Saturday, November 21, 2020

Celebrating the Cosmic Christ ,Mary Mother of Jesus ICC, Sarasota FL November 21, 2020 , Presiders: Joan Pesce & Jim Marsh, ARCWP, Readers: Judy & Kevin Connelly

Unsplash- NASA

Zoom link for video and audio: Sat. Nov. 14, 4:00PM Eastern Standard Time

Meeting ID: 862 4086 8327

Password: 1066

Dial-in for audio only

929 436 2866 

Meeting ID: 862 4086 8327

Welcome: (Joan)   We warmly welcome you to our Inclusive Catholic Community of Mary Mother of Jesus based in Sarasota, FL. 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 wishing 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

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. 

Transformation Rite

Jim: Aware of our oneness with all creation, we express our sorrow for the times we have failed to care for each other and creation.

 All: I’m sorry; Please forgive me; Thank you; I love you.  [ho’oponopono prayer]

Jim: Let us work to heal any brokenness we encounter in our world, so that we experience wholeness and oneness with all creation. May it be so, AMEN!


Reading 1: Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17

Thus says YHWH: I myself will search for my sheep; I will seek them out. 

As shepherds seek out their flocks when their flocks are scattered in every direction, 

so I will search for my sheep and rescue them, no matter where they are scattered on that day of full clouds and thick darkness.

I myself will tend my flock and have it lie down, thus says YHWH. 

I will seek out the lost, 

I will return the strayed, 

I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, 

and I will watch over the fat and the sleek. 

I will be a true shepherd to them. 

As for you, my flock, thus says YHWH: I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats.

These are inspired words from the prophet Ezekiel, and the community responds: AMEN!


Alleluia: Alle Alle Alleluia

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: Jim

Today is the last Sunday of this liturgical year, traditionally known as Christ the King Sunday. An interesting note: this Feast was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 to protest the church’s loss of power and prestige in the world; he was attempting to reinforce the notion that “the Church was founded by Christ as a perfect society.” We, in this community, choose to celebrate the Cosmic Christ, the Universal Christ to use Rohr’s term, present since the beginning and for all time.

Context is very important. I remember visiting the Pantheon in Rome; once a temple to all the gods built nearly 2000 years ago. As I took it all in, I suddenly felt a connection to all those people who gathered there to worship then, and no doubt they also discussed the events and happenings of their daily lives.

Our two readings today have some commonality. They both mention sheep and goats. Again, context can aid our understanding. Sheep and goats are really kin to one another, yet the goats seem to get a “bum” rap in Matthew’s Gospel story. 

Now, goats played a significant role in the services conducted at the Temple in Jerusalem. On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement which is the holiest of Jewish Feasts, two goats were brought before the High Priest who randomly affixed meaning to each. The first goat was solemnly sacrificed to God while the second goat was driven off a steep cliff to its death, “carrying away the sins of the people” according to Torah. 

Our first reading from Ezekiel was written probably 2500 years ago. Ezekiel was speaking to a people who had been in exile for years. His message is one of hope: YHWH (God) has not abandoned you; no YHWH will seek out the lost, return the strayed, bind up and strengthen the weak and injured and be a TRUE shepherd. 

The community that followed Matthew was certainly awaiting the Parousia, the great return of Jesus. Today’s story follows on the heels of the bridal party that was keeping vigil for the groom’s arrival, and the wealthy landowner who entrusts his slaves with his money and upon returning, asks each for an accounting. Today’s Gospel story is definitely about end times and judgment, but scripture scholars also tell us these are not the words of Jesus. Jesus never told this parable story. Nevertheless, I feel both readings have a message for us, who follow the Way of the Jewish Teacher in this 21st century.

This year has certainly been anything but ordinary. Like those Israelites in the first reading, we too have been living “in exile” for months with the COVID-19 pandemic on a global scale. And just when we thought it was “safe to go back in the water,”  the infection rates and death counts are soaring again. As U.S. citizens, many have felt we are “in exile” from our founding documents and our common dream to “create a more perfect union” in this country. Perhaps, we too cry out as Jesus did: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned us?”

