12th Sunday in Ordinary Time Discussion Questions

A Conversation with the Weekend Readings Theme: Do Not Be Afraid June 16 2020 First Reading: Jeremiah 20: 10-13 Second Reading: Romans 5:12-15 Gospel: Matthew 10: 26-33          Discussion Questions                         1)     Our first reading is from the Book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was born in 650 BC to a world in the midst of war. Jerusalem (the Temple) was destroyed in 587 BC and many of the Jewish people were sent into exile.  Jeremiah (sometimes called “the weeping prophet”) warned the community of the coming consequences of their sinful behavior.   What wars are we in the midst of today? What sinful social behaviors do we need to address today? As baptized Christians, we are called to the role of a prophet – how can we use our “voice” to warn others of these unavoidable consequences? What scares you most about current world events? 2)     In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, we are told that through one man (Adam) death entered the world and subsequently,

One Body, Many Voices by Barbara Billey - Feast of Corpus Christi

One Body, Many Voices by Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey, Priest ARCWP Heart of Compassion Faith Community, Windsor, ON, Canada (15 June 2020) Judy Chappus, Artist Since January 2020, I've been helping ARCWP bishop Michele Birch-Conery write her memoir. I'm fascinated by the precision with which she recalls narratives going as far back as her early childhood. I'm a poor historian. My mind mostly moves in fast-forward with more ideas that I'd like to manifest than my entire life will allow. My Mom was like this, too. She would ask about our plans for Christmas during our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner in mid-October. Before she died from cancer two years ago, I would ask her to tell me stories about my childhood, but she could only remember a few, like the time I didn't follow her command to stay away from the wringer washing machine (now I'm dating myself). An ever precocious child, Mom was on the phone with a friend when I decided to see what would happen if I inse

Feast of Corpus Christi Discussion Questions

A Conversation with the Weekend Readings Theme: Feast of Corpus Christi  First Reading: Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14b-16a Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Gospel: John 6:51-58                         1)     Our first reading is from the Book of Deuteronomy. The word deuteronomy translated means, second law . It is from this book that the great commandment to Love God with all your heart and soul is proclaimed.  In the Book of Leviticus, the law to love your neighbor as yourself is found.  When Jesus gives us the two great commandments, he is pulling from both of these Hebrew texts  (Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18)  In the Hebrew tradition, it is common to have a mezuzah on the doorpost (the word means doorpost) with the Deuteronomy passage in it as a constant reminder that to love God and one another is the foundation of the entire law.  In the first reading for today we heard the words, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from God.” What does th

The Trinity is Not a Straight Line - Barbara Billey

The Trinity is Not a Straight Line Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey, Priest ARCWP Heart of Compassion Faith Community, Windsor, Ontario, Canada (06 June 20) Trinity Spiral, Barbara Billey, artist A bat infects a rat with Covid-19, a virus more powerful than any oppressive political leader, grips us in exile from one another through self or imposed isolation. We are unable to touch people whom we love. We are taken from jobs that provide financial security. We are unable to pray and socialize in ways that nourish us. The simple and meaningful gesture of a handshake, a hug or kiss can put our lives in peril. During our Covid-19 pandemic, I appreciate more fully the plight of the Israelites of Hebrew Scripture. As they leave Egypt and cross the barren desert for forty years, they are led by Shekhinah, the Divine Feminine Presence of God. Shekhinah, the Hebrew Word for dwelling or settling, denotes the Divine Feminine in our midst. She first appears in the Book of Genesis, especially pres

Feast of the Holy Trinity Discussion Questions

Conversation with the Weekend Readings   Obedience to Love Trinity Sunday First Reading: EXODUS 34:4b-6,8-9 Second Reading: 1 COR 13:11-13 Gospel: JOHN 3:16-18  Discussion Questions 1)     In the book of Exodus, we find the great story of liberation.   Moses’ call to lead his people out of slavery and into freedom to journey towards the promised land.   His encounter with the burning bush – the fire of the Holy Spirit. Last week we discussed the relationship between the Passover Meal and the Last Supper (the Jewish-Christian relationship).   This week the Scripture reading is pretty simple, God comes down to Moses in a cloud and reveals God is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and faithful to creation.   How does this image of God in the Book of Exodus differ from the “Old Testament” image we have of a God who is angry, vengeful, jealous, and willing to abandon us?  How do you reconcile in your own faith practice, these two seemingly distinct i

Our Pentecost Fire - Assignment 2 Barbara Billey

Our Pentecost Fire by Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey, Priest ARCWP Heart of Compassion Faith Community, Windsor, Ontario, Canada (01 June 2020)   “The dove descending breaks the air With flame of incandescent terror Of which the tongues declare The one discharge from sin and error. The only hope, or else despair Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre- To be redeemed from fire by fire. Who then devised the torment? Love. Love is the unfamiliar Name Behind the hands that wove The intolerable shirt of flame Which human power cannot remove. We only live, only suspire Consumed by either fire or fire.” ―  T.S. Eliot,  Four Quartets T.S. Eliot wrote this poem after he converted to Christianity. For him, the Holy Spirit is the central fire that redeems humankind from the fires of hell. I'm not a proponent of the dualistic theology of heaven and hell; however, how do we make sense of a senseless hell that has taken place during the past week in the US where a black men, George Floyd

Toni-Kay: Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The questions posed, Which of these Gifts of the Holy Spirit are most needed in our world today?  Our Church?  Why? Frank X. Blisard shares in "Catholic Answers" (June, 2020)  St. Thomas Aquinas' view of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: "Wisdom  is both the knowledge of and judgment about “divine things” and the ability to judge and direct human affairs according to divine truth. Understanding  is penetrating insight into the very heart of things, especially those higher truths that are necessary for our eternal salvation —in effect, the ability to “see” God.  Counsel  allows a man to be directed by God in matters necessary for his salvation. Fortitude  denotes a firmness of mind in doing good and in avoiding evil, particularly when it is difficult or dangerous to do so, and the confidence to overcome all obstacles, even deadly ones, by virtue of the assurance of everlasting life. Knowledge  is the ability to judge correctly about matters of faith an