Inviting, Interesting, Involving, Inspiring
Feast of the St. Therese of Lisieux
26th Week in Extra-Ordinary Time
October 3, 2020
Presiders: Kathryn Shea, ARCWP
and Lee Breyer
Readers: Katy Zatsick, ARCWP
and Mary Al Gagnon
Theme: The “Little Way” for “The “Little Flower” and for each one of us
Presider 1: Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community where everyone is welcome. Today we are celebrating role of St. Therese who, within her short 24 years on earth, gave us a shortcut of following Jesus…she did that by her life example and the simple lesson she left for us.
Presider 2: We will be using inclusive language in all our scripture readings and prayers during the liturgy today. During it, everyone except the presiders and readers will be muted (have their microphones turned off); they cannot be heard. But that does not mean that we cannot pray and sing our hearts out when we see the parts marked ALL.
Presider 1: However, many of us will be unmuted (microphones turned on) at various times to read one of the parts marked VOICE and then it will be muted again. During the “Shared Homily” and “Prayers of the Community” we invite you to unmute so that you can contribute your comment…and then mute again so that another person can have a similar opportunity to speak. Also, please have your bread and wine/juice nearby so it will be convenient for you when we all pray the Eucharistic Prayer. And near the end, at announcement time following the Communion, we invite new (or not so new) comers to our liturgy to introduce themselves if they wish.
Presider 2: Let us start today’s service with an opening song:
Gathering Song: Gather Us In by Marty Haugen
Presider 1: Loving God, may we be consciously mindful of your presence in each one of us as we gather together once again for our sacred liturgy. We come to celebrate our oneness with you, following the example of St. Therese whose path to holiness was straight and simple. It was so very simple that it was called the “Little Way”. Her personal message, her plan for herself, was not complex in any way. She just performed her everyday actions in the awareness of both your presence and your love for her – and also your care for each of her Carmelite sisters as well. May we follow that example of love of self and neighbor as Jesus instructed us to do…and do so without exceptions!
ALL: May the sacredness of our time together so inspire us that we will faithfully follow a central message of Jesus … that we “love one another” and do it in both our good times and those that are not so good. May we find a way to do that with whomever we even dislike very much … even those Jesus referred to when he commanded us “to love your enemies.”
May we be nourished by the simple meal of bread and wine that we will bless as we do what Jesus did with his friends at his Last Supper -- and what he told us to do in remembrance of him through the ages. It was in that evening that Jesus knew he was with friends whom he loved…and that the time would be short before he would be with others, much less friendly...but whom he would love as well. Spirit of God, bless us with your strength to follow your example. We ask this of you, oh Nourishing God, certain that you always hear our prayers - although we may not always recognize your response. Amen.
Presider 2: This is the day that our gracious God has made...
ALL: let us rejoice and be glad in it!
Penitential Expression and Community Forgiveness
Presider 1: Creator God, to you all hearts are open, no desires are unknown, and no secrets are hidden. We ask you to send your Spirit to us so that we may live more fully according to your will…as we know from the example of Therese. Through your grace, all people, wherever they may be on this earth, are one family …and you have made them all worthy to be called your blessed people.
ALL: Christ Jesus, we ask for your grace that we may realize our continual need to grow in understanding, love, compassion and caring for ourselves, for all others, and for our planet Earth. We also ask that we may be constantly conscious of your forgiveness for our hurtful actions to people of different beliefs, nationalities, races, and social settings.
May we gather both the strength of your Spirit and the grace of your Divine Being within us so that we may extend your merciful and forgiving presence that is your gift - through us - to everyone we meet, everywhere we go. Amen.
Presider 2: We ask you, Jesus the Christ, for the insight, direction, and strength of the Spirit that will guide us to deeper commitments to practice peace, justice, equality and nonviolence everywhere. May your grace lead us to this by the example you gifted us with - in the person of Therese of Lisieux and her practice of the “Little Way.” Together, as the family of God – and as sisters and brothers of one another - we pray….