And then there’s Matthew’s story about sheep and goats with the ensuing labels of being either righteous or damned. The image of God as judge is certainly paramount, and starkly opposed to the image of YHWH in our first reading. Joan and I left out the ending where the goats get the “bum” rap, but we know the story so well. And if we’re really truthful, we all like stories where the good s/hero is rewarded and the outlaw is condemned.


I want to suggest this is a story about choices, and Matthew makes it sound really easy, very clear-cut and so sure. You and I know it is not. I like to call this story “The Parable of Great Surprise” because both sides are taken aback; both ask “When did we ….” They seem oblivious to the consequences of their actions or lack thereof.

These are people, just like you and I, who are living very ordinary human lives, making choices day-in and day-out. This is the reality we live in. It’s a reality that pulls us in different directions and sometimes in opposite directions. I think we are both sheep and goats, both human and grace-filled as well as inhuman at times. I know there are times when I have served the hungry in a soup-kitchen, delivered clothes and food to struggling families, visited the ill in hospitals and nursing homes; and yet there are also times when I have looked the other way when someone was holding a sign asking for money at a stop light, probably with the thought: it’s just another scam!  In light of Matthew’s story, perhaps, I need to ask whether I’m the one “scamming God.” 

Deep down we know and want to help and care for one another. We want to make a difference. We always have a choice. Let us also be mindful that what we choose always makes a difference—for good or ill. The good news is we are making a difference as individuals and as a faith community each time we reach out and support causes and organizations that address the needs of the least, which are not just physical but also emotional and spiritual. As Jesuit Greg Boyle says “Kinship is God’s dream come true. It’s about imagining a circle of compassion and then imagining no one standing outside that circle.” And so, my friends, I encourage you to continue your good deeds with the words of Paul to the Corinthian community: “Be steadfast and persevere in the work of Jesus.”  

I ask you what did you hear in these readings? 

Statement of Faith (Jack Duffy & Ann Cooke 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, we bring to our table the cares and concerns of our world and so we pray: 

- For Joe and Kamala, our newly elected U.S. leaders, and the team they will bring together to unite us in ‘creating a more perfect union’  

- For those who exercise leadership roles in all faith traditions ….

- For those who are infected by COVID-19 and their care-givers as well as those who are researching a vaccine and cure

- For all those who are unemployed and underemployed, for migrants and refugees ….

- For those who work to promote justice by eradicating sexism, racism, and discrimination of every kind ….

- For an end to the “arms race” and peaceful ways to resolve conflicts among nations…

- And for what else should we pray (unmute to be heard, then please mute again)

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 all the days of our lives. AMEN



 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.

Voice 1: 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:

Holy, Holy, Holy (MMOJ) by Karen Drucker


Voice 2: 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: Bread On Every Table – Monks of Weston Priory

    Refrain: When bread is on every table,

all will know that Jesus is risen.

Then the poor of the world will feast,

and their children will sing alleluia!

At this table laden with gifting, 

with love and peace and praise.

We share the bread we break 

that the poor of the world may feast;

that the poor of the world may feast. Ref

Streams of freedom are now flowing,

unlocking every door. 

The dawn of lasting peace 

that the poor of the world may feast,

that the poor of the world may feast. Ref

Let bread no longer be greatly hoarded,

borders no longer closed

Compassion victory 

that the poor of the world may feast, 

that the poor of the world may feast. Ref

May the hungry be filled with plenty,

with bread and work and land.

Our resurrection hope 

that the poor of the world may feast,

that the poor of the world may feast. RefVoice 3: 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.”

 Voice 4: 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: Helen, Carol Ann, Imogene, Jack, Eileen, Ford, Bob, Joe and Jodie, 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]


Gratitude Prayer(s) from the community

Announcements to/from community

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

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)

If you want to add an intercession to our MMOJ Community Prayer book, please send an email to

If you want to invite someone to attend our liturgy, please refer them our website at      

To support our community, please send your check to:

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

St Andrew UCC, 6908 Beneva Rd, Sarasota, Florida 34238

Have a great Thanksgiving!

No comments: