Recognized by Love

Saturday in the Octave of Easter

April 18, 2020

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Today, in Mercy, our readings are about appearances and recognitions.

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We pray this morning with the pioneers of our Christian Faith: Mary Magdalen, Peter, John, and all the Eleven. The scriptures tell us the story of their post-Resurrection discipleship – a time of joyous, dynamic commitment to build the faith community, to share the wonder of the eternally living Jesus with all people.

These first Easter Christians were shining with faith…. so much so that it could be said:

Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.

Our Gospel summarizes the fact that, for a brief time, the Risen Jesus remained with these disciples to shore up their confidence and commitment. In this passage, He appeared first to beloved Mary Magdalen, then to the unnamed two who journeyed a country road, and finally to the Eleven gathered at dinner.

He had different messages at each appearance:

  • the intimate commission of Mary to be his first announcer
  • the companionable accompaniment of the two distraught disciples from Emmaus
  • the scolding of the “hard-hearted” Eleven with the uncompromising charge

“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the Gospel
to every creature.”


Dear Friends, that charge is meant for each of us as well. For our times, we are the ones commissioned to proclaim that Christ is risen, that the Good News of God’s love is alive in us! Damn the Corona – We are a Resurrection People!

Our prayer today may lead us to consider:

  • Would we, like Mary, recognize the voice of Jesus calling us to deeper discipleship?
  • Would we, like the Emmaus travelers, listen beyond our fears to hear the Truth of Jesus in our circumstances?
  • Would we, like the hesitant Eleven, rebound through our failures to a stronger faith?
  • Would we, like Peter and John, by our faith-filled words and actions, be recognizable as companions of Jesus?

Music: They Will Know We Are Christians- This is a 60s song, reminiscent of the kind of music that flooded the Church after the breakthroughs of Vatican II.  It’s not great music — but I always love hearing it, because it reminds of the joy and enthusiasm of those times when we first realized WE were the Church Alive in the world!

A New Heaven and Earth

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 23, 2020

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Today, in Mercy, all I can think is, “This passage from Isaiah could not have come at a more perfect time!”

Is65_new heavens

Walter Brueggemann calls Isaiah 65 “a glorious artistic achievement”. Indeed, these images confirm his statement:

  • a new heavens and a new earth;
  • constant rejoicing and happiness
  • people will be a delight
  • no weeping or crying;
  • long life for all
  • everyone with a home
  • enough for all to eat

As we pray with this passage today, we may experience a longing for a return to our beautiful, safe world. During this pandemic, we all pray from a place of anxiety, loss, constrainment, or some degree of suffering. 

Isaiah’s community prayed from the same place. All the beautiful images were a promise not yet realized. The prophetic poetry of Isaiah is a call to courageous hope, not a description of current circumstances.

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Faith invites us, even as we experience a bittersweet longing, to trust that God is with us, teaching us and leading us deeper into the Divine Understanding. Even as circumstances turn our world upside down, God will guide the falling pieces to a blessed place if we commit to find God in the tumbling.

I don’t think many of us would deny that the world before Corona needed fixing. The systems we have built have left many in deficit long before 2020, and we have failed to address the wound.

Corona has laid that failure bare.

Now that some of that deficit is universally shared, may we be opened to an irrevocable awareness of our common humanity and responsibility for one another.

Only by such an outcome will we move closer to Isaiah’s peaceful Kingdom. Only by our courage to embrace it, can God fulfill the Promise in us.

Music:  O Day of Peace – Carl P. Daw

Thoughts for This Friday the 13th

(Half in fun, half in earnest, trying to lighten my mood, control my anxieties on this.  I thought some of you might enjoy/benefit from it as well)

sparyOK, friends, here’s the truth. I’m sitting here, spraying Lysol all around me, wondering if I’ll be killed by evil Captain Corona.

I ask myself how the heck did I end up in the “elderly, frail and vulnerable” bin?

After a rather fruitless attempt at a Prayer of Abandonment, I say to myself, “What can I learn from this?” And the always challenging, open question, “Where is God in this?”

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My ancestors’ voices come to me saying, “Honey, you’re gonna’ die someday anyway. Don’t be stupid about safety, but try to keep things in perspective. Self-isolate and wash your hands! And then, get on with life!”

My Dad in particular returns to mind with his often shared advice over many decades:

“When your ticket’s up, you’re going.
If it’s not up, you ain’t going, so relax.”

ticket

With that attitude, Dad lived bravely through poverty, orphanhood, depression, flu epidemics and world wars (as well as 1968). So I say to myself, “For God’s sake, get some of Dad’s chutzpah!”


As a result, here’s my main desired attitude:

  • Learn from this. It’s like no other time you will experience! Don’t miss the lessons!
  • Woman up! (Man up! Or Kid up! – Whatever works.)
  • Be kind. Yes, everybody you’re talking to may shrivel and die by next Tuesday. They probably won’t, but don’t you want to be one of their last kind thoughts, just in case?
  • Everybody is at least a little anxious. Be the Calm, not the Agitator.
  • Those bucket list items you never had the guts to do? When Captain Corona is dead from vaccine, go DO them. You almost missed the chance, Baby!
  • Don’t fly, cruise, crowd-gather or do anything else that can wait til the coast is clear.
  • And for heaven’s sake (or Earth’s) continue to always wash your hands. You know you cheated for years on that 20 second scrub! If you get cut a break and live, pay it forward!

And China and other highly affected countries? They paid the price for the rest of us to get ahead of this. Pray for them, and confront those using this as an excuse for racism or xenophobia.

Speaking of racism and all other kinds of hateful categorizations, we all know now what it feels like to be at least slightly desperate for ours lives. Let’s take down the walls of war, immigration isolation, racial profiling… and endlessly on! We know now what a refugee might experience — what it feels like to run from a threat we can’t outrun! Let’s help one another!

Dear God, we can be mean! Let this global suffering teach us! Teach us to rejoice in one another’s lives and to protect them, always, because each one is precious…. each one.

And my final prayer:
Hey, Dad, now among the Saints, ask God to help me to become a better person because of this mess, not a worse one, please?

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(And for Heaven’s sake, Friends, unearth the 12-year-old Scotch (or case of Corona beer) in the back of your closet, if you happen to have one😂 What were you saving it for anyway!)

 

 

Music: Learn Your Lessons Well