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Darlene Starrs 2016 articles
13: Happy Feast Day of St. Anthony of Padua
On June 13, 1231...St. Anthony died while on his way to Padua, Italy, at the age of 35 years old. Anthony, as he was known by his religious name, was born in Lisbon to a wealthy, Portuguese family. He studied with the Augustinians and he had a particular interest in the scriptures. Anthony has his big break as it were, when on one occasion, while living and working in a hermitage, the Franciscan Friars were visiting. It seemed there was no one to give the homily and Anthony was chosen for the task. He was brilliant or so the historians indicate. His expertise was recognized to be his knowledge of the scriptures and his ability to preach. Francis of Assisi, the Franciscan Friar Founder, then, becomes Anthony's friend and fellow friar in Padua, Italy. Thank you Lord for the life of St. Anthony of Padua!
June 6: Todays Gospel is Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, otherwise known as the Beatitudes. There are twelve beatitudes and they begin with the phrase, "Blessed are....Each Beatitude is really a principle of Christian living. The Beatitude that I am drawn to for this writing is the following: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled."
While it is well and good, that we, as the People of God, hunger and thirst for righteous in the world, it is also, well and good, that we, as the :People of God, hunger and thirst for righteous in our Universal Roman Catholic Church.
Specifically, I am hungering and thirsting for the RC Church to embrace and dialogue with the voices of reform, particularly, in relation to a re-imaging of woman as Christ. This theology is already present, but, the Vatican, needs to be able to move with the new time in the Church.
Christ is the Cornerstone
It is the thinking of men that has determined the fate of women's ordination
and not the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ
May 23: Todays Gospel is the story of the "Rich Young Man" who approaches Jesus with the question: What must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus's answer is that he must keep the commandments and the young man says he's done so. Jesus then, replies, that the young man must sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor, and then follow Jesus. The young man goes away sadly as he had too many possessions to part with. Clearly, the young man did not recognize the "Pearl of Great Price.", otherwise, he might have gone away and sold everything he had to follow Jesus. Whether we are rich like the "Rich Young Man", or not, we are called to follow Jesus.
16: Women Deacons? The Promise of Pentecost?
Pope Francis has stated, that it would be good for the Church to study whether or not women can be ordained as deacons. (paraphrased). There is no guarantee that such a study would provide an affirmative answer to this long debated question. However, the fact that Pope Francis is open to a commission that examines the possibility of ordaining women as deacons, may generate fruitful discussions and unforeseen possibilities for women, for ministry, and indeed, for the renewal of the Universal RC Church. The Pentecost of 2016 might well be about the deaconate of women!
8: Jesus has conquered the world!
In todays Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples to "take courage, he has conquered the world." We, like Jesus's disciples, must remember and trust in these words, especially, as we encounter challenge after challenge in this world.
2: Powerful Words
In today's Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples that they will be thrown out of synagogues and even killed. Why? Jesus says, "because they do not know my Father or Me." Fast forward that scriptural event to 2016. Why is there so much corruption in the world and in the Churches? Simply because..."the Father and Jesus Christ are not known."
Feast Day of St. Mark, the Evangelist
In today's Gospel of St. Mark, Jesus instructs the disciples to "go into all the world and proclaim the Good News." The Church's work continues to be about evangelization. We see Pope Francis concentrating his efforts in this vein. May each one of us be dedicated to do the same.
Hurray for Limerick!
Limerick is a county in the south of Ireland. In the Catholic Diocese of Limerick is Bishop Leahy. Bishop Leahy demonstrated a courageous and visionary leadership, by orchestrating a three day diocesan synod, that constituted not only clergy and theologians, but...the laity, and in particular, the lay women of the Church.
The marvel that I see in this three day synod, is that Bishop Leahy and the clergy present. made sure that the women of the Church, and the laity in general, were sincerely consulted and included in the decisions of the day.
