Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrate Fourth Sunday in Advent December 19, 2015 with Presiders: Kathryn Shea ARCWP and Lee Breyer Music Minister: Mindy Simmons

Theme: The impossible takes a little longer

 Welcome and Music Preparation

Greeting and Gathering Hymn: “Go Tell It on the Mountain” #99, verses 1,3,4.

                                                                        Gathering Prayer
Presider: Let us pray as we come together to break bread and share the blessings we have received on the wings of an angel and the openness of Mary and Joseph. We thank you, Incarnate God, in the name of Jesus, your Son…our brother. All: Amen.

Presider: Wisdom, your grace joins all heaven and earth. With you we labor, with new life to give birth. Come now, O Wisdom, our midwife and friend, open our hearts to your world, one without end. All: Amen.

   Opening Prayer

All: God of life, wholeness and holiness, you who direct all creation to its fulfillment in Jesus, the Christ – open our hearts to the message of the Gospel so that your peace may rule in our hearts and your justice may guide our lives. Loving God, bless all of us gathered here and all those of our community who are not with us today. We ask this of you, our brother Jesus, and our Wisdom Sophia. Amen.

Penitential Rite and Community Forgiveness

Presider: Creator God, to you all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and no secrets hidden. We ask you to send your Spirit to us so that we may live more fully according to your will for us and that we may be worthy to be called your blessed people.
     All: Help us to hear Wisdom’s messages, to faithfully understand them, and to receive the strength to follow them.
Presider: Christ Jesus, we ask for the grace to realize our continual need to grow in goodness and caring for ourselves, for others, and for our planet earth.
     All: We accept your love and understanding of the frailty of our human nature. Help us to extend your forgiving presence in us to all those with whom we live, with no exceptions.

Presider: And we join with you, Jesus the Christ, believing that the insight, direction, and strength of the Holy Spirit will lead us to deeper dedications to justice, equality, peace, and nonviolence.
All: (with an outstretched arm): God, the Father and Mother of mercy, through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, he revealed that nothing can separate us from your unconditional love. He sent the Holy Spirit to move among us and all creation. May that Spirit give us the wisdom to love you – and the strength and compassion to love one another. Merciful God, teach us the virtues of pardon and peace so that we may – in turn – learn to forgive our failures to care for one another and for our planet Earth. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our brother and of the Holy Spirit, our healer and comforter. Amen.

Glory to God

All: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all God’s people on earth. Creator God, heart of the universe, we thank you for the breath of the Spirit sustaining everything that exists, everywhere in the cosmos. Through the example and teachings of Jesus Christ, you gave us the grace to know that you are always among us – and that we can experience you in our brothers and sisters. We give you glory and praise through Jesus Christ, our brother, and the Holy Spirit, Wisdom. Amen.
Liturgy of the Word

First reading: Micah 5: 1-4                 All: Thanks be to God. See reading at bottom of this Post.
Psalm 80: Responsorial: God, help us turn to you; show us your face and we shall be saved.  
Second reading: Luke 1:39 – 45          All: Glory and thanks to our Savior, Jesus the Christ.

Shared Homily/Community Reflection See Homily Starter  by  Priest Lee Breyer Below;

Kathryn Shea ARCWP shared this beautiful youtube movie of Wisdom/Sophia written by Jann Clanton

Discussion starter: The impossible takes a little longer

Profession of Faith
All: We believe in God, the Creator of the universe, whose divinity infuses all that exists, making everything, everywhere, sacred. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who leads us to the fullness of humanity. Through him, we become a new people, called beyond the consequences of our brokenness. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Wisdom who keeps the Christ-vision present to all those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives – and the Sustainer who heals and energizes us when our spirits may grow weary in our journeys. We say: Amen to courage, to hope, and to truth. We say: Amen to the partnership and equality of all people of different genders, races, and faiths. We believe in a world of justice and peace for everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions. In all of this, we surely believe.
Prayers of the Community
Presider: We are a people of faith; we believe in the power of prayer. We are always mindful of God’s unconditional love and care for all of us. As so, we bring the needs of people – throughout the world – to our merciful and gracious God.   After each intercession, respond: Compassionate God, hear our prayers.

Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers. We ask you to strengthen us in our caring for one another and in our works for justice, equality, and peace in a world without violence. As always, we make this prayer in the names of Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom. Amen.

Offertory Procession “Away in a Manger”   #84

Preparation of the Gifts

Presider: Blessed are you, gracious God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, this grain that the earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Blessed are you, gracious God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, this fruit of the vine that human hands have made. It will become for us our spiritual drink.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Gathering of the Gifted

Presider: Jesus Christ, who has sat at our tables, now invites us to be guests at his family’s. Everyone is welcome around our table.

ALL: Merciful God, we are united in this sacrament by our love of Jesus Christ. We are in communion with everyone who proclaims your power and mercy to all those who are marginalized and oppressed. May we love tenderly, do justice, and walk humbly with you in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. May we live as prophetic witnesses to the Gospel, with the vision of Jesus and the wisdom of the Spirit. Amen.

Presider: God dwells in each one of us.            All: Namaste!
Presider: Let us give thanks to the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.
All: With hearts full of love, we give God thanks and praise.
Presider: Holy Spirit, we realize your presence among us as we gather at our family table.
          All: Fill us with reverence for you, for one another, and for all your creation.
Presider: Let us lift up our hearts.
All: We lift them up to the Holy One, living in us and loving through us.

Eucharistic Prayer

Voice 1: Ever present and always caring Loving God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. In you we live and move and have our very being. Your Spirit dwelling in us gives us the hope of unending peace and joy with you. Your gift of the Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is the foretaste and promise of the paschal feast of heaven.

Voice 2: We thank you, God, for the gift of Jesus in history – and the gift of Jesus in faith. You raised him up from among your people to baptize us in your Spirit. He was moved by his vision of your presence among us. He burned with insight and truth, revealing you in his life well lived. He showed us, through his example, not only how we should live, but also for what we may die.

Voice 3: When his time had come, Jesus suffered for the values he deeply believed and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death. And then, as a model of this insight for the ages to come, he opened wide his arms and died. The Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, showed us that life is eternal and love is immortal. Jesus is with us today as he will be through the end of time.

All: O God, let your Spirit of life, healing and wholeness come upon these gifts that we gathered from the fields and placed on our table — this simple wheat and wine. May she have them become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus, our brother.

(With an outstretched arm as we pray the consecration together. We remember the gift that Jesus gave us on the night before he died. He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal. And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this, all of you, and eat it. This bread is you; this bread is me. We are one body, the presence of God in the world. Do this in memory of me. [Pause]

In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: take this, all of you, and drink it. This wine is you; this wine is me. We are one blood, the presence of God in the world. Do this in memory of me.

Presider: Jesus, who was with God “in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth,” is with us now in this bread. The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim this mystery of faith.

All: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ lives in us and through us in the world today.

Voice 4: In memory of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we offer you, God, this life-giving bread and this saving cup. May all who share this sacred meal be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit. And may that Spirit, that Wisdom, that moved in Jesus move freely in our lives as well.

Voice 5: God, remember your church throughout the world, help us grow in love, together with Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and all your people everywhere – especially those who live on the margins of church and society. Remember also all those, living and dead, who touched our lives and left their footprints on our hearts. We remember especially….(mention names, if you wish).

All: Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, Our Creator God, forever and ever. Amen (sung).

All: Our Father and Mother ……..Amen.

All: Lord God, we have prayed that your kindom may come among us. Open our ears to hear it, our hands to serve it, and our hearts to hold it….Amen.

The Sign of Peace
Presider: Jesus, you said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you; my peace I give you.”   Look on the faith of those gathered here and ….

All: … grant us your peace. O God, following the example of Jesus and with the strength of the Spirit, help us spread that peace throughout the world, to everyone, everywhere, no exceptions. Amen.

Presider: May the peace of God be always with us, and let us extend that peace to one another.

Litany for the Breaking of Bread
Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of non-violence for peace and justice.   We will live justly.

Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of forgiveness and understanding, healing and compassion everywhere in your name. We will love tenderly.

Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to speak truth to power. We will walk humbly with you.

Presider: This is Jesus, who liberates, heals, and transforms us and our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love. All: We are the Body of Christ.

Pre-Communion Prayer

Presider: Lord God, as we come to share the richness of your table, we cannot forget the poverty of so many of our brothers and sisters.

Men: We cannot eat this bread and forget those who are hungry. O God, your world is one world and we are stewards of its nourishment for your people.

Women: We cannot drink this wine and forget those who are thirsty. O God, the very earth and its people cry out for environmental justice.

All: We cannot listen to your words of peace and not grieve for the world at war.

During Communion: Mindy’s Instrumental Solo

After Communion Hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy”

Prayer of Thanksgiving After Communion

Presider: Eternal God, may this Eucharist in which we always share Christ’s healing love deepen our oneness with you and our unity with one another. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Christ, and the Spirit, the Wisdom.   All: Amen.

Community Prayers of Gratitude and Announcements

Closing Prayer

All: May our hearts be glad on our journey as we dream new dreams and see new visions.  

May we all live and work for peace, justice, and non-violence in our hearts for ourselves and our brothers and sisters – whoever they are and wherever they are.

May we learn to bless, honor, and hold in reverence the Earth and one another.   Amen.

Closing Community Blessing

Presider: Our prayer as we anticipate Christmas is that we may recognize and actively acknowledge the presence of the sacred in all those places on this earth that we are reluctant to search or simply overlook: in the stables of our own lives; among the downtrodden who live on the edges of our society; in immigrants especially but also in people who are “different” from us. And we pray — (with an outstretched arm in blessing)
All: May we realize Emmanuel, God-in-us, and give generous expression to this wonderful gift that we all share. May our nurturing God bless us all gathered here and all those in our communities. We ask this in the name of the Creator, in the name of Mary’s child, and in the Name of our Wisdom as we minister to one another as the People of God. Amen.

Closing Community Commisioning and Hymn “He Came Down”
First Reading: Micah 5: 2-4
A reading from the book of the prophet Micah.

Thus says our God:  You, Bethlehem, David’s country…from you, the smallest of the clans of Judah, will come the leader who will shepherd Israel.   His family tree is ancient and distinguished.  In the meantime, Israel will be in foster homes until the birth pangs are over and the child is born.  And then, the united people who are scattered will come back home to the family of Israel.  He will stand strong and firm in his role as their shepherd by God’s strength, centered in the majesty of God.  And the united people will have a good and safe home, for the whole world will hold him in respect –the Peacemaker of the world!

This is the word of God.   R. Thanks be to God.

Second Reading:  Hebrews 11: 1-4, 8-12
Homily Starter: Lee Breyer
So here we are with two pregnant women, one of whom is “aged” and the other is “inexperienced” (terms I ran across in various translations). These were not the only ones in the bible.  There was, of course, Abraham and Sarah in Genesis…and then joined with two more in areas of the Old Testament that are not often visited.  The Bible uses these stories to make a point in a story and then move Salvation History forward.  In what later readers understand at the outset as difficult (Israelites crossing into the Promised Land) or impossible (these pregnancies) they are used to –among other things  - illustrate the point in the scriptures that “nothing is impossible with God.”  In the second reading, Paul gives us several more examples of challenging experiences and presents a contributing factor in these stories, namely the role of faith in God’s promises to be present with God’s people and make seemingly impossible things possible.
In our lives, many things that we may have thought of as “science fiction” are now “science fact,” what was mere speculation (at best) or impossible were not only possible but are now history...and can be shipped from China. “Nothing is impossible with God.”
We have very obvious examples of that right here.  At one time in the past there was a Mercy Sister who thought that she’d never be a priest…so then she had to settle on marrying one. Today we have women who, in the past could not even aspire to being a server on the altar, are now priests and bishops.
And there are many times in our lives that we find ourselves in situations that we could “never get out of” and now, having done so, cannot even remember how.
Maybe you’d care to share a story of what came to mind as you listened to all this...that “nothing is impossible with God.”

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