Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Pope Francls Put a Woman in Top Vatican Role, It Shows how Little Power They Have, by Celia Viggo Wexler

Pope Francis celebrates the New Year's day mass on Jan. 1 in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.Andrea Solaro / AFP - Getty Images
My Response:  While this is one small step forward, it is a long way toward the goal of treating women as equals in our Church. The full equality of women in every role is the voice of God in our time.  Women Priests are leading the way. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, https://arcwp.org

Recently, the Catholic Church took two small steps for womankind: This month, Pope Francis named the first woman to a managerial position in the Vatican’s most important office, the Secretariat of State. And in October, the world’s bishops suggested that Francis reconvene a commission he had created, at the urging of nuns, to study the ordination of women as permanent deacons — church ministers who are able to perform some of the duties of priests, but not to say Mass or hear confessions.
Yet these reforms only make clear how little power women hold in the church, where they constitute about half of Catholicism’s 1.2 billion adherents. Not only are women barred from ordination to the priesthood, they are not even allowed to vote at Vatican synods, convened to advise the pope about challenges facing the church.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Second Sunday Ordinary Time - Presiders: Jim Marsh, ARCWP, and Lindy Sanford, ARCWP

Second Sunday Ordinary Time (Year A) – January 19, 2020
Jim Marsh, ARCWP and Lindy Sanford, ARCWP

My friends, in the last four weeks, we have celebrated some awesome feasts beginning with the birth of Jesus (incarnation), the Holy Family, the visit of the Maji—the wise ones who could discern and see the sacred in their midst, and finally the Baptism of Jesus that initiated his public ministry, if you will. They are really feasts that celebrated each one of us: our unique incarnation of the sacred masculine and divine feminine, the holiness of our lives and families, our ability to be wise seekers and to discern the sacred even in the midst of life’s messiness and foibles, and finally, our own baptism which confirmed us as the “beloved(s) of God.”
And so, let us be attentive to the readings today which speak of our call to live out our baptism, and thus give testimony to Jesus as “followers of the Way.”

Opening Song: Glory to God by Marty Haugen 

Refrain:          Glory to God in the highest,
Glory to God in the highest,
Glory to God in the highest,
And peace to God’s people on earth!
We sing praises to you,
God of life, God of wonder,
Hearts filled with joy,
let our voices be thunder. Ref

Sing to Jesus, the Christ,
Word of life to the nations,
Raised up in glory
As our hope and salvation. Ref

In the Spirit we come
For the feast and the stories,
Speaking of God
In the pain and the glory. Ref (2x)

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading:              Isaiah 49:3, 5-6

The Holy One said to me:
“You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”

Thus, says YHWH, who formed me in the womb to be God’s Servant,
who destined me to bring back the children of Jacob and gather again the people of Israel:
“It is not enough for you to do my bidding,
to restore the tribes of Leah, Rachel, and Jacob
and bring back the survivors of Israel;
I will make you the light to the nations,
so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

These are the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah, and the community responds: AMEN!

Alleluia            Dennis

Gospel Reading:          John 1:29-34
The next day, catching sight of Jesus approaching, John exclaimed:
“Look, there’s God’s sacrificial lamb, who takes away the world’s sin!
This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘The one who comes after me ranks ahead of me, for this One existed before I did.’ I didn’t recognize him, but it was so that he would be revealed to Israel that I came baptizing with water.”

John also gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and she came to rest on him. I didn’t recognize him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘When you see the Spirit descend and rest on someone, that is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’

Now I have seen for myself and have testified that this is the Only begotten of God.”
These are the inspired words of John, the evangelist, and the community responds: AMEN!

Shared Homily:           Jim
Our first reading from Isaiah is the second of four beautiful “Suffering Servant” songs which is really poetry as Lynn pointed out last week.

Isaiah is speaking a word of hope to the Jewish people in exile; people who were hoping and praying for a Messiah, a liberator who would restore them to their homeland and a promise of being God’s people once again as a nation with a rebuilt Temple. Exile is not the end of God’s vision or story!