ALL: (with an outstretched arm): God, the Father and Mother of compassion, through Jesus’ life, he revealed that nothing can separate us from your unconditional love. He sent the Holy Spirit to give us the understanding, willingness and courage to love one another without exception. We ask you to grant us the grace of pardon and peace so that we may - in turn - forgive each other for our failures to care for one another and for our Earth. We ask this in the names of Jesus, our brother, and of the Holy Spirit, our healer and comforter. Amen.
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading: Romans 12: 9-21
Lee: This first reading is from Paul’s writing to the church in Rome in the mid-first century. He was a relatively obscure Roman citizen there. Paul crafted an extraordinary letter to a small gathering of people in the busy and powerful center of an extensive empire. This letter, the one we are using today, is considered, by scholars, to be a premier document in Christian theology both for its time and its content. Today’s selection is from chapter 12: 9-21. And it will be presented to you by Katy Zatsick.
Katy: Your love must be sincere; it has to come from your heart. Don’t fake it. Dislike whatever you find is evil… and cling to what is good.
Love one another with the same level of affection that you have for your sisters and brothers. In fact, try to outdo one another in showing mutual respect.
Do not grow slack, but continually grow evermore fervent in your spirit - the One you serve is Christ!
Do rejoice in hope. Be patient in times when you may be suffering under your trials; persevere in prayer. Then, when you are feeling too hurt, pray all the harder.
Consider the needs of God’s holy people as you do your own; be generous in offering them your hospitality.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; share tears with those who aren’t as well off as you, those not regarded well in their personal social circles.
Do not repay evil with evil. Do not even try to overcome evil by doing evil in return to someone, but rather overcome evil by doing your good works.
Do not be overcome by evil; it is not your job to get even. Overcome evil by doing good -- and then follow that by being even better.
Again, I say to each one of you: love one another since you are brothers and sisters in the one family of God.
This is the Word of God sent to us in the 21st century through Paul who authored it in the it in the first century. It is as good advice to us today as it was to the group Paul addressed then.
This we accept as our own, by saying “Amen.’
Lee: This second reading is from the First Letter of John. Scripture scholars and authors are in agreement that this short four-chapter letter was not written by the author of the synoptic gospel attributed to John… but the time of their scripting was about the same, that is in the early 100s. The Letters, short as they are, reflect much of what John the Evangelist has in his gospel … namely, that God is Love and we are to love one another. This reading will be presented to us by Mary Al Gagnon.
Mary Al: The heart of John’s short four-chapter Letter is this:
My friends, since God has loved us so, we must have the same love for one another.
If we love one another, God dwells in us, and God’s love is brought to perfection in us.
The true test of our faith is the depth of our love for each other. The way that we can know that we are in God and that God is in us is that we do respond to the love that has been given us in the Spirit.
We have come to know and to believe in the love that God has for each one of us.
God is love, and those who abide in love, abide in God, and God in them.
This is the Word of God through the testimony in the First Letter of John.
And to that we all say, “thanks be to God.”
Lee: And now, in joy, we all sing “Alleluia”
Lee: Having sung our “Alleluia,” we will listen now to the good news of the Gospel of John. Today’s selection is from chapter 14 with verses between 9 to 26. It will be presented to us by Kathryn Shea.
Whoever has seen me has seen Abba God. Do you not believe that I am in Abba God and that Abba God is in me?
The words I am telling you are not my own; they are from Abba God who is living in me and accomplishing God’s work through me. You can believe from my words that I am in God and God is in me -- or else you can believe it because you have seen the works that I do.
If you love me and obey the commandments that I give you, I will ask the One who sent me, Abba God, to give you another Friend, another Helper to be with you always – and that will be the Spirit of Truth who you will recognize because she will remains with you and will always be within you. She will instruct you in everything …and she will remind you of all that I have told you.
In a little while now, the world will see me no longer -- but you will see me. This is my parting gift to you… Peace. Then, on that day you will know that I am in God and you are in me and I am in you.
