Saturday, August 1, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for 18th Sunday in Extraordinary Time - Presiders: Terri Kersch and Kathleen Ryan, ARCWP

Welcome and Theme    
Our theme today is our strong belief that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  In each of our chosen readings, we will be challenged to trust in The Holy One.  Just as the Apostles were asked, we too are told to heed the words of the Prophet Isaiah as he promises an everlasting Covenant of blessings. We are challenged to trust the abundant empathy, compassion and generosity of Jesus. 

Presider 2: Opening Prayer:  Today we are challenged on every side. Our world is in disarray due to the Covid 19, Racism, the economy and political divisions.  We stand together in our community ready to listen to Your word, and to take action in love. Bless our efforts and hold us tenderly as we walk this journey together.

Opening Song: Come to the Water by John Foley, SJ
LITURGY OF THE WORD

A reading from the letters of Paul to the Romans (8:35-39)
Brothers and Sisters, What will separate you from the love of Christ?
Trouble? Calamity? Persecution? Hunger? Nakedness? Danger? Violence? Yet in all this we are more than conquerors because of God who has loved us. For I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angel nor demons, neither the present nor the future, neither heights nor depths nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

These are the inspired words of Paul a disciple of Jesus.
The community affirms these words with Amen.

Alleluia  



A reading from the Gospel of Matthew
When Jesus heard about the beheading of his friend and cousin, John the Baptist, he left Nazareth by boat and went to a deserted place to be alone. The crowds heard of this and followed him from their towns on foot.  When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast throng, his heart was moved with pity, and he healed their sick.
As evening drew on, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “this is a deserted place and it is already late.  Dismiss the crowds so they can go to the villages and buy some food for themselves.”
Jesus said to them: “There is no need for them to disperse. Give them something to eat yourselves.”
“We have nothing here” they replied, but five loaves and a couple of fish.”
“Bring them here,” Jesus said. The he ordered the crowds to sit on the grass. Taking the five loaves and two fishes, Jesus looked up to heaven, blessed the food, broke it, and gave it to the disciples, who in turn gave it to the people. All those present ate their fill. The fragments remaining when gathered up, filled twelve baskets.  About five thousand families were fed.

These are the inspired words of Matthew a disciple of Jesus.
The community affirms these words with AMEN.

(pause) 

 Homily
What will separate us from the love of God?  There are so many examples of Trouble, Calamity, Persecution, Hunger, Nakedness, and Violence in today’s world. How on earth are we to garner the courage and strength to trust this man called Jesus? How can we believe that not only is there enough, but that there is an abundance to meet all need? Today’s readings are an invitation and a carefully orchestrated lesson plan – Jesus is the Master Teacher.

We, today’s disciples, are invited and instructed to be active students in the learning process.  The lessons are the same today as in Jesus time:  to trust the love of our God, and to live deeply in the knowledge that we cannot be separated from that love. 
Just like any school class, some of the disciples just wanted to get it over with…’dismiss the crowds so they can go home and get food for themselves’. But the lesson was not over that quickly.  The twelve Apostles were instructed to gather the fish and loaves, feed the masses after Jesus blessed and broke the bread, and then gather the remnants…12 disciples, 12 baskets of leftovers – nothing was to be wasted.  The disciples learned visually and tangibly the lesson of abundance. 
So what is our lesson amidst the Trouble, Calamity, Persecution, Hunger, Nakedness, and Violence of 2020?  We are given the same instruction as the Apostles: to be active learners in the lesson of abundance.  We are asked not only to assess – how many gifts…fishes/loaves/crumbs of bread do we have?  But we are challenged to use those gifts…every crumb.

Not only are we required to use our gifts, but we are asked to trust, take Holy One at her word that we are loved, giving us the bold courage to collect and use every crumb of talent and gift we have to feed needs of the many in our midst.  Our life course brings many tough questions:  Are we aware and able to acknowledge that we are both needy and a disciple?  Are we willing to freely offer our gifts and talents in nourishment to the ‘other’ or do we want to send them off to find their own way?  Can we recognize the amazing impact of gifts freely given?  Are we willing to waste nothing…even our mistakes or missteps are part of the lesson of love.  And finally, do we have what it takes to ask the Holy One to use our gifts, large and small, and even our shortcomings, in ways we might not even imagine?

We at the Upper Room are so blessed; our many needs are met with abundance.  The Upper Room offers us a study guide to the love of our God - through the gift of clergy, the inspiration, leadership challenge to explore our faith and the richness of our community Apostles.  Each one of us, as the needy and Apostle, are blessed with abundant support, guidance, and a myriad of examples of God’s love, even in these most difficult of times.

This morning, the Master Teacher Jesus leaves us with one final exam question: amidst the Trouble, Calamity, Persecution, Hunger, Nakedness, and Violence  of today, how are you living fully and growing in the trust that nothing can separate you from the love of God?

Shared Reflections

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 1:  As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to the table our prayers and intentions: (Terri read the intentions.)                       
Terri: We pray for these and all unspoken intentions. Amen. 

Presider 2: With open hearts and hands let us pray our Eucharistic prayer in one voice:

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 beckon us to 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:

Song:   Here In This Place
Presider 2: 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.

Terri: 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 our call to be the body of Christ in the world.

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 to fix that memory clearly with them, he bent down and washed their feet. 

Community lifts their plates

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.

(pause)   Community consumes the bread  

Community lifts the cup

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.

(pause)  Community drinks from the cup

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

Presider 2: Holy One, your transforming energy is within us and we join our hearts with all who are working for a just world.  We pray for wise leaders in our religious communities. We pray for courageous and compassionate leaders in our world communities. 

We pray for all of us gathered here and like Jesus, we open ourselves up to your Spirit, for it is through living as he lived that we awaken to your Spirit within,
moving us to glorify you, at this time and all ways.
Amen.

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 

Communion Song:  Shepherd Me O God


Loving source of our being, you call us to live the gospel of peace and justice. We choose to live justly, love tenderly, and walk with integrity in your presence.

BLESSING

 Please extend your hands in our final blessing.

ALL:  May the Fire of Love ignite our hearts and radiate through us.
May the Spirit truth and justice burn within us.
May we continue to be the face of the Holy One, and
May we be a blessing in our time.
AMEN.

Closing Song: Sing A New Church
https://youtu.be/ETV1DXQk_Gk?t=14



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