The following excerpts are from the readings and homily from the Ordination of the first American Roman Catholic Womanbishop, Dana Reynolds who was ordained in Stuttgart, Germany on April 9, 2008.
LITURGY OF THE WORD
1st READING: Jeremiah 1:4-8
Now the word of YHWH came to me and said:
Before I formed you in the womb, I chose you.
Before you were born, I dedicated you.
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
I said, But Sovereign YHWH!
I don't know how to speak! I am too young!
But YHWH said,
Do not say, I am too young.
Now, go wherever I send you.
And say whatever I command you.
Do not fear anyone,
For I am with you to protect you.
It is YHWH who speaks.
GOSPEL: John 15: 9-17
As my Abba has loved me, so have I loved you.
Live on in my love.
And you will live on in my love if you keep my
commandments, just as I live on in Abba God's
love and have kept God's commandments.
I tell you all this that my joy may be yours,
and your joy may be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I
have loved you.
There is no greater love than to lay down one's
life for one's friends.
Reflection by Bishop Patricia Fresen
The readings about the call of Jeremiah and the Gospel from John both speak of being called, being chosen. Each of us is called and chosen, and for each of us, the call unfolds as our lives progress and we are often amazed - and sometimes dismayed - as we see what we are called to.
We nearly always resist the call, at least in the beginning, as Jeremiah did by saying that he was too young for the task of being a prophet to the nations. For us, as Roman Catholic womenpriests, the problem is hardly that we are too young (!) but rather that we are women, and both we ourselves and most others in the church have been conditioned to think that, as women, we cannot respond to God's call to priestly ministry.
We are called to the prophetic ministry of ordained women living a renewed model of priesthood, one of servant-leadership rather than one focused on hierarchy and power, and one of inclusiveness rather than exclusion.
Let us also remember, as we listen to the words of Jesus, that love is more important than anything else; a kind of love that is ready to "lay down one's life" for one's friends.
And truly, in joining Roman Catholic Womenpriests and being ordained, that is what we find ourselves called to do, day after day: "laying down" our lives for our friends, for our sisters and brothers in our RCWP communities and for those to whom we serve in the greater body of a renewed Roman Catholic church.