Today we have, once again, heard a central message of John to the first century Christian communities. He has done that in his gospel to the audiences of his days, and has spread that good news to everyone since then. And today, we are blessed by being recipients of those messages as well.
And to this, as always, we say: “Thanks be to God!”
Shared Homily Starter: Lee Breyer
Homily: Lee Breyer
Today there is a real good story to tell, especially if you are a Carmelite…as I am. The story is, as you know by the stated liturgy theme, about a woman named Therese Martin; Lisieux was the town in Normandy where she lived. She had two family sisters there in the local Carmelite convent and she was able to get a special dispensation from the age requirement so that she could join them in that convent at the age of only 15. The convent was cloistered so there was seemingly not much to do outside of it, but Therese took advantage of that solidarity inside to make serious studies of the Scriptures and to demonstrate her love of God as well as all her fellow religious sisters. From that, with the help and light of the Spirit, she came to understand that her vocation was to practice a simple and focused holy life and to be aware of the constant loving presence of God in everything she did… this made her know that she was certainly on a path to holiness in everyday life. She called her method of spirituality “The Little Way.” It put holiness of life within the reach of ordinary people everywhere. She considered herself of little account, having really done little in the convent and nothing outside it at the time. So, after her death, naming her “the Little Flower” did not seem an overstatement at all. While in the quietness of convent life, she was told by her superiors to record her experiences and insights of her spiritual life…and we, at the time and through the years since, learned of that from her writings. After her death when she was only 24 years old, a posthumous biography that was entitled “The Story of a Soul.” Therese died of tuberculosis at the age of 24…only 9 years in the cloistered convent. She was declared a saint in the Roman Catholic Church in 1925 and in 1997 she was named one of only four female women in the long history of the Church until even now.
What is of probable interest to the Mary Mother of Jesus community is that Therese felt a powerful vocation to be a priest, but that was impossible at that time as we know. “If only I were a priest” was what she said then. Her very satisfactory mission, as she described it, “is love”; and “to make Love loved.”
What is of interest to us today is the lesson of St. Therese, the “Little Flower” who designed the “Little Way.” What is of practical use for us - and is mentioned in the theme - is that her “Little Way” is so practical for each one of us. Actually, the method and understanding of “the little way” is not unfamiliar to us. The practice of “a constant awareness of God’s presence that we pray for and the resultant loving outcome in everything we do” are somewhat elusive experiences…even despite the seriousness of our intentions. We know that there are many real and very complex challenges - more than those Therese encountered in her convent cloister a century ago. But, as we think of our experiences in these times and places, how do we try to keep the constant awareness of God before us in all we do…after all, while the setting is quite different, the successful practice of the Little Way should be our goal. It worked for Jesus in his day; it worked for Therese in hers.
Since we have the same challenge…a constant awareness of God in all we do…it seems that we could use reminders, or even prompts, to help us keep “the little way” discipline in our “not so constant awareness.” It might be useful for all of us to benefit from the experiences of this that you would like to share with the others. You will have an opportunity to do that shortly.
Lastly, when I thought of developing this particular homily starter, I thought of an example that seems to be pretty workable to do and easy to be understood. I know someone who has something along this line…a constant awareness technique. I may have mentioned this to some of you before today.
Here is the story. As I understand it, a person whom I know has a framed paper text …held firmly on a mirror with a suction-cup hanger…that is in a location where it can be seen often during the day…in a bathroom or bedroom location. And the framed script reads:
You are in me;
I am in You.
May I reflect your compassionate presence
in everything I do and say,
with everyone I meet today.
How well does it work? I don’t know; I should look into it.
But it does meet the criteria of Therese’s “the little way.” It is simple and can be very successful for bringing about a constant awareness of the message.
Now that you’ve heard this one example, would anyone like to contribute any ideas to this subject?
If you do, please unmute yourself or raise your hand if you need help in doing that. Re-mute yourself after your comment.
