Saturday, March 12, 2016

HOMILY and Liturgy – 5-Lent-C "The Woman Caught in Adultery" (John 8:1-11) March 12, 2016 by Janet Blakeley ARCWP, MMOJ, Sarasota, FL.

Janet Blakeley ARCWP

 In a Jesuit’s formation there is a time when a man is sent to a place he’s never been – to do something he’s never done.   So our friend went from Boston to San Diego, sat on a park bench and put out his little cardboard sign that said “Spiritual Direction – 25 cents.”   He sat there – available to anyone and everyone.   It seems that all manner of people sat down next to him and told him all manner of things.   He listened, then asked them insightful questions that led them to find their own answers within themselves.   He thought it was the most meaningful thing he’d ever done – and in time he became a deeply loved spiritual director.

Jesus seems to be doing the same thing, sitting there in the Temple area, just making himself available to listen to anyone who wishes to speak with him.   That’s his style.   Spiritual direction – 25 cents.

But this time is different.   By night, he is a homeless person sleeping on the ground in the olive groves; by daybreak he is eager to be back again in the Temple grounds to converse with people.   Hi is aware that this will probably be his last visit to Jerusalem, his last chance to get his message across – that God loves us! – and his teaching probably has an intensity about it, an urgency.

As Jesus sat, some Scribes and Pharisees (come) up with a plan to trap Jesus in a dilemma, hoping his answer can be used against him.   They present a clear case of a woman whom they charge with adultery.   We are inclined to wonder what keeps Jesus from asking “So where’s the OTHER half of this duo?!?”   We must understand that laws concerning adultery were completely different from ours, and also different for men and women.   But Jesus doesn’t discuss the law or her guilt.   Instead, he remains silent.   His silence seems to point out his weariness with this judgmental attitude based on being right according to the law.   He’s heard it so often.

Law or no law, these people feel justified in accusing the woman.   They are of the mindset that women are the major source of sexual sin in their society.   That attitude developed when the Jews were captives in Babylon, for it is there that they picked up the myth of Adam and Eve as an explanation of why there was evil in the world in the first place.   As for adultery being a criminal activity, they refer to the ten commandments given to Moses by God.   Everybody knows “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

But let’s look at these so-called “commandments.”   Commandments have to do with law, and usually have severe consequences if they are not carried out.   But God’s words to Moses weren’t followed by the terrible things God would do if people “disobeyed.”   No!   It was people’s preconceived notions of a harsh God that caused them to interpret God’s words to Moses as commandments.   In fact they wereteachings from a wise God – to the people God loved – about how to be in relationship with God, and how to live a life that God knew what would make us truly happy – and our happiness would make God happy!

God could have said in a more wordy way – “Don’t commit adultery, because if you do, your spouse will be deeply hurt, you will lose the trust you have in one another, and your children will feel insecure.   And-let’s not forget the other person’s family.   They will suffer the same consequences.   Furthermore, adultery can undermine the fabric of an entire society.   So it’s better to not go in that direction in the first place. Don’t commit adultery.”   That thought survived as “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

Jesus hears the judgmental attitude of the indignant men standing in front of him – certain they are in the right because adultery is against the Law, after all.   Silent Jesus …    You wonder if he isn’t thinking, “Where does this distorted notion of God come from ?!?  How did God become reduced to a list of laws?   And look at how miserable people are because of it. What can I ever do to change it?!?”

Like a good spiritual director, Jesus asks an insightful question of the men.   They look into their hearts and know the answer.   As for the woman, he gives no importance whatsoever to her breaking the law, and he seems not to see her as a bad person. In fact, he makes a point of saying he does not condemn her.        What he sees is a person whose actions now bring her unhappiness.   Like the God of Moses, he says “If you want to live a happy life, go on, now, but don’t do this anymore.”
For Jesus, it’s not complicated.
You have to love a man like that
What law binds us today?   We are not under Jewish Law, and most of us have moved out of the range of Canon Law, following instead our informed consciences – a basic Catholic teaching, by the way. Nevertheless, we find ourselves bound by laws, sometimes unwritten and unspoken.   What our families expect and demand of us – What our local community says is the way things must be done – Even laws we impose on ourselves.   What law still binds us, making us unfree, not at peace, and not fully experiencing God’s love?
Janet Blakeley ARCWP left and Sally Brochu ARCWP co-presided at liturgy
at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community on March 12th

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

Fifth Sunday of Lent – March 12, 2016
Co Presiders: Janet Blakeley ARCWP & Sally Brochu ARCWP
Music ministers: Cheri McDonough
Lectors: Bob & Pat MacMillan

Liturgy for Holy Year of Mercy: Journey into the Heart of Compassion by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

