Saturday, February 25, 2017

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community 8th Sunday of Extraordinary Time – February 25, 2017 Co-Presiders: Janet Blakeley, ARCWP & Sally Brochu, ARCWPMusic Ministers: Mindy Lou Simmons & Russ Banner Lectors: Roman & Theresa Rodriquez

GATHERING SONG AND GREETING: # 618 “Isaiah 49” – verses 1,2
Presider: In the name of God, our Creator, of Christ, our liberator, and of the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom. ALL: Amen.
Sally Brochu ARCWP and Janet Blakeley ARCWP (left to right)

Presider: My sisters and brothers, God is with you! ALL: And also with you.
Presider: Creator God to whom all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and from whom no secrets can be hidden, cleanse our hearts by the inspiration of Holy Wisdom.
ALL: We take your Word into our minds and hearts. Open them to new understanding.
Presider: We ask for the grace to continually acknowledge our need to grow in goodness and caring for ourselves, for others and for our earth, and all the while to be Jesus for others and to meet Jesus in others.
ALL: We accept your love and understanding of the frailty of our human nature.
Presider: And we join with you, Jesus the Christ, believing the strength and insight of the Holy Spirit will lead us to deeper dedication to justice, equality and peace in our world. ALL: Amen.
(All raise hands extended in prayer)
Presider: God, our Father and Mother of Mercy and Love,
ALL: Through his living, dying and rising, Jesus has revealed that nothing can separate us from your infinite love. May you, Loving God, give us pardon and peace, and may we forgive each other our failures to care for one another and our earth in the name of you, our Creator, of Jesus, our brother, and of the Holy Spirit, our wisdom. Amen.
ALL: (sung) Glory to God, glory, O praise and alleluia. Glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God. (3x)
First Reading: Isaiah 49: 14-15 (Response: Thanks be to God)

Responsorial Psalm 62 “In God alone be at rest, my soul”
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (Response: Thanks be to God)
Gospel Acclamation: ALLELUIA! (sung)
Gospel: A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew 6: 24-34 (Response: Glory and praise to Jesus, the Christ)

Janet Blakely (homily starter)

Homily Starter:
Today’s readings reflect about 3,000 years of our spiritual ancestors’ image of God –  as their all-powerful protector.   Jesus refers to God as a father who will provide for all our needs.   Isaiah speaks for God and promises us that God will never forget us.      And the Psalmist, before that, calls God his “stronghold, a fortress” – a place where he can seek refuge.

This weekend, church communities around the world will hear these same readings and the same message:  that we are not to worry about what we are going to eat or drink tomorrow.   Rather, we are to seek God’s righteousness – God’s reign and God’s justice – and everything we need will be given to us.   (pause)   Really?!

I see the wailing woman in Somalia who is the lone survivor of a family of eight.   Everyone, young and old, has died of starvation.   And the Mexican father who is abandoned by his guide in the middle of an unfamiliar desert, who dies trying to find his way to the American border.   Or the immigrant who leaves for work, wondering how long it will be before he is picked up and deported, unable even to say goodbye to his family.

“Do not worry about what you will eat or drink tomorrow.”   But tomorrow comes and where is this God who promises never to forget us?   who is a source of living water that promises life?   who is our fortress, our stronghold, our protector?

Sometimes God does not show up.  Yet, in spite of that, people have continued to believe in the God who will rescue and protect them (pause) … until the holocaust.   That was the straw that broke the camel’s back, that seemed to burst even the long-suffering Jews’ bubble.   “Enough!” they said.   “Who needs you?!?”   Many felt so let down that they refused to talk about God.   Some openly proclaimed that God was dead.    Just a few found the courage to sit in silence before the mystery of God.   They couldn’t even bring themselves to ask “why?”

To those who humbly acknowledged their inability to understand,  the catastrophe of the holocaust slowly revealed that their image of God was too limited.   They came to see that God, although mighty, can be vulnerable;  that God is among us and suffers WITH us; that God lives WITHIN us and experiences what we experience.   We now believe  that if there is suffering that needs to be alleviated, God is suffering and from within us and through us wishes to alleviate the suffering.

So the mother in Somalia watches her family die, the Mexican father dies of dehydration in the desert, and the immigrant worker grieves that he may never see his family again.   What of the God who does not forget, is a source of living water and life, a stronghold and a fortress where we can seek protection?  Where is that God?

We are God’s hands and feet, we are all the Body of Christ, but how is heaven’s name do we be the God these people have cried out to?   My mobile home park would not allow non-residents to live there.   I can’t go to where they are.   I don’t have money to give them.  (pause)   I do worry about their tomorrows.

Some people may mobilize and bring about change.   I seem to be obliged to sit in silence before the mystery of God.   What about you?

