A PRAYER FOR RACIAL JUSTICE from Pax Christi

Dear God, in our efforts to dismantle racism, we understand that we struggle not merely against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities — those institutions and systems that keep racism alive by perpetuating the lie that some members of the family are inferior and others superior.

Create in us a new mind and heart that will enable us to see brothers and sisters in the faces of those divided by racial categories.

Give us the grace and strength to rid ourselves of racial stereotypes that oppress some of us while providing entitlements to others.

Help us to create a Church and nation that embraces the hopes and fears of oppressed People of Color where we live, as well as those around the world.

Heal your family God, and make us one with you, in union with our brother Jesus, and empowered by your Holy Spirit. Amen.
(Pax Christi Prayer for racial justice-2020)

Love Triangles12 Sunday of Ordinary Time.  Rev. Dudley

Today, on Father’s Day, I would like to speak about love triangles. Have any of you out there ever been in a love triangle. Jerry you don’t have to keep us muted to answer this question because every single one of us has been and still is in a love triangle.

A recurring teaching device in the scriptures is hyperbole. Hyperbole, as you know, is exaggeration, even to the point of evoking a response of sheer and utter disbelief and maybe even revulsion.

The story of faith begins with a hyperbolic tale. Remember the story of God’s testing Abraham’s faith in that extreme request made of him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, whom he and Sarah had conceived, against all odds, at a very, very old age. (Steve, Jack, Don and Jerry, there is still hope). The intent of the story is not to have us struggle with the bazaar cruelty of a God who would require such an unimaginable thing. That’s not the point. Rather the intent of the story is to showcase the depth of Abraham’s faith.

In this morning’s gospel Jesus uses this same literary device, hyperbole, in concert with the image of the love triangle to share an important message and imperative with his disciples – with you and with me.

You know what love triangles are. They are often the subject matter of movie plots. Sometimes they are the circumstances in which a crime is committed. You see pictures and headlines of love triangles on the tabloids in the supermarket check out lines.

They are also an ordinary part of our lives. It isn’t a question as to whether or not we are in a love triangle. We are probably in several love triangles simultaneously.

In the classic love triangle, there are three people. One is stuck between two love interests. The two love interests, knowingly or unknowingly, are competing with each other and vying for the time, attention, energy, and love of the third person.

In today’s gospel Jesus presents us with a couple of love triangles. “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

In the first triangle there is Jesus, us, and our mother or father. In the second triangle there is Jesus, us, and our children. But these are by no means the only love triangles in our lives. Love triangles can involve anyone or anything.

Do I love an unquestioning patriotic response to flag and national anthem more than Colin Kapernick, who had the courage to take the knee in protest against systemic racism and thereby risk his career as a professional athlete?

Do I love the statues of the slave owner, the anti-Semite and the scourge of indigenous peoples, statues that are perched on pedestals on Academy Greens, more than the legitimate and just sensitivities of the descendants of those they murderously violated?

Do I love my white privilege more than the millions of people of color who remain fettered by its economic stranglehold?

If I dare remember that the Lord is always the third party in each such relationships, then the holy resolution of the conflict becomes transparently clear. Of course, patriotism, monuments and my unquestioned white benefit must cede to the requirements of compassion and justice.

When it comes to love triangles the important question is less about commitment and loyalty and always more about, priorities.
Every love triangle confronts us with two questions. The first question – What is your most important relationship? The second question – Whom or what do you love the most?

After hearing Jesus’ words it’s not hard to figure out the correct answer, as far as He is concerned. The right answer is the Lord. But what is our lived answer?

I would like to think that my lived answer is Jesus. I would like to say with confidence that Jesus is my most important relationship, that He is the one I love most.

Love triangles are places of struggle and conflict. Regardless of what I would like to think or say, what does the evidence of my life show?

What about the ring on my hand and the vows I made to my spouse? Do I choose Jesus over my spouse? How can I do that? As hard as it may be, that’s what Jesus said I must do.

Then there are my daughters and their husbands and sons and their wives and my grandchildren whom I love very much. Do I choose Jesus over my family? How can I do that? As hard as it may be, that’s what Jesus said I must do.

If you were to look at my checkbook you would say, “He’s got a thing going with Costco or Trader Joe’s or the corner Liquor store. That’s where he spends so much of his money.”

If you knew the thoughts that fill my head and some of the choices I’ve made, you might conclude that I love myself more than anyone else.

You know what I’m talking about. We’re probably not that different. Our lived answer reveals many different love interests.

If, however, Jesus asks us to love him more than our own parents and children, our own flesh and blood, then He also does so with everything else about our lives.

The question Jesus put to Peter on the shore of Lake Tiberias after His resurrection comes to mind. Three times Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me more than these”? I believe the word “these” refers to anything and everyone. When Peter protests, “Yes, Lord”, Jesus continues, “Then feed my lambs. Feed my sheep.” In other words, “Be about the business of doing those acts of love that demonstrate the most care and compassion for the most vulnerable among you.”

There can be only one primary relationship in our lives and Jesus says it is to be Him. His demand for primacy is not limited to our mother and father or our sons and daughters. It’s a primacy over everyone and everything in our life. Jesus could have easily continued the list.

•Whoever loves friend more than me is not worthy of me.
•Whoever loves work more than me is not worthy of me.
•Whoever loves power, reputation, or wealth more than me is not worthy of me.
•Whoever loves country and flag more than me is not worthy of me.
•Whoever loves church, denomination, beliefs and practices more than me is not worthy of me.
•Whoever loves self more than me is certainly not worthy of me.
•Whoever loves anyone or anything more than me is not worthy of me.

Whatever or whoever else to which we might be inclined to pledge our allegiance and loyalty, it must never be at the cost of our love and commitment to the One who lays first clam to our affection, devotion and commitment. If we place discriminatory laws and the protection of unjust systems of oppression before our commitment to justice, we are giving the wrong answer to the question that Jesus puts to us as He did to Peter. We have a divine mandate to protect and defend the lambs and the sheep. We have a divine mandate to give priority to compassion for human beings even before conformity to so called law and order. In the divine economy compassion and loving action borne of compassion and a thirst for justice is always the first law.

So what are the love triangles in your life? What is your most important relationship? Whom or what do you love the most?

Today’s gospel holds before us and confronts us with the many love triangles in which we all live and struggle. It invites and even demands we make a choice.

Does that mean we must reject our parents, our children, our spouses, and all other love interests? No, not at all. That’s not what Jesus is saying or asking. Jesus is not demanding exclusivity but he is demanding priority. Jesus simply will not be just another one of our many love interests.

Jesus’ refusal to be just another love interest, his demand for priority, is not for His benefit, but rather for our own good and also for the good of our many love interests.

We can only ever have one primary relationship. That one relationship gives us our identity.
It gives our lives meaning and direction.
It becomes the lens through which we see the world, each other, and ourselves.
That relationship is the foundation on which we build our lives.
It guides the choices we make, the words we speak, and the ways in which we act and relate.
It sets a trajectory for our lives and determines how we love anything and every one that we love.
Why then would we want our primary relationship to be something or someone other than the Lord – something or someone other than God made flesh and thereby a Lord absolutely accessible to us.

So how do we reconcile the right answer, Jesus, with the lived answer of our lives? How do we pick Jesus over our child, our spouse, our mom and dad? How do we look into their faces and say, “I love Jesus more?”

I know a woman who figured that out and I will never forget what she said. One day she told her husband, “When you love God most, you love me best.”

There is great wisdom in what she said. It breaks the triangle. No one is left out, excluded, or rejected. God, not our selves, becomes the source and origin of our love. This is the love by which we take up our cross and follow Jesus, the same love with which Jesus loves us.

I want to love my spouse best. I want to love my son best. I want to love my grandkids best, I want to love my great grandkids best, I want to love you best. I want to love my country best. I think we all want to love as best we can. We do that only when we choose Jesus first. For we love each other best when we love our God first and most.

Trinity Sunday : June 7, 2020  Exodus 34:4-6,8-9  Corinthians 13:  11-13  John 3:16-18 Preacher: Rev Cynthia Yoshitomi

 “We have to be Carefully Taught.”   Inspired:  Song from South Pacific: An American Musical 1949 Broadway, New York –1958 Hollywood, California

 We  Celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity, The Great Mystery of the Church today.  But, now-a-days for most Catholics the Ultimate Mystery of our Catholic Faith, Church, world and Nation is not how we define God, or how or why we believe in what we do.  The True Mystery is how we got ourselves in this Human Mess—Contempt for God’s People— and God’s Creation? Again.
Yet, in this Great Mystery of contempt for God’s Holy People and Creation, lies the words from Moses:  “IF I DO FIND FAVOR WITH YOU O LORD, DO COME ALONG IN OUR COMPANY.  WE ARE, INDEED, A STIFF-NECKED PEOPLE; PARDON OUR WICKEDNESS AND SINS, AND RECEIVE US AS YOUR OWN.”  God’s sigh and answer to Moses is best wrapped up best by Maya Angeleau” writing to all of us: DO THE BEST YOU CAN, UNTIL YOU KNOW BETTER. THEN WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER. 
Circumstances these last two weeks have taught us to KNOW BETTER.  Thank you, George Floyd for your life and witness.  Thank you,  Black Lives Matter for reminding us again and again and again—through years and centuries– that We, as All of God’s Children and Creation are in this together.  What happens to ONE, Happens to ALL.

 We have been carefully taught to hate all the people our relatives hate.

 This is the Great Mystery that we must begin to un-ravel in our personal and communal lives, yet we are here today to Celebrate the ONE GOD, who is the Spirit of Unity, Justice, Compassion, Wisdom, healing, understanding and Peace.  But, we come together different today.  We come together grieving over the TRUTH that has been revealed to us–We are part of the Problem.:  As Privileged People of Faith, we are finding out that our Systems of Education, Health Care, Economics, Political and Social systems that we are a part of, because WE ARE THE PEOPLE in a Democracy, are resulting in Great Pain for our Black Brothers and Sisters, Brown people,  Native Peoples, and  immigrants, seeking economic relief and freedom in this country.  Our systems of Gender and sexual identity are also hurting God’s people.  We now KNOW BETTER, so WE HAVE GOT TO DO BETTER.  In other words,  The Systems, we are attached to, voted for, as privileged people, may be working for US but they are not working for ALL of God’s Creation. 

 With Time, Pain, and Hopefully much Change, This Mystery of Contempt for God’s people will go away.  But NOW IS THE TIME,  IF NOT NOW, WHEN? 

In the meantime, we are called to reflect on our Catholic heritage with the words of the Great woman English mystic, Julian of Norwich (1342-1420):  “As truly as God is our father, so, just as truly, God is our Mother.” God has shown this in everything, especially in those sweet words God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai when asked, “Who are You?” 

And God answers:

I Am, Who Am.

I am the Strength and Goodness of Fatherhood.

I AM the Wisdom of Motherhood.

It is I, the Light and Grace of Holy Love,

It is I, The Trinity,

It is I, The Unity.

I AM the Sovereign goodness in all things.

It is I, The Great Teacher that Teaches you to love,

It is I   The Great Teacher that Teaches you to desire Freedom and Community.

It is I Who Am the lasting Fulfillment of all True Human Desires. 

It is I

It is I

It is I

AMEN

To feel grief, and also gratitude.

There is nothing more whole, taught the Rabbi of Kotzsk, than a broken heart.

It seems possible to hope in this moment, that we are entering a new time 

of truth, of justice and of peace.

May this Shabbat offer us a glimpse of this new time: 

A time of wholeness

A time of openness.

A time of humility.

A time of listening.

