|RCWP Liturgies||Homilies and Reflections
||Are you called to be a priest?
Ordination homily by Nancy Meyer, Presiding Bishop
This is holy and powerful space after that proclamation of the Word. What did we just hear? First, that memorable story told by Jesus with the weaving of exquisite poetry by Michael Coffey. They conveyed to us stories that we so desperately need to hear today.
It all began with a simple question asked by the young Jewish lawyer to Jesus. “Who is my neighbor?” I suspect it came out of his community posing the same query. Who is the neighbor? How wide of a circle do I need to love? What does my circle look like? How inclusive of “the other” is my neighbor circle?
What does it mean “to neighbor”? Can we use neighboring as a verb rather than a noun? Clarification of this word is demanded by the lawyer. Jesus, the master storyteller goes to work.
A person finds herself in the ditch having just been beaten and robbed. She is blooded, wounded and unable to even get up or even think of what to do next. Her pockets are empty and her very being is crushed under the weight of what just happened. Being on the side of the road battered and desperate, she is without any resources. We have seen and experienced our beloveds in exactly the same way in 2022.
Do we have the wine and the oil in our very being to be a compassionate, healing and loving presence for this person? Can I figure out what it is I have within me to be that word of hope that begins the healing? Will I pull out from my storehouse, my inner being, what is called for now…now in this very moment to minister in this terrifying situation?
The passage from Romans this afternoon reminded us that we all have gifts and they ‘differ according to the grace given us.’ Our gifts being wide and varied, opens opportunities to sprinkle the goodness to so many. We may be feeling useless and depressed and without any gifts to offer others when an opportunity presence itself: a woman, beaten and robbed by the side of the road. What a blessed gift to be able to attend and share my hope, attention, and care with another who finds herself in a very trying situation. We are both gifted with the opportunity to be there for one another. The other may not know the healing that is given to me just by her presence of allowing me to tend and minister to her.
Teresa of Avila a 15th century Carmelite mystic writes:
‘Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world”. Her words are as true now as then.
Like Jesus, Christian life requires an incarnational commitment to living on the edge, claiming our giftedness and using them. In this time, when so much seems divided and when we often sit on the edge of planetary destruction it is important to remember the words from the prophet Jeremiah. God’s plans for us are “peace, not destruction”. God does envision a future “full of hope for us”. The Holy One’s assurance is to be with us and is loving us into the future. We can stake our life on this promise!
These are such important words for all of us today and for you, dear Martha, as you received the gift that God has for you to be used for the good of the
people of God. The Midwest Region of RCWP has chosen you to serve as bishop and we are very honored that you will minister to us in this capacity. Your giftedness has been shared over the years in several positions and roles. We have all witnessed the servant leader you have been for the Midwest Region, RCWP-USA and for the wider Church. You have given of yourself to serve the people with your varied and wide range of giftedness. Be that fixing electricity, plumbing, drywalling, cutting down trees, taking flawless notes at meetings, or baking bread, canning pickles, organizing us, presiding at Eucharist, preaching, and most especially being a loving wife, sister and auntie, as well as so much fun to be with. These are just a few of your many talents and gifts! You have showered your loving care to so many of us as we find ourselves on the side of the road needing a word of hope.
Martha will be ordained bishop today in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement. It is a prophetic organization within an international progressive movement in the Roman Catholic church. We received our call to priesthood in prophetic obedience to the Spirit who calls us all to serve as servant leaders. As a movement, we are now 20 years old and have continue to grow and expand.
As a bishop, Martha will provide prophetic, spiritual, sacramental, and liturgical leadership, as well as affirming pastoral care, empowering the members of the Midwest region and their communities. Our bishops do not take on any administrative duties which is in contrast to the institutional Catholic Church. Ours is purely pastoral care and leadership.
Our readings reflect the deep spirituality and vision of Martha. If life finds you on the side of the road with empty pockets having been battered and discouraged, Martha will be there with wine and oil to clean your wounds and begin the healing. Neighboring is a verb that denotes action and a loving conscious presence bringing the Cosmic Christ to the situation to clean and heal. Martha will be Christ’s presence, hands and feet of a servant leader.
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