Adaptation of Titus 3:1-7

Here is how I have come to understand today’s reading from Titus 3:1-7

Beloved:
We are reminded to be wise in challenging the control of authorities,
whether civil or religious.
Ordinarily, we are called to be obedient,
but we are equally called to be open to every good enterprise.
When it is necessary to challenge authority,
then, as in all our dealings with others,
we must slander no one, be peaceable, considerate,
exercising all graciousness toward everyone.
We need to humbly remember that we ourselves
can be foolish, disobedient, deluded,
slaves to various desires and pleasures.
Let us do our best, prayerfully, to avoid living in malice and envy,
hateful ourselves and hating one another.

For by the kindness and generous love
of God our Mother, Father and Savior –
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of God’s mercy –
we are saved, reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit of Wisdom,
richly poured out on us
through our gracious saving God,
so that we are justified by God’s grace
and heirs to eternal life.

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Adaptation of Titus 2:1-8, 11-14

How do I understand the second chapter of Titus? This was my meditation challenge from today’s reading. And I think I found the answer in these words of Paul’s to Titus, explaining that Paul’s purpose in writing was to guide them in how “to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age.” (Titus 2:12). And so, guided by Lady Wisdom, I dare to suggest what this might look like “in this age.”

Beloved:
This is consistent with sound doctrine:
that older men and women should be temperate, dignified,
self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance,
reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink,
teaching what is good,
so that they may train younger men and women
to love their partners and children,
to be self-controlled, chaste,
Cooperating in making good homes,
under the control of their love for each other,
so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Urge the younger men and women, similarly, to control themselves.
Those who would teach them and guide them must
show themselves as models of good deeds in every respect,
with integrity in their teaching, dignity, and sound speech
so that no opponent will have anything bad to say about us.

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of our great God,
who is our Father, Mother and Savior,
who delivered us from all lawlessness
so that we may be God’s own people,
eager to do what is good.

Based on Titus 1:1-9

This morning, as I meditated on the first nine verses of Paul’s letter to Titus, I imagined what I might write, were Lady Wisdom gracious enough to bless my humble service:

We, free women of God, our Lady Wisdom, and sisters of Jesus Christ
For the sake of the faith of God’s ignored ones
For the recognition of Her eternal truth
In the hope of Her eternal love –
The love that God, our gracious Lady Wisdom who is always truthful, promised before time began
Who through all time reveals Her word, though it be not spoken or written
In the proclamation of which, lately, we women are entrusted
By the command of God, our Wisdom and our Savior
To all our sisters and brothers of faith
Grace and peace from God our Mother and Jesus Christ our brother.

For this reason we are hearing the words of our Mother
Wherever we are, wherever we worship
So that we might set right what needs to be corrected.

Those who serve our needs of faith
Those who worship with us
Need not be blameless
Need not be married only once
Need not have perfect children
Need not be men
But, to serve as Lady Wisdom’s stewards
Must not be arrogant
Nor overly irritable
Nor abusers of themselves or others
Nor aggressive
Nor greedy for their own gain and pleasure
Those who serve as stewards for our Lady Wisdom
Must be hospitable, lovers of goodness, temperate
Striving always for justice, for holiness, for self-control
And must try, to the best of their ability
To hold fast to the true message
Though it has become more ignored than taught
So that they will be able to see themselves clearly,
To admonish others charitably and truthfully,
And to rebuke and reject narrow-minded arrogance
In interpreting the word of Wisdom.

Based on Luke 14: 15-24

Praying, I imagined myself dining with Jesus and I heard him say:
“Some will say,
‘Blessed is the one who consecrated the bread and wine in the Kingdom of God.’
But I tell you this:
God gave a great dinner to which She invited many.
But some priestly men stole many of the invitations
And secretly gave them to other men, only men,
whom they judged more worthy to be invited.
When the time for the dinner came,
God dispatched Her angel to say to those invited,
‘Come, everything is now ready.’
But one by one, the priestly men began to excuse themselves.
The first said to the messenger,
‘I have to hear confession and stay to free people from their sins;
I ask you, consider me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have to raise money to build a better church so people can come watch me worship God;
I ask you, consider me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have to say Mass to bring God to the people, and therefore I cannot come.’
And each woman said, ‘I did not receive my invitation,
But I would love to come.’
The angel went and reported this to God.
Then God in a rage commanded Her messenger,
‘Go out quickly into all the world
and bring in here the abused and the outcast, the ignored and the silenced.’
The angel reported, ‘Madam, your orders have been carried out and still there is room.’
God then ordered the messenger,
‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows
and invite everyone to come in that my home may be filled.
For, I tell you, none of those pompous priestly men who were invited will taste my dinner.'”

Based on Mark 12: 28b-34

I imagine myself, a poor woman who likes to write, asking Jesus,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
And Jesus replying, “The first is this:
Hear, O daughters of Israel!
YHWH, our God, the sovereign Lady Wisdom, is the only God.
You shall love the Lady Wisdom, our God, with all your heart,
With all your soul,
With all your mind,
And with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor,
Of whatever sex, race, color, creed, origin or lifestyle,
You shall love your neighbor,
Even though your neighbor hate you and harm you,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no commandment, no Canon Law, no hierarchy, no Pope
Greater than these.”

And what do I say to Jesus?
Can I echo the scribe of old,
“Well said, teacher. You are right in saying,
‘She is One and there is no other than She.’
And ‘to love Her with all my heart,
With all my understanding,
With all my strength,
And to love my neighbor as myself’
Is worth more than all offices and honors,
Worth more than all priests and deacons,
Worth more than all churches and liturgies.”

Would Jesus think my understanding true?
Would Jesus think my imaginings not far from the kingdom of God?

Could I then rest from questioning, from doubting, from anger?

Based on Luke 14: 7-11

To Roman Catholic priests:

You choose the places of honor everywhere
As if honor is always your due
But you will discover that it is the rejected, the outcast
And those you abused in body and soul
Who have the place of honor
At the banquet of the Lamb.
At that banquet, the Hostess will say to you,
“You must yield your place to these more distinguished guests. You were not invited to My banquet to be honored but to serve.”
And then you will proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place of service.

For God will humble your priestly hierarchy,
But the ones you humbled, abused, excluded,
She will exalt.

Adaptation of Wisdom 3: 1-9

The souls of the abused, the outcast, the denied are in the hand of God,
and no more abuse shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the arrogant, to be worthless;
and their abuse was thought an insignificant thing
and their leaving the church, their utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if by priests, men all, they were abused,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
though greatly abused, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God, Lady Wisdom, loves them
and finds them worthy of Herself.
As gold in the furnace, they suffered and She knew of it,
and as sacrificial offerings She took them to herself.
Now and in eternity they shall shine,
and shall dart about as sparks
burning through the stubble of deceitful clericalism;
they shall judge priests and rule over the hierarchy,
and Lady Wisdom shall be their God forever.
Those who trust in Her shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with Her in love:
because grace and mercy are with Her holy ones,
and Her care is with the abused, the outcasts, the denied.