Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mary Mother of Jesus Homily Starter and Liturgy for Nov. 7, 2015 with Co-Presiders Alicia Bartol Thomas and Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

left to right, Alicia Bartol Thomas and Bridget Mary Meehan, co-oresuders after MMOJ liturgy at Pot Luck supper

MMOJ Homily Starter, Nov. 7th, 2015 by Bridget Mary Meehan

Is God tapping you on the shoulder and inviting you to generous giving?

God is really good at tapping on our shoulders and asking for more–even when we feel we are tapped out- out of money, out of food, out of compassion, out of energy and out of patience to respond.

And it is not always, the big stuff, like the generous widows faced in our scripture readings,  giving her last penny or loaf of bread! Sometimes it may even mean making a donation or signing a petition to help someone in need. Recently, I made a donation, and less than a week later I received a check with almost the same amount, a total suprise and reminder that God cannot be outdone in generosity!

In my life, God usually taps me on the shoulder in nitty, gritty stuff or in the events of our movement for justice and equality in the church. 

I sometimes joke that the Vatican is the gift that keeps on giving when they engage our movement with excommunications and punishments, but, sometimes, the truth is I could use a little break too!

After several days of exhilarating work for gender equality at the Parliament of World Religions and a beautiful ordination of a woman priest in Salt Lake City, I was looking forward to a quiet plane ride across the country. I usually pray the rosary and then dive into a good book! I enjoy reading mystery stories on long plane rides that feature  yummy deserts. On this trip I brought along Red Velvet Cupcake Murder. Even though I don’t bake, as those of you who know me are aware, I could burn water and that is hard to do! Last week, I made green mushy jello because I forgot that when I put in the fruit, you don't need to add cold water! I was on a health kick adding the fruit!

But, back to my story about the no fun, frivolous read on the flight home from Salt Lake City to Atlanta.

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests faced a major crisis with the excommunication and dismissal of our beloved Sister, Tish Rawles from her Religious Order.

Before the plane took off, Janice Sevre Duszynska, our ARCWP media representative, and I wrote down what we knew about Sister Tish’s story. However, we had a challenge. We were seated in middle seats across the aisle from each other and so communication was an issue.

 Perhaps, God tapped the woman sitting next to Janice on the shoulder, or maybe she could not stand any more cross talk or the shuffling of papers across the aisle, but she gave up her window seat to Janice so that we could sit next to each other! Blessed may she be for her kindness!

Although there were a few surprises for us as the Sister Tish story evolved, we are now in the midst of a major campaign  to gain public support for not only restoring Tish to her order, and rescinding the excommunication, but also,  stepping into the Holy Year of Mercy with a petition to Pope Francis to drop all excommunications against women priests and our supporters. In less than two weeks, we are approaching 5000 signatures.

In the mundane and important events of our lives, God speaks through another person’s needs or our own needs. When we respond generously like the widows, God blesses us beyond our wildest dreams!

So let us take a quiet moment of meditation: (soft music)

Breathe in love and open yourself to Grace tapping you on the shoulder...

In the depths of your soul, you may hear the soft, still voice of God speaking to you asking something of you....

“Will you do this? Will you give of yourself generously?
Will you love ? Will you forgive ?
Will you keep on keeping on, knowing that I am with you no matter what happens?
Will you trust that God's grace is moving in this situation, and that will always be more than enough?

Like the widows, in the sacred texts today, God taps us on the shoulder -each of us in big ways and little ways –many-times- inviting us to be face of God in the world and pouring forth abundant, boundless love into our hearts! 

As Nadia Bolz-Weber says in her inspiring book, Pastrix, “God comes and gets us, taps us on the shoulder, and says, ‘Pay attention, this is for you. Dumb as we are, smart and faithful as we are, just as we are.’” (Pastrix, p.57.)

Like the poor widows, may our hearts take comfort , and hope in God whose love and grace is always more than enough for us to be the presence  of God in every relationship and situation.
So the question is, Is God tapping you on the shoulder today and asking you to generous giving?
( Sing: “Let your heart take comfort, all you who hope in God.” Monica Brown, Chant)

Dialogue Homily: Alicia Bartol Thomas, co-presider and community

Dialogue Homily: Alicia Bartol Thomas

Hymns for Nov. 7th, 2015
Opening: “We Gather Here to Celebrate” by Mindy Simmons
We gather here to celebrate    one God universal
We gather here to celebrate     the joy within
In unity we celebrate…. The beauty of diversity
Come and Join us in our fellowship……Welcome friends.
Verse: You are my sisters, you are my brothers
In the one divine mind we are one with each other
So join with me, in unity….let us celebrate our diversity.
(Repeat Chorus)
Responsorial Psalm: Let your heart take comfort, all you who hope in God.”
By Monica Brown, Chant)

Communion: “Heart of the Mother”
I am one with the Heart of the Mother.
I am one with the Heart of love.
I am one with the Heart of the Father.
I am one with God.

Recessional Hymn:  #646 Navy Hymn, Veterans Day


Liturgy: Celebrating New Life as Midwives of Grace


Presider:  In the name of God, Midwife of Grace, and of Jesus our brother, and of the Holy Spirit, our Liberator.  ALL:  Amen

Presider:  My sisters and brothers, God loves us infinitely and is with us always.  ALL:  and also with you.