Hurray for Limerick! May this "huge" event, not be un-noticed but, inspire a creation of further like synods in Ireland and in many, many dioceses around the globe. Bishop Leahy and all the synod participants have shown the entire RC Church that inclusive synods are possible and indeed necessary to move the Church forward with Christ and the Holy Spirit at the helm. This event was certainly the sign of hope that I was longing for at this time, especially, as Pentecost approaches.
April 11: The Work of God:
tells the people at Capernaum that the work that God asks of
them is to believe in him.
Truly, this remains a challenge for most of us everyday!
As we anticipate Pentecost, let us ask the Holy Spirit to increase our faith!
April 4: Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. Normally, that it is March 25th, but, with Good Friday being on that day this year, the Feast above is moved to April 4th.
The Gospel reading is the story of the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary and telling her that she has found favour with God, and that she is destined to be the mother of Jesus. While Mary finds this news absolutely incredulous, she responds with the words: "I am the handmaid of the Lord; Let it be done to me according to his word."
It is imperative to understand that while these words came from Mary, we, as the Church of Christ, are also the handmaid of the Lord, and we are bound to let the Lord do to us, what he wills, according to his Word.
March 28: Easter Monday reminds me of the rolling away of the rock from the tomb, Jesus's body gone, and the women encountering Jesus "risen" and seemingly very much alive. Once the women report this incredible event to the disciples, they must have been left with a huge question, that being, "Now What?"
Peter responds quickly by "preaching" to the crowds and religious leaders what exactly happened to the man named Jesus, recounting his life among the people and how he was crucified. I believe that every Easter Monday, after having journeyed through lent, and holy week, I too, am confronted with the question: "Now What?" Perhaps, it's just not me, but the entire Church!
March 21: How is Pope Francis doing as he begins year four?
14: The Wisdom of God
Todays Gospel Reading is about the woman caught in adultery. Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives and the people assemble before him to be taught. While Jesus is there, the Jewish elders come along and present the woman in question to Jesus. The elder's intention is to entrap Jesus so that they can bring a charge against him. They ask Jesus if the woman should be stoned as according to the law of Moses for her adultery. After some time passes, Jesus says to the elders, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." The woman is not condemned by them or Jesus. I just love when the Wisdom of God Triumphs!
March 7: The National Catholic Reporter tells readers that 2 essays appear in the semi-official newspaper of the Vatican, known as L'Osservatore Romano, and these essays suggest women ought to be preaching at mass. The essays are written by two religious sisters of the Dominican Order, an order whose charism is preaching.
The fact that these essays were printed in a "semi-official" newspaper of the Vatican, has some reviewers thinking that perhaps, Pope Francis, is testing the ecclesial waters with what would be a very liberal idea to Catholic Conservatives and Traditionalists. Although, it is thought by many an educated Catholic and Catholic Theologian that women did preach from the pulpit in the first thousand years of the Church. If you are so inclined, you can find an article by Maureen Fiedler in the National Catholic Reporter who gives her reaction to the printing of these essays in L'Osservatore Romano.
idea that women ought to be preaching at mass is
clearly around and as I have said, it is certainly, one of the
promising ways, that the RC Church can do justice for
women, but, also, support the longevity and relevancy of the
RC Church. Perhaps, the RC Church as an old wineskin
might be recreated as a new wineskin with women preaching.
I have said on numerous occasions, that this is THE direction
the RC Church must take and I am convinced that this is what
the Lord is asking the Church to do.
Feb 29: Today Jesus tells us that a "prophet is never accepted in their own country." Naturally, Jesus is referring to himself, but, this remains a undeniable truth. Thank God for the prophets in our midst.
Feb 22: Does Jesus Separate the Goats from the Sheep? Today's Gospel Reading tells us that Jesus Christ will separate the goats from the sheep. Simply stated: The Sheep are for Christ and the Goats are against Christ. The separation presumably takes place at a person's death and the goats are sent to the fires of hell, while the sheep are gathered with Christ in heaven. I am certain that this Gospel reading poses a great challenge for the Church and the world in general, as there seems to be a pervading belief that God forgives everyone and everything, and therefore, no one is left out of heaven. What do you think?
