Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community (MMOJ) at Sun City Center: Liturgy on First Thursday of Lent, March 9, 2017

Katy Zatsick ARCWP and Paddy Cooney, Co-Presiders at MMOJ Sun City

What do you keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking for during this Lenten Season? 

Presider:  In the name of God our Creator, and of Jesus our brother, and of
the Holy Spirit, our Healer we begin our worship together All:  Amen

Gathering Prayer All:  My sisters and brothers, in Lent, we fast from all
that holds us from living fully as the beloved of God, and feast on Infinite
love moving through us as we do justice and live equality in our world. This
is a time of transformation; a time to look inward, to reflect, to
contemplate. The Holy One is with us and with all creation. Amen

Opening Prayer (adapted from today's collect)

All:  Bestow on us, we pray loving God a spirit of always pondering on what
is right and of hastening to carry out your will and, since without you we
cannot exist, may we be enabled to live according to your desires for us.
We pray through our Brother Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with
you in the unity of Sofia, One God the Divine Dance of Creation, for ever
and ever Amen. 
Janalea, music minister and Elena Garcia ARCWP 

Healing our souls and spirit

Presider:  As we pray and fast against injustices and give alms, may we be
the face of God in our world by living Gospel compassion and justice. Jesus,
you are compassion. All:  Jesus, we will live compassion and do justice.

Presider: Jesus, your death reminds us that must be willing to suffer the
consequences of living truth to power. Jesus, you walk with us in our
courage. All: Jesus, we will walk with others in their challenges and stand
against systemic injustice in our communities, nation and world.

Presider: Jesus, in your rising, you show us the path to liberation from
structures of domination, Jesus, you are liberator. All: Jesus, we will live
your vision of liberation and justice, one with your peoples, your planet
and all creation. 

Presider:  Let us pause now for reflection.  Place your hand over your heart
and breathe in God's compassionate love for aware that God
forgives, frees and heals us...Let us let go of guilt, live justly, and love
tenderly. We are the face of God in our world... (Extend hands and recite
prayer of General Absolution and prayer for healing) 

Elena Garcia ARCWP and Roman Rodriguez

All:  God, Mother-Father of mercies who through the life, death and
resurrection of Jesus, have reconciled the world and sent Sofia your Holy
Spirit among us so that we might live and be Jesus in our time and place.
May we live to bring to its fruition the kindom of God on Earth. God give us
pardon and peace always; we only need to be open to God's reconciliation and
peace. We forgive ourselves for the times when we were closed to your
healing and we forgive others when they were not, as well.  Amen. 

First Reading: Esther 14   Esther sought strength in the Most High as she
looked death in the face...She called out to the Most High God of Israel
with these words: My God, our only Sovereign, come to my aid, for I am alone
and have no other relief but you. Remember us, O God, and show yourself at
this time of our need. As for me give me courage, Sovereign God of supreme
power.  As for our people, liberate us by your mighty hand and come to my
aid, for I am alone and can rely on no one but you, O God.  Hear my plea and
have mercy on your chosen people.  Turn our tears into laughter that we may
live to sing your Name, O God. All: Thanks be to God.

Psalm: #138 Response All: "Loving God, on the day I called for help, you
answered me" 

I give You thanks, O Blessed One, with my whole heart: before all the people
I sing your praise; I was humbled when I came to see that you dwell in me,
in the Sacred Chapel of all souls; my gratitude knows no bounds. All:
"Loving God, on the day I called for help, you answered me" 

For you are the Holy One, the Life of our life. On the day that I called,
You answered me; the strength of my soul You increased.  Though I am in the
midst of trouble, You preserve my life; You are a very Presence as I face my
fears and doubts; your strength upholds me. All: "Loving God, on the day I
called for help, you answered me" 

You guide me as I pray to fulfill my purpose on earth; You do not forsake
those who call upon You.  Your steadfast Love and Truth endure forever. All:
"Loving God, on the day I called for help, you answered me"
(from Nan Merrill "Psalms for Praying-an Invitation to Wholeness) 

Gospel: Matthew 7:7-12  Jesus said to his disciples and to us, "Ask and keep
asking, and you will receive.  Seek and keep seeking and you will find.
Knock and keep knocking and the door will be opened to you.  For the one who
keeps asking, receives.  The one who keeps seeking, finds. And one who keeps
knocking, enters. Is there any among you who would hand your daughter a
stone when she asked for bread?  Would one of you hand your son a snake when
he asked for a fish?  

If you, with all your faults, know how to give your children what is good,
how much more will you Abba God in heaven give good things to those who ask!
Therefore, treat others as you would have them treat you. This is the whole
meaning of the Law and the prophets. This is the Good News of our Brother
Jesus. All: Glory and Praise to you our Savior Jesus the Christ 

Shared Homily 

When have you asked, sought, knocked on a door and have been answered?

What are you asking, seeking, or knocking on God's door for this Lent? For
yourself, family, country, world? 

When have you experienced Jesus asking you, seeking you or knocking on the
door of your soul? 

How and do I make ample time to nurture my relationship with God?  

Profession of Faith All:  We believe in God who calls us to be the
compassion of God in our world. We believe in Jesus, whose death and
resurrection reveals that God's liberating love overcomes all oppression
including death and evil. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of
Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to live Gospel equality in
inclusive communities where all are welcome everywhere in our nation and
world. We believe in the communion of saints our heavenly friends who
inspire us to live holy lives. We believe in the love that does justice and
heals our world. Amen

Prayers of the Community

Presider:  That we may live compassion and mutuality, letting go of all
selfishness and self-interest we pray.  Response: God of all ages, hear us!