Profession of Faith:
ALL: I believe in God, the creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, child of God, born of Mary, human like us. I believe Jesus came to teach us God’s love, to heal our minds, our bodies, our spirits, to bring hope and a new vision, to show us how to live in the fullness of grace. I believe that Jesus threatened the establishment. Jesus called for God’s people to focus on the kin-dom within. I believe because of the message that Jesus proclaimed, Jesus was condemned to die. Jesus was put to death through crucifixion, buried in a borrowed tomb. I believe that the women, faithful to Jesus, went to the tomb to anoint his body. I believe that the body of Jesus was gone, and Jesus overcame death through the resurrection. I believe in the Holy Spirit, eternally living in our hearts, present in our world, in our universe. I believe the holy Catholic Church is the people of God gathered in worship and song. I believe that all God’s children will one day be with God experiencing life everlasting. Amen.
Presider: We are people of faith. We believe in the power of prayer. Some of us struggle to understand why there is so much suffering in our world, of one person’s inhumanity to another. Yet, we believe that we send blessings to those who are struggling and who need to experience hope, to those who are grieving and need to be comforted in their loss, to those who are facing medical challenges that they be granted hope and healing. We bring the needs of people throughout our world to our gracious God.
After each intercession, the response is: Loving God, hear our prayer.
For what else shall we pray?
Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers. Strengthen us as we strive to respond to the needs of your people and work for justice and positive change in our world. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.
Offertory Song: # 624 “God of the Hungry”
PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS – (Please join us around the altar)

Sally Brochu ARCWP and Janet Blakeley ARCWP

Presider: Blessed are you, gracious God of all creation, through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which 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, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink. ALL: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Pray my friends that as we celebrate this breaking of bread and blessing of wine we accept more fully the mission of our Church by actively living our response to God’s call.
ALL: May our gracious God accept these gifts for the praise and glory of God’s name, for our good, and for the good of all our Church.
Presider: God is always with you. ALL: And also with you.
Presider: Together, we lift up our hearts. ALL: To God and one another we lift them.
Presider: Together, we give thanks to our gracious God. ALL: Indeed it is right to constantly give thanks and praise.

MMOJ Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Eucharist

Voice 1: Gracious God, source and sustenance of life, redeeming presence to the pain and brokenness of our world, Holy Spirit who enlivens all that exists, we beseech your healing power upon us and all for whom we pray today. We join together with our community, with all creation everywhere, with all those who have gone before us and live in the eternal now (Names of our loved ones…………)
Let us sing:
ALL: We are holy, holy, holy (x3), we are whole. (You, I, We) By Karen Drucker
Voice 2: We ask you to enliven anew in our hearts the empowering grace of your abundant Spirit, who infuses for us these gifts of bread and wine with the transforming energy of life, to nourish and sustain us in all times and especially in times of need.

(Please all extend hands as we recite the consecration together.)
ALL: Before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted, Jesus took bread and gave you thanks. He broke the bread and gave it to his disciples and said: take this, all of you, and eat it; this is my body which will be given up for you.
ALL: When supper was ended, Jesus took the cup. Again he gave You thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said, take this all of you, and drink it; this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all. Do this in memory of me.
Presider: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
ALL: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
Voice 3: (Please place your hand on the shoulder of the person to your right)
As we gather around this Eucharistic table, we recall God’s blessing and love from ages past, and we celebrate anew the gift we share among us at this Eucharistic feast. May the Spirit of life and wholeness, who transforms the gifts we present, transform us too, that we may be refreshed in our inner being and be empowered to bring mercy, love and healing to those whose lives we touch and who are Jesus to us.
Voice 4: Remember gracious God, your Church throughout the world; make us open to receive all believers. We join with all God’s people, with our community, with Bridget Mary our Bishop, and with Francis our Pope.
Voice 5: So grant that, in union with all peoples living and dead, we may strive to create a world where suffering and pain are diminished, where justice and peace are restored, and where all people can live without fear, in health and wholeness. May we all be united in acclaiming the God of Life, whose abundance is offered to each and to all, ‘til the Kin-dom arrives in the fullness of time.
ALL: Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours, gracious God, forever and ever. Amen (sung).
Presider: Let us join hands and raise our voices as we say the Prayer Jesus taught us:
ALL: Our Father and Mother…….
Presider: Deliver us, God, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us holy in your sight and protect us from all anxiety and fear. We watch and wait, discerning signs that You are continually with us.
ALL: Amen.
Presider: Jesus, You said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you. My peace I give you.” Look on the faith of all and grant us the peace and unity of your kin-dom where you live forever and ever. ALL: Amen.
Presider: May the peace of our gracious and loving God be always with you. ALL: And also with you. Let us offer each other a sign of peace.
Presider: Loving God,
ALL: You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.
Presider: Loving God,
ALL: You call us to be the presence of Jesus in the world. We will love tenderly.
Presider: Loving God,
ALL: You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.
Presiders: This is Jesus, our strength, who liberates, heals and transforms our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love. ALL: We are the Body of Christ.
Communion: Instrumental by Mindy
After Communion Reflection – “Bread For The World” (Bernadette Farrell)
Presider: May wonder, gratitude and thanksgiving fill us, may compassion fully fill our hearts, that you may heal the numbness that continues because of our society’s injustices. May we each know that we are loved and may we continue to be the face of God to each other. Amen.

Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions, Announcements
Presider: May God be with you. ALL: And also with you.
Presider: Let us call upon our gracious God as we share blessings with each other. We bless one another and pledge to live the Gospel of Christ. ALL: Amen.
(Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing.)
ALL: May our gracious God, bless us all gathered here, in the name of God our Creator, in the name of Jesus our strength, in the name of the Holy Spirit our Wisdom, as we care and minister to one another in love, for we are the Body of Christ and the face of God to the world. Amen.
Presider: Go in the peace of Christ. Let our service continue!
ALL: Thanks be to God.
CLOSING HYMN: # 617 Rain Down” – verses 1,3

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