Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community: Fourth Sunday of Advent with Alicia Bartol-Thomas and Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP Co-Presiders

Alicia Bartol-Thomas sings Ave Maria in preparation for our Advent Liturgy
Linda Lee Miska on piano

Meditation for Fourth Sunday of Advent: Homily Starter
"Birthing Christ Today"
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Let us begin our meditation today by relaxing our bodies and breathing slowly and deeply…
Be aware of any tension in your body… breathe relaxation into this area…
As you breathe in and out be conscious of our Mothering God’s liberating, healing  presence within you ….
With St. Julian of Norwich, be aware that God is as really our Mother as God is our father...our tender Mother Jesus …gives us a glimpse of the Godhead and heavenly joy---the inner certainty of eternal bliss…

As you exhale, allow the freeing power of God’s nurturing love to flow out of you … St. Clare of Assisi, who was called the “Footprint of the Mother of God”, understood that her vocation was to be the mother of Jesus Christ, following the example of Mary.
The mystical teaching of spiritual motherhood invites us, women and men,  like Mary, to bring forth Christ in the world…
Every disciple, like Mary, is called to do the will of God…to say yes to being a Living Word of God in our world… By doing so each of us becomes a mother of Christ each day…
 In Galations 4:19 St. Paul affirms: “My little children with whom I am again in labor until Christ has become incarnate in you…

In a world where many people are frustrated and in spiritual crisis, where there is hatred, abuse and violence, get in touch with the life giving forces and loving power within you to heal,  bless and give life…
Reflect on the anxiety that Mary faced as a young, pregnant and unmarried woman…
Be aware that today US teenagers become pregnant at the rate of about one a minute 82% of teenage births are unplanned…

Imagine Mary, a poor person, a symbol of comfort, power and strength for the disinherited, coming back to earth today. What do you think she would say to you? to young pregnant women?  What would she say to us about poverty, birth control,  injustice, racism, sexism?

The medieval mystic Meister Eckhardt once said that we are all called to be mothers of God… We are called to be Mary… Be aware of ways that you called to birth the Christ Presence in our world…

Remember always that God is with you. Blessed are you…
Nothing is impossible with God…

(Recommended Reading “Bringing Forth Christ, “Feasts of the Child Jesus” St. Bonaventure translated by Eric Doyle.)

Let us close our meditation with an Advent Prayer
by Jay Murnane

Living One, you are continually creating the universe,
continually giving birth to all of us.
We sense the need to do the same,
to set ourselves free from a sense of emptiness and barren hopelessness.

The signs of our times are frightening
and often we hear only the confusing sounds of Babel -
all the lies and the anguished cries
of a wounded earth and its wounded creatures.

Your wisdom invites us to draw on our tradition,
as old as the stars,
shining through Sarah and Abraham,
shining through your prophets in every age and every culture,,
shining through
Miriam of Nazareth.
If we can blend that enlightening, enlivening tradition
with what we are,
we can risk fidelity to a dream:

Filled with your spirit, we can give birth in our day
to your living word,
for the sake of hope
enfleshed in
creativity and confrontation,
healing and reconciliation,
universal and unconditional love.

Let it be!

Dialogue Homily Questions:

1.     How can we give birth to God in the world today?
2.     What would Mary say about family planning, poverty, and the oppression of women today?
MMOJ Community Offertory Procession

MMOJ Community gathers around table to celebrate inclusive Eucharist with presiders
Alicia Bartol-Thomas and Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Liturgy for Advent/Christmas


Opening Song
Advent: Carol At The Manger,
Marty Haugen
Christmas: "O Come All Ye Faithful"

PresiderNurturing God, you became human in Jesus and showed us how to live life fully. You know what it means to laugh and cry, to walk and talk, to love and be loved. We know that your mothering presence is always with us. May we, like Mary, rejoice as we give birth to God within us, and may we give birth to God in everything we say and do.  ALL:  Amen.

ALL:  Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.  O loving God, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.  O Jesus Christ, holy Child of our loving God; You fill us with joy in your presence. You who are with our God, receive our prayer.  For you alone are the Holy One; you alone are Messiah.  You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ; with the Holy Spirit in the glory of God.  Amen.

First Reading
Second Reading
Gospel Acclamation:  ALLELUIA!  (sung)
Reader: A reading from the Gospel according to ...   ALL:  Glory to you O God.
Reader:  The good news of Jesus, the Christ!
ALL:  Glory and praise to you, Jesus the Christ!
Dialogue HOMILY

Profession of Faith:  ALL:  We believe in God who is creator and nurturer of all. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who is our love, our hope, and our light. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to build caring communities and to challenge injustices.  We believe in the communion of saints our heavenly friends, who support us on life’s journey.  We believe in the partnership and equality of women and men in our church and world.  We believe that all are one in the community of creation. We believe that God who calls us to live fully, love tenderly, and serve generously.  Amen.

