Zoom link for video - 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Meeting ID: 815 3407 5389
(Note -- if you have a problem with the above link, open your ZOOM app and insert the Meeting ID number and Passcode)
Theme: Building the kindom of God
Welcome and Gathering
LEE: Welcome everyone to our Zoom ministry at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota Florida. Here is an important piece of information for all of us, so that when we follow it, all will go smoothly
Everyone, except for the presiders and readers, will be muted (silenced; not able to be heard) during the liturgy. However, when you have a comment you would like to share with us… (for example, at the Shared Homily, the Prayers of the Community, or at the Gratitude and Announcement piece)… when you will be given an opportunity to share your thoughts, you will need to unmute yourself so that the community will be able to hear you … and then, when you are finished, mute yourself again so that others are able to share their thoughts and be heard by the rest of the community.
JOAN M: Let us now take a few minutes to collect ourselves as we prepare to focus our minds and our hearts on our knowledge that each one of us was chosen by our Holy One - even before we were born - and before we came together here and now. And also, let us transform ourselves and our work through our love and care – our love for the Holy One, our love for each other and our love for every one of our brothers and sisters, including for ourselves, and our love for the planet Earth. And now, what better way can we begin our liturgy than by expressing this love through song.
Gathering Song: Gather Us In by Marty Haugen
Performed by Linda Lee and Rick Miller
PAT F: We pray, God, creator of all that exists, grant us the grace that we reach deep within ourselves to hear Wisdom’s many messages, to faithfully understand them, and to respond kindly to them with our compassionate actions. May we emulate the virtues of pardon and peace that Jesus taught us so that we may - in turn - be very forgiving in our care for ourselves and for one another, no exceptions. May we gather strength through your Divine Presence that is within each of us, to extend your merciful and forgiving presence that is your gift – through us – to everyone, everywhere, with whom you share your never-ending love. Amen.
Community Reconciliation, Healing and Transformation
BOB F: Compassionate God, to you all hearts are open, no desires are unknown, and no secrets are hidden. We ask for the grace to realize our continual need to grow in a better understanding, compassion and caring for ourselves, our brothers and sisters and for our planet Earth. We also ask that we may be always consciously aware of your everlasting forgiveness of our hurtful thoughts and actions to them, regardless of their genders, beliefs, nationalities and races.
May we gather strength through your Divine Presence that is always within each one of us so that we can extend your merciful and forgiving presence that are your gifts – through us – to everyone everywhere with whom you share your unending love… without any exception. Amen.
Glory to God
PAT F: And now, let us give glory to our Holy One, and do so in song….
Glory to God, Glory by Linda Lee Miller
Liturgy of the Word
LEE: Today’s readings are not new to many, if not most, of you by any means. I’m saying this because I am trying to move away from thoughts of “not this again; Lee has talked about this topic in several liturgies and not long ago.” Okay. But, while listening to these familiar scriptural texts, let us give a thought to any different level of understanding about them that may come to your mind. If so, we’d like to hear it when the readings are finished.
Today’s first reading is selection from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 6, verses 27 – 38. It will be presented to us by JOAN M.
JOAN M: Coming down from the mountain where Jesus delivered his talk about the beatitudes, He and his disciples were soon joined by a large population from Judea and Jerusalem, Tyre and Sidon who came to hear his talk and to be cured of their ailments. Then Jesus talked to this large population and he said: I say to you, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for even those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on your face, stay there and take it. If someone grabs your coat, let them have your shirt as well. Give help and support to those who beg from you. And even if a person takes some items that belong to you, do not ask to have them back. Live generously.
Do to others what you want them to do to you. If you love only those who love you, what good does that do to you? If you love only those who are good to you, what merit is that to you? Even thieves do as much to get a nice return. If you lend something to only those from whom you expect to repay you, what good does that do to you? Do you consider that to be an act of charity?
Even the stingiest people lend things to those who are not in a much different situation than themselves; they are expecting to be repaid in full and even more. I say to you: love your enemies and do good to them. Do give them items without expecting any type of repayment in return - and then your reward will be great. In doing so, you will rightly be called “Children of the Most High” since God, a merciful one, is good to everyone, even to those people who would be ungrateful.
Be compassionate, as our loving God is compassionate. Do not judge - and you will not be judged. Do not condemn anyone - and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you in full measure.
LEE: A second reading is from the Gospel of John, Chapter 15, verses 9 -17. From the beginning of this piece, John talks about his relationship with Abba, the extent of the love of one for the other. That will be presented to us by BOB F
BOB F: And Jesus said to the disciples: As my Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Live on in my love --- and you will be living on in my love if you keep my commandments… just as I've lived on in Abba God’s love and have kept God’s commandments. I tell you all this so that my joy may be yours and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. And you are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not refer to you as “servant” because a servant does not know a superior’s business. Instead, I call you “friends”… because I have told you everything that I have learned from Abba God. It was not you who chose to follow my example, it was I who chose you so that you could go forth and bear good fruit. Your fruit will endure; whatever you ask of Abba God in my name, God will give you. This is the command I give you… that you love one another.