GATHERING SONG: “I Love You, God” (see song sheet)                                                                           WELCOME

Presider: Let us begin in the name of our God, a God of Love, Wisdom, and Liberation. ALL: Amen PENITENTIAL RITE Presider: God of tender compassion, You are our peace.
ALL: Now and forever, we will be your peace.  Litany of Peace by Dan Schutte (sung): “Let us be your peace”
Presider: O Lover of All, in this journey into the heart of compassion, we celebrate your love unfolding in the healing and wholeness of everyone and of every living thing. You call us to see goodness and beauty everywhere and to live in harmony with creation. You call us to heal the wounds of hatred and violence, discrimination and oppression in our world. You call us to warmly welcome everyone who comes through our doors as your presence among us. In communion with Jesus, our brother, and in the power of the Your Spirit, we will live your love poured out each day. ALL: Amen.  LITURGY OF
THE WORD First Reading: Isaiah 43:16-21 Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 27 – Response: “Our God is our light and our salvation, of whom shall I be afraid”                                                                                                                                                    
Second Reading: Philippians 3: 8-14 Gospel Acclamation: (Spoken) Praise, honor and glory to our God. Be compassionate as God is compassionate, praise honor and glory to our God.
Gospel: John 8: 1-11 Reader: The good news of Jesus, the Christ! ALL: Glory and praise to you, Jesus the Christ!
CREED: We believe in a God of extravagant love who dwells within us, rejoices with us in our blessed selves and who weeps with us in our struggles, losses and sufferings. We believe that we are one with all creatures great and small in a dynamic, evolving cosmos.  We believe in Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection, shows us how to live fully and joyfully and to serve others especially the outcaste and heavy burdened.  We believe in Your Spirit, who works through us for justice and peace and to overcome oppression of all kinds whether based on gender, sexual orientation, race or class. We believe that we are called to live in mutual respect as disciples and equals in inclusive communities of empowerment.  We believe that we are forgiven, healed and whole in the heart of divine mercy. We believe that we are united forever with all who have gone before us in the communion of saints.
GENERAL INTERCESSIONS Presider: With hearts filled with loving compassion, we lift up the needs of our community at this time.  Presider: That those who suffer abuse, may be healed and empowered, we pray.
Response: God of all compassion, love through us. Presider: That those bound by hatred, hostility, and violence will be set free, we pray. R.  Presider: That the sick may be healed, especially (mention names), we pray. R.  Presider: That the dead may dwell forever in God’s presence (names), we pray. R. (Other Intentions) Presider: We hold these and all our unspoken intentions in our hearts as we gather around the Banquet Table today.
OFFERTORY: Spirit of the Living God (see song sheet)
PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS 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 us, loving and healing through us.
ALL: Namaste  Presider: Lift up your hearts.
ALL: We lift them up in tender love, open to serve. Presider: Let us give thanks to our God.
ALL: It is our joy to give God thanks and praise.
Voice One: Gracious Wisdom, You embrace us with extravagant affection in our blessedness and brokenness. We thank you that in this festive meal, your Spirit continues to be poured out among the circle of disciples gathered here in our giving and receiving forgiveness and offering the gift of your shalom/peace. We join with the angels and saints and people of every race, faith and nation to glorify your presence as we sing:
ALL: Holy, holy, holy. Karen Drucker
Voice Two: We especially thank you, Nurturing God, for Jesus, Your anointed, who shows us how to love with a peaceful and courageous spirit. In Jesus, you show us how to care for those who face illness, and grief and how to help those who experience rejection and marginalization. 
Voice Three: God of tenderness, Jesus showed us the heart of mercy when he preached good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, healing to the broken. Jesus called women to be apostles and disciples and treated them as equals in his circle of companions. 
Voice Four In response to people’s sufferings, Jesus broke rules and violated religious taboos. He shared meals with women, saved a woman from being stoned and said that prostitutes would enter heaven before religious leaders. He healed the sick and comforted the lonely. He challenged the priestly class and political leaders of his time and so they ridiculed, tortured and put him to death. 
Voice Five: In faithful love, You raised the crucified Jesus, radiant and glorious to new life. Like the holy ones throughout the ages, Moses and Miriam who led their people from oppression to freedom, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection shows us how to live freely and joyously in the midst of injustice, darkness and evil and death.  (Please all extend hands as we recite the Epiclesis and Consecration together) 
All: May your Spirit, present in these gifts and in us, fill us with a new outpouring of love that makes us more deeply one Body in the Cosmic Christ living the fullness of your compassion.
Presider: On the night before he was betrayed, Jesus gathered with his friends for a meal. he took bread into his hands, broke it and said
ALL: Take this all of you. This is my body. Do this to remember me.
Presider: In the same way after supper, Jesus took the cup, raised it with love beyond all telling. Jesus gave thanks and shared the cup with those at table and said:
ALL: Take this all of you and drink from it. This is the cup of my life blood, of the new and everlasting covenant. Every time you drink of it, remember me. Presider: Now then, in sacred memory, let us proclaim the mystery of our faith:
ALL: In every creature that has ever breathed, we see your tenderness; in every living being that has passed on before us, we see your goodness; in everything yet to be, Christ will come again! In our breaking of the bread of earth, Christ of the Cosmos is being re-membered!
Voice Six: Holy One, your transforming energy is always moving within us and working through us. We give thanks for all holy women and men who have been your face in our lives. They showed us how to forgive self and others, let go of guilt, refrain from judging others and see the good in people who irritate us. Let us pause to remember and name some of these holy women and men aloud or in the silence of our hearts. 
Voice Seven: God, who opens doors and hearts, enlighten our religious ministers and political leaders. May they welcome refugees, transform poverty into plenty, and work for human dignity and justice for all. We pray for our pope and bishops, especially _____ , and all God’s holy people. 
Voice Eight: We remember those who are sick and suffering. May they be healed and strengthened, and filled with every blessing in your loving presence. We remember Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary Magdala, Peter, Paul, Junia, our patron saints and all the saints and angels who surround us with loving prayer each day. We remember our loved ones and all those who have died into your embrace.
ALL: Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, all praise and glory are yours, Loving God. Amen.
THE PRAYER OF JESUS ALL: (spoken) Our Father and Mother . . .
THE SIGN OF PEACE Presider: God of Peace and Compassion, grant us your peace and unity beyond all words can express. Let us as a community extend a sign of peace to one another.
LITANY FOR THE BREAKING OF BREAD ALL: Loving God, You call us to live mercy, we will do so. Loving God, You call us to live justice, we will do so. Loving God, You call us to live equality, we will do so.
Presider: This is Jesus, who calls us to open doors that are closed and share our bread on the altar of the world. All are invited to eat and drink at this sacred banquet of love. 
ALL: Jesus we are worthy to receive you and to be your compassion in our world. We are the Body of Christ.  Presider: Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ! ALL: Amen.
Communion Song: “The Face Of God” – (See song sheet)
Presider: O God of Compassion, Jesus showed us how to love one another and heal our hearts. Through the power of Your liberating Spirit at work within us, we will give and receive forgiveness, live joyously, and work for healing, justice and equality for our earth and for all God’s holy people.
ALL: Amen Prayers of Gratitude / Introductions / Announcements
CONCLUDING RITE Presider: Our God is with you. ALL: and also with you. 
BLESSING (Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
ALL: May the God of Abraham and Sarah, the Blessed One of Jacob and Rachel, Sophia, Holy Wisdom, walk with us and all created life on our journey into the heart of compassion! Amen.
Presider: Go in the peace of Christ. Let the service continue! ALL: Thanks be to God.  Recessional: “Take the Word of God With You” (see song sheet)

