Saturday, July 30, 2022

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Sunday Liturgy, July 31, 2022 - Presiders: Joan Chesterfield and Mary Theresa Streck

photo from UN World Food Program


MT: Today’s theme is Economic Justice.  We will hear in our readings and our songs a reminder to use our gifts for the greater good. We are called, like the prophets before us to engage in “doing justice,” an essential to expressing both a vital faith and building a world at peace. 

Opening Prayer 

Joan: As we gather around the table of friendship, we come with profound thanksgiving for the countless blessings we have received. And, at this table, we remember all those who are struggling economically, especially those who are continually hungry. As we pray for them, we work for systemic change for we know, there is enough to go around.  Our opening song is Extravagant Love.

Opening Song: Extravagant Love by the Many: Extravagant Love by the Many

First Reading: “What Does It Mean to Reimagine? ”

by Valarie Kaur, 2021 

When we look back through history, our greatest social reformers did more than resist oppressors. They held up a vision of the world as they dreamt it. Nanak sang it. Muhammad led it. Jesus taught it. Buddha envisioned it. King dreamt it. Dorothy Day labored for it. Mandela lived it. Gandhi died for it. Grace Lee Boggs fought for it for seven decades. 

They all called for us not only to unseat bad actors, but to reimagine institutions of power, the institutions that order our world. You see, any social harm can be traced to institutions that produce it, authorize it, or otherwise profit from it. To undo the injustice, we have to imagine new institutions and step in to lead them. 

This is why I believe reimagining is front line social justice work. It is essential for this moment as we are in the midst of a massive transition here in the United States and all around the world. We can't ever fully be able to transition humanity into a new place unless we imagine it first. So this is how I am defining what it means to reimagine. 

To reimagine is to explore a vision of a relationship, a community, a world where all of us are safe and free, where all of us flourish. Reimagining means that we're doing more than resisting our opponents, that we are paying attention to the cultures that authorize them to harm us, the institutions that allow them to continue with their behavior. And if we shift our gaze to institutions, that means some institutions can be reformed, but others must be dismantled and replaced altogether. 

Reimagining focuses us not just on what we are fighting against, but the future that we are fighting for. And here's the secret: Reimagining—when we engage in that hard and vibrant work of reimagining the world as it ought to be—we start to realize that we have opportunities, spaces in our own lives to begin to create the beloved community where we are. 

When we are brave enough to reimagine, we can begin to become the beloved community by birthing it here and now. 

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

Alleluia: Dennis

Gospel: A reading from the Gospel of Luke

Lk 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”

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

Homily Starter: Mary Theresa

The Gospel message is very clear. Jesus is reminding the rich man to “take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” And to drive the point home he reminds him that, "You can’t take it with you!" So rather than settle the dispute for this man, Jesus called him into solidarity with the poor.


In our first reading, lawyer and activist Valarie Kaur invites us to reimagine our relationships, our community, and our world where all of us are safe and free, where all of us flourish. This reimagining means that we're doing more than resisting our opponents, that we are paying attention to the cultures that authorize them to harm us, the institutions that allow them to continue with their behavior.


Today I would like to honor Sister Simone Campbell who has spent a good part of her life challenging those institutions.


On July 7, President Biden presented Sister Simone Campbell and fifteen other recipients with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.  

Sister Simone Campbell, a lawyer, lobbyist, poet, Zen contemplative and longtime advocate for economic justice and health care policy, served as the executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobbying organization for seventeen years. She joined with other members of her community to form the “Nuns on the Bus” nationwide tours that played a significant role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a complex law which expanded access to health care for millions of people.

President Biden praised Sister Simone with these words:

“For so many people and for the nation, Sister Simone Campbell is a gift from God. For the past 50 years she has embodied the belief in our church that faith without works is dead. Compassionate and brave, humble and strong, today Sister Simone remains a beacon of light. She’s the embodiment of a covenant of trust, hope and progress of a nation,”

Sister Simone and Network are beacons of light and each of us is a beacon of light as we support local organizations in their efforts to help those most in need. And we are beacons of light as we support organizations working for systemic change. We are today’s prophets, bearers of hope, far from being hateful or unpatriotic. We engage in “doing justice” that is essential to expressing both a vital faith and building a world at peace. 

Shared Reflections

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.

Prayers for the Community

Joan: 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, prayers and concerns for the community. Please feel free to voice your intentions beginning with the words “I bring to the table….”

Prayers for the community are offered.

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

Liturgy of the Eucharist

MT: With open hands and hearts and in one voice, let us together pray our Eucharistic Prayer:

Holy One, the first passion of Jesus was his passion for you and for justice so that all may reap the beauty and bounty of Creation in equal measure. Jesus lived to incarnate your justice for all the world according to your covenant with Israel. In solidarity with Jesus, and with all the faithful women and men who have gone before us, we lift up our hearts and sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy: Here in This Place by Christopher Grundy 

We celebrate the life of our brother, Jesus. He lived his life and walked forward to his death knowing that you were leading him. We walk forward in his pathway and follow his teaching.

We are standing in the right place with Jesus when we let go of money, possessions, pride and privilege, to become vulnerable and open to you, to accept poverty of spirit and reliance on you. 

We are standing with You when we are compassionate for all human beings, and when we extend empathy and love to everyone, especially the poor, oppressed, and mournful. We remember all those who suffer and die each year from war, poverty and disease. We mourn for them, and for all creatures, and for the earth itself.

We are blessed when we are gentle, nonviolent, courageous and humble, like your saints. We pray to grow in awareness of our unity with all of creation and co-create with You our earth as a sanctuary of peace.

MT: Please extend your hands in blessing.

We are ever aware of your Spirit in us and among us at this Eucharistic table and we are grateful for this bread and wine which reminds us of our call to be the body of Christ in the world. 

We join the lineage of Your prophets of justice and peace and as Your daughters and sons, we continue to work with Your grace as we walk forward in the footsteps of our compassionate brother, Jesus.

On the night before he died, Jesus did more than ask us to remember him.  He showed us how to live in humility and generosity when he washed the feet of his friends.

Community lifts the bread

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.

Community lifts the cup

All: 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: I am a blessing.

Communion Song: Bread On Every Table – Monks of Weston Priory

Prayer after communion: 


Holy One, we are aware of your Spirit within us and our community, the same Spirit that filled Jesus.  And is through following his life and teaching, his loving and healing that we honor You and each other. Amen.

Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

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) 


Let us raise our hands and bless each other.

May we be blessed with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships.

May we seek truth boldly and love deeply. 

May we continue to be the face of the Holy One, and 

May we be a blessing in our time. Amen.

Our closing song is: "I Hope" sung by Meah Pace with The Resistance Revival Chorus – Lyrics added

The Eucharistic Prayer is adapted from Beatitudes for Peace by John Dear.

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