Sunday, February 17, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Sunday Liturgy, February 17, 2019 - Presiders: Kathleen Ryan, ARCWP, and Bernie Kinlan

Kathleen Ryan, ARCWP, and Bernie Kinlan led the Upper Room Community’s Liturgy on Sunday, February 17, 2019. Kathie’s homily starter is below the readings.  

A Reading from Being Peace 
By Thich Nhat Hanh. 

When you look at the night sky, you might see a very beautiful star and smile at it.  But a scientist may tell you that the star is no longer there, that it was extinct ten million years ago. So our perception is not correct.  When we see a very beautiful sunset we are very happy, perceiving that the sun is there with us.  In fact it was already behind the mountain eight minutes ago.  It takes eight minutes for the sunshine to reach our planet.  The hard fact is that we never see the sun in the present, we only see the sun in the past. Suppose while walking at twilight, you see a snake, and you scream, but when you shine your flashlight on it, it turns out to be a rope.  This is an error of perception.  During our daily lives we have many misperceptions. If I don’t understand you, I may be angry at you, all the time.  We are not capable of always understanding each other, and that is the main source of human suffering.

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke
Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say,
love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
let them have your shirt as well.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, 
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
You’ll rightly be called children of the Holy One,
since the Holy One is good even to the ungrateful
and the wicked.
Be compassionate as the Holy One is compassionate.
“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give, and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.

Kathie’s homily reflection:

Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk.  He was a friend to Thomas Merton and Martin Luther King. He worked to end the Viet Nam War. He is a peace activist. He is non-violent and speaks the truth to power.

Last week we had a Thich Nhat Hanh reading which in a nutshell said “when we have understanding we have love.”   Today in the first reading Thich Nhat Hanh talks about misperceptions that create misunderstandings and these misunderstandings often result in anger.

The gospel today starts out with Jesus reminding his listeners and us to love our enemies, do good and bless and pray for those who hate and curse you, and then he uses the famous examples of “if a person strikes you turn the other cheek, and if he asks for your cloak give him your shirt as well.”   Our present day understanding of these examples may be a misperception.

Over the years we have come to understand these examples as ways to react to people who are unkind and bullying. You know don’t fight back instead take a passive stance.  But Jesus was a rebel-non-violent yes, but revolutionary nonetheless. He was always being watched and challenged by the authorities. The higher ups, those in power, civil and religious feared his message.  

Jesus gave these examples to a crowd who interpreted his message differently than you and I.  In the time of Jesus masters could strike their servants at will but the masters had a code of conduct that they followed.  The master used a backhand strike, the use of this type of strike showed who was in charge, it was shaming, a put down, it was a reminder “I am master you are servant” If the master used a closed fist to strike his servant this indicated an equality between the two. Men who were equals fought with closed fists they did not back hand one other. When Jesus says turn the other cheek he is in effect declaring an equality between master and servant.   If you are backhanded-and turn your cheek, it is impossible to be backhanded again. By turning the other cheek you are taking some of your power back and declaring equality.

 In a similar way if the master took your cloak and you offered your shirt as well, you would be left naked and the master again is caught breaking a code of conduct. 

Jesus always challenged the norms of the day…turn the other cheek, give them your shirt as well, were huge challenges to the status quo…they were not passive suggestions.  It was a non-violent way to remind others that we are all equal and beloved children of the Holy One.

I love studying these stories of Jesus getting the one up on the authorities. They make me feel good.  But then we move on to the last part of this gospel. Jesus says stop judging and condemning, forgive, and give.  Be compassionate as the Holy One is compassionate.  Jesus just got the one up on me.  Jesus always gets the one up on us.

Going back to the first reading Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us to watch our misperceptions, work on understanding, and love will come. And Jesus reminds us that the love the Holy One offers is a Love that is a full measure and is overflowing.