Presider:  For a deeper coming of Christ in our world, let us pray.  
Response: Nurturing God, hear us.
Presider:  That we may experience the coming of God anew in our lives, we pray.  R.  Presider:  That people who suffer from destitution and despair may experience the mothering comfort of God we pray.  R.
Presider:  That the sick and suffering may receive the nurturing, healing love of God, we pray.  R.  Presider:  That those who have died may rest in God's eternal embrace, we pray.  R.
(Other Intentions)

Presider:  Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation. 
ALL:  Blessed be God forever.
Presider:  God is with you.  ALL: And also with you.  Presider:  Lift up your hearts.  ALL:  We lift them up to God.  Presider:  Let us give thanks to our God.

Voice One:  Mothering God, you brought forth all creation from your Life-Giving Womb. O Love of the Ages, we praise you and leap for joy in your presence.

Voice Two: Holy One of ancient Israel, you revealed yourself in Mary's womb, in a shining star, in humble shepherds, in a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. You embrace us with infinite love in every situation and relationship. You dwell in the depths of our hearts.

Voice Three: We invite you this day to deepen our awareness of your boundless love as we gather around the table of abundant life. With grateful hearts, we proclaim your praise:

ALL:  Holy, Holy, Holy, Creator of heaven and earth.  All beings are pregnant with your glory. Hosanna in the Highest. Blessed are you who  dwell in all things. Hosanna in the Highest.

Voice FourPraise to you, all-giving God, born of Mary. You are the body and blood of woman. We glorify you, nurturing God for the dawning of the sacred promise of God's Anointed, fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ.

Voice Five: We celebrate the birth of Jesus, our newborn Emmanuel , who came to give us the fullness of life. During this holy season we share the bread of freedom and lift the cup of salvation.  

(raise hands toward bread and wine for Invocation of the Holy Spirit)
All:  Come Holy Spirit deepen your Presence within us and in these gifts of bread and wine, that they may become the Body of Christ.
Presider:  As Jesus gave birth to the New Covenant, he took bread, gave thanks, broke the bread, and shared it with all those present saying:
ALL: Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body.
PresiderThen Jesus took a cup of wine, blessed you, Loving God,  shared the cup with all those present saying:
ALL: Take this all of you and drink from the covenant, poured out for you and for everyone. Do this in memory of me.
Presider:  Let us proclaim the sacred presence of our nurturing God:
ALL: Christ, by your life, death and rising, you have blessed us with abundance that will never end.

Second Invocation of the Holy Spirit: (Place hands on each other's shoulder)
All: God of all people, You call us "beloved." Give us courage to accept your faith in us and to live your compassion in the world. You infuse us with Sophia, Holy Wisdom, to serve you in the last and the least.

Voice Six:  As we wait with joyful hearts for the fulfillment of your loving presence in our lives, we remember the prophet,martyrs and saints who have gone before us: Deborah, Isaiah, Mary of Magdala, Peter, Martha, Bishop Oscar Romero, Ita Ford, Maura Clark, Jean Donovan and all those we remember as heros and heroines in our church who inspire us today. (Community names mentors whom they want to remember, living and dead. This list is only partial. Each community needs to create their own according to custom and culture.)
Voice Seven:  God of our dreams, may we give birth to the Word Made Flesh in us everyday. May we give birth to the church of our dreams and hopes. May we give birth to a deep reverence for earth and live in harmony with all creatures on the earth.

ALL:  Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, all praise and glory are yours, Holy God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

ALL:  Our Father and Mother ...

Presider:   Let us join hands and hearts and pray for peace in our world as we sing “Peace is flowing like a River”, love, joy, alleluia…., or other suitable hymn

ALL:   Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power.  We will do so.  Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will do so.  Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world.  We will do so. 

Presider:   This is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, loving us forever. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.  ALL: May we be who we are the Body of Christ.   
Presider:  Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ!   ALL:  Amen.

Sing a favorite Advent or Christmas song such as "Silent Night" or "Away in the Manger" etc.


Birthing a new creation.
What are we birthing?
Wisdom and justice,
Peace and compassion,
Concern for all God’s little ones,
For the homeless and the destitute,
The hungry, and all who bear the brunt
Of indifference and oppression.

What are we birthing?
A deep respect for our planet ,
Its windsong and its waters,
Its topsoil and its forests,
And a oneness with the wilderness
That is image of our soul.
What are we birthing?
An unbreakable bond in the Spirit
That binds as one - all brothers and sisters,
Transcending class, color, culture,
Religion, race and gender.

(adapted from A Psalm of Bringing to Birth by Miriam Therese Winter in WomanWord )

PresiderGod of new beginnings, thank you for nourishing us in your sacrament. May your tender presence continue to open our hearts to the daily miracles of life that surround us each day, through Emmanuel, God-with-us.
ALL: Amen.

Presider:  Our God is with you.
ALL:  and also with you. 

(everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
ALL:  May our loving God fill us with radiant joy.  May our liberating God fill us with  deep peace, and may our compassionate God bless us always with strength to serve the broken and excluded.  Amen.

Presider:  Let us birth Christ anew in our world today. Go in the peace of Christ.  ALL:   Thanks be to God.

Advent: "0 Come, 0 Come Emmanuel" , Joy to the World, Go tell it on the Mountain

Bridget Mary Meehan
Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests

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