Saturday, November 21, 2020

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Cosmic Christ Liturgy - Sunday, November 22, 2020 - Presiders: Joan Pesce and Jim Marsh, ARCWP

The link to join with Zoom is: 
Meeting ID: 825 1215 9155
If you are unable to connect via Zoom, please feel free to connect by phone by dialing: 
        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)


Welcome: (Jim) We warmly welcome you to our Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community based in Albany, NY. During this time of pandemic, we have become a community without walls or boundaries, thanks to the technology of Zoom. While everyone will be “muted” for most of the liturgy, we invite you to pray the parts designated “All” and to sing out loud. We ask our readers to “unmute” for their reading and then “remute” again after finishing; the same goes for anyone designated to pray a “Voice” part. Please have some bread and wine or juice on your table. As St. Augustine said, “The one who sings, prays twice”, so let us begin in song!


Opening Song:  We Come To The Feast – Michael Joncas

https://youtu.be/He1viPvFXzc



We place upon your table a gleaming cloth of white:

the weaving of our stories, the fabric of our lives;

the dreams of those before us, the ancient hopeful cries, the promise of our future:

our needing and our nurture lie here before our eyes.


Refrain:  We come to your feast, we come to your feast:

      the young and the old, the frightened, the bold, the greatest and the least.

      We come to your feast, we come to your feast with the fruit of our lands

      and the work of our hands, we come to your feast.


We place upon your table a humble loaf of bread:

the gift of field and hillside, the grain by which we're fed;

we come to taste the presence of him on whom we feed,

to strengthen and connect us, to challenge and correct us, to love in word and deed. Ref.


We place upon your table a simple cup of wine:

the fruit of human labor, the gift of sun and vine;

we come taste the presence of him we claim as Love,

his dying and his living, his leading and his giving, his love in cup outpoured. Ref. 


We gather 'round your table, we pause within our quest;

we stand beside our neighbors, we name the stranger "guest."

The feast is spread before us; you bid us come and dine:

in blessing we'll uncover, in sharing we'll discover your substance and your sign. Ref. 


LITURGY OF WORD


Reading 1: The Universal Christ – Richard Rohr, ofm

“How God Keeps Creation both Good and New” p.95


God keeps creating things from the inside out, so they are forever yearning, developing, growing, and changing for the good. This is the fire he has cast upon the earth, the generative force implanted in all living things, which grows things both from within—because they are programmed for it—and from without—by taking in sun, food, and water.


If we see the Eternal Christ Mystery as the symbolic Alpha Point for the beginning of what we call “time,” we can see that history and evolution indeed have an intelligence, a plan, and a trajectory from the very start. The Risen Christ, who appears in the middle of history, assures us that God is leading us somewhere good and positive, all crucifixions to the contrary. God has been leading us since the beginning of time, but now God includes us in the process of unfolding (Romans 8:28-30). This is the opportunity offered us as humans, and those who ride this Christ train are meant to be the “New Humanity” (Ephesians 2:15b). Christ is both the Divine Radiance at the Beginning Big Bang and the Divine Allure drawing us into a positive future. We are thus bookended in a Personal Love—coming from Love, and moving toward and evermore inclusive Love. This is the Christ Omega! (Rev 1:6).

These are inspired words from Richard Rohr, and the community responds: AMEN!


Alleluia: Dennis - Cantor


Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46


Jesus said to his disciples:


“At the appointed time the Promised One will come in glory, escorted by all the angels of heaven, and will sit upon the royal throne, with all the nations assembled below. Then the Promised One will separate them from one another, as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. The sheep will be placed on the right, the goats on the left.


The ruler will say to those on the right, ‘Come, you blessed of my Abba/Amma God! Inherit the kin-dom prepared for you from the creation of the world! For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me; naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me; in prison and you came to visit me.’


