How ironic that as we celebrate the feast of the Body of Christ – Corpus Christi – you and me and all of us who together are the church – as well as the meal we share as Jesus said to, the meal that binds us Christians together all throughout the world, in our different understandings of God and Eucharist and church – we are many, we are varied, but we are also one body ----- how ironic that we celebrate this feast at a time when the church in Rome is in what looks to me like a meltdown. “All hell breaks loose in the Vatican,” read a recent headline in the National Catholic Reporter. Nuns in this country are under pressure to conform, very much as we were pressured in 1998, with painful decisions to be made. And just this week, the Vatican announced the notification of Sr. Margaret Farley, who wrote a book called “Just Love: a Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” causing her book to go overnight from obscurity to the Amazon top-twenty bestsellers list. (Reminding me of my Mom, Mary Doyle-Feder, who as a teenager used the annual Catholic list of banned books as her reading list!) You realize the average age of American nuns is over 70? They are bullying old women! - Our brothers in Rome seem to be flailing around, trying to control the Spirit, who goes where She will –and they are making things worse and worse.
All of this brings to mind something Jim Callan said in August 1998, after he was fired – by the same people – over much the same issues. Jim said, “Things aren’t breaking down, they’re breaking through!” – and that’s true now, too. Hang on, church, it’s going to be a bumpy ride --- but there is life at the end of it. God is here in the mess. All is well.
So here’s my prayer. I’m praying for the nuns, these days, for integrity and courage and insight and wisdom, all of which they already have in spades. May they be fearless and strong. And I’m praying for the church. The worldwide church, all of us who love Jesus and are trying – missteps, mistakes and all – to follow him. MAY WE BE RENEWED! May we become truly a church of the poor. May we value love and solidarity over security. May we fearlessly follow Jesus, who did warn us that we’d be persecuted. May we let go of our stuff and our power and see the world through the eyes of our brothers and sisters who have so little stuff, so little power. May we recognize that the church is all of us, not just the Catholics. May we be truly a church of equals, a church that can transform the world. May it be so.
Meanwhile at St Romero’s. we continue on our tiny, obscure and trusting-God-every-step-of-
the-way way. All is well, even when all is fuzzy and unclear. Our brothers and sisters in the migrant community are back to working 12 hours a day planting cabbage, after several days off due to rain. The cabbage seedlings are in heavy boxes with nails and wires that tear at fingers and bruise legs. Please keep them in your prayers. And me, on the road. My car, after heroically making the hour-each-way trip countless times in the past year, is letting me know that it is feeling every inch of its 149,000 miles. God is good, all the time, and our little church will unfold as God is dreaming, one day at a time.
Blessings on this feast of Corpus Christi to all, all, all of the Body of Christ. May we all be the church God dreams of. Amen!
Love and light to all
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620