Thursday, April 6, 2023

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Holy Thursday Liturgy, April 6, 2023

Picture: Piasecki

                                                                        Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 815 3407 5389
Passcode: 803326

Theme: “Do this in Memory of Me.” 1 Cor. 11:24

Presider 1 Welcome to our liturgical gathering on this Thursday afternoon. We thank our readers and IT team for being part of our liturgy team today. When speaking, please unmute, contribute your thoughts, and when you are finished remember to re-mute yourself.  Have bread and wine/juice in front of you for communion. On Holy Thursday as we bless bread, share wine, and serve one another, let us welcome everyone to the feast. 

Opening Hymn: We Come to Your Feast by Michael Joncas

Opening Prayer:

Presider 2: We gather together in memory of Jesus who shared meals at an open table with tax collectors, prostitutes and all who followed him.  On the night before he died, Jesus gathered with his friends at a Passover Meal. In an extravagant offering of love, he knelt down and washed their feet, and told them to do likewise. He, then, returned to the table, blessed the bread and cup, shared it with them, and told them to do this in memory of him. Today, we warmly welcome you to a table of abundant love and gracious care in memory of Jesus. 


Transformation Rite:

Presider 1: We pause now to remember the times we have not served others with kind hearts.   Take a few moments to recall one missed opportunity, one broken or damaged relationship.

(Pause briefly)

Now imagine this person or situation in the light of healing love, as we ask for forgiveness. Hold your hands over your heart and remember the power of love within you to forgive and heal self and others.

(Pause briefly.)

Then extend your hands in a gesture of healing love over our community and pray with me:

  Please forgive me, I am sorry, I love you, I thank you.

Gloria: A Joyful Gloria by Linda Lee and Rick Miller


Reader 1:    First Reading:  An excerpt from The Last Week 

As a Passover meal, the Last Supper resonates with the story of the exodus from Egypt, a story of bondage deliverance and liberation. The first Passover occurred on the evening just before the tenth plague of death to the firstborn in every Egyptian household. In this context, the Passover meal of lamb had two meanings: the blood was put on doorposts so that they would be literally passed over and delivered from the threat of death and secondly, the lamb was food for the journey. 

We realize now that the Passover lamb is a sacrifice in the broad sense of the word but not in the narrow sense of substitutionary sacrifice. There is no mention of sin or guilt, substitution or atonement. Rather, the point is participation with God through gift or meal. 

Meals were always one of the most distinctive features of Jesus’s public activity. He often taught at meals, banquets were topics of his parables and his eating with outcasts was a controversial topic among the Pharisees. Jesus’s meals were about inclusion in a society with sharp social boundaries.

It is important to note that within this more private meal setting, Jesus must have known that the noose was tightening, that the cross was approaching. He could not have been oblivious to the hostility of the authorities, and he may have regarded his arrest and execution as inevitable — not because of divine necessity, but because of what he could sense happening around him. 

These are the inspired words of Marcus Borg and Dominic Crossan and the community affirms them by saying, 

Reader 1 & ALL  So be it.

Responsorial Song: Place at the Table Music by Lori True,  Video by Michelle Sherliza

Reader 2:    Second Reading: On Being a Eucharistic Community 

Meals are the most frequent settings for Gospel stories. They range from informal picnics on hillsides to banquets given by dignitaries. 

They introduce us to some of the most diverse and colorful of Gospel characters: a woman with long hair who washes Jesus’ feet, a little boy who has loaves and fishes hidden in the folds of his robe, and a short man, named Zacchaeus, who is about to have an unexpected dinner guest.


Meals transport us from the wedding in Cana to a quiet dinner at a little house in Emmaus. They invited us to a party for a prodigal and let us share a Passover supper with a carpenter’s son.  

This theme of inclusivity is one of the benchmarks of Jesus’ teaching. Everyone ought to have a place at the table, especially those who have been marginalized.

 Obviously, this includes many who do not qualify for the guest list–people who have been relegated to the back roads and slums of the towns. When we give a luncheon, we need to make sure that no one who wants to be there is left out. Inclusivity is a Gospel mandate. It is not separate from Sabbath observance, but an essential part of it. 

These are the inspired words of Fran Ferder & John Heagle and we respond by saying, 

Reader 2 & ALL  So be it.  

Gospel Acclamation:  Spirit of the Living God

Reader 3:  Gospel: 

We begin with a reading from the perspective of the women preparing for the Passover Seder -- 

A Reading for Holy Week - the Women, by Bryony Taylor

Passover is my favorite time of the year, it’s busy, yes and sometimes I dread it, what with all the relatives visiting and trying to make sure everything cooks on time. 

Cleaning the house of all the yeast is a big job, thank goodness I have my daughters Leah and Dinah to help me now with that job! 

This year has been very different. We have been in Jerusalem with my sons James and John who have come into the city with Jesus, the great rabbi. 

Being in the big city we knew that we would be in a different place for our Passover Seder this year. 

