Sunday, December 16, 2018

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates 3rd Sunday of Advent, Presiders: Lee Breyer and Pat MacMillan, Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons (Liturgy written by Kathryn Shea ARCWP)

Lee Breyer and Pat MacMillan, co-presiders

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Elena Garcia ARCWP lector

Theme:  Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad
(Liturgy and homily were written by Kathryn Shea ARCWP. Kathryn was ill and could not be with us.)


Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic community where all are welcome to share the Eucharist.  We use inclusive language in our scripture readings and prayers.  You will be invited to gather around the Table to pray the Eucharist Prayer.  We warmly welcome our newcomers to our liturgy and invite you to introduce yourself at the announcement time after Communion.  All are invited to join us for supper after the liturgy.   

Advent Candle Lighting and Blessing Prayer

Presider:  Like our ancestors, we honor the cycles and the seasons that remind us of the ever-changing flow of life of which we are a part.  Ritual acts give life meaning—they honor and acknowledge the unseen web of Life that connects us all.

ALL:  We light this third candle and remember that in the heart of every person on this earth and in all of creation, there burns the spark of luminous goodness – the presence of the Divine. Let us kindle the light of joy! Amen.

Gathering Hymn:  “You Come, You Come, Emmanuel” (to the tune of Oh Come, Oh Come, etc.)  words on back page

Opening Prayer

(Pause briefly and reflect on the need to grow more in love with others and with creation.)
Presider:  We give you thanks most loving and compassionate God, for this time of waiting when we search to find you present in our midst.  Open our hearts to finding you in new and unimaginable ways during this time of waiting.  Plant the seed of your presence deeper in us and help us to nourish it into new life. 

Liturgy of The Word

First Reading: Zephaniah 3:14-18      
Psalm 122.  Responsorial:  Let us go rejoicing to the house of our God.  #827
Second Reading: Philippians 4:4-7   
Gospel Acclamation:  Caribbean ALLELUIA!  (Alle-alle-alleluia)
Gospel Reading:  A reading from the Gospel according to Luke 3:10-18

Shared Homily/Community Reflection
Homily Starter
Kathryn Shea, ARCWP
Theme:  Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad
In the Bible we see many writings about sin, hell, fire, and brimstone, both in the Old and New Testament.  But, there are also many messages about rejoicing and being glad. Paul says, “Rejoice always!”  It’s not a suggestion.  It’s a command.  In these difficult times we are living, it is hard not to think about all of the bad and evil things taking place in our world.  Things caused by people, not by God.  So, it is even more important to take the time, make the time, to focus more on rejoicing and being glad.  There are so many things to be joyful for.  When joy consumes us, we are as close to God as we can possibly be.  There is a peace that comes over us that somehow puts everything in perspective.  In this state of pure joy and peace, we know beyond all knowing, that in the end, all will be well.  That doesn’t mean we don’t speak and act against injustices.  It just means we do it from a place of joy and not anger.  We want all the children of God to know and live this joy and peace, not just some. In our second reading, we are told, “Rejoice in our God always.”  Or as another translation has it, “I want you to be happy, always happy in our God.” 
The joy and happiness in our God that we celebrate today is symbolized by lighting a rose candle on the Advent wreath instead of a purple one.  The third Sunday of Advent is sometimes called Rose Sunday.  This lightening has two points of significance.  One is that of a greater light shining through the violet to reveal the rose tint signifying the coming of the Light.  The other is a lightening of the mood, for which reason the Church has traditionally ascribed this Sunday to the quality of joy.  The rose color expresses the joy of recognition, the recognition of the One who shines from beyond the veil of violet, who is the Messenger of the Light. 
There are many instances when we see Jesus being happy and joyful.  In John 15:11 we read Jesus saying, “I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.   So, how do we reach this state of pure joy in God.  We are given the answer by John the Baptist in today’s Gospel when three times people ask him “what should we do?”  Each time he tells them to not be greedy and to live simply; to share what we have with those who have little.  And as Paul states, “Let everyone see your forbearing spirit.” 
When I first read the Readings for today, I was immediately transported back to Africa and our connection to the Zulu tribe.  I think I mentioned that one of the most exciting parts of our trip was Seth Theo being made a member of the Zulu tribe and given the Zulu name Thokozani, meaning “happiness.”  We never expected anything like this to occur.  Joy often comes in the form of surprises.   We spent quite a bit of time with the Zulu people.  They invited us into their village, into their Spiritual boma, the sacred space of the grandmother, where all spiritual ceremonies take place, and the home or boma of the Chief.  To say we were in awe is a total understatement.  What is so impactful about the Zulu people is their genuineness, their spirituality, their humility, and the joy they exude.  You can feel it in your bones.  The Chief frequently said, “Aw! Rejoice!”  And yet, these are a very simple people by our standards.  Their homes, bomas, are small and very sparsely furnished.  They have no money and few clothes.  They make and sell their handicrafts to keep them from starving.  Their work is beautiful and they take great pride in their work.  Their hearts and spirits are full.  And I feel like a part of them came home with us in the form of Thokozani.  And the amazing thing for me is, I am much calmer about the condition of our Nation and our world than I was before we left.  And I am so grateful for that. 
Shout for joy, rejoice with all your heart, be grateful, and God’s own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds.  And to this, we say, Amen!


Profession of Faith

ALL:  We believe in the Holy One, 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 the Divine Word, bringer of healing, heart of Divine compassion, bright star in the firmament of the Holy One's prophets, mystics, and saints. 
We believe that we are called to follow Jesus, as vehicles of God’s divine love, as spreaders of Jesus’ wisdom and truth, and an instruments of their peace in the world. 
We believe in the Spirit of the Holy One, the life that is our innermost life, the breath moving in our being, the depth living in each of us. 
We believe that the Divine kin-dom is here and now, stretched out all around us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and hands to make it happen. 

