Sunday, April 19, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for Second Sunday of Easter - Presider: Jim Marsh, ARCWP

Photo by Ran Berkovich on Unsplash

Second Sunday of Easter (Year A) – April 19, 2020
Presider: Jim Marsh, ARCWP

Welcome and Intro

Opening Song:  Glory to God  by Marty Haugen

Refrain:      Glory to God in the highest,
Glory to God in the highest,
Glory to God in the highest,
And peace to God’s people on earth!
We sing praises to you,
God of life, God of wonder,
Hearts filled with joy,
let our voices be thunder. Ref

Sing to Jesus, the Christ,
Word of life to the nations,
Raised up in glory
As our hope and salvation. Ref

In the Spirit we come
For the feast and the stories,
Speaking of God
In the pain and the glory. Ref (2x)

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading:                Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ instructions and the communal life, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. A reverent fear overtook them all, for many wonders and signs were being performed by the apostles.

Those who believed lived together, shared all things in common; they would sell their property and goods, sharing the proceeds with one another as each had need. They met in the Temple and they broke bread together in their homes every day. With joyful and sincere hearts they took their meals in common, praising God and winning the approval of all the people.

Day by day, God added to their number those who were being saved.

These are the inspired words of Luke, and we respond by saying: AMEN!

Alleluia       Dennis

Gospel Reading:             John 20:19-27, 30

On that same evening, the first day of the week, the disciples were in the room with the doors locked for fear of the Temple authorities. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Having said this, he showed them the marks of crucifixion.

The disciples were filled with joy when they say Jesus, who said to them again, “Peace be with you. As Abba God sent me, so I’m sending you.” After saying this, Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.”

It happened that one of the Twelve, Thomas—nicknamed Didymus or “Twin”—was absent when Jesus came. The other disciples kept telling him, “We’ve seen Jesus!” Thomas’ answer was “I’ll never believe it without putting my finger in the nail marks and my hand into the spear wound.”

On the eighth day, the disciples were once more in the room, and this time Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors, Jesus came and stood before them, saying, “Peace be with you.” Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Take your finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Don’t persist in your unbelief, but believe!”

Jesus performed many other signs as well—signs not recorded here—in the presence of the disciples.

These are the inspired words of John, and we respond by saying: AMEN! 

Homily Starter by Jim Marsh 

I’ll begin by saying that we have much in common with the disciples in our Gospel story …. we too are fearful and are “locked in our homes” due to the COVID-19 pandemic that is wreaking so much havoc in our world.

Now, this Gospel was written toward the end of the first century, and so the audience would not have been eyewitnesses to the events portrayed. And remember these “Followers of the Way” had not only been expelled from the Temple, but the Temple had also been destroyed.

Our story today picks up where we left off on Easter. In fact, it’s still the same day when Mary Magdala went to the tomb with the other women and discovered it empty, returned to tell Peter and John, who then ran to the empty tomb, found it as Mary had described and returned home. Mary lingered in the garden and becomes the first to experience the “Risen Jesus” who then told her sisters and brothers, “I have seen the Teacher.”

It’s now evening and this unnamed / unnumbered group of disciples are gathered behind locked doors when Jesus makes his appearance. They immediately recognize him by the marks of crucifixion. After greeting them with Shalom, he says he is sending them forth as apostles, which literally means one sent. He breathes on them saying “Receive the Holy Spirit” and we’re told they were filled with joy.

We come to the character of Thomas who unfortunately has gotten a bad rep because he doubts the others’ reports . Why do we think doubt is a bad thingThomas reminds us that faith does not exclude doubt and questions. Although we receive faith by and through the community (parents, friends, church), our faith is rooted in our own personal experience of God. It is not an assent to credal doctrines. To ask questions, to doubt allows us to seek and explore which may strengthen our faith and convictions. The Greek word for doubt (skeptikos) means inquire.

What is faith? Faith is a way of knowing, seeing and living and involves our trust in Jesus, the Risen One.

The reading from Acts is a post Pentecost experience of the growing Jesus movement. They are joyful and united in purpose; their actions express God’s love, justice, and mercy.

My friends, we have left the tomb, but are still “sheltering in place.” And that’s okay! There’s a difference between fact and story. Facts inform while stories often touch the heart. Could this be why Jesus so often used stories? The empty tomb is a fact; resurrection is a story! It’s not a one-time event. We are continually evolving as resurrected people through the circumstances of our daily lives. Will this entire event transform us?

In the midst of all our fears, do we recognize and experience the Risen One?