I was nervous because I always find it difficult using someone else’s oven for baking and someone else’s pots and pans. The boys came to me and Mary  and took us to a room that had been made ready for Jesus to share the Passover with his disciples. 

We had to go there in secret. The atmosphere in Jerusalem is tense, the Romans always get a bit heavy handed at festival time – more people are out drinking than usual and causing trouble – and of course, the city is full of people, every house is full of guests. 

When we came into Jerusalem on Sunday, Jesus was riding on a donkey’s colt, his feet were almost scraping the ground, it did look quite funny! But it was supposed to, Jesus was making fun of the way the Roman rulers ride so triumphantly into the city at this time of year – Jesus was showing how false that way of leading is.  

So we laughed and cheered and threw palm branches in his way and sang the old song of praise “hosanna to the Son of David.”  You can imagine what the Roman guards made of that! 

So we are having to be very careful not to draw too much attention to ourselves. It would be such a disaster if we could not celebrate the Passover together.

 So I’ve managed to slow cook the lamb, we have the bitter herbs and my very special recipe of charoset – the honey mix that looks like the cement the Hebrew slaves had to use to build the pyramids – it has a secret ingredient!

 Now I’m toasting the matzoh bread, the unleavened bread ready for Jesus to bless and we’ve filled the cups with wine. 

As the oldest woman here, I will have the honor of kindling the Passover lights at the beginning of our meal this evening and saying the prayers.  

Something tells me that this night is going to be extra special as we remember the Holy One’s presence with us in our journey out of Egypt into the Promised land.  

And we continue with:  A Reading from the Gospel according to Luke and John:

After washing their feet, Jesus put his clothes back on and returned to the table. He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and Sovereign’ – and rightly, for so I am.  If I, your Teacher and Sovereign, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done. 

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks for it, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body. Do this in remembrance of me.”  He then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine saying: “Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life, for you. Whenever you do this, remember me!”  

These are the inspired words from the Gospels of Luke and John, and we respond by saying, 

Reader 3 & ALL  So be it. 

Reader 4: Homily Starter: 

"We must peer beyond Passover lambs and scapegoats if we are to understand the LOVE that we call God – an excerpt from a Maundy Thursday sermon" by Pastor Dawn Hutchings

"Jesus gathered those he loved together, and to show them how very much he loved them, he served them. Gently, tenderly he bathed their feet. 

Sure, it might have embarrassed them. But they would never forget his touch or the sight of Jesus their Rabbi crawling around on all fours washing their tired dusty feet. 

Then Jesus explained to them why he was teaching them this particular lesson at this particular time. 

Jesus tried to be gentle when he warned them:  “one of you will betray me and even the best of you will deny me.” They didn’t want to believe him. They were distraught. So, Jesus tried to comfort them. Don’t worry. 


It will be all right. Love one another, just as I have loved you. I will always be with you. Whenever you get together, I will be there. I will be right there, when you pour the wine and raise a glass to ask the blessing…I will be there with you.

 And when you break the bread and say the prayers I will be there.  As you drink and eat, I will be with you. When you eat bread and drink wine you will remember me.   

And you will know just as surely as I know that God who is the LOVE that binds us together, God is with us. 

No matter how difficult things seem right now. No matter what the world throws at you, you will know that LOVE is with us.  

As you raise a glass to drink to me, you will remember the promise of all that I have taught you and you will raise your glass to the new promises that I have showed you. 

Every time you gather in my name and you eat and drink you will be proclaiming the LOVE I have for you and the way I taught you to LOVE and to be LOVE, and I will be alive among you and yes, the world may have killed me, so you will proclaim my death until I come again, in the breaking of the bread and the raising of the cup. 

In the meantime, I’ve taught you all that you need to face the violence that is to come and to put an end to the killing. 

Love one another. 

Love one another the way I have loved you. 

That’s how I want you to remember me! That’s how I want people to recognize you as my own; 

Let them see you LOVE one another! 

By your LOVE for one another the shall see the LOVE that is God in the world..

The mystery isn’t about the meal. 

Holy Communion evolved over time as we tried to figure out the mystery the real mystery. 

The real mystery is LOVE. LOVE is what we contemplate on this and every Holy Thursday. 

The mystery of LOVE. God is LOVE.  God loves us. We are loved. And so, we LOVE as Christ loves.

The Spirit of LOVE lives in us. 

When we gather together in the name of that LOVE that we call God, we rejoice knowing that not even death can separate us from LOVE.

 LOVE lives in the breaking of the bread and so we raise a glass of wine, ask the blessing and drink to remember that LOVE comes to us, LOVE may die, but LOVE lives again and again and again; there is nothing that can separate us from our God who is LOVE. 

So, as we eat and drink, we proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died.  Christ is Risen and Christ comes again, and again!"


Community  Sharing: What did you hear in our sacred readings today?

Statement of Faith

Reader 1: Please join in praying our Statement of Faith:

Reader 1 & ALL:    We believe in one God, 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 God's Word, bringer of God's healing, heart of God's compassion, bright star in the firmament of God's prophets, mystics, and saints.

