Debbie: Welcome and Repose for Epiphany, 2022
Today we celebrate the Epiphany for 2022. The official date of the Epiphany is January 6th, which is Thursday. Perhaps you can remember that this is the 12th Day of Christmas, and in some traditions, it is called Little Christmas and is celebrated with the same intensity of December 25th. For us today, let us bring our attention to this morning, this time in our lives. With awareness and reflection, please place your feet on the ground, close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. Take a deep breath and become grounded to this Liturgy and our time together. And welcome to 2022…
Dennis - Opening Prayer:
O Christ-Light from the beginning of time you have graced the universe with your brilliance and your love. As we gather to celebrate travelers who followed a star to discover the birth of a child, and the Divine light within him and within them, may we remember our own birth into the light and love of Holy Mystery. May we, in this time of giving, reach out, now and throughout the year, to those in need of your loving touch and healing graces. In your holy name we pray, Amen.
Opening Song: Light a Light. By Bridget Ball and Chris Shaw
LITURGY OF THE WORD
A reading from the prophet Isaiah
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.
Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.
These are the inspired words of the prophet Isaiah, and the community affirms them by saying, Amen.
A reading from the Gospel of Matthew
After Jesus’ birth—which happened in Bethlehem of Judea, during the reign of Herod—astrologers from the East arrived in Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the newborn ruler of the Jews? We observed his star at its rising and have come to pay homage.” At this news Herod became greatly disturbed, as did all of Jerusalem. Summoning all the chief priests and religious scholars of the people, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.
“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they informed him. “Here is what the prophet has written:
‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the leaders of Judah,
since from you will come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”
Herod called the astrologers aside and found out from them the exact time of the
star’s appearance. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, after having instructed them, “Go and get detailed information about the child. When you have found him, report back to me—so that I may go and offer homage, too.
After their audience with the ruler, they set out. The star which they had observed
at its rising went ahead of them until it came to a standstill over the place where
the child lay. They were overjoyed at seeing the star and, upon entering the house, found the child with Mary, his mother. They prostrated themselves
and paid homage. Then they opened their coffers and presented the child with gifts
of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
They were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, so they went back to their own
country by another route.
These are the inspired words from Gospel writer known as Matthew and the community affirms them by saying, Amen.
Debbie: Homily Starter & Shared Homily
Our readings today are familiar and can almost lead to a sense of complacency as we think of the theatre-like quality of the story of the Star and the Three Kings. A place we have come from if we are cradle Catholics. An easy lesson in giving if we have young children learning the faith.
Sr. Mary McGlone, CSJ in her reflection on this year’s Epiphany for NCR brings forth a few other ideas. We might ask, what was Matthew getting at with the story of the Magi and following the Light. She notes that Matthew was paralleling Isiah’s vision, of a people who shine the light inside of them for others to see and experience the presence of God. Part of Matthew’s message is to call the People of his day to be a part of Jesus’s message of Heaven on earth; God is already here with each of us.
Sr. Mary also comments on the Courage of those travelers in this story. We might see ourselves in this light, bringing forth the message to others of the real presence of God in our daily lives. As we shine forth in the truth of what we know and believe, we may impact the world around us. Without being aware of whom we touch, our very attitude of faith, love and mercy has an effect. We become a part of the Way with our individual gifts, given in gratitude and love.
As we keep these thoughts in our hearts, let us think of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, witnessing and accepting the gifts of each person and spirit crossing their paths. Happy and Holy Christmas to each of us. Please feel free to share your thoughts on these readings today.
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
Dennis: As we prepare for this sacred meal, we are aware of our call to serve, and just as Jesus is anointed, so is each of us. We bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns.
We bring these and all deeply held blessings, cares, and concerns to the table of friendship and peace.
Debbie: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together:
All: O Holy One, you have birthed us in goodness, gifted us with life and cherished us in love. In the heart of our being, your Spirit dwells; a Spirit of courage and vision, a Spirit of wisdom and truth.
In the power of that same Spirit, we lift our hearts in prayer, invoking anew the gift of wisdom and enlightenment, that we may continue to praise and thank you, in union with all who sing the ancient hymn of praise:
Here in this Place – Holy Holy Holy by Christopher Grundy
Dennis: Holy One, we see around us the work of your hands, the fruit of your wisdom and love. The unfolding story of creation witnesses unceasingly to your creative power. We, your creatures, often deviate from that wisdom, thus hindering your creative presence in our midst.
Sending among us Jesus, our brother, you birth afresh in our world the power of Sophia-Wisdom, and in the gift of Your Spirit, your creative goodness blooms anew, amid the variety and wonder of life.
Please extend your hands in blessing.
All: We invoke Your Spirit upon the gifts of this Eucharistic table, bread of the grain and wine of the grape, that they may become gifts of wisdom, light and truth which remind us of our call to be the body of Christ to the world.
On the night before he faced his own death and for the sake of living fully, Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions and friends. He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly within them, he bent down and washed their feet.
All lift their plate and pray the following:
Debbie: 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 and eat; this is my very self.
All lift their cup and pray the following:
He then raised high 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.
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.
Please consume the bread and drink the cup with the words:
Communion Meditation: Who lights the Stars by Michael Singer & Kathy Zavada
Debbie: In faith and hope we are sustained; in grace and dignity reclaimed. In praise, we thank you.
In union with all peoples living and dead, we unite our thoughts and prayers, asking wisdom and courage:
- to discern more wisely your call to us in the circumstances of our daily lives;
- to act justly and courageously in confronting the pain and suffering that desecrates the Earth and its peoples;
- to take risks in being creative and proactive on behalf of the poor and marginalized;
- and to love all people with generosity of heart, beyond the labels of race, creed and color.
Dennis: May we ever be aware and alert to the new things Your Spirit makes possible in us, as our world unfolds amid pain and beauty, into the fullness of life to which all are called, participating in the wise and wonderful work of co-creation.
Like Jesus, we will open up wide all that has been closed about us, and we will live compassionate lives, for it is through living as Jesus lived, that we awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to glorify you, O Holy One, at this time and all ways.
Reader: Let us pray the prayer 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 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
(Miriam Therese Winter)
Debbie: Let us pray together our blessing:
May we bring to our lives the knowledge that “God loves things by becoming them. God loves things by uniting with them, not excluding them. Through the act of creation, God manifested the eternally flowing Divine Presence into the physical and material world. (The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr). May we shine our light with courage and spread Jesus’s Good News of the Way by our lives. Amen.
Closing Song: What Shall I Give by Sara Thomsen