God is in the midst of this pandemic. I’m reminded of Mr. Fred Rogers who said, “Look for the helpers. You can always find people who are helping.” That is so true—there are countless numbers of people who are doing the right thing and are responding ….. doctors, nurses, grocery and food stockers, truck drivers, postal carriers, and so many, many more.

Let’s look at the big picture and not forget our planet. This Wednesday we celebrate the 50thEarth Day. It’s also the fifth year of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si

What did you hear?

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. 

Liturgy of the Eucharist
Presider:     As we prepare for the sacred meal, we are mindful of our blessings as well as the many cares and concerns surrounding our world this day.
Dennis will give voice to many received this past week, “we bring to our tables…
We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen

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

All:             God beyond our words,
we gather to give thanks and open our awareness to the goodness of all of creation. You invite us to co-create with you and we remember our responsibility to serve.

We open this circle to the memory of all of the joyful troubadours and faithful servants who have gone before us. Joined with all that is alive, we lift up our lives and sing:

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! 
Alleluia, sing! 

Gift of love and peace!
Gift of love and peace!
Jesus Christ, Jesus our hope and light!
A flame of faith in our hearts!
A flame of faith in our hearts!
Proclaiming the day, shining throughout the night!
Alleluia, sing!
Alleluia, sing!
           (Alleluia Sing by David Haas) 
Extending your hands, we pray…
All:             We invoke your Spirit upon the gifts of our eucharistic table, bread of the grain and wine of the grape, that they may become the presence of Jesus and that we remember our call to be the body of Christ to our world.

                  We thank you for Jesus, simple servant, lifting up the lowly, revealing you as God-With-Us, and revealing us as one with you and all of creation.

On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the people closest to him. Like the least of household servants, he washed their feet, so that they would re-member him.

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 this bread and eat it;
This is my very self.       (pause) 

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.             (pause)

Presider:     By sharing this bread and cup, we commit to proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace.

All:             We are willing to do everything Jesus did,
to re-create the living presence of a love that does justice,
of a compassion that heals and liberates,
of a joy that generates hope,
of a light that illuminates and confronts the darkness of injustice and inequity.
So, we trust you to continue to share with us your own spirit, the spirit that animated Jesus, for it is through his life and teaching, all honor and glory is yours, O Holy One, forever and ever. Amen.

Presider:     Let us sing the prayer of Jesus  (the monks of Weston Priory)
                  Creator of all,
You are with us.
Holy is your name.
May Your kin-dom come,
Your will be done by all who share the work of your creation.
Give us bread for the world’s hunger and forgiveness in your mercy
As we forgive those who are in debt to us
For You are compassion, justice and love
For evermore. Amen, amen, amen!

Presider:     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 become communion,
both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.
Eat and drink

Communal Prayer after eating and drinking (adapted from 1 Peter 1:3-9)

All praise to the Abba/Amma God of Jesus, the Christ, who with gracious mercy gives us a new birth; a birth into hope, which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus from the dead;
a birth to an imperishable inheritance, more precious than fire-tried gold.
May this incredible time of distress and unease due to COVID-19,
strengthen our belief that life is good, and increase our hope for the day when we can “unlock our doors” and leave our places of safe refuge.
On that day, may we gather with sisters and brothers everywhere in the expanse of open creation, rejoicing in song and dance. All praise and honor be yours, O Giver of all good gifts. Alleluia!

Presider:     Let us extend our hands and bless one another with these words:
All:             May you continue to see and recognize the Risen One in your midst.
May you hear the voice of the Teacher and be an apostle of good news like Mary of Magdala. May God bless you with enough foolishness to dispel the doubts that you can comfort, heal and transform our world by living genuinely, and loving extravagantly, even wastefully. Go forth—be a blessing! AMEN.

.Closing Song:       All You Works of God  by Marty Haugen

Refrain:      All you works of God, every mountain star and tree,
Bless the One who shapes your beauty,
who has caused you all to be on great song of love and grace,
Ever ancient, ever new. Raise your voices, all you works of God!

Sun and moon:  Bless your Maker! Stars of heaven: Chant your praise! 
Showers and dew:  Raise up your joyful song.  Refrain 

Winds of God: Bless your Maker! Cold and winter:  Chant your praise! 
Snowstorms and ice:  Raise up your joyful song.  Refrain

Night and day:  Bless your Maker! Light and darkness:  Chant your praise! 
Lightnings and clouds:  Raise up your joyful song.  Refrain

All who live:  Bless your Maker!  Men and women:  Chant your praise! 
Servants of God:  Raise up your joyful song.  Refrain  

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