Saturday, March 28, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Fifth Sunday of Lent - Presiders: Kathryn Shea, ARCWP and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP

Theme: You Were Made for These Times


Presider 1:  Welcome to our virtual Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome.  At these difficult times, it is now more important than ever to gather together to support one another as “companions on this journey”, a journey of the unknown.  For “wherever two or more of you are gathered in my Name, there is love.”

Presider 2: We invite you to pray the liturgy and respond where it says, All.  All participants will be muted during the liturgy except for the presiders and readers. During the shared homily we ask you to raise your hand if you would like to contribute. Please have bread and wine/juice in front of you as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.

Let us begin now with our opening song: Breath of the One Life
By Jan Novotka

Breath of the One Life,
blow through me,
flow though me,
Breath of Life.
Great Source of All That Is,
hidden within,
renews the face of the Earth.

Breath of the One Life,
blow through me,
flow though me,
Breath of Life.
Conscious awareness
stillness within,
renews the face of the Earth.

Breath of the One Life,
blow through me,
flow though me,
Breath of Life.
Love and compassion,
life deep within,
renews the face of the Earth.

Communal Reconciliation Rite

Presider 1: We pause now to remember the times that opposing forces have influenced us and pray that we will make wise choices according to our best selves to grow more deeply loving in challenging relationships and situations. Recall one missed opportunity, one broken or damaged relationship. Now imagine this person or situation in the light of divine healing love as we ask for forgiveness, and make wise choices according to our best selves.


Presider 1: Let us extend our hands in a sign of mutual forgiveness as we pray: 

All: Please forgive me, I am sorry, I love you, I thank you.

Opening Prayer

Presider 2: Let us pray together or opening prayer.

All: Holy One, like Jesus, we face daunting temptations and stressful situations that challenge us to make wise choices. Like Jesus, led by the Spirit into the wilderness, we open ourselves in our struggles to experience the divine light within that illuminates our goodness and liberates us for generous service.


First Reading

The first reading is adapted from the Prophet Ezekiel 
EZ 37: 12-13

Thus says the Holy One:
O my people, I will open your graves
and bring you out alive,
and bring you to the promised land.
Then you will realize that I am God,
I will breathe my life into you and you will live.

These are the words of the Prophet Ezekiel and we affirm them by saying, AMEN.

Psalm 130

Reader: Our psalm response is from Psalm 13o and the response is:
The Holy One is compassionate and merciful.

O Beloved,
Out of the depths we cry to You!
And in mercy, you hear us.
You are attentive to our supplications.

Response: The Holy One is compassionate and merciful.

You do not number the times we
Stray from you.
You are ever-ready to forgive,
That we might be healed.

Response: The Holy One is compassionate and merciful.

Our souls wait for You.
For in Your love, we live.
We wait for you
As one awaits the birth of a child, or
As one awaits the fulfillment
Of destiny.

Response: The Holy One is compassionate and merciful.

We are sons and daughters of the Light,
And we welcome you, the Heart of our hearts.
As we climb the sacred mountain of truth,
You show us mercy and love in abundance.
You are the Oneness of All.

Response: The Holy One is compassionate and merciful.

Second Reading:A Selection from We Were Made for These Times” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes (abbreviated)

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.  By Clarissa Pinkola Estes
American poet, post-trauma specialist and Jungian psychoanalyst, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.

Sung Response before Gospel: Spirit of the Living God
Sung by Michael Crawford
Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me
Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me.
Melt me mold me
Fill me use me
Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me.

Gospel: A reading from the Gospel of John

The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying,
“Jesus, the one you love is ill.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill,
he remained for two days in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to his disciples,
Let us go back to Judea.”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus
had already been in the tomb for four days.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming,
she went to meet him;
but Mary sat at home.
Martha said to Jesus,
“If you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God,
God will give you.”

Jesus said to her,
Your brother will rise.”
Martha said,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”
He became deeply troubled, and said,
“Where have you laid him?”
They said to him, “Sir, come and see.”
And Jesus wept.
So the people said, “See how he loved him.”
But some of them said,
“Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man
have done something so that this man would not have died?”
Jesus, troubled again, came to the tomb.
It was a cave, and a stone lay across it.
Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”
Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him,
“By now there will be a stench;
he has been dead for four days.”
Jesus said to her,
“Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone.
And Jesus raised his eyes and said,
“Abba, I thank you for hearing me.
I know that you always hear me;
but because of the crowd here I have said this,
that they may believe that you sent me.”

And when he had said this,
He cried out in a loud voice,
“Lazarus, come out!”
The dead man came out,
tied hand and foot with burial bands,
and his face was wrapped in a cloth.
So Jesus said to them,
“Untie him and let him go.”
Now many who had come to Mary
and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

These words are from the Gospel according to John, and we affirm them by saying: Amen.

