“With this Exhortation I would like to insist primarily on the call to holiness that (our God) addresses to each of us, the call that (God) also addresses, personally, to you: “Be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). (Francis, paragraph 10)
Presider: Infinite God in whom I live and move and have my being (arms outstretched), Holy Spirit Sophia in every person and all Communities (hands in Namaste position, bowing to person across from you), Inner God, my brother Jesus: I am your light for the world (hands crossed over heart) Amen. **
Opening prayer and asking for spiritual healing
All: “Let the grace of our baptism bear fruit in a path of holiness. Let everything be open to God; (May we) turn to you in every situation. Let us not be dismayed, for the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to do this, and holiness, in the end, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. (Gal 2:22-23). When we feel the temptation to dwell on our own weakness, (we) raise our eyes to Christ crucified and say: “(Jesus), I am a poor sinner, but you can work the miracle of making me a little bit better.” (With the People of God), holy yet made up of sinners, (we) will find everything (we) need to grow towards holiness. Amen (Francis paragraph 15)
(After we listen to each reading please circle a word or phrase that connects with you)
First Reading: Pope Francis, “Gaudete et Exsultate” taken from paragraphs 19, 20, 2l
A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, for “this is the will of God, your sanctification.” (1 Thess 4:3) Each saint is a mission, planned by (our Creator) to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel. (p19) (pause for a minute to let the words sink in)
That mission has its fullest meaning in Christ and can only be understood through him. At its core, holiness is experiencing, in union with Christ, the mysteries of his life. It consists in uniting ourselves to (Jesus’) death and resurrection in a unique and personal way, constantly dying and rising anew with him. But it can also entail reproducing in our own lives various aspects of Jesus’ earthly life: his hidden life, his life in community, his closeness to the outcast, his poverty and other ways in which he showed his self-sacrificing love.” (p20) (pause for a minute to let the words sink in)
May you come to realize what that word is, the message of Jesus that God wants to speak to the world by your life. Let yourself be transformed. Let yourself be renewed by the Spirit, so that this can happen, lest you fail in your precious mission. (The Spirit) will bring it to fulfilment despite your mistakes and missteps, provided that you do not abandon the path of love but remain ever open to (God’s) supernatural grace, which purifies and enlightens. The inspired words of Pope Francis.(p21) All: Alleluia Thanks be to God (pause for a minute to let the words sink in)
Responsorial: Psalm 23
All: You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows
Loving God you are my shepherd: I shall not want. In verdant pastures, you give me repose; beside restful waters you lead me; you refresh my soul. All: You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows
You guide me in the right paths for your name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil, for you are at my side. With your rod and your staff, you give me courage. All: You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows
You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of my God for years to come. All: You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows
Second Reading: Pope Francis, “Gaudete et Exsultate” taken from paragraphs 31,32, 34
We need a spirit of holiness capable of filling both our solitude and our service, our personal life and evangelizing efforts, so that every moment can be an expression of self-sacrificing love in (our Brother Jesus’) eyes. In this way every minute of our lives can be a step along the path to grow in holiness. (p 31) (pause for a minute to let the words sink in)
Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy. On the contrary, you will become what (our Creator) had in mind when God created you, and you will be faithful to your deepest self. To depend on God sets us free from every form of enslavement and leads us to recognize our great dignity. (p 32) (pause for a minute to let the words sink in)
Do not be afraid to set your sights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God. Do not be afraid to let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit. Holiness does not make you less human, since it is an encounter between your weakness and the power of God’s grace. For in the words of Leon Bloy, when all is said and done, “the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.” (p 34) The inspired words of Pope Francis. All: Alleluia Thanks be to God
(pause for a minute to let the words sink in)
Gospel: A reading from the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2: 1-4
When the day of Pentecost arrived, the disciples all met in one room. Suddenly they heard what sounded like a violent, rushing wind from heaven; the noise filled the entire house in which they were sitting. Something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each one. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as she enabled them. Praise to our Brother Jesus who sends the Holy Spirit upon each of us. All: Amen, I do believe. Alleluia.
Shared Homily Reflection
When have you experienced Sofia the Spirit’s presence?
What has been your path(s) to holiness? Do you trust the Holy Spirit guides you?
In Pope Francis’ Call to Holiness what inspires you? What challenges you?
Statement of Faith
All: We believe in one God, a divine mystery beyond all definition and rational understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that ever will exist.
We believe in Jesus, messenger of God’s Word, bringer of God’s healing, heart of God’s compassion, bright star in the firmament of God’s prophets, mystics, and saints.
We believe that we are called to follow the Holy Spirit who comes with Her call to Holiness, our source of God’s wisdom and truth, and an instrument of God’s peace in the world.
We believe that God’s kindom is here and now, stretched out all around us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and willing minds and hands to make the kindom present in our time and place. May we become holy saints for our times. Amen
At Pentecost dear Sophia, Holy Spirit, may God grant us your gifts so we may continue on the path of holiness. Response: Holy Spirit fill our souls and our minds that we might do your will.
In our every day lives may we know that every thought and action of compassion takes us further on the path of our mission in life. Response: Holy Spirit fill our souls and our minds that we might do your will.
For what else should we pray:
Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers, those we say aloud and those we hold in our hearts. We ask you to strengthen us on our path to holiness through our caring for one another and in our works for justice, equality, and peace in a world without violence. As always, we make our prayer in the names of Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom. Amen.
Presider: We now celebrate our commissioning, a celebration of the gifts of the Spirit in our community of faith. We will use the symbol of anointing with chrism as a reminder of our baptismal call to live the fullness of the gifts of the Spirit in ministry to all.