Then these just ones will ask, ‘When did we see you hungry and feed you, or see you thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you as a stranger and invite you in, or clothe you in your nakedness? When did we see you ill or in prison and come to visit you?’


The ruler will answer them, ‘The truth is, every time you did this for the least of my sisters or brothers, you did it for me.’


These are inspired words of the evangelist named Matthew, and the community responds: AMEN!


Homily Starter: Joan Pesce


Today we celebrate the feast of the Cosmic Christ, the last Sunday in 

Ordinary Time, and the end of the liturgical year. In our country, we celebrate Thanksgiving, the harvest time, the end of the agricultural cycle.  These two realities brought to mind for me a time for reflection and evaluation.


In the first reading, Richard Rohr tells us that God keeps creating things from the inside out, the fire, the generative force implanted in all living things both from within—and from without.  During this liturgical year, we, as the Upper Room community members, have spent much time reflecting on the Cosmic Christ without.  In our efforts to grow in our care for our earth and the future of our planet with climate change, we have increased our awareness of the beauty of life all around us.  We have increased our efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle as a way to do our part in answer to Pope Francis’ call in Laudato Si. We have grown in our gratefulness for the beauty and life energy that surrounds us.  But now, the other part of Rohr’s statement calls to us:  growing things from within.  How often do I take the time to be within, to empty my mind of thoughts and concerns and experience my union with the Cosmic Christ within?  Do I, by my subconscious beliefs about myself, limit my ability to receive a deeper awareness of the Divine Presence within me?


Am I able to commit to spending a period of time each day—10 or 20 

minutes—to going within to meet and open to the Cosmic Christ? The Cosmic Christ is again presented to us in Matthew’s writing in the second reading.  He uses the analogy of the shepherd with his sheep.  We 

know from references in the Gospel of John that the shepherd’s power over the sheep comes from the persuasive power of love shared.  The shepherd lives his life wholly for his sheep, even to the point of death.  In this parable we see the face of the hungry, thirsty, immigrant, naked, sick and incarcerated Jesus who is present and unavoidable at every turn in those crying out to be shepherded.  As often as Jesus’ followers respond to these brothers and sisters in the way of the Divine Shepherd, they live. However, the ones who reject the shepherd’s gracious beneficence, choose to be separated from that empowering love.  We are blessed as Upper Room Community members to have many opportunities to reach out to help those crying out to be shepherded in our local community or to support other groups who can respond in our name.  Have I taken advantage of these opportunities? Am I willing and able to do more?



In closing these reflections, a line from T.S. Eliot comes to mind: “To make an end is to make a beginning; the end is where we start from.” So let us learn from what has preceded us this liturgical year and dream a new vision of what we can be personally, as the People of God, and as a nation for as Richard Rohr reminds us: “God keeps creating things from the inside out so they are forever yearning, developing, growing, and changing for the good....This is the opportunity offered us as humans and those who ride this Christ train, to be the ‘New Humanity’.”


Statement of Faith (Ed & Margaret Dilgen alternating)

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. AMEN!


Jim: As we prepare for our sacred meal, Dennis will give voice to our many cares and concerns and so we pray: 

(conclude with): O Holy One, you know our needs before we even speak. Yet, we must speak, if only to remind ourselves of our responsibility to care for the least among us. With your grace, may we act justly and love tenderly in addressing the needs of our world, and may we walk humbly on our mother, the Earth. AMEN


LITURGY OF EUCHARIST

 Joan: Please join in praying our Eucharistic Prayer


Ever gracious and gifting God, we give you thanks for the great gift of life! We are grateful for brother sun and sister rain, for seed and soil, and for the diversity of creation. We are mindful of the sowers and harvesters, the bakers and vintners who made these simple gifts of bread and wine. May they nourish us for our work to bring about the kin-dom.