It’s really not clear whether this servant is an individual or the corporate body of Israel. The Holy One (God) says ‘I formed this servant from the womb, to be an instrument of God’s glory, a light to the nations, so that salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’ It’s a very large order or mission—it’s not just about themselves being restored. Why not? Because this gives them and us a glimpse about God, the Holy One. God’s story and vision is always bigger than ours and God cannot be boxed in. The Jewish people are beginning to discern that their God, the Holy One, is not a tribal deity. I AM is the God of the entire cosmos!

John’s Gospel, unlike the synoptics, does not actually have the scene of John baptizing Jesus in the Jordan. John’s Gospel is clearly about establishing who Jesus really was beginning with his Prologue.

And then along comes Jesus, who really was an “unknown,” so much so that his own cousin John the Baptizer doesn’t recognize him if it were not for the sign of the dove and God’s voice speaking after he reluctantly agrees to baptize him which we heard in last week’s account from Matthew. Upon seeing Jesus, John testifies “Behold, the Lamb of God.” This is certainly a phrase that countless Christians have heard and probably led to what we call “atonement theology.” We’re not going there, but it’s interesting to note that this is the only place in the entire Bible where this phrase is used.

What did John the Baptist or the evangelist John mean by it? Did it sound odd to those first hearers? Lambs are often a symbol of gentleness, meekness and docility. How could this be a description for a Messiah who would conquer, vindicate, restore and liberate? Yet the very next day, two of John’s disciples decide to check out Jesus and end up following him; hence, the call.

If we think about it, the story of the Jewish people (God’s chosen ones) is a story of unlikely servants being called and raised up …. Abram and Sarah, Moses and Miriam, David, Saul, Deborah, Judith, Rahab, and the list goes on and on.

And the Holy One continues to call women and men who often balk and hesitate before responding. We have seen prophets in our own lifetime. Tomorrow, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King who challenged the power structure that ‘baptized the status quo’ of discrimination, oppression and injustice in this country. Just yesterday, we saw hundreds of thousands across this country take to the streets as part of the fourth Women’s March which focused on reproductive rights, climate change and immigration. Some of our ARCWP prophetic priests in Sarasota remind us to “wake up, pay attention, be people of integrity, vote your conscience and do what’s right for all, not just yourself.” “The time is Now” to act prophetically and courageously, says Joan Chittister in her recent book by the same title.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that we are empowered by the Spirit of the Holy One, by our baptism to “live justly and love tenderly.” Being a “follower of the Way” is an active lifetime enterprise of being a witness to Jesus. However, let us do this humbly and ever so respectful of those other pathways of revelation and encounter as expressed by our Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist neighbors. Remember God and God’s vision cannot be neatly boxed in or up.

So, I ask you: Who first pointed out Jesus to you and what did you hear today?

Statement of Faith       Lindy  (found on page 37)

We believe in the Holy One, a divine mystery 
beyond all definition and rational understanding, 
the heart of all that has ever existed, 
that exists now, or that ever will exist.

We believe in Jesus, messenger of the Divine Word, 
bringer of healing, heart of Divine compassion, 
bright star in the firmament of the Holy One's prophets,
mystics, and saints.

We believe that We are called to follow Jesus, 
as a vehicle of divine love, 
a source of wisdom and truth, 
and an instrument of peace in the world.

We believe in the Spirit of the Holy One, 
the life that is our innermost life, 
the breath moving in our being, 
the depth living in each of us.

We believe that the Divine kin-dom is here and now, 
stretched out all around us for those 
with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, 
and hands to make it happen. 

Liturgy of the Eucharist (Written by Jay Murnane)

Lindy:             As we prepare for the sacred meal, we lay our stoles upon the table as a sign that just as Jesus is anointed so is each of us.  We bring to this table our blessings, cares, and concerns. (Please
feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words, “I bring to the table…”) 
end with We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen

Jim:     Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together.  

All:                  God beyond our words,
we gather to give thanks and open our awareness to the goodness of all of creation. You invite us to co-create with you and we remember our responsibility to serve.

We open this circle to the memory of all of the joyful troubadours and faithful servants who have gone before us. Joined with all that is alive, we lift up our lives and sing:

Blessed be our God! 
Blessed be our God!  
Joy of our hearts, source of all life and love!  
God of Heaven and Earth! 
God of Heaven and Earth! 
Dwelling within, calling us all by name!  
Alleluia, sing! 
Alleluia, sing! 