Profession of Faith
Presider 1: We believe in God, the Creator of the ever-expanding universe, the one whose divinity infuses all that exists in the cosmos, making everything in it sacred.
Presider 2: We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who leads us to the fullness of humanity. Through his Incarnation, we are a new people, called beyond the consequences of our brokenness.
Presider 1: We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God who keeps the Christ-vision present to all of us, especially to those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives. She is the Sustainer who heals and energizes us when our strengths grow weary in our journeys.
Presider 2: We believe that God’s kindom is here with us now, and will be forever, for those with eyes to recognize it, hearts to receive it, minds to understand it and hands to make it known to everyone.
ALL: We say “amen” to faith, hope, and love. We say “amen” to the partnership and equality of all people, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity and beliefs. We say “amen” to a world of peace and justice for everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions. In all this, we surely believe.
Prayers of the Community
Presider 1: We are a people of faith who believe in the power of prayer. We are mindful of God’s unconditional love and care for each one of us. Today, as always, we bring the needs of our sick and suffering brothers and sisters to our merciful and comforting God.
ALL: Our response is: Compassionate God, bless our petitions.
Presider 2: We believe that we send blessings to all those who are struggling in their physical and mental health as a result of Coronavirus and the financial and occupational conditions in which they find themselves.
ALL: Our response is: Compassionate God, bless our petitions.
Presider 1: And for whom or what else do we pray at this time?
NOTE: Unmute your microphone and mention your concern when you have an opportunity to do so. Then, when you are finished, please remute your microphone so that others have an opportunity to mention their prayerful intentions.
Presider 2: Healing God, we ask you to strengthen us in our love and concerns for one another, here and throughout the world. We ask you to bless our efforts for justice and equality so that - with our sisters and brothers - we may promote cultures of peace and nonviolence in our world. As we always do, we make these prayers to you, O Gracious God, in the names of Jesus, our Brother, and the Spirit, our Wisdom. Amen.
If you are able to handle the bread and drink that you have brought to this liturgy, please hold it up a bit where you are at.
Presider 1: Blessed are you, God of Creation, through your goodness we have this bread to offer…this grain of the earth that human hands have prepared for our use. It will become for us the bread of life. ALL: Blessed be God forever.
Presider 2: Blessed are you, God of Creation, through your goodness we have this wine to offer…this fruit of the vine that human hands have prepared for our use. It will become for us our spiritual drink. ALL: Blessed be God forever.
Song: Holy, Holy, Holy
ALL: We are holy, holy, holy (3x), we are whole; you are…I am…we are… (Karen Drucker)
Presider 1: Ever caring and loving God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. Through you we live and move and have our very being. Through Jesus, we have an example of what it means, and may even cost, to live the commandments to “love one another” and even to “love our enemies. And we give you thanks for the gift of the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead, giving us a foretaste of the paschal feast of heaven, the home for which you created us to be the end of our time on earth. And for this, we sing with thankful voices….
ALL: Holy, Holy, Holy God, God of power, God of light. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed are those who come in the name of our God. Hosanna in the highest.
Presider 2:: We thank you for the gift of Jesus in history - and the gift of Jesus in faith. On earth, he burned with his vision of his mission. He revealed you to us through his loving and compassionate life well lived. In it, he showed us, not only how we should live, but also for what we might even die.
Katy : When his time on earth had come to an end, Jesus - aware of and accepting his destiny - gave up his life for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death. And then, providing an example of this insight for the understanding of ages to come, he opened wide his arms and died. Then the Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, showed us that life is eternal and that love is immortal. The same Spirit will be resurrected in each one of us. The Jesus of history and faith is with us today - as he will be through the end of time.