Phillis: Christ of the Cosmos, we thank you that there are 18 galaxies for every person, that our bodies are made of stardust. Every place we turn, you are present, loving us. You call us, “beloved” and invite us to join the dance of creation in a mystical celebration of our oneness with all living things in your divine love. And so we praise you in song:


Here in This Place by Christopher Grundy    


https://youtu.be/sgkWXOSGmOQ

 

Terri K: We thank you for our brother, Jesus, who showed us so simply, so tenderly, how the world is in our hands. He had nothing in this world but your love, companions on the journey, and his very self. Together, that was more than enough, and that remains our clarity in the midst of confusion: the miracle of healing, new hope, nurturance, nourishment, liberation and life.


Jim et al: (extend your hands and pray together):

We are ever aware of your Spirit in creation. Intensify your Spirit anew in these simple gifts of bread and wine and in us, that we might truly be the Christ presence in our world.


Joan et al: 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, and to fix that memory clearly, he bent down and washed their feet.


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

Take and eat, this is my very self.


Then Jesus took the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered it to them 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.


Jim Let us now eat and drink, mindful that the Cosmic Christ is present to us!

 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.


Communion Meditation Song: Somewhere to Begin – by Sara Thomsen


https://youtu.be/qxMF6KlXqdQ


People say to me, “Oh, you gotta be crazy!

How can you sing in times like these?

Don’t you read the news? 

Don’t you know the score?

How can you sing when so many others grieve?”

People say to me, “What kind of fool believes 

that a song will make a difference in the end?”

By way of a reply, I say a fool such as I

who sees a song as somewhere to begin

A song is somewhere to begin

the search for something worth believing in.

If changes are to come, 

there are things that must be done

and a song is somewhere to begin.


People say to me, “Oh, you gotta be crazy!

How can you dream in times like these?

Don’t you read the news? 

Don’t you know the score?

How can you dream when so many others grieve?”

People say to me, “What kind of fool believes

that a dream will make a difference in the end?”

By way of a reply, I say a fool such as I

who sees a dream as somewhere to begin.

A dream is somewhere to begin

the search for something worth believing in.

If changes are to come, 

there are things that must be done

And a dream is somewhere to begin.People say to me, “Oh, you gotta be crazy!

How can you love in times like these?

Don’t you read the news? 

Don’t you know the score?

How can you love when so many others grieve?”

People say to me, “What kind of fool believes

That love will make a difference in the end?”

By way of a reply, I say a fool such as I

Who sees love as somewhere to begin.

Love is somewhere to begin

the search for something worth believing in.

If changes are to come, 

there are things that must be done

and love is somewhere,

and a dream is somewhere.

and a song is somewhere to begin.

 

Tim: Christ of the Cosmos, we rejoice that You, who are more than we can imagine or dream of, dwell in mystery beyond space and time. We remember that it was You, who said: “Anything I have done in the name of the Holy One, you can do, too…and even more.”


 Sandi D: Christ of the Cosmos, we remember Miriam, the mother of Jesus—faithful disciple and Sts. Francis and Clare who sang canticles to creation. We remember our sisters and brothers: Jay, Ed, Terri, Jonathan, Patrick, Nancy, Adele, Tish, Joan and Michele and all our beloved dead in the great cloud of witnesses who blessed our world and continue to inspire us by their lives.


Jim et al It is through living as Jesus lived that we awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to glorify You, the Cosmic Christ, at this time and all ways. Amen.

Let us pray the prayer of Jesus:


O Holy One who is 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.  [interpretation by Miriam Therese Winter] 


Dismissal and Blessing

Presiders: Christ of the Cosmos is with us! 

Let us leave this celebration singing a blessing song to each other.


Blessing Song by Jan Phillips

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTVrbEbjqZ8


May the blessing of peace be upon you;

may peace be all you know.
May the blessing of peace be upon you;

may it follow wherever you go.


Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem 

May peace prevail on earth 

Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem 

May peace prevail on earth. 

(verses continue with joy, then love, then light)


Have a great Thanksgiving!

                                            

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