Homily and Shared Reflections

Homily Starter:  Kathryn Shea, ARCWP
Theme:  You Were Made for These Times

So, I decided to use the same format that our dear sister, Janet, used last week, a chat.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt held over 30 speeches, which later became known as the “fireside chats”, via a radio address with the American people.  This was at a time of great turmoil in the world, much like we’re seeing today.  Millions of people found comfort and renewed confidence in these “chats”. Oh, how I do wish we had him back right now.  But, I believe through our own “chats”, with our MMOJ family, our own families, and friends, we too can find comfort and renewed hope through these difficult times.   So, here goes. 
I found it a bit ironic that this week’s Readings touch into the most profound of human mysteries, the mysteries of life and death.  Our world is certainly dealing with this mystery every day now, as we see the number of patients with the virus increase each day, as well as the numbers of deaths.  It is indeed a frightening time.  But, we were made for these times. 
But, there are so many things that we can find comfort in and we have been given a unique opportunity to do just that.  I’m trying to just find peace in the beauty of my husband’s orchids, the birds flying overhead, and yes, even Seth’s messy room.  We have a lot more time to spend as a family now, a gift we rarely get.    
And I certainly find great comfort from the words in our second Reading.  “Especially do not lose hope.  Most particularly because, the fact is we were made for these times” and “In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you.  It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. 
So, as I was thinking about what I was going to write for today’s homily starter, I was trying to think of how to connect the miracle that occurred with Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and what we are encountering today.  Where is today’s miracle?  Where is Jesus?  And then I realized Jesus is right here with us and miracles are happening all around us, if we have eyes to see them, hearts to receive them, and hands to make them happen.  So, I’m curious to know what miracles have you seen or do you think are occurring in this current situation we are in?
Please raise your hand if you would like to make a comment and Mary Theresa will unmute you.    

Statement of Faith

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 a vehicle of divine love,
a source of wisdom and truth,
and an instrument of 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 and for the Community

Presider 1:  Aware that the Holy One is present within us and works through us, we bring to the table our intentions
All: We remember and we pray. 

Presider 2:  For  all  health care workers who are bringing healing to the suffering,
All: We remember and we pray. 

Presider 1:  For wisdom for government leaders in this world-wide pandemic,
All: We remember and we pray. 

Presider 2:  For those who have lost their health, jobs  and homes,
All: We remember and we pray. 

Presider 1:  For all those who need our prayers. Please speak your intentions now.  (pause)
All: We remember and we pray. 

Presider 2: We can do all things in the power of the Spirit working through us.
All: Amen


Preparation of The Gifts

Presider 1: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation.

All: Blessed be God forever.

Presider 2: God dwells among us.

All: And in all people everywhere.

Presider 1: Lift up your hearts.

All: We lift them up to make wise decisions toward what is good and holy.

Presider 2: Affirm the power of Light within you and within all. 

All: We trust in the wisdom of the Spirit guiding us.

Presider 1: Let us pray together our Eucharistic Prayer.

All: O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us as we set our hearts on belonging to you. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all creation.

You know our limitations and our essential goodness and you love us as we are. You call us to love with your compassionate heart and inspire us to see the good in others and forgive their limitations. Acknowledging your presence in each other and in all of creation, we sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy (Karen Drucker)

We are Holy, Holy, Holy…3x
We are whole.

Spirit divine, Come to me
Feeling love, Healing me .

Open my heart, Allow me to see,
Beauty & love, Lives in me.

You are Holy, Holy, Holy….
We are Holy, Holy, Holy…

All: Guiding Spirit, when opposing forces in us tug and pull and we are caught in the tension of choices, inspire us to make wise decisions toward what is good.

We thank you for our brother, Jesus, and for all our sisters and brothers who have modeled for us a way to live and love in challenging times. Inspired by them, we choose life over death, we choose to be light in dark times.

Presider 2: Please extend your hands in blessing.

All: We are ever aware of your Spirit in us and among us at this Eucharistic table and we are grateful for this bread and wine which reminds us of your presence with us now and our call to be the body of Christ in the world.

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

Presider 1 lifts plate as the community prays the following:

When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying: 
Take and eat, this is my very self.

Presider 2 lifts the cup as community prays the following:

Then he took the cup of the covenant, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying:
Take and drink.
Whenever you remember me like this,
I am among you.

Let us share this bread and cup to proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace.

All: Holy One, your transforming energy is within us and we join our hearts with all who are working for an inclusive church and just world.  We pray for wise leaders in our religious communities. We pray for courageous and compassionate leaders in our world communities. 

Like Jesus, we open ourselves up to your Spirit, for it is through living as Jesus lived that we awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to glorify you, at this time and all ways.

Presider 1: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

Holy One, you are within, around and among us.
We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come; your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us,
now and forever, Amen.  
Adapted by Miriam Therese Winter 

Presider 2:  Jesus said to his disciples, “My peace I leave You.  My peace I give You.” 
The peace of the Holy One is also with You. 
Let us share a cyber hug!


Presider 1: Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread:

All:  Holy One, we will serve the least and the last,
Holy One, we will care for our sisters and brothers in need,
Holy One, we will advocate for justice and equality

Presiders lift the bread and wine

Presider 1: "This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. 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 2: Please receive communion and know that nothing can separate us from God’s love. You are the Body of Christ.

Communion Song/Meditation 
I Will Not Leave You Comfortless by Jan Phillips

I will not leave you comfortless,
I will not leave you alone
I am the air you breathe in
I’m the light of every star and every dawn.


Presider 1: Please extend your hands in blessing.

All: May God bless us with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless us with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may tirelessly work for justice, freedom and peace among all people.

May God bless us with the gift of tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we really can make a difference in this world, so that we are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

Let it be so! Amen!

Closing Song:

Presider 2: Please join in singing our closing song:  Imagine by John Lennon

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