All: We bless this oil as a reminder that Jesus was so blessed before he died and rose again. After his resurrection Sophia, Holy Spirit came upon his followers at Pentecost. Jesus dear brother, we ask your Holy Spirit to bless this oil so each of us may be anointed to follow our unique mission to holiness in our life. Amen
As each person’s hands are anointed the following is prayed: Like Jesus, you are anointed to live the Good News and to become a saint for others.
Presentation of the bread and wine
Presider: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness your community of MMOJ at Sun City Center has this bread and our own lives to offer for your mission. Through this sacred meal we become your holy ones, your saints. All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, this fruit of the vine that human hands have made. It is our desire to complete the mission of our lives you have given us. It will become for us our spiritual drink. All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: My sisters and brothers, these gifts give glory to the Holy One. All: Sophia Holy Spirit we remember your coming to us at baptism and confirmation and remember your presence especially each Pentecost. You dwell in each of us, all of us and all creation. You accept our gifts and our worship that we offer in service to our faith community so all may become saints. We do this in memory of our brother, Jesus. Amen.
Voice 1: O Divine Flame of Love, your glowing embers dance in our hearts. Your passionate presence kindles our souls. You purify us with the searing truth that ignites our spirits. As the glowing embers of a fire penetrate the cold around us, so your tenderness sets our hearts aglow. We celebrate your nearness this day as we remember your Pentecost miracles.
Voice 2: The wind of your life has blown across our world in the gentle breezes and thunder storms of your vision in your prophets and visionaries among us. We praise and exalt you forever with grateful hearts as we sing:
Holy, Holy, Holy – Karen Drucker
We are Holy, Holy, Holy, we are whole; You are Holy, Holy, Holy, you are whole. I am Holy, Holy, Holy, I am whole. We are Holy, Holy, Holy, we are whole.
Voice 3: Passionate God, you kindle your fire of enthusiasm for our mission within us. You speak to us with assurance and excitement and reveal to us the infinite, boundless, depths of your love for us.
Voice 4: You awaken us to your promises to be always present in our lives, no matter what the obstacles or setbacks we experience. Your Spirit fills us with such a hunger and thirst for holiness that our words and actions encourage others to become living signs of your holiness working for justice. You give us eyes to see human needs, hearts to care for our sisters and brothers and hands and feet to lighten others burdens. In this way we walk our unique path to holiness.
Invocation of the Holy Spirit (extend you hand in blessing)
All: You bless us O Holy One and you enliven all that exists. You transform these gifts of bread and wine, and our lives, by boundless grace that nourish and sustains us on our journey of our mission to holiness for others.
Presider: On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions. He reminded them of what he taught them and bent down and washed their feet. His action a symbol of the path to holiness for us. Jesus returned to his place at the table, lifted the Passover bread and spoke the blessing, and then broke the break with these words,
All: Take and eat, this is my very self.
Presider: Jesus then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine with these words:
All: Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life for you and for everyone. Whenever you do this, you remember me.
Presider: Let us proclaim the mystery of wonder in our midst:
All: Jesus who walks with us on the path of holiness, you are the spark of love in whom we believe; the Wisdom of Sophia in whom we trust; and the desire for justice that consumes us.
Voice 5: As we celebrate the memory of Jesus, we remember our political and religious leaders, especially Pope Francis, and our Bishop Bridget Mary. We remember the communion of saints who have gone before us and all who have inspired and loved us.
(pause to mention names).
Voice 6: May our hearts be joyful as we dream new dreams and see new visions on our path to holiness. May we recognize Christ present in every person we encounter. May we, like Jesus, become Spirit Fire, as we fan the flames of love in our families, communities, country and all over the world.
(Co-Presiders hold up bread and wine.)
All: For it is through living as Jesus lived that we find our mission, that we awaken to your Spirit within moving us to glorify you through lives of holiness. Today at this time and in this place and always. Amen
Prayer of Jesus
Presider: Jesus knew it would be hard for us to follow our unique path of holiness, to discern and to fulfill our mission of life. Let us join hands and pray together the prayer that Jesus taught us. “Our Father and Mother…”
Sign of Peace
Let us hold hands and sing “Peace is flowing like a river…, Joy is flowing…Alleluia.
Prayer for the Breaking of the Bread
Presider: Please join in praying the prayer for the breaking of the bread:
All: Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel as we walk our path of holiness. We will do so. Loving God, you call us to fulfill our unique mission in life for the world. We will listen for your will from the Holy Spirit. Loving God, you call us to speak truth to power. We will walk our path with integrity.
(Co-Presiders hold up bread and wine)
Presider: Let us pray our communion prayer together.
All: What we have heard with our ears through Pope Francis and the Spirit of Pentecost, we will live with our lives. As we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge on our path to holiness. Amen.
Presider: Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive. We are a spark of the Divine and nothing can separate us from God’s love. All: We are the Body and Blood of Christ for the world.
Thanksgiving and Announcements
Final Blessing (all extend their hands in blessing)
All: May God’s Spirit sent on Pentecost, given again to us in Baptism and Confirmation strengthen us to carry out our mission faithfully. May you willingly accept your unique mission in our time and place. God’s Spirit calls you to heal and reconcile the hurts of the world. May God’s Spirit guide you in your mission of holiness for justice and peace for all. May God’s Spirit enliven you in prophetic and liberating obedience. Always we pray in Jesus our Brother’s name. Together, we are one in Christ, loving and serving God’s holy people. Amen Alleluia.
* APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION: GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE OF THE HOLY FATHER
FRANCIS ON THE CALL TO HOLINESS IN TODAY’S WORLD, March 19 2018
**From Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve by Paul R. Smith
Liturgy adapted from Bridget Mary Meehan, Mary Theresa Streck and Jay Murnane, ARCWP