Presider:  That those bound by hatred, hostility, and violence will be set
free especially immigrants from Central and South America and Muslims from
six countries in the Middle East, we pray.  Response: God of all ages, hear

Presider:  That the sick may be healed, especially Mary Prouty, Tish Rawles
ARCWP, Bob Murray MMOJ-Sarasota (mention names), we pray.  Response: God of
all ages, hear us!

Presider: For what else shall we pray?

Presider: O Holy One, we walk in faith that nothing is impossible and we can
care for others.  May we ask for others, seek justice for others, knock on
doors for others in need through the power of your Spirit Sophia working in
us to heal each other and the world. All: Amen 


Presider:  Blessed are you, O God, Seeker of all.  This bread is your MMOJ
community seeking for and knocking on the door to your Presence asking to be
your Compassion for all throughout our country. Through your divine
providence, we have this bread to offer, it will become for us the Bread of
Life.   ALL:  Blessed be God forever.

Presider:  Blessed are you, O God, Creator of all.  This wine is our asking
and seeking to be justice makers for all those who suffer in our country and
our planet. Through your divine providence, we have this wine to offer, it
will become our spiritual drink.  ALL:  Blessed be God forever.

Presider: Divine Presence, we are united in this sacrament by the love of
our Brother Jesus Christ in communion with all who seek to be the
Compassionate presence of God in our world ALL:  Amen.

All: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have this
bread and this wine, the whole of creation, and our own lives to offer.
Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation. Amen. 

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

Presider: Let us give thanks to our God. All: It is our joy to give God
thanks and praise. 

Eucharistic Prayer

Voice: Life-giving Love, You have called us to be midwives of grace, radiant
reflections of your holy presence on earth. 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. And so we join the angels and saints as
we sing:  

All: We are holy, holy, holy. You are holy,... I am holy,... We are
holy...(3 times -Karen Drucker)  

Voice: Gracious God, you set the banquet table and invite all to the feast
of unending delight. Here we celebrate divine love beyond what all that
words can describe in our evolving cosmos. Here your divine compassion
connects us to the young and the old, the least and the last, to all who
ask, who seek, who knock,  to everyone everywhere on our journey into the
heart of mercy. 

Voice: Gracious God, you set the banquet table and invite all to the feast
that celebrates your boundless love in the universe.  As mystics and
prophets we are Your hands, lifting up those who suffer, the vulnerable and
excluded in our world today. 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. As midwives of
grace we welcome all God's family into the Circle of Life at Your Banquet of

Voice: Jesus threatened the religious and political leaders of his time and
so they put him to death.  Like Jesus, the holy ones throughout the ages
have been executed for their prophetic witness by the oppressive systems
they challenged.  As God's beloved, we speak truth to power and work for
justice and equality, no matter what the cost. 

(Please extend hands as we recite the consecration together)  

All: May your Spirit, present in these humble gifts, 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 including us for a meal. He took bread, broke it and said: All: Take
this all of you. This is my body. Every time you eat it, remember me. 

Presider: In the same way after supper, Jesus took the cup, and raising it
with love beyond all telling, he gave thanks and shared the cup with those
at table and said to us: All: Take this all of you and drink from it. This
is the cup of my life blood, the making of a new and everlasting covenant.
Every time you drink of it, remember 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. Jesus' 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: We honor the holy women and men who have revealed your compassion and
justice in our world.  We honor those who asked for, who sought you and
knocked on the door to your Presence in their lives. We thank you for
friends, family, neighbors, and communities 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: 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.  We remember Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary Magdala, Peter, Paul,
Junia, our patron saints and all the saints and angels who hold us with
loving prayer each day.   We remember our loved ones and all those who have
died, that they may experience the fullness of life in the embrace of our
compassionate God.  

ALL: Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, all praise and glory are yours,
Loving God.  Amen.

The Prayer of Jesus All: Our Father and Mother who is in heaven, blessed is
your name....

The Sign of Peace;  Presider: God, we ask you to grant us Your peace and
unity beyond all words and imagination can express. 

Join hands in a circle of love and sing Peace...Love...Joy is flowing like a

Litany at the Breaking of the 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 to
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. Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ: all who are
asking, are seeking, and knocking on the door of the Sacred. Amen. 

Prayers of Thanksgiving 

Presider:  Life-giving God, Jesus showed the way to overcome all oppression
through his death and resurrection. Through the power of the liberating
Spirit at work within us, and our world, we will comfort the afflicted and
afflict the comfortable by living as the Compassion of God and the Gospel
values of justice, peace and equality in our lives and communities. All:

Community Prayers of Gratitude 

Concluding Rite  Presider: Our God is with you.  All: and also with you.  

Closing Blessing (Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing.)

ALL: May our gracious God, bless us all gathered here, in the name of God
our Loving Creator, in the name of Jesus our Healer and in the name of Sofia
Holy Spirit our Sanctifier as we care and minister to one another and all
those we meet with love. Be with us as we continue on our path and follow in
the footsteps of Jesus for we are the face of God in our world. Amen.

Closing Blessing:  Presiders: May we all go in the peace of Christ who
continues to seek us in relationship with him as Beloved brothers and
sisters. Let our service continue! ALL:   Thanks be to God.   

Adapted from a liturgy by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

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