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House of Prayer for All People

20th Sunday A. 2023

Isaiah 56:1,6-7, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples”

Romans 11;13-15, 29-32

Matthew 15:21-28

A virtuous woman dies, goes to heaven, and finds everything she expected: picturesque landscapes, perfect sunsets, and infinite tranquility and serenity. Only one thing puzzles her: a high wall, far off in the distance, that climbs almost to the clouds.

“What’s behind that wall?” she asks one of the angels.

“Oh, that’s where we put the Catholics,” the angel replies. “They think they’re the only ones up here.”

*Taken From internet August 2023

It is not easy to be a house of prayer for all people. As a country, as a religion and as a parish it is not easy to be a house of prayer for all people. The three readings today reflect the struggle for diversity, justice, union and friendship in the Christian community. For the parish of OLPH, our mission statement is how we hope to be God’s house of prayer for all people.

In 2023-24 we use terms such as sexism, white nationalism, religious bias, prejudice, and even conspiracies to name the un-clean spirits that seek to demolish God’s house of prayer.

These “is

m’s” make it difficult for many people to be in action on behalf of building a house of prayer for all people.

For this reason, God raises up womanist theologians like this Canaanite woman. Her prophetic testimony and hands-on-her hips faith, in the face of cultural, racial, gender and religious rejection leads directly to St. Paul becoming the Apostle of the rejected. Indeed, God’s house will be a house of prayer for all people.

I do experience OLPH as God’s “house of prayer for all people.” When our communities come together celebrating the sacraments of Holy Communion, Penance, Confirmation and the Easter mysteries and when we engage in acts of justice and charity together, we build and strengthen that house of prayer. When we celebrate together at St. Nick’s church next Saturday, we testify that we are that house of prayer for all people.

In this

year of 2023-24 God gives us the prophetic testimony and great faith of these six African Americans who, despite cultural, racial, gender and religious rejection were great in their faithfulness as Catholics and Americans.

Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman (1937-1990)

Servant of God Julia Greeley born between 1833-1848-died 1918)

Venerable Mother Mary Lange (1787-1882

Venerable Mother Henriette DeLille (1812-1862)

Venerable Father Augustus Tolton(1854-1897)

Venerable Pierre Toussaint (1766-1853)

Because of their womanist theology and militant love, they have made God’s Catholic House in America, a house of prayer for all people. I invite you to pray that they be advanced to the glory of official sainthood so that they can advance God’s Kingdom throughout the world.

These six, repeatedly and persistently prayed with hands on hips, for God’s blessings on the American Catholic Church; a Church tormented by a demon.

That demon is very hungry today. That demon the Book of Revelations tells us, is a huge red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven (red caps) crowns. That demon is a dragon that stands hungerly before every woman who is about to give birth. That demon who is a dragon will rule the nation with an iron rod.

Therefore, let us contend with this dragon in acts of justice and in prayer, even as these six so contended. Let us draw strength from their prayer, their acts of justice and their heroic friendship.

They now dance the victory dance with Jesus in God’s heavenly house of prayer for all people, because even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the master’s table.

Womanist theology is a methodological approach to theology which centers the experience and perspectives of Black women, particularly African-American women. The first generation of womanist theologians and ethicists began writing in the mid to late 1980s, and the field has since expanded significantly. Wikipedia 8/19/2023

WOMANIST THEOLOGY is a form of reflection that places the religious and moral perspectives of Black women at the center of its method. Issues of class, gender (including sex, sexism, sexuality, and sexual exploitation), and race are seen as theological problems.

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