Feb 15: Does Jesus Separate the Goats from the Sheep? Today's Gospel Reading tells us that Jesus Christ will separate the goats from the sheep. Simply stated: The Sheep are for Christ and the Goats are against Christ. The separation presumably takes place at a person's death and the goats are sent to the fires of hell, while the sheep are gathered with Christ in heaven. I am certain that this Gospel reading poses a great challenge for the Church and the world in general, as there seems to be a pervading belief that God forgives everyone and everything, and therefore, no one is left out of heaven. What do you think?
Feb 8: Ash Wednesday is February 10th and so we begin another journey of self-examination about the "stuff" in our hearts and lives. May we be blessed with fresh insight and draw ever closer to Christ, a Christ, that suffered and died, so that "darkness" would not devour us.
Over the Demons: In
today's Gospel, Jesus drives the demons out of a man and sends
them into a herd of swine, who are forced off a
cliff. The man who had been tormented by the demons
was not only grateful for his liberating healing, but he
wanted to stay with Jesus. Jesus however,
instructs the man to remain living where he is and
to give testimony to what Jesus had done for him. The local
people were terrified of what Jesus had done and asked him to
leave. Clearly, Jesus had power over the demons and the
people were anxious to have him gone, as only God would have
the power to do such a thing, or perhaps, they thought, that
another evil power could do this work.
Perhaps, the people who witnessed this healing of a demoniac were afraid, but, we, ought to take solace in the understanding that God or Christ has the power over demons, darkness and evil. No matter how wicked things get in this world, the Lords leads us, his children, in triumphant procession, as Saint Paul says in 2 Corinthians, Chapter two, verses, 14-17.
Jan 25: Today is the Feast Day of the Conversion of St. Paul. Paul whose Jewish name was Saul, had been an enemy of the New Christian Movement. While on his way to Damascus, Saul encounters the "Risen Christ." How that experience looked, we really do not know, but, Saul very clearly hears Christ say to him, "Saul, Saul, Why are you persecuting me?"
What I find fascinating is the humble response of Saul/Paul. The scripture tells us that the understanding of the "things of heaven" are not revealed to the "learned and the wise", yet, here is the Lord, quite dramatically, appearing to a Jewish Religious Leader, that being Saul/Paul. That says to me, that Saul/Paul was fundamentally a person of faith, but, he needed divine intervention for divine re-direction.
I am quite certain I could make a list a mile long of the names of people, I wish would also have the "Road to Damascus" experience. Maybe then, we would have a world and a Church that changed for the better.
Jan 18: Today's gospel returns us to the subject of "New Wine and Old Wineskins". In the context of the Gospel.....Jesus was the New Wine and the Old Wineskin was Judaism. Jesus teaches that New Wine cannot be put into Old Wineskins...as the skins will burst and the new wine would be lost. Judaism could not possibly embrace this New Wine....being Jesus Christ....So? So, Judaism gives rise to Christianity and the People of the Way. However, what was a New Wineskin 2000 years ago is now very old, so old, I have to wonder and ponder, whether we require a new wineskin. The old wineskin I am referring to is the "Institutional RC Church." I admit, I do not know what a new wineskin for the Church would look like. Do you?
Jan 11: In today's Gospel, Jesus declares, "The Time is Fulfilled" and proceeds to call four more disciples. Jesus knows it is time for him to do the ministry and mission for which he was sent by his Father. Have you ever experienced "A Time Fulfilled" in your life? I suppose that's what New Years is about.....one year is complete....and another year begins. May you be open to the Lord's call as you enter 2016!
4: Following Jesus.
Today's Gospel reading tells us that Jesus chooses Andrew and Simon Peter as his disciples and he does so because they are wanting to follow him. I wonder if they would have signed on so eagerly if they had known of the journey ahead.
We do not know our road either, except that Jesus tell us to follow. As we begin the New Year of 2016, may we follow Jesus Christ more willingly and closely.