Shabbat Shalom

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation – From the Center for Action and Contemplation – Week Twenty-three

Contemplation and Racism – Am I Next? Sunday, June 7, 2020

During this time of social unrest, I invite you to sit with the powerful and uncomfortable emotions, such as anger or grief, that you may be carrying. Welcome them in the presence of God. As I often say, if we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it. Tragically, we are witnessing the results of centuries of unresolved racial violence in our collective body today.

 As a white man in the United States, I humbly begin this week’s meditations on “Contemplation and Racism” by sharing the words of a woman of color in our own CAC community. Leslye Colvin is one of our Living School students and a member of our Daily Meditations team. In our time of ongoing disorder, Leslye asks, “Am I Next”?

 Lord, have mercy.

George Floyd of Minnesota.

Your nation failed you.

Rest in God’s peace.  Kyrie eleison.

Christ, have mercy.

Breonna Taylor of Kentucky.

Your nation failed you.

Rest in God’s peace.  Christe eleison.

 

Lord, have mercy.

Ahmaud Arbery of Georgia.

Your nation failed you.

Rest in God’s peace.   Kyrie eleison.

 

Christ, have mercy.

Tony McDade of Florida.

Your nation failed you.

Rest in God’s peace.  Christe eleison.

 

 Four people whom I never knew have been murdered. It is merely the tip of an iceberg. The details of each heinous act are so horrifically unjust that there is no sense to be made of them. Each of the four was victimized. Each of them was Black, but their race was not the cause of death. Each was murdered because of the systemic structures that endow white people with an unimaginable authority and privilege based on the perpetuation of lies. The onus is not on the victims but on the perpetrators and their oppressive and unjust systems.

There is also a realization that it could have been me. I could be laying cold and lifeless in the morgue because of a distorted perception of me rooted in lies. Maybe it will be me the next time—not because of who I am, but because of how you see me in relation to how you see yourself. What lies about me do you believe? What lies about yourself do you believe?  Fr. Richard Rohr

 





6/4/2020 A link to  GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S WORDS OF COMFORT AND A NOTE FROM THE DOMINICAN SISTERS:

FROM CO-PROMOTERS OF JUSTICE, PEACE AND INTEGRITY OF CREATION
  Sister Judy Lu McDonnell, O.P. and Lyn Kirkconnell

 I am leaving this legacy to all of you…to bring peace, justice, equality, love and a fulfillment of what our lives should be. Without vision, the people will perish, and without courage and inspiration, dreams will die – the dream of freedom and peace.

Rosa Parks
 These are such troubling times.  Living through these months of varied responses to the pandemic has stretched us all emotionally and physically.  The unanticipated adjustments to daily living have left many of us tired and perhaps “on edge.”  And now, we are being tested in the depths of our souls as we come face to face with the racism that is so deeply ingrained in our society.  Some of you are asking us as justice promoters to tell you how to respond, what to do, what to say, what to…!

 We do not need to tell you to pray, or how to pray!  We do not at the moment have a petition for you to sign or a specific legislation to ask your representatives or senators to pass.  Because of the pandemic, we cannot even encourage you to join a peaceful march or protest.

 We would like to suggest that you watch the video clip of Governor Gavin Newsom on the death of George Floyd.  If you have already watched his speech, you might want to watch again and encourage others to watch it with you.  Then reflect on it and discuss the governor’s assessment, insights, and challenges.  From there, we think you will be inspired with ideas about how to change hearts, how to act for systemic change.  If we cannot do this, individually (change of heart) and as a society (systemic change), then there will be no justice, no peace, no end to the violence.  And the …isms that permeate this nation will continue to grow.  If it feels right to you, consider sending a thank you to the governor.

 
“¡Jesus Christ has risen, Jesucristo ha  resucitado, Aleluya!”
Sister Verónica Esparza Ramírez, O.P.
Dominicans Sisters of Mission San Jose
Congregacional Leadership
Office (510) 933 6369 Cell (510) 371 10 55