LEE: This third and final reading for this liturgy is pretty much a summary of the previous two. It is a selection from the First Epistle of John, his 4th chapter, and verses 11 -16. This is attributed to “John,” the same author as the writer of Gospel, but at a later time. It will be presented to us by PAT F.
PAT F: Beloved, since God has loved us so much, we need to have the same love for one another. No one has ever seen God, but we know God’s messages. This one is so meaningful and simple: namely that we love one another, that God abides in us, and that God’s love is even brought to perfection in us. In this we know that we live in God and that God lives in us. . We know that because we have been given the Spirit. We have experienced this for ourselves and we can testify that God has sent the Only Begotten Son as the Savior of the world. When anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Only Begotten One, God then dwells in them and they in God. We have come to know and to believe the love that God has on our behalf. And that is that God is love; and whoever abides in love abides in God and God in them.
Shared Homily and Community Reflections
Profession of Faith
LEE and ALL: We believe in God, the Creator of an unfinished world …in an ever-evolving cosmos. The Holy One invites us to join with one another and share in the expanding evolution of the universe in creating and building a new world of justice, love and peace on the planet Earth
JOAN M: We do not believe in a Universal Source that has divided the population of the planet Earth into the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick, the wise and the unwitting, the advantaged and the disadvantaged. We believe that God, our Creator, has not separated the many peoples of the Earth into populations of rich and poor, heathy and sick, wise and unwitting, the innocent and guilty, and not forgiven, the advantaged and the disadvantaged.
PAT F: We do believe in Jesus, the Christ and Word of God, who became human like us and preached love and justice to everyone. And for decades of doing this, Jesus was put to death for doing what was His blessed mission on earth. Then, when Jesus was risen from the dead by the Spirit of the Living, he demonstrated to everyone on earth that life is eternal, that love is immortal, and that death is only a horizon… and, as everyone knows, “a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.”
BOB F; We believe in the Spirit of God, the sustainer of everything that exists in the world, the bright light of God’s message to us always and everywhere, the soul of God’s boundless love, healing and mercy for us and the whole of creation. The Spirit brings order out of chaos, peace out of strife, strength out of weakness and direction out of uncertainty, and, in the example of Jesus, She brings life out of death.
Prayers of the Community
JOAN M and ALL: We are a people of faith. We believe in the power of prayer. We believe that, in our prayers, we send blessings to those people who are struggling and need to experience hope; to those who are grieving and need to be comforted in their losses, and to those who are facing mental and medical challenges. We pray that they all may be granted hope and healing in their situations. We bring all these needs - and those of so many others - to our gracious and comforting God.
After each intercession, our response to the prayers of others is …
Rx Compassionate God, we are grateful that you hear our concerns and bless our intentions.
And we make this prayer for our concerns mentioned here and for those that may not be spoken, but need help in their situations
Rx..Compassionate God, we are grateful that you hear our concerns and bless our intentions.
…for those who are suffering the pains of the Russian and Ukrainian war
…for those who are finding difficult times now with the changes of work places, homes, schools and stores.
…for those who are having challenging physical and health conditions.
And for those who have gone ahead of us and are dwelling forever in our heavenly home.
What other intentions would anyone else like to bring to our attention? Let the others here share their concerns.
(In doing so, please unmute yourself so you can be heard and then, as soon as you are finished, re-mute yourself so others can be heard.
Gathering of the Gifted
PAT F: Merciful God, we – your people – have come together in this blessed liturgy from many locations and we are certainly thankful for the science of our times that make it take place at all We are grateful for your blessings that make this gathering possible for each one of us. Your Spirit dwelling in us gives us the hope of our unending peace and joy with you, and - through you - with our brothers and sisters. We are in communion with so many others who share your gifts of compassion, understanding and forgiveness that we are prompted s to describe our blessing in song.
All: Holy, Holy, Holy Linda Lee Miller
(adapted from Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker)
BOB F: Ever living and ever-loving God, we thank you for the gift of Jesus, your Son and our brother, in history -and the gift of Jesus in faith. Through him, you breathe life into us. His life on earth was deeply driven by his mission and the vision of your constant presence in everyone he met. You selected him from among your people to baptize us in your Spirit. He reflected you in everything he said and did in his life well lived. He showed us, by his many spoken messages and lived example, not only how we should live, but also for what we might suffer, and possibly even die, as he did in the service of the gospel message.