ALL: (Please outstretched an arm as we pray the Consecration together.): We remember the gift that Jesus gave us on the night before he died. He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal. And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them saying: take this, all of you and eat it. This bread is you; this bread is me. We are one body, the presence of God in the world. When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you. This is the new and everlasting covenant. (Pause)
In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: take this all of you and drink it. This wine is you; this wine is me. We are one blood, the presence of God in the world. When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you. This is the new and everlasting covenant.
Mary Al: Jesus, who was with God “in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth,” is with us now in this bread. The Spirit, who the prophets spoke of in history, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim this mystery of faith.
ALL: Jesus has died. Christ is risen. The cosmic Christ lives through us in the world today.
Presider 1: May all who share this sacred meal be strengthened in their unity by the Spirit. And may that Spirit, that Wisdom, that moved in Jesus move as freely in our lives as She did in that of Jesus.
Presider 2: God of blessing and peace, help us to continually grow in love of you and each other. May we always be aware that we are your Body and Blood on earth, reflecting your care and concern for everyone everywhere. Remember your church throughout the world, together with Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and your whole sacred family – especially those who live on the margins of church and society. We pray for the victims of the many shootings and the damaging floods, as well as those many people who are driven from their homelands to live as best they can elsewhere. We remember – today – St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower of Carmel, and her “Little Way” to sainthood. And we remember, as well, the entire communion of saints, both those living and dead, especially those who touched our lives and left warm footprints on our hearts. We remember (pause)…..
All: Spirit of God, we know that you bless each one of us and grace us with more than we could ever ask for or even imagine. And, in gratitude to you, we hold hands as we sing the prayer that Jesus gave us: (Note: no “amen” here.)
ALL: Our Father and Mother, who are in heaven, blessed is your name…..
ALL: God, we have just prayed that “your kindom may come” among us. We believe that it is with us here and now. We ask that you strengthen in us your grace and love so that we may, by our actions, make your kindom more obvious to everyone as we serve one another.
The Passing of Peace
Presider 1: Jesus, you said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you; my peace I give you.” Look on the faith of those gathered here today and… All: …. grant us your peace. O God, following the example of Jesus and with the strength of the Spirit, help us spread that peace throughout the world, to everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions. Amen.
Presider 2: May the peace of God be always with us, and let us extend that peace to one another as we join hands in a circle of love and sing….
Song: Let there be Peace on Earth
Litany for the Breaking of the Bread
Katy: Loving God….
ALL: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of nonviolence with peace and justice, we will live justly.
Mary Al: Loving God…. All: you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of understanding and compassion, forgiveness and healing everywhere in your name. We will love tenderly.
Katy: Loving God… All: you call us to speak truth to power. We will walk humbly with you.
Mary Al: This is Jesus, who liberates, heals, and transforms us and our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.
ALL: We are the Body of Christ.
Presider 1: Gracious God, as we come to share the richness of your table, we cannot forget the needs, pain and poverty of so many of our brothers and sisters, our families and neighbors.
Presider 2: At this time, we all can receive the Communion that we each have consecrated;
we can eat and drink the Body of Christ.
Post-Communion Meditation Song:
I Am the One Within You – by Karen Drucker
Post- Communion Meditative Prayer of Thanksgiving
ALL: Loving God, may this Eucharist in which we share Christ’s healing love deepen our
oneness with you and with one another. May the wonder and thanksgiving of this blessed meal fill us with a deeper knowledge, understanding, and experience of your love and compassion for each one of us. And may this be reflected in the love we share with all we come in contact.
Closing Community Commissioning
ALL: (with arms extended to one another, we say:)
May our hearts be glad on our journey as we dream new dreams, see new visions, and create a new heaven and earth.
May we live and work for compassion and peace, justice and non-violence in our hearts and in those of everyone we meet.
May we learn to bless and honor and hold in reverence all creation, the earth, and one another.
Presiders 1& 2: We are the Face of God in the world; may we reflect God well. So, as we leave here in the peace of Christ, let us be the people that God created us to be. Let our service continue.
ALL: Thanks be to God. Let it be so! Alleluia!
What on Earth by Earth Mama from Love Large CD