Gift of love and peace!
Gift of love and peace!
Jesus Christ, Jesus our hope and light!
A flame of faith in our hearts!
A flame of faith in our hearts!
Proclaiming the day, shining throughout the night!
Alleluia, sing!
Alleluia, sing!
           (Alleluia Sing by David Haas) 
All:                  We thank you for Jesus, simple servant, lifting up the lowly, revealing you as God-With-Us, and revealing us as one with you and all of creation.
                                    Presiders go to table
On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the people closest to him. Like the least of household servants, he washed their feet, so that they would re-member him.

Lindy:  lifts bread as community prays the following
When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the Passover bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying: 
Take and eat of the Bread of Life 
Given to strengthen you  
Whenever you remember me like this  
I am among you.                     (pause) 

Jim:  lifts the cup as community prays the following
Jesus then raised a cup of blessing, spoke the grace saying: 
Take and drink of the covenant 
Made new again through my life in you. 
Whenever you remember me like this, 
I am among you.                     (pause)

Let us share this bread and cup to proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace.
All:      We are willing to do everything Jesus did, to re-create the living presence of a love that does justice, of a compassion that heals and liberates, of a joy that generates hope, of a light that illumines people and confronts the darkness of every injustice and inequity.
So, we trust you to continue to share with us your own spirit, the spirit that animated Jesus, for it is through his life and teaching, all honor and glory is yours, O Holy One, forever and ever. Amen.

Lindy: Let us pray as Jesus taught us
O Holy One, who is within, around and among us, 
We celebrate your many names. 
Your Wisdom come. 
Your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us, 
Each day you give us all we need; 
You remind us of our limits, and we let go. 
You support us in our power, and we act with courage. 
For you are the dwelling place within us,  
the empowerment around us, 
and the celebration among us, now and forever.  Amen     (Miriam Therese Winter) 

Prayer for the Breaking of Bread

Jim:  Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread:
Presiders break the bread
All:      O Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.
You call us to be Your presence in the world. We will love tenderly.
You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.
Presiders hold up bread and wine and say together:
This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing.
Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other.

All:      What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives;
as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.

Lindy:            Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive and all are welcome to share at this friendship table. You are a spark of the Divine and nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Please pass the gluten-free bread and the non-alcohol cup of blessing with the words: You are the Face of God.

Jim:   Our Communion Meditation Song is Litany of Peace by Barbara Bridge

God of love, your gift of peace is planted deep within our hearts
Refrain: Make me and instrument of your peace. (2x)
God of peace, wherever there is hatred, may be bring your love.
                        Refrain: Make me and instrument of your peace. (2x)
May we bring your hope and gladness where despair and sadness are:
                        Refrain: Make me and instrument of your peace. (2x)
May we seek to understand another with a patient heart:
                        Refrain: Make me and instrument of your peace. (2x)
Faithful God, wherever there is darkness, may we bring your light:
                        Refrain: Make me and instrument of your peace. (2x)
God of mercy, help us to forgive when there is injury done:
                        Refrain: Make me and instrument of your peace. (2x)
Gracious God, whenever people hunger, may we fill their need:
                        Refrain: Make me and instrument of your peace. (2x)
Set us free from all our fear and anger; set us free to love:
                        Refrain: Make me and instrument of your peace. (2x)
Lindy:  Let us extend our hands and bless each other:
All:                  May we continue to be the face of God to each other.
May we call each other to extravagant generosity!
May we walk with an awareness of our Call as companions on the journey,
knowing we are not alone.
May we, like Jesus, be a shining light and a blessing in our time! Amen.

Jim:     Our Closing Song: We Are Marching in the Light of God 

We are marching in the light of God (4x)
We are marching, oh ohhhh!
We are marching in the light of God. (2x)

We are living in the love of God (4x)
We are living, living,
We are living, oh ohhhh!
We are living in the love of God. (2x)

We are moving in the power of God (4x)
We are moving, moving,
We are moving, oh ohhhh!
We are moving in the power of God. (2x)

Repeat Verse 1