Sunday, November 11, 2018

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy - November 11, 2018

Kathleen Ryan, ARCWP, Diane Geary and Jonathan Gradess led the Upper Room liturgy on Sunday with the theme: Every act of love is a step in living the most important mandate “Love your God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself”. Kathleen's homily starter is printed below the readings.

Opening Song: Blessed is She by Colleen Fulmer

The first reading is from the Book of First Kings
So Elijah went to Zarephath. When he arrived at the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Could you bring me a little water in a jar for me to drink?” As she was going to get the water, he called out, “And please bring me a piece of bread.”

“As YHWH lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a couple of sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my child. We will eat it—and then we will die.”

Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go home and do what you said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me; and then make something for yourself and your child. For YHWH, the God of Israel, says: The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day YHWH makes it rain on the land.”

She went away and did what Elijah told her to do. And there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her child. The jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of God spoken by Elijah.

These are the inspired words from the Book of Kings. The community affirms these words by saying AMEN!

A Reading from the Gospel of Mark

Jesus sat down opposite the collection box, and watched the people putting money in it, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny.

Then Jesus calling his disciples to himself said to them, “The truth is this woman has put in more than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have put in money from their surplus, but she has put in everything she possessed from the little she had—all she had to live on.

These are the inspired words of Mark a disciple of Jesus.
The community affirms these words by saying AMEN!

Kathleen’s homily starter:

There are over 70 verses about widows in the Hebrew and New Testament Scriptures. We know the Holy One gave a protective mandate to the community “care for widows and orphans”. Back then- no husband, no adult child meant an early death.

In the first reading we have Elijah asking the widow to take care of him. Elijah says “do not be afraid”-do as I ask. In reality, she has no choice-she does what he asks and she shares her last bit of food. At the end of this story though we know Elijah obeyed the mandate of the Holy One. The widow and her child have an unending supply of oil and flour.

In the gospel-it’s important to hear this story in context-in the verses just before this passage Jesus is telling the disciples to “Beware of the scribes and Pharisees. They devour the houses of widows”, and then offer up prayers instead of taking care of them.

Then Jesus says take a look at what is happening. This widow just gave her last cent to the temple coffers. Jesus is not really saying wow isn’t that great, this poor widow just handed over her last cent. Instead Jesus is actually condemning the law that is requiring the widow to hand over her last cent. Jesus is reminding his disciples that the person, the widow is important.

Jesus always challenges the status quo, the establishment, our way of thinking and seeing. He reminds us of the true mandate “take care of orphans and widows”. How do we actualize this mandate today? We take care of the marginalized, the homeless, the immigrants, our neighbor, friends and family. We take care of each other and our environment. Every act of love is a step in living the most important mandate “Love your God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself”.

What did you hear? Please share your reflection.

Closing Song: Companions on the Journey by Carey Landry

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