JOAN M: And when his time on earth had come to its end, Jesus – aware of and accepting his destiny – suffered much for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…especially his conviction that love is stronger than death. And then, providing an example of this insight for the understanding of people in ages to come … Jesus opened wide his arms on a cross and died. Then the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead showed us in his resurrection - that, truly, life is eternal and that love is immortal. .Jesus, the Christ, is with us today, just as He will be through the end of time...and beyond.
O God let your Spirit of life, healing and wholeness come upon the simple pieces of wheat and wine -- food from the field and fruit of the vine-- that we have with us now. May She transform them so that they become - for each of us - the Body and Blood of Jesus
LEE and ALL: And now let us 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 and then broke it as He shared it with 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. (a short pause here)
JOAN M and ALL: In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said a 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. (another short pause)
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 of whom the prophet spoke in history past, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim this mystery of faith! Jesus has died. The cosmic Christ is risen. The Divine Presence lives in us and through us in the world today. May all who share this sacred meal today be strengthen in their unity by the Spirit. And may that Spirit, that Wisdom the moved in Jesus, move as freely in our lives as She did in that of Jesus.
PAT F: And as we prepare ourselves for our Communion, we pray.
Loving God, you call us to be a Spirit-filled service in the world and to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.
Loving God, you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of understanding and compassion forgiveness and healing everywhere. May we do this well in your name. We will live tenderly.
Loving God, you call us to speak truth to power and to live well, respecting the equality of our brothers and sister. We will walk humbly with you.
Before us - on our cup and plate - is the Body and Blood of Jesus, the One who liberates, heals, and transforms us and our world. He calls us, His Sacred People, and invites us to share in the Eucharist that we have just Consecrated. And we will now partake in the banquet of love. As we do so, we cannot eat this bread, the Body of Christ, and not think of all those in the world who are hungry. We cannot drink this wine, the Blood of Christ, and not think of all those who are thirsty. O God, your world is one world … and we are just stewards of its nourishment for all your people, your family everywhere.
WE WILL CONSUME OUR BLESSED COMMUNION NOW
The Prayer of Jesus (adaptations of the Center of Concern and MMOJ)
LEE: Let us pray the Prayer that Jesus taught us…
Our God who is in Heaven and in all of us here on earth. the rich and the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the marginalized and excluded…holy is your name.
PAT F: May your kindom come among us with your love, compassion, forgiveness, and peace in a global community
May your reign come and your will be done…done in our actions and choices in our struggles with the complexities of this world, especially in these days
Give us this day our daily bread…the edible nourishments and personal treatments that we are called to share with both those who are treated well and with those in need.
BOB F: Forgive us our trespasses…the times that we may have turned away from the struggles of other peoples and countries when we thought only of our own situations of health and security.
Support us in times of temptations…times when our global systems - and ourselves as well - have closed our minds to the unfair settings between the rich and the poor and have made biased judgements of peoples of color, creed, gender or nationality.
Deliver us from evil ..even the places where violence happens in Your name and where unfair gates and barriers between peoples create systems that are so very hard to bring down for equality and peace.
JOAN M: May your kindom come among us…with your love, compassion, forgiveness and peace to all, no exception.
And truly, may your kindom come, O God, for yours is the kingdom and the glory. Your Will shall bring about peace and justice for everyone without bias in the blessed time to come. AMEN.
The Sharing of Peace
LEE: Jesus did not leave his disciples when He was on earth, and He does not leave us now – either in our days. and beyond. His gift to them - and to us in all generations -. is very familiar: “My peace I leave you. My peace I give you,”.
So let us join in singing “Let there be Peace on Earth (or “Peace is flowing like a rive.)
Peace Song: Let There Be Peace on Earth.
Prayers of Gratitude …and Statements of Introductions and Announcements
Closing Community Blessing
JOAN M: Jesus, you showed us how to love one another, to forgive each other in times of their hurts upon us, and to heal our hearts when they may “down.” Through the power of the liberating Spirit, we ask that you work within us…blessing us with the grace to give and to receive forgiveness, to live joyously, and to work for healing, justice, and equality for all people. You have given us your peace; now may we spread it to everyone whom we come in contact, and to do so with no exceptions. We are all your family. AMEN
Closing Song: Life is Immortal by Carly Simon
A note to those with who shared today’s sacred service….
Thank you very much for your participation in today’s liturgy.
Please support the MMOJ community with a donation. We are in the process of expanding our liturgy locations. Our in-service liturgies will be celebrated at St. Andrew church and our virtual services will be available on Zoom. Both will take place at the usual 4:00 PM on Saturday afternoons. Everyone will be informed of this hybrid development as it takes place.
And, friends, we can certainly use your financial help in staging this.
Please send your contribution to our every-week liturgies to:
Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
c/o St. Andrew UCC,
6908 Beneva Road,
Sarasota, FL 34328