What did you hear? What will you do? What will it cost you?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Sixth Sunday of Extraordinary Time – February 16, 2019 Co-Presiders: Janet Blakeley, ARCWP & Sally Brochu, ARCWP Music Minister: Linda Lee Miller Lectors: Mary Al Gagnon & Margaret Murtha

 Presider : Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where are all welcome to share Eucharist. We use inclusive language in our scripture readings and prayers. You will be invited to gather around the Table to pray the Eucharistic Prayer. We warmly welcome our newcomers to our liturgy and invite you to introduce yourself at the announcement time after Communion. The wine we use is non-alcoholic so that all can receive under both species if you so wish. All are invited to join us for supper after liturgy.

Left to right: Janet Blakeley ARCWP and Sally Brochu ARCWP


GATHERING SONG AND GREETING:   #304 - “Gather the People” – verses 7,9,10

Presider: As we gather together in this sacred place and share in this banquet of love, let us pray in the name of God, our Creator, of Christ, our liberator, and of the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier. 
ALL:  Amen.
Presider:  My sisters and brothers, God is with you!  ALL:  And also with you.


ALL: O Holy One, we celebrate your love as we see it unfolding in the healing and wholeness of your creation for everyone and everything. We ask you to open our hearts to the message of the Gospel so that your inspiration and peace may rule in our hearts, your justice guide our lives, and your love direct and support us in our concern and care for one another. You call us to recognize and warmly welcome everyone who comes through our doors as your presence among us, which they are. In communion with Jesus, our brother, and with the power of your Spirit, we will try to live the example of your love each day. Amen.

Presider:  Creator God to whom all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and from whom no secrets can be hidden, cleanse our hearts by the inspiration of Holy Wisdom. 
ALL:  We take your Word into our minds and hearts. Open them to new understanding.
Presider:  We ask for the grace to continually acknowledge our need to grow in goodness and caring for ourselves, for others and for our earth, and all the while to be Jesus for others and to meet Jesus in others. 
 ALL:  We accept your love and understanding of the frailty of our human nature.  
Presider:  And we join with you, Jesus the Christ, believing the strength and insight of the Holy Spirit will lead us to deeper dedication to justice, equality and peace in our world.   ALL:  Amen.

 (All raise hands extended in prayer)
Presider: God, our Father and Mother of Mercy and Love,
ALL:  Through his living, dying and rising, Jesus has revealed that nothing can separate us from your infinite love.  May you, Loving God, give us pardon and peace, and may we forgive each other our failures to care for one another and our earth in the name of you, our Creator, of Jesus, our brother, and of the Holy Spirit, our wisdom. Amen.

ALL: (sung) Glory to God, glory, O praise and alleluia. Glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God. (3x)

First Reading: Jeremiah 17: 5-8       (Response: Thanks be to God) 

Mary Al Gagnon
Responsorial Psalm 1 – Response “Blessed are those who walk hand in hand with goodness”
Blessed are those who walk hand in hand with goodness
Who stand beside virtue, who sit in the seat of truth;
For their delight is in the Spirit of Love, and in Love’s heart they dwell day and night.

They are like trees planted by streams of water, that yield fruit in due season,
And their leaves flourish; and in all they do, they give life.
The unloving are not so; they are like dandelions which the wind blows away.

Turning from the Heart of Love they will know suffering and pain.
They will be isolated from wisdom; for Love knows the path of truth,
And the way of ignorance will perish as Love’s penetrating Light
Breaks through hearts filled with illusions:
Forgiveness is the way.

Second Reading: First Letter of Peter 4: 12-17   (Response: Thanks be to God) 
Margaret Murtha
Gospel Acclamation:  ALLELUIA!  (sung)
Janet Blakeley ARCWP
Gospel: Luke 6: 17, 20-26                                                                                                                                            (Response: Glory and praise to Jesus, the Christ)