Presider:  Let us pause now for reflection.  Place your hand over your heart and breathe in God’s passionate love for you…breathe out God’s, extravagant love for everyone….
Open yourself to Spirit energy empowering you…

Now let us praise God by singing Glory to God…

Song of Praise: Glory to God, glory. O praise Glory alleluia. 
Glory to God, glory. O praise the name of our God. (x2)
Presider: God of Love, Midwife of grace, we experience your grace drawing us to new life in the depths of our mystical souls and in our prophetic call .We rejoice with  our brother Jesus, through the power of your Spirit.  ALL: Amen. 

First Reading
Responsorial Psalm
Second Reading
Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia
Reader:  The good news of Jesus, the Christ!
ALL:  Glory and praise to you, Jesus the Christ!

Profession of Faith:  ALL:  We believe in God who is compassion in our world. We believe in Jesus, whose death and resurrection reveals God’s infinite love. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to live Christ’s presence. We believe in the communion of saints, our heavenly friends, who inspire us to live holy lives. We believe in the church as the people of God, living in faith, hope and love.

Presider:  That we may bring new life into our world, we pray
Response: God of all, love through us
Presider:  That we may foster healing of our Earth, we pray.  R.  
Presider:  That the sick may be healed, we pray.  R.   
Presider:  That we may be forever one with our beloved dead in the communion of saints 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.  (hold up bread and wine)
ALL:  Blessed be God forever.
(All come around the table to pray the Eucharistic Prayer, background music may be played) 

Presider:  God is with you, abounding in love
ALL:  and also with you. 
Presider:  Lift up your hearts in Christ who lives and loves , heals and empowers through you.
ALL:  We lift them up to God. 
Presider:  Let us give thanks to our God.
ALL:  It is right to give God thanks and praise.
Voice One:  Life-giving Love, You call all persons to be friends of God. United with You, we are one with all beings in the community of creation as we celebrate the new life occurring in our expanding cosmos. We join the angels and saints as we sing:

ALL: Sung “We are holy, holy, holy, you are holy, holy, holy, I am holy, holy, holy” chant by Karen Drucker

Voice Two:  Gracious God, you set the banquet table and invite all to the feast that celebrates your dazzling love in the universe.  As midwives of grace we are Your hands, lifting up those who suffer, the vulnerable and neglected in our world today

Voice Three: We especially thank you, Holy One, for Jesus, the Compassion of God, who came to show us a new vision of community where every person is loved and all relate with mutual respect.

Voice Four:
Jesus threatened the religious and political leaders of his time and so they put him to death.  As God raised Jesus to new life, we trust that your promise of faithful love will be with us in our suffering and raise us up to fullness of life. 

All: (please all extend hands as we recite the consecration together)
Let your Spirit come upon these gifts as we pray:
On the night before he died, Jesus took bread into his hands and said:
This is my body, he said. Take and eat .
 Do this in in memory of me.


At the end of the meal Jesus took a cup of wine, raised it in thanksgiving to you, and said:
Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life in you. Do this in memory of me.

Presider:  Now then, let us proclaim the mystery of the Christ Presence made new again through you:  

ALLIn every creature that has ever breathed, Christ has lived; in every living being that has passed on before us, Christ has died;  in everything yet to be, Christ will come again! 

Voice Five:  .  We thank you for ordinary people in our lives who show us how to love tenderly and have revealed the heart of our God, especially  (pause to remember and name some of these holy women and men). 

Voice Six: And so, liberating God, Midwife of Grace, we hold our religious ministers and political leaders in the light of Christ Sophia, Holy Wisdom.  We pray for our pope and bishops, the young and the elders, and all God’s holy people.

Voice Seven:  We remember those who are sick and suffering.  May they be healed and comforted.  We remember Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary Magdala, Peter, Paul,  Junia, our patron saints.  We remember our loved ones and all those who have died, that they may experience the fullness of life in the embrace of our gracious God.

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 . . .

and forever.  Amen.

Presider:  Let us pray for the peace of Christ in our world as we sing and hold hands in a community prayer for peace (Peace is flowing or other appropriate 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 live as Your presence in the world.  We will do so.

Presider:  Behold the Body of Christ.  All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love. 

ALL:  Jesus we are worthy to receive you and become you for others.  We are the Body of Christ. 

Presider:  Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ!  ALL:  Amen.

Presider:  Life-giving God, You come to birth each day in our universe through suffering death and new life. Your Spirit is moving in us as we love passionately, and extravagantly to bring  your shalom to everyone equally especially the marginalized.
ALL:  Amen

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

(everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
ALL:  Holy One, Midwife of Grace, we bless one another as we serve others with loving kindness .

Presider:   Go, bring forth life as midwives of grace in our world.  Let the service begin!  ALL:   Thanks be to God.


God, A Midwife: Psalm 22:9-10 “Yet You drew me out of the womb, you nestled me to my mother’s bosom; you cradled me in your lap from my birth; from my mother’s womb, you have been my God.”
                              Bridget Mary Meehan
Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests

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