Prayers of the Community

Presider:  We are people of faith.  We believe in the power of prayer.  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 and comforting God.
ALL:  We are filled with joy as we awaken to your call.
Presider: For what else do we pray?
Presider:  Joyful God, we know you attend to our prayers and respond with your wisdom and love.  In you, we place our faith.  ALL: Amen.

Preparation of the Gifts

Offertory Song:   Offertory Procession and Song: “Holy Darkness” #458, all verses
Presider:  Blessed are you, Jesus of Nazareth, through your goodness we have this bread and this wine and our own lives to offer.  Through this sacred meal may we remember how to live the new story.   
All:  Blessed be God forever.   
Presider:  Divine Presence, we believe that you are always with us, loving in each of us and healing others through us.
All:  Namaste (with a nod…3x)
Presider:  Lift up your hearts.  
All:  We lift them up in tender love, open to serve.
Presider:  Let us give thanks for all that we have.
All: It is our joy to be grateful for our many blessings as we gather at our family table.    (let us “gather at our family table”…      

Liturgy of the Eucharist 

Presider: Source of light and joy, we seek you in this season of winter, when the days are short and we lift up our hearts and ease our souls into that quiet place which is your presence among us.    

Presider: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer.    
(written by Jay Murnane) 

All:  Source of All That Is, we seek you in this season, when the earth is resting and preparing for new life. Like the earth, we long for new life and hopeful beginnings. This is the time of the pregnant woman, filled with life and hope powerful enough to topple structures of oppression.  This is the time of her song of fidelity and celebration. 

During this gentle season of Advent, we recognize that you have made us capable of bringing forth justice, like a rising sun. One with all who have gone before us, we sing this song of praise: 

Voice 1:  Blessed be our God! Blessed be our God!  Joy of our hearts, source of all life and love!  God of Heaven and Earth! God of Heaven and Earth! 
Dwelling within, calling us all by name!  Alleluia, sing! 
We thank you for those in times past who believed the good news, and lived what they believed. 

Voice 2:  Blessed is Isaiah and every visionary who insisted on a better future that would break through the deception, disaster and broken promises of the age in which they lived. 

Blessed is John, in the stark desert of careful focus, inviting the people to be born again in your love.  

Blessed is Miriam, who believed the words of Isaiah and opened herself up to the unbelievable. 

And blessed is her child Jesus, who felt the sorrows of humankind in his soul, and responded with deep and tender compassion. 

ALL: On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions and friends.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly with them, he bent down and washed their feet. 

(Presider lifts plate) 

When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the Passover bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying: 

Take and eat of the Bread of Life
Given to strengthen you
Whenever you remember me like this
I am among you

(Presider lifts cup) 

Jesus then raised a cup of blessing, spoke the grace saying: 

Take and drink of the covenant 
Made new again through my life in you. 
Whenever you remember me like this, 
I am among you. 

Let us share this bread and cup as we proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace

Voice 3:  We give thanks for our tradition, which is a living history of your love for all creation. We join ourselves with that tradition, as the visionaries and healers and peacemakers of our own time in history. 

We celebrate the many creative traditions which guide and form us and we are grateful that there are many paths to wisdom and life. 

ALL:  Each Advent we make a place in our prayer for all those who are oppressed and marginalized in so many places throughout this earth, and right here among us.  Let us remember them now.  (pause)

We are grateful for the gift of your Spirit, always drawing beauty and balance out of chaos.  And like Jesus. 

Standing where he stood,  
and for what he stood,  
and with whom he stood, 
we are united in your Spirit, 
and worship you with our lives,  

All: Amen.  

Presider: Let us pray as Jesus taught us: (Sing, Our Father and Mother, etc.)

Presider: Please join in our prayer for the breaking of the bread: 

Presider:  Loving God, ALL:  You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will live justly.    
Presider:  Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world.   
We will love tenderly.  
Presider: Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power.  We will walk with integrity in your presence. 

(Presiders hold up bread and wine) 

Presider: This is the bread of life. Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other. 

All:  What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.  

Presider: Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive. We are a spark of the Divine and nothing can separate us from God’s love. All are welcome to receive at this table. As you pass the bread and cup please say “You are a bearer of Light, Hope, and Joy”.

Communion Music:  Instrumental

Post-Communion Meditation and Reflection:  
Kumbaya – African Children’s Choir

Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion

Presider:  We REJOICE in all that you are and all of the Divine Interventions you bring into our lives.  Out of our joy, we express our gratitude, as we leave this holy place.  Nudge us to be challenged, encouraged, insightful, and empowered, so that we may continue to live as joyous partners in creating a world filled with love and ruled by justice.  ALL:  Amen.


Closing Prayer
ALL:  Christmas Eve Prayer
Frank Borman, Apollo 8 space mission, 1968
"Give us, O God, the vision which can see Your love in the world in spite of human failure.
Give us the faith to trust Your goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.
Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts.
And show us what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace."
Presiders:   May we all go in the peace that Jesus gave us, caring for one another.  May joy abound as we walk with our brother, Jesus, on our journey of compassion.  Let our service continue!
All:   Thanks be to God; let it be so.

Closing Song:  Woman’s Spirit – Karen Drucker


Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Roberta Fuller RCWP-Canada Roberta visit our community when she vacations in the Sarasota area. 

MMOJ Community eats supper together after liturgy. All are welcome. 

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