Bulletin for Sunday, April 3, 2011: 4th Sunday in Lent


How is your Lent going? We’re about halfway through so it’s a good moment to take stock. I hope you have found life-giving ways to pray, fast and give alms, because Lent can be such a rich time for spiritual growth. With three weeks left to go, it’s not too late to start doing something if you haven’t… spending more time with God in prayer, giving more, letting go of some things… may this time be a blessing to you!

This Lent I’ve been reading Richard Rohr’s book, “Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent,” which has a reading tied to the lectionary for each day. Sometimes it amazes me how the readings fit with whatever I’m thinking about at the time. Today was one of those days, because I’m thinking about smallness and that’s what he was writing about.

We experienced the gift of smallness this past Sunday, celebrating Mass up on the third floor at St Joe’s because of the pancake breakfast for Haiti that was happening downstairs. We were such a small group that I decided to do a shared homily. We read through the story of the woman at the well, bit by bit, and shared our thoughts on each part. I’m so glad we did that, because Linda Condon had an insight I liked a lot, about how vulnerable Jesus was at the beginning of the story; hot and tired, needing to rest and ask for water. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about love’s humility, and there was a lovely incidence of it: think of God asking you for a drink of water!

This coming week we’ve got another example of that in the story of the court official who comes to Jesus to ask for healing for his son. What did it take for a big shot member of the royal court to come to this simple carpenter and beg for healing? It took the love of a parent for a sick child. God is like that. Love is not proud; in fact, I believe in a God who has no pride at all, who will do whatever it takes to reach us, to offer healing and life.

Love is patient and kind, never proud or rude; blessed are the meek and the poor in spirit and the lovers who just want healing and life. We say these things over and over because we need to, because they stand in complete opposition to the wisdom of the world that says, be successful, be on top, be significant, be powerful. That’s not how God operates in the world, not our God who shows up as a helpless baby in an oppressed backwater country and grows up to die the shameful death of a criminal. Our God turns the world upside down.

Jesus also said, “blessed are you when you are persecuted for my sake.” One of the friends of the women’s ordination movement is experiencing that, now. Maryknoll priest Fr Roy Bourgeois has been given 15 days to recant his support of women’s ordination or be
expelled from his order. It’s a long time now since our crisis at Corpus Christi, when we watched person after person lose their jobs, standing for justice in the church. It ought to be a red flag to the powerful when they’re losing their most creative and spirit-filled people, a big red sign that says, “Wrong way!!” But to Fr Roy we say what Ched Myers said when all of us were ousted back in 1999: “Welcome to the outer darkness, and the church of the great renewal!”

On Saturday, Eli and I will fly to El Salvador. Please pray for us and the others in our group – may God’s dreams come true, may we grow and learn and get set on fire for healing and life and love for all God’s people. Deacon Patti LaRosa will fill in for me while I’m gone – Patti’s ordination to priesthood will be Saturday, June 4 in Baltimore, so please pray for her and the other deacons, Marellen, Caryl and Ann, as well!

Blessings and love to all, Chava

This link is to an article about Fr Roy in the National Catholic Reporter:

And this is the email address for the Maryknoll Order,  if you’d care to write them a letter:

Friday night our Lenten Fish Fries for Joe continue, from 6 to 7:30 pm. $8 per dinner, no one turned away. We’ve been having a lot of fun at these and hope you will join us.

“Great Contents must be held by smaller holding tanks.”
– Richard Rohr


Have a blessed week, and come visit us some Sunday!

Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Church in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11 am
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14603