Song Sheet for Second Sunday of Lent – February 20, 2015
Gathering Song: “I Love You, God”
I love you, God, and I lift my voice                                                                                                                 
To worship you, Oh my soul, re-joice                                                                                                            
Take joy, Oh God, in what you hear                                                                                                            
May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.
Offertory Song: “Spirit of the Living God”
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me;                                                                                                
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me;                                                                                                    
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.                                                                                                           
 Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God, move among us all;                                                                                            
make us one in heart and mind, make us one in love:                                                                        
humble, caring, selfless, sharing.                                                                                                               
 Spirit of the Living God, fill our lives with love.
Communion Song: “The Face of God”
(Words: Reverend Karyl Huntley & Karen Drucker music: Karen Drucker)  You are the face of God I hold you in my heart                                                                                                                                                       
 You are a part of me You are the face of God…  You are the face of love I hold you in my heart                                                                                                                                          
  You are my family You are the face of God…

Closing Song: “Take the Word of God With You”
Take the love of God with you as you go.                                                                                                 
 Take the seeds of God’s love and make them grow.                                                                                            
Go in peace to serve the world, in peace to serve the world.                                                                    
Take the love of God with you as you go.
Take the peace of God with you as you go.                                                                                                 
 Take the seeds of God’s peace and make them grow.                                                                                
  Go in peace to serve the world, in peace to serve the world.                                                                  
Take the love of God with you as you go.
Take the joy of God with you as you go.                                                                                                      
Take the seeds of God’s joy and make them grow.                                                                                    
Go in peace to serve the world, in peace to serve the world.                                                                  
Take the love of God with you as you go.

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