New thing

EDITIsaiahLilacBud copyHaving attended a 4pm liturgy on Saturday, I heard a good homily, but I was left wanting. After hearing a young woman proclaim the First Reading from Isaiah with such gift and passion, and then to hear another woman proclaim the Second Reading with similar style, I felt so hungry – starved actually – to hear a woman’s preaching voice.

For the record, and to the chagrin of many, I do not support the women’s ordination movement as it exists today. Sorry, that’s another story for another day perhaps. Those of you who actually know me know that this is how I feel, what I believe, others – you will have to take my word for it and maybe I will go into it another time.

Anyway, these women’s proclaiming voices snapped me into a kind of openness and attention that left me vulnerable. Thankfully the homily was OK. The kind of homily an old friend might have described by saying “nobody got hurt.” Sadly, that is code for victory in many cases.

Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

While not an active supporter of one movement, I am an active supporter of having women preach. Does it have to be on Sunday? That would be nice. I’m fortunate and blessed to be in a parish with consistently excellent homilies. My workplace is also a parish with a reputation for good preaching. Many people are starved at the table of homiletics however, even when preaching is offered with the best of intentions. It is not everyone’s gift and God only knows what they are teaching in homiletics these days.

When I took that subject in grad school 9 years ago this Spring, we had some simple rules to go by…  Keep it short, about 8 minutes.  Do not use your own life as the primary example. Give them something to go home with… meaning, the Gospel is the peoples, so send them off with a burning heart and something to think and pray about each week ahead. If you did not hit the mark on those three things, you would get dinged in your grade.

Why did I take this class, knowing that I would never be ordained? Why not take it? That’s just for starters. Also, I do have the chance to offer reflections at Evening Prayer periodically, so why not learn how to do it properly? It is not a requirement, but it was one elective course that I made sure I took, and gratefully so.

Sometimes I simply long for the different perspective that will be offered to me through a woman’s perspective and yesterday was one of those days.

Today I woke up and read Dr. Michelle Francl’s beautiful reflection in Give Us This Day. Due to publishing rights, I cannot reprint it here for you, but let me tell you that it was so powerful. Then I read further beautiful and thoughtful words from Mary DeTurris Poust in Not By Bread Alone. If Mary’s name is familiar it may be for many reasons, she is a prolific writer, however I did mention her here in a recent post.

Last but not least, I remembered that another woman had preached this week, via the Catholic Women Preach series. Kaya Oakes, like the other two women noted here, is someone that I am blessed to know. She offered her thoughts for this Sunday, yet another morsel of rich nourishment so very necessary for today that you can find at the end of this blog post.

If we are to take the Gospel seriously and I do take the Gospel very seriously, we have to remember that all things are complete in Christ, but that God is always doing something. As I included earlier, the words from the prophet Isaiah point us that way.

Remember not the events of the past,
the things of long ago consider not;
see, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

maxresdefaultAdd to that the powerful message of today’s year C Gospel from John itself… the woman is about to be stoned for adultery by a group of men. Jesus steps in and addresses both the woman and those about to stone her with great authority. How many times in life are we the woman, often accused falsely, and how many times are we the accusers? How often does shame dictate our lives as it might have for that woman? And how often does our unexpressed and unbridled anger turn us into those who would harm another in the name of sin management?

These are some things to consider as we make our way to the end of Lent, the journey to the Cross, and the Resurrection that follows — always remembering that Jesus is forever raising us up to new life. Often it is in ways that we simply cannot imagine. Maybe it is time we began doing so, and then choosing to live that way.


2 thoughts on “New thing

  1. Hi, Fran. Thank you so much for your kind words about my reading from Isaiah. I cannot believe that I was able to move someone like that with my voice. I think it is incredible what you do by writing this blog and I love reading your posts. Again, thank you for listening to me and reaching out to me, I really appreciate it.


  2. Pingback: What’s Up in the Neighborhood, April 13 2019 – Chuck The Writer

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