All our lives we have heard and mulled over these teachings of Jesus:   That those who are poor and suffering can take comfort in knowing they will be happy one day - and that the rich already have what they think is happiness.   
We may think less often about his additional teaching - that following  him and his way will bring scorn and hatred.  
There are always several layers to Jesus’ teachings.    We see the obvious rich and poor concepts, and we understand the possible cost of following him.
At another level, he is teaching about making choices in a confusing world – about distinguishing between truth and untruth.    He suggests that we might look for truth amongst the poor.    And he says outright that the rich are on a dead end road, so forget that!   His identifying criteria is that true prophets and false prophets received different treatment.   If we can notice how someone is being treated by others, we should have an indication of whether or not they are telling the truth.   
In the confusing, chaotic, world we live in, e certainly need a tool like that!  We are bombarded from every direction by voices and images loudly calling our attention.   With all the noise, it’s like living in a TV showroom!   Voices, instruments, pictures, colors, sounds, people – all saying “look at me!   I can be the answer to whatever you’re looking for.”   How could we discern which, if any, of these things would be our true answer to happiness?

Jesus’ teaching gives us these clues.   If it’s poor or suffering it might offer a way.   If it’s self-satisfied, probably not.   But real life is not that simple.   We are often confronted with choices where we may not see these particular indicators.   So how does one discern if something is true or false, good or evil, the path for me or not?  
Listen to Jeremiah, a prophet who spoke for God.    “Cursed (lost, off track) are those who trust in human ways, says YHWH, who rely on things of the flesh (food, clothes, money, power)  whose hearts turn away from YHWH.    They are like stunted vegetation in the desert with no hope in the future.”   If you were walking in the desert and became lost, would dried up old plants be a good indicator of nearby water?   No.
But “Blessed are those who put their trust in God with God for their hope.   They are like a tree planted by the river that thrusts its roots toward the stream.   When the heat comes, it feels no heat, its leaves stay green.   It is untroubled in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit.”   In other words, being planted near the source and with roots deep into it, we can survive the worst and still be able to contribute goodness to the world.

Clearly, if we really want to discern between the many things that call to us in our lives, we must be deeply rooted in God.   By immersing ourselves in God’s living water until we know God, absorb God, drink in God, become mingled with God.   With God’s vision and God’s mind and heart, we can see clearly what is right for us and what is not.   And we can stay calm in the face of chaos and all those “to dos”.   On top of this, we have a reservoir of living water from which others may refresh themselves.  
For most people this suggests repeatedly putting oneself in the presence of God.   Day after day and time after time during the day.   Turning our focus from the noisy world to the interior quiet we try to create in order to know God’s presence.   We return to God who is the only reality and truth.   We let that spirit permeate our entire beings so that it is peace, quiet, calm we  have to offer to the next person we meet.   Our tiny offering to a chaotic world.   Water to the one who says “I thirst.”     


Profession of Faith:
 ALL: We believe in God, a divine mystery beyond all definition and understanding. God the Creator, is the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that will ever exist. God's divinity infuses the entire cosmos, making everything in it sacred.

We believe in Jesus, the messenger of God's Word, bringer of God's healing and the center of God's compassion. Through his incarnation, we have become a new people, called beyond the consequences of our brokenness.

We believe in the Spirit, the Wisdom that strengthens our call to follow Jesus who is a vehicle of God's love, a source of God's compassion and truth, and the instrument of God's peace in the world.

And we believe that God's kin-dom is here now and will be forever.  It is stretched out all around us for those with eyes to recognize it, and hands to share it with everyone.....with no exceptions.

Presider:  We are people of faith.  We believe in the power of prayer.  We believe that we send blessings to those who are struggling and who need to experience hope, to those who are grieving and need to be comforted in their loss, to those who are facing medical challenges that they be granted hope and healing. We bring the needs of the people throughout our community and our world to our gracious God.
After each intercession, the response is:  ALL: Loving God, bless our petitions.
Presider: That those who are hungry and homeless, especially the children, that they may receive the food and shelter that they so badly need, we pray. ALL: Loving God, bless our petitions.
Presider: For what else shall we pray?

Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers. Strengthen us as we strive to respond to the needs of your people. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.

Offertory Song: # 432 – “Blest Be the Lord (our God) ” – verses 1,2,3


Presider:  Blessed are you, gracious God of all life, through your goodness we have this bread, wine