Reflection on Reflection

I preached at mass last night. It took me a bit to find my groove but when I found it I went with it. I shared about how the Baptism of Jesus is an affirmation of our belovedness from God. All else is centered around that belovedness. We are invited to take on the responsibility of our baptism to be people of reflection and people who are "priests prophets and kings" in ministry.

It came from me in passion, in authenticity, and with a bit of raw touch in my preacher voice, "I am a woman who swears too much, who is overweight, who has an angsty relationship with her mother, and yet I am beloved by God. This is the root of my ministry and the reason I stand before you and preach tonight."

I feel like it went well. After mass though, a woman (non student) came up to the priest and started quizzing him in a critical rather than curious tone, "I'm confused, I didn't think that women were allowed to preach. . . I thought the priest was supposed to give a homily and then they could say things...blah blah blah about not following the rules." She obviously doesn't know that cannon law states explicitly that the person who is most able in the community should be preaching...

What really saddens me about this woman, and why I am posting this, is that she is 1. working for her own self oppression. 2. Couldn't sort through her own critiques of the style of the liturgy while still really listening with her heart and let her belovedness become a reality for her. I wonder if the real fear is hearing that she is loved...a struggle for many...myself included.

Finally, I leave the experience with a better note another student came up to me in tears afterwards and said, "I have been struggling with my faith a lot, and this homily was the reason I was here tonight. Thank you." I thanked her for listening deeply. And that is rich.


  1. This is so beautiful, Rachel... and what a contrast in the two reactions. It is so sad to me that there are so many people who feel the need to grasp so tightly onto things and avoid risk in these ways...


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