let this sense of peace flood in.
Let us listen to our opening song, Deep Within.

Deep Within by David Haas 

A Reading from the Book of Kings (2 Kings 5)

Now Naaman was a commander of the army of the ruler of Aram. He was a great officer and highly esteemed. And he had leprosy.

On one of their raids the Arameans captured a young woman who was an Israelite. She served Naaman’s wife. One day she suggested to her mistress “If only Naaman would go and see the prophet Elisha who is in Samaria.”

When Elisha heard Naaman had come to Samaria Elisha said, “Have Naaman come to me and he will learn there is a prophet in Israel. Elisha sent a messenger to say to Naaman “Go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

But Naaman was angry. He thought Elisha should come and stand in front of him, evoke the name of YHWH and wave his hand over the spot and cure his leprosy. After all “the rivers of Damascus are just as good as the rivers of Israel.” Naaman went away in a rage. Naaman’s attendants went to him saying, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed.’

So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God.

His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child,
and he was clean of his leprosy.

Naaman returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before Elisha and said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.
These are the inspired words from Second Kings. The community affirms these words AMEN.

Ruah by Colleen Fulmer

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke (17:11-19)

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
"Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"
And when he saw them, he said,
"Go show yourselves to the priests."
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
"Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?"
Then he said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you."

These are the inspired words of Luke a disciple of Jesus. The community affirms these words AMEN

Kathie’s homily starter: These two scripture readings are being read in many churches today. I added some of the backdrop to the chapter in the first reading. This reading originally started with the verse Naaman following Elisha’s directions and washing in the Jordan. But reading what happened before Naaman plunged into the Jordan is, I believe, even more important than the miracle curing of his leprosy. 

Naaman expected a cure because he was powerful, rich and well known. Elisha was expected to perform the cure in a manner worthy of a powerful, rich man. But in order to be cured, Naaman had to listen to his attendants, swallow his pride, and then follow Elisha’s simple directions. Naaman needed encouragement and support from those around him who had little power, especially his attendants and his wife’s servant girl. Once he accepted their help and then followed Elisha’s directions his leprosy disappeared. This encounter with Elisha changed his life but it may not have happened if he had not been surrounded by his community and humbly listened. If you have time later today please read the entire chapter. You and I may not be rich and powerful like Naaman but we are each like him in so many ways.

In the Gospel reading Jesus is once again teaching his community. They were his companions and friends, most likely other Jews. All 10 followed Jesus’ directions and all 10 were cured but only one was grateful. Was Jesus’ major point the nine were ungrateful? The nine truly messed up!

You and I can identify with the nine as we each have all messed up, taking life for granted and forgetting to live gratefully. Living gratefully is very important but I think Jesus had another point similar to the one in the story of Naaman.

Both Naaman and the one grateful leper were not Israelites both were foreigners, both outsiders. The importance of being grateful is there for sure but even more importantly everyone including the powerful and rich, the poor and the marginalized, those on the inside and the outside need one another and all are cared for and loved by the Holy One.

We teach our little children to be grateful-always emphasizing “say please and thank you.” I am not so sure we teach our children the importance of including everyone and that everyone is loved.

Sometimes we may actually have a physical healing-but most often our healing is ordinary every day insight and understanding. We learn to love one another, even our enemies, those who hurt us, those who rub us the wrong way, or those who are polar opposite. We are healed every day so together, hand in hand we participate in all of life. The Holy One is present, incarnate in everyone, everything, in all of creation.

What did you hear? How will it change you? What will it cost?

Tim’s Concluding thoughts:

When I reflected on these readings these were my thoughts:

Consider for a moment our friend, Jonathan Gradess, who died October 2 and is among us today. Consider how he chose to live his life.

His entire professional career was spent seeking justice for the downtrodden and disenfranchised among us. He cared and fought for the outsider, the disadvantaged, the underdog.

And Jonathan is not alone. There are many of us in this Upper Room community working with the hungry, migrants, homeless, victims of domestic violence, welcoming Muslims, or taking other actions, caring for those who are disadvantaged, who “look different.”

There are women and men in this room who have been denied full access to God’s call to ministry in the institutional Roman Catholic Church. You too are outsiders, now ministering to other outsiders.
Jesus showed us the way- we are on the path and we reach out to the shunned and the outsider individually and in community. 

Closing Song: Send Down Your Fire

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