In the Gospel this past Sunday we heard Jesus talking about his favorite subject, the kingdom of God... As some of us like to call it, the kindom of God, taking away the patriarchal/hierarchical kingship imagery and replacing it with the connectedness that permeates that world God dreams of. Joseph Moore once said, "The kingdom of God is what happens between you and me."
At the Migrant Mass this past Thursday, at the end of that dreadfully hot day, we stood outside the house of our friends who had worked all day in the heat and celebrated the Mass. Just as we sang the Alleluia before the Gospel, a sweet breeze blew all around us and cooled us off. I offered the sermon that Mary Wilkins had helped me translate. We used the Mass guides that Caryl Marchand laminated for us so everyone could say the responses. After Mass we shared the cookies that Rachael Morlock had baked. Pedro went in the house and brought out sodas for everyone, and we stood or sat and chatted about how the day had been. Librada Paz helped Caroline and Joe and I understand that some of the men had been picking cabbage all day, and that one of them had felt weak from the heat but still could only take a five-minutes rest every few hours. Pedro went back in the house and this time brought out a cabbage, one of those they had picked. It was a present for us. We laughed about the raccoons and tried to figure out why the chalice was leaking. And in that back and forth, the giving that went both ways, the sharing of hard times and of laughter, I believe we experienced something of the Kingdom of God. The Kindom of God.
We're such a little church, St. Romero's. Every Sunday as I get ready for Mass, with no one there yet at five to 11, I think, "uh-oh, this is going to be the week that nobody shows up." But week after week, people do show up, and it's never happened yet that no one came at all. Somehow, we are church, our little rag-tag church that meets in a soup kitchen. Something beautiful is happening, just like Jesus said. Like a grain of yeast, like a mustard seed... Did you know that mustard was a weed in Jesus's time? He was saying that the Kindom of God is like dandelions, like kudzu -- you can't get rid of it! it keeps on growing in places where you least expect it. Shane Claiborne speaks of the "frightening smallness and hiddenness" as well as the "unstoppable growth of the reign of God." He says it "starts small, grows silently, faces setbacks but nevertheless permeates the world with love."
Let's permeate the world with love. You've heard of SBD, "silent but deadly"-- let's be SBL, "Silent but life-giving." I so believe in community -- Scott Peck said, "In community lies the healing of the world." And the rule of community is, Show Up! Hang in there! Forgive! Keep on Going! Don't worry about money, don't worry about numbers - just get in there and love.
Thank you to all of you who are making this tiny and nearly invisible seed of the Kindom of God be the loving, persistent presence that it is. I am so grateful for every one of you reading this bulletin. Do you know that every week the bulletin gets translated into Spanish - with help from Mary Wilkins and from Olga Lucia in Columbia - and then put on Olga's blog where it is read by people in Columbia and Peru and El Salvador -- and here in the states, in Florida and Boston and Utah and many points in between? - as well as Rochester. A beautiful web of connection. And there are hundreds of little communities like this one, all these little seeds of the kindom, permeating the world with love. It gives me joy.
Next week I will be in Chicago for a retreat with other Roman Catholic Womenpriests, connecting with others who have little communities like ours. Please pray for us! There won't be a bulletin next week, or a Migrant Mass on Thursday August 4, because I'll be in Chicago. Sunday, however, will go on as usual. Come and join us, if you like!
Blessings and love to all,
"...any renewal of Church that is not a return to some kind of community, loyal relationships, family, isn't renewal. We do not think ourselves into a new way of living; we live our way into a new way of thinking."
---Richard Rohr, Radical Grace
Joe Lavoie is organizing a poetry night, Saturday August 13 starting at 4pm. If it's sunny out, we'll be at the Bakery, which is the former Savory Thyme building at 220 Mt Hope Ave; if it's raining, at St Joe's.
All summer long, there is a car wash in the St Joe's parking lot on Saturdays and Sundays from 9-5 as part of the St Joe's Employment Training Program. Come get your car washed! Recommended donations are $5-10 for outside cleanings, $20 for inside and out. Give your car some TLC, and help our guys earn some cash and learn some job skills!
Thanks very much to Karen and Mike Reimringer, Lynne Hamilton and Caryl Marchand, all of whom have dropped off camp chairs for use at the Migrant Masses. It will be good to be able to sit!
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Church in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11am
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620