I Have Called You By Name

Easter Liturgy 2017

One morning when I was eight years old, my little sister banged on the bathroom door. She was about 1 at the time. She yelled, “Ashaa, Ashaa!” I quickly open the door and knelt down to look at her – with her footsy pjs and shock of uncombed curly hair. This was her first word. My name. Something shifted inside me and I felt love and pride. When she called my name (or the version she could manage), I felt a connection, I knew that we were sisters.

Names are important. We are called by different names all the time. We’ve been called bad names, nick names, labels given to us, and first and last names (perhaps mispronounced). Yet, we all hold onto a name that is entirely our own. The name that comes to mind when we contemplate our true selves. Maybe it’s the name your closest friends call you; a name not on your birth certificate; or the name your mom or grandma calls you (when she’s not mad at you). When you hear that name, perfectly pronounced, there is something inside that delights in being called by name. Continue reading

Exactly Who You Are Is Exactly What The World Needs

Baccalaureate Liturgy 2017

On this day before graduation, we gather to witness God’s blessings on this graduating class. It brings me so much joy to celebrate this group of young women who have stunned me by their brilliance, compassion, and amazing ability to choose just the right Pandora station! 

In the gospel today, Jesus inspires a movement of belovedness in his rousing call to remain rooted in love as we grow in love. Jesus reminds us that our rootedness in God’s love is the very source of personal and communal growth.

At this point in John’s gospel, Jesus saw straight through everyone’s front. He knew that love always rises above rhetoric. Jesus used a simple metaphor to get this across, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” The vine, the strongest root, is God. We are the branches, an extension of God.

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Sacred Dust, Divine Breath

Ash Wednesday 2017

Today we observe Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent – a 40 day period of wilderness wandering. Catholics and Christians around the world gather today to do exactly what we are doing here in this auditorium – return to God with our whole hearts, by marking our foreheads with ashes.

Lent may be my favorite time in the Church year. That may sound bizarre – to enjoy a time of rending hearts and reflecting on sin – so, let me explain. So many holidays are replete with novelty and consumerism: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Black Friday, overpriced gifts and greeting cards. But not Lent. There are no ugly Lent sweaters for sale on Amazon or heart shaped candies etched with words like, “repent,” or “fast!” Lent has retained a set-apart-ness that lends to its hallowed, sacred nature.   Continue reading