We believe that we are called to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God's love, a source of God's wisdom and truth, and an instrument of God's peace in the world.

We believe that God's 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 of the Community:

Reader 2  As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to this table our blessings, cares, and concerns. Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words, “I bring to the table…”

Reader 2(At the end)

:  We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.


Preparation of the Gifts:

Presider 1: Blessed are You, Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this bread to share, the Bread of Life. 

Presider 1 and ALL Blessed are You, Holy One, forever.  

Presider 1: Blessed are You, O Loving One, through Your divine providence we have this wine to share, our spiritual drink. 

Presider 2 and ALL: Blessed are You, Holy One, forever.

Our table has been prepared, and all are invited to the Banquet of love.  We offer these gifts and the gifts of our own lives to our loving God. 

Eucharistic Prayer:

 Prayer Leader 1 God’s presence is within you

Prayer Leader 1 and ALL And all around you.

Prayer Leader 2:  Lift up your hearts.

Prayer Leader 2 and ALL We lift them up.

Prayer Leader 1: Let us give thanks for an open table.

Prayer Leader 2and ALL We give thanks for this joyous feast.


Prayer Leader 1: With the flowers of the field and the birds of the air,

With every creature, we behold the beauty of God on earth,

With sisters and brothers around the globe,

With the angels and saints,

And with our loved ones,

We sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy – ( Karen Drucker, Linda Lee)

Presider 1:  O Beloved, you who breathe new life into us in the midst of pain and darkness; may we love all people in all places, especially the poor, the refugee, the immigrant, the oppressed and marginalized.  May we support them in their needs and empower them to speak with their own voices.

We open ourselves to your Spirit present in Jesus and within us who transforms the bread and cup and all of us gathered here into the Body and Blood of Christ.

We remember that the night before Jesus died, he washed his disciples’ feet to show the depths of a love that serves others.

When he returned to his place at the table, Jesus lifted the bread, spoke the grace and said:    Take and eat.   This is my body given for you.   Do this in memory of me.



All lift the cup and pray:

Presider 2 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. 


Presider 2 & ALL Christ has died in all those who have passed away.  Christ is rising in all who serve their sisters and brothers.  Christ will come again and again through the self-emptying love of your people.  

Prayer Leader 1:    Holy One we remember all the companions who have gone before us:  Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala, Peter and all holy women and men whose loving service has blessed our lives and world.  We pause now to remember our personal communion of saints. 


(Presiders hold bread and wine)

Prayer Leader 2  For it is through living as Jesus lived, and loving as he loved, that we awaken to your Spirit drawing us into the fullness of life and loving service. 

Great Amen: (Linda Lee)

The Prayer of Jesus

Prayer Leader 1 Let us pray as Jesus taught — in the Aramaic translation — the language of Jesus:

Prayer Leader 1 & ALL:     Abwoon, Mother/Father God of the Cosmos,

Breathe life into our hearts.

May your power and counsel rule our lives

And the whole creation.

May your will to love find its home in each human heart

As it is at home throughout the Cosmos.

Grant us today both bread and wisdom 

that we may in turn become bread for others.

Loose the cars of the secret debts that bind us 

and In the strength this freedom gives us, 

help us to loose the cords we hold of others’ guilt.

Don’t let surface things delude us, but free us from unripeness,

from all that holds us back from loving.

For from you is born the astonishing fire,

the ruling will, the power and son that gives life to all, 

here and now and forever. Amen. 

Prayer Leader 2: Jesus said to his disciples, “My peace I leave You.  My peace I give You.” 

(Let us place our hands in front of us, palms up, as we sing, “Peace is flowing like a river…” you may change “captives” to “peoples”)

Sign of Peace: Peace is flowing like a River by Carey Laundry, sung by Linda Lee Miller

Presider 1: Please join in praying the Litany for the Breaking of the Bread


Presider 1 and ALL:  

Holy One, You call us to speak truth to power; we will do so.

Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of healing and justice; we will do so. 

Holy One, You call us to be Your presence in the world; we will do so.

Presider 2: Filled with the peace we have shared and in communion with all people and all creation, come and share at this table.  The bread of life, the cup of blessing. 

Communion Song:  Bread of Life

Presider 1: Thanksgiving:  Please unmute yourself if you have a thanksgiving to share

(Introductions and Announcements)

Closing Prayer

Presider 2    We give thanks for this banquet of love, this feast of joy, this miracle of our oneness with all in Christ. May we rejoice that you are with us in the breaking of the bread. May this happy communion with you and with one another deepen our faith and love as we go forth to serve your people every day. 

Concluding Rite:

Presider 1:    We go forth

In the name of the Creator,

In the name of Jesus, our brother and friend,

In the name of the loving and transforming Holy Spirit always with us. 

Presider 1and ALL:  Amen

Presider 2:  Please extend Your hands in blessing and sing the Blessing Song as our closing song.

Closing Song: 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. 

(continue with joy, love, light) 


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