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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

November 19, 2023: We must create a Community where each person shares their gifts: & Announcements

Sunday, November 19, 2023: We must create a Community where each person is encouraged to share their gifts

A reflection by Jim Fredericks:

Recently, I spoke at some length with a woman who is suffering greatly. She opened her heart to me as we sat in the back of the church. She is in her sixties and her children are grown up and have left home. She has lived here in Sonoma for almost 30 years but doesn’t speak English. She was born on a rancho in Jalisco and, as is often the case, had to leave school and go to work to support her family after only a few years of grammar school.

When she watches her grandchildren use their iPhones and surf the internet, she senses that there is a world that she knows nothing about – a world from which she has been excluded.

“Padre, I feel left behind (dejada).”

This woman feels that she is useless and of no consequence.

Pope Francis speaks often about our modern “throw-away” culture where some people are pushed aside as useless and of no consequence.

The Bible requires us to recognize the innate dignity of every single human being, no matter how useless they might be in the eyes of the world.

The Church needs to be a community dedicated to building a society where every human being has an opportunity to contribute to the common good and where the gifts of all are recognized and celebrated.

This is the vision of the Church within which we should be thinking about the leadership women.

If the Church is called to help build a world where everyone has an opportunity to serve in accordance with their abilities, then we need to be a community where the gifts of women are recognized and supported.

The first reading extols the virtues of a worthy wife.

She works with “loving hands” not only at the spindle, but also in reaching out to the poor and the needy.

Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting;the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her a reward for her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

I know many women who are like this “worthy wife.”

Take for example, Phoebe. This is what the Apostle Paul said of her in his letter to the Romans:

I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a minister* of the church at Cenchreae, that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the holy ones, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a benefactor to many and to me as well.

Cenchreae was one of the ports for the city of Corinth and Paul was preaching in Corinth when he wrote his Letter to the Romans. Most scripture scholars think that Phoebe was Paul’s currier: she brought the letter from Corinth to Rome.

This is why he mentions her at the end of the letter.

In his letter, Paul goes out of his way to say that Phoebe is a “minister of the church.” The word Saint Paul uses for this in ancient Greek is diakanos.

Phoebe was a deacon.

In the Gospel for today, Jesus tells us a parable:

A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one--to each according to his ability.

Then he went away.

You know the story. When the master gets back, he rewards the servant who did the most with the money he was given. The servant who did the least with his resources was punished.

The message is clear: God expects us to make something of the gifts we have been given no matter what our gifts happen to be.

Jesus parable should be read as a challenge to the Church today. We must create a Church where everyone can make something of their gifts. We can start to build such a Church by finding ways to recognize the gifts we have been given and providing opportunities for our people to make a contribution to the common good of us all.

Deacons do lots of things. They preach at mass and minister to the sick. They celebrate weddings and they accompany the poor.

I know lots of women who would be able to do such things well.

The time for ordaining women, once again, has come.

Announcement #1: From Therese

Hello Dear Friends,

The devastation of Gaza continues and we will meet again on Sunday to stand together in support of our sisters and brothers who are facing unbelievable hardships, destruction, and death. They need to know that millions of people around the world, including us, do not forget their suffering, even as many governments add to their agony. It's the least we can do for all the innocents who are having to bear the unbearable. Sunday 2-3:30 PM in Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa Join us and bring a friend. Together we are stronger when we demand a CEASEFIRE NOW!

Therese (for NCCP)

Announcement #2 from Victoria: From the Federation of Christian Ministries: Please invite your community members to the last FCM Webinar for 2023. Here are the details. FCM Webinar from the FCM Communities Committee Not Just Happy or Sad on November 27 at 8pm ET
What is bipolar disorder? Many think they understand what life is like for those who are diagnosed with this condition.
Here's the ZOOM link: What is bipolar disorder? Many think they understand what life is like for those who are diagnosed with this condition. Although there are certain characteristics of bipolar disorder, the way it is experienced varies widely. Mark Bernecker and Q Hailey will present the facts about the characteristics of Bipolar I and Bipolar II, the role of trauma, and personal experience with bipolar disorder as examples. Also, you and your members can find the recording of October's webinar, Who am I? at
This webinar includes important information about social media and its impact on our lives Blessings and peace! FCM Communities Committee

Announcement #3 A new book from John Dear:

Dear friends of the Beatitudes Center, Blessings of Christ’s peace to you!

The other day, the first copy of my new book arrived, The Gospel of Peace: A Commentary on Matthew, Mark, and Luke from the Perspective of Nonviolence. It’s the culmination of my life’s work studying and teaching the nonviolence of Jesus, and I see it as a companion project to the Beatitudes Center for the Nonviolent Jesus.

In my introduction, I try to explain Gandhi and King’s teachings on nonviolence, and their belief that Jesus was the greatest person of nonviolence in history, that all his teachings and actions were rooted in total, loving nonviolence, and that this is the calling of every Christian, indeed, every human being. We have so thoroughly rejected and buried this Gospel truth that it almost seems impossible to us, yet it’s right there in every line of the Gospels, if you read it from the perspective of nonviolence.

I start with Matthew, where Jesus is presented as the new Moses who fulfills the law and the prophets, offers the new commandments of nonviolence in the Sermon on the Mount, and then proceeds to live and model those commandments. Then we move on to Mark as an action thriller of nonviolence, where Jesus engages in non-stop nonviolent resistance to systemic injustice and empire. In Luke, we hear a call to service, compassion, and solidarity with the poor, as Jesus acts like a classic movement organizer, like Gandhi and King. He launches a grassroots campaign of nonviolence to Jerusalem, by sending out 72 disciples, trained in active nonviolence, as “lambs into the midst of wolves” until he arrives in Jerusalem and engages in civil disobedience in the Temple. Not only is Jesus meticulously nonviolent through his action, arrest, trial, torture, and execution, but in his resurrection, he returns to his friends as gentle and nonviolent as ever and sends them forth to carry on his global grassroots campaign of nonviolence to the ends of the earth.

In January, I embark on a 55 city, 5 month national speaking tour about the book and I hope to meet many of you along the way. I invite you today to order the book (if you go to, you will see a link to the book tour, and how to order the book at half price, by calling Orbis Books at 1-800-258-5835 and giving them the Beatitudes Center discount code, “JDT.”)

I also encourage you to write a review on, because that’s the number one way now to bring attention to any book in our culture. As the nation and the world sink deeper into the spiral of violence and destruction, I’m hoping we can deepen our practice and commitment to Gospel nonviolence.

On Dec. 9th, my friend Jonathan Montaldo will offer an advent meditation on Thomas Merton’s teachings on prayer and peace;

on January 6th, author Jonathan Eig will tell us about his mammoth new biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.;

on Feb. 10th, Sr. Anne McCarthy will discuss our friend Sr. Mary Lou Kownacki’s Spirituality of nonviolence, then I will offer a three weekend Lenten course on my book (Feb. 21, Feb. 28, March 6th), one program on each of the Synoptic Gospels from the perspective of nonviolence.

Hope to see you along the way, and hope you like the book! Write me and let me know what you think of it! For info, see

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