Sunday, March 13, 2022

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Second Sunday in Lent, 2022 - Presiders: Mary Theresa Streck and Dave DeBonis

Theme: The Cost of Discipleship

Welcome: (Mary Theresa) Welcome to our liturgy for the second Sunday in Lent. Today our theme is The Cost of Discipleship. In the first reading and in the Gospel, we will listen to two stories that have been the stories of the courageous women and men throughout history who saw with the eyes of their hearts, embraced their destiny, and dreamed the impossible dream even when it cost them their lives.  

Opening Prayer: (Dave) This morning we ask the Divine to help us to see our mission, as Jesus did, to be in the world but not of the world. To release us from our fear so that we can engage fully and passionately with the world, calling out injustice and working to bring the fullness of life to all.

Opening Song: Jerusalem My Destiny

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: (Jean) A reading from Women in the Bible and Christian Tradition by Bridget Mary Meehan

Before returning to El Salvador, Maryknoll Sister Jean Donovan visited her parents, met her friend, Doug, and attended a friend's wedding in Ireland. Throughout this period, Doug, Father Crowley, and others tried to persuade Jean not to return to El Salvador. When she visited the Maryknoll Center in Ossining, her friends and colleagues there offered the same advice: Don't return. Yet Jean insisted that she had to return to El Salvador, because she had promised the children that she would come back to them.

Before leaving, Jean prayed for several hours in the Maryknoll chapel, emerging with a renewed sense of tranquility. Before returning to El Salvador, Jean vacationed with her parents in Florida. "God straightened the whole thing out for me," she shared with her parents. She hoped that God would protect her from being tortured, but she was willing to give her life.

Her mother described her daughter during their visit: "She was the old Jeannie-happy." When Jean returned to El Salvador, she was peaceful and enthusiastic about her mission work."

In the weeks before her death, Jean and the others busied them selves with providing transportation and supplies for the refugee center at Chalatenango. Although they knew they were in danger and that there had been death threats, they believed that being U.S. citizens would protect them from danger. On the afternoon of December 2, Jean and Dorothy Kazel drove to the airport to pick up their colleagues, Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, who were returning from a conference in Nicaragua. By the time the four women left the airport, it was already dark for the five-mile drive home. They did not make it home-and were never heard from again. On December 4, their bodies were discovered in a shallow ditch.

Jean's friend and confidant, Father Crowley, reflected on the meaning of Jean Donovan's life in an article published in U.S Catholic: "Underneath her happy, casual, nonchalant personality was a serious, committed person with a deep religious conviction, which explained her madness. I mean, by any standards of the 20th century, going down to Salvador and risking your life is a form of madness. But she knew what she was doing, and it fitted totally into her life's meaning, which was a commitment, I think to her Christianity."


With open hearts, we affirm these words by saying, Amen.

Second Reading: (Ann) Transfiguration by Dave DeBonis

I have not seen a burning bush or heard a voice from above.

I have not seen an enveloping cloud or white light

But I have seen the face of God in a newborn child and a dying parent.

God’s face was there in the eyes of desperation in a man who had no home and equally there in his broken gratitude.

I have seen the face of the Divine in a child’s smile and in her tears.

God’s face was there in a warm embrace and a broken heart.


In all those moments that left me moved beyond words, moments that

stirred something inside me, moments that I could not explain but I knew were real and true, there was the face of God.

She was there in the beauty and the suffering, the strength and vulnerability, the clarity and the mystery.


I do not need a burning bush or voice from above.

I do not need an enveloping cloud or white light.

God is here if only I will see.


With open hearts, we affirm these words by saying, Amen.

Response: Spirt of the Living God 

Gospel: (Joan C) A reading from the Gospel of Luke 

(Lk 9:28b-36)

Jesus took Peter, John, and James
and went up the mountain to pray.
While he was praying his face changed in appearance
and his clothing became dazzling white.
And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah,
who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus
that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.
Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep,
but becoming fully awake,
they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus,
“Teacher, it is good that we are here;
let us make three tents,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
But he did not know what he was saying.

While he was still speaking,
a cloud came and cast a shadow over them,
and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.
Then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
They fell silent and did not at that time
tell anyone what they had seen.

These are the words of the Gospel writer known as Luke, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.


Shared Homily Mary Theresa

In today’s Gospel, we hear once again the story of the transfiguration. We have heard this gospel year after year on the second Sunday in Lent. Jesus and a few of his disciples go on another field trip and this time, they went up a mountain to pray. And in this prayerful encounter with the Holy One, there is a transformation that happens in Jesus. 

In Luke’s gospel we read that Moses and Elijah were speaking with Jesus about his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. By including those words, which are not in the Gospel of Matthew, Luke is telling his followers a story about a pivotal point in Jesus’ ministry. In that prayerful encounter on the mountain, Jesus discerns what he will do next. Should he continue his teaching, preaching, and healing in Galilee or should he now “set his sights on Jerusalem” and confront the religious and political powers oppressing his people?

In this discernment, Jesus accepts his call to walk in the footsteps of his ancestors, Moses, Elijah and the prophets who gave everything for the love of the Holy One and for the love of their people.  

In Christian symbolism Jerusalem is everyplace and the ultimate place. Jerusalem is the conflicted city within our hearts and the hoped-for heavenly city of promise. 

As I was thinking about the Gospel, I thought of Oscar Romero and Maura Clark, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel and Jean Donovan and the courageous men and women in Ukraine. 

In the first reading about Jean Donovan, we hear similarities to the discernment faced by Jesus with his disciples. In a prayerful encounter with the Divine, Jean sets her sights on her Jerusalem. Jean’s close friends who loved her dearly wanted to save her from harm. Don’t go, don’t do this. You could lose your life. It’s too dangerous.  These same words were spoken by those who loved Jesus dearly. I can imagine that those same words are heard today in Ukraine. But, like Jesus, a transformation happened in all those who embraced their exodus and set their sights on their Jerusalem for the love of the Holy One and for the love of their people.

What did you hear in today’s readings?


Statement of Faith

(Terri) 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. 


Prayers for the Community

Kathie: 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 prayers for the community. 

(Prayers for the community)

Kathie: We pray for these and all unspoken intentions. Amen. 

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Mary Theresa: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together.

Adapted from If Darwin Prayed by Bruce G. Sanguin

O Shining One, you are the flame burning within, the beacon on the horizon,
the radiance in all creation, the bright idea inspiring us, the sparkling in the eyes of our loved ones, the uncreated light that is lighting all. 

Transfigure us, this very day, as we open into the radiance of the Christ in each other, in song, in word, and witness. May this be the day of our enlightenment, when we see with clarity the sacred life we are called to manifest. 

Remake us as sacraments of the Holy, that we might embrace our calling:
to see with new eyes, reach out with gentle hands, imagine with transformed minds, be still with hallowed presence, and be filled with grateful prayers.
In the name of the Transfigured One we sing our song of praise: 

Here in this Place – Holy Holy Holy by Christopher Grundy

Dave: We thank you for Jesus, simple servant, lifting up the lowly, revealing you as God-With-Us, and revealing us as one with you and all of creation.

Please extend your hands in blessing.

We are grateful for your Spirit at our Eucharistic Table and 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 died, Jesus gathered for supper with the people closest to him. Like the least of household servants, he washed their feet, so that they would re-member him.

All lift their plates and pray the following:

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.



All lift their cups and pray the following:

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.


What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives.  As we share communion, we become Communion both love’s nourishment and love’s challenge.  

Please receive Communion with the words, “The Spirit of the Holy One rests upon me”.

Communion Song: I Heard an Owl by Carrie Newcomer 

Mary Theresa: Source of All, we are willing to do everything Jesus did, to re-create the living presence of a love that does justice, of a compassion that heals and liberates, of a joy that generates hope, of a light that illumines people and confronts the darkness of every injustice and inequity.

We trust your Spirit within us, the Spirit that animated Jesus, for it is through his life and teaching, all honor and glory is yours, forever and ever. Amen.

Joan: 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 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) 


Dave: Let us raise our hands in blessing and pray together: 

May we draw courage from each other so that we, like Jesus, can face the everyday challenges that threaten our mission to create the earth anew.  Let us remember that we have been chosen to be a blessing to all through radical love and limitless compassion.  

All: Amen.

Closing Song: Luther Vandross sings The impossible dream

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