Saturday, June 3, 2017

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Pentecost – June 3, 2017 Co-Presiders: Kevin Connelly, Janet Blakeley, ARCWP & Sally Brochu, ARCWP

left to right: Sally Brochu ARCWP, Kevin Connelly, Janet Blakeley ARCWP

Music Ministers: Mindy Lou Simmons & Russ Banner

Mindy Lou Simmons, Music Minister

Lectors: Pat and Bob MacMillan

GATHERING SONG : “Spirit of Life” – written by Carolyn McDade

Spirit of Life, come unto me!

Sing in my heart, all the stirrings of compassion,

blow in the wind, rise in the sea,

move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.

Roots hold me close, wings set me free,

Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.
Presider: In the name of God, our Creator, of Christ, our liberator, and of the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom.

ALL: Amen.

Presider: My sisters and brothers, God is with you! ALL: And also with you.

Presider: As we celebrate the life-giving, life-changing day of Pentecost, let us pray:

Gentle Spirit, you who birthed the cosmos, ever expanding, every system in perpetual motion, breathe your life, that fire of love and being, into each of us each day. Let your life in us transform us that we can experience your love fully. Thank you for tending to your light within us and sustaining that light in our souls. Amen.

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: Let us pray to the God of unchanging love for us.

ALL: Oh God, make us quick to see where and when we block your loving Spirit and thereby slow down the progress of creation to its completion in you. And when we find it hard to forgive, help our egos to step aside and allow your Spirit to flow. 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: Acts 2: 1-11 (Response: Thanks be to God)

Responsorial (#806) Psalm 104 “Send forth your Spirit, O God, and renew the face of the earth”

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 12: 3-7, 12-13 (Response: Thanks be to God)

Gospel Acclamation: ALLELUIA! (sung)

Gospel: A reading from the Gospel according to John 20: 19-23 (Response: Glory and praise to Jesus, the Christ)

Homily Starter: Janet Blakeley
Janet Blakeley, homily

If we were asked to describe Pentecost, it would probably be in terms of these strange phenomena that happened – the loud wind, an ability to speak in other languages, and of course the flames of fire that came to rest on the disciples’ heads. Don’t forget that Jesus must have walked through a wall in order to be in their midst.  And of course the holy Spirit was received that day.
So it was surprising and odd to read the familiar Gospel and come to the last sentence of Jesus
“If you forgive anyone’s sins they are forgiven.  If you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.”
What was that doing there?!  A little research showed that the sentence was there from the earliest texts, so although it seems like an add on, it must belong there.
My prayer was to know what of this Gospel God would like to highlight and, by the way, what was that last sentence doing there?
God has an efficient way of communicating with me.  A picture is worth a thousand words, I see pictures.  In this case, I was shown Jesus, who is recognizable by his rather full, brown robe, seen from the side looking at a man – only this man was smaller than Jesus and shrinking fast!  He was twisting and turning, trying to avoid the gaze of Jesus because clearly he felt guilty about something.  Jesus just stood there, unmoving, but his eyes sent out love, and his stance was welcoming.  The little man continued to avoid looking at Jesus, and yet it seemed he had put himself there on purpose.  The man twisted and Jesus stood there, his robe puffing up as he seemed to fill even more with love.
How or when it happened I don’t know, but suddenly the man was being embraced by Jesus who was nearly bursting with love, and the man was full-sized again and happy!  It seemed as if they hadn’t seen each other for a long, long time, and were thrilled to be together again!
Where was the guilt?  Where was the sin that caused this man to be afraid?  It was gone from one instant to the next!  It no longer existed!  In fact, it seemed that for Jesus it never existed!
Then I understood that God’s love for people is the totality of what God offers us. We may hesitate to approach God… but GOD IS unchanging love toward us.  In fact, when we allow ourselves to receive God’s embrace, there is no sin or sorrow remaining.  It vanishes the instant we fall into God’s arms and receive the love. That’s what Jesus is offering on Pentecost.  His desire is that we receive it and administer it – pass it on.
I do not believe for one minute that, with these words, Jesus is ordaining the disciples and empowering them and later disciples to hear confessions and give absolution.  And I do not believe that when one person refuses to forgive another for all eternity that the person is condemned to remain unforgiven.  What I do believe is that Jesus is telling the disciples and us – that we may either forgive people and allow God’s love to flow freely through us, or refuse to forgive and block the flow of God’s love.
The impact of this is not only on the individuals involved – its impact reaches into eternity.  If God’s long-range plan is for a kin-dom, and this is the way it is to be built, then we put up a roadblock to the progress of God’s plan.  With these last words of today’s Gospel, Jesus is giving us the means to make the kin-dom come – or not.
Now – having seen the sadness of a penitent vanish the moment he fell into the arms of Jesus, I wonder if it’s even correct to say that God forgives.  Because at no time is there a pause in love us.  God never withholds, love or sets requirements.  Those are human maneuvers, not godly, because by nature, God is merciful – all the time.
Even though Jesus knew that human egos have the power to withhold love, he entrusted us with his own loving Spirit. This was the paramount gift Jesus gave us. It has raised us to a new level of being.  It has included us in the work of God.  It is gift and responsibility.
Now we see that all the happenings of Pentecost were attention-getters.  Like the blast of trumpets announcing the arrival of a dignitary, they heralded the coming of the Spirit.  Now we see that the last sentence of the Gospel was not just an add-on: It was the whole point of Pentecost!  Forgive and the world will grow and evolve in God’s love.  Withhold forgiveness and the world will remain bogged down in its own unhappiness.
Oh God – make us quick to see where, when and why we block your loving spirit and thereby slow down the progress of creation to its completion in you.  When we find it hard to forgive, help our egos to step aside and allow your spirit to do the forgiving from within us.
We are the cup.
You are the wine.

Profession of Faith:

ALL: We believe in God, the Creator of the Universe, the fountain of life, flowing through every being. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who reflects the face of God and the fullness of humanity. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of God in the cosmos, who calls us to love and serve without counting the cost. We believe in our global communion with all circles of life. Amen to loving actions on behalf of justice, healing, compassion and equality for all in our world. We believe we are light to the world.

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, often caused by 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: “Gather Me Under Your Wings” – by Kathryn Christian

Gather me under your wings,

Shelter me from the rain,

Mother me, comfort me, hold me,

Here is my heart, O God.
PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS – (Please join us around the altar)

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: Together, we lift them up to God.

Presider: Together, we give thanks to our gracious God. ALL: Indeed it is right to constantly give thanks and praise.
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 to come 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: 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, who through the power of the Spirit, 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 – “Linger Lovingly” by Carmel Boyle (Words are on last page)

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 Spirit-filled service continue!

ALL: Thanks be to God.

CLOSING HYMN: “Take the Word of God With You As You Go” – Christopher Walker
Take the word (peace, joy, love) of God with you as you go,

Take the seeds of God’s word (peace, joy love) and make them grow.

Go in peace to serve the world, in peace to serve the world,

Take the love of God, the love of God, with you as you go.
Linger Lovingly

by Carmel Boyle
Linger lovingly, a little longer,

touch this moment, breath this now,

Linger lovingly, a little longer,

let the Spirit breath in you now.
Repeat refrain
Veni Sancte Spiritus,

Touch our hearts, touch our minds.

Veni Sancte Spiritus,

With gentle breeze, lead our way.
Refrain x2
Veni Sancte Spiritus,

Be in our hearts, be in our words,

Veni Sancte Spiritus,

With tongues of fire, light our way.
Refrain x2
Veni Sancte Spiritus

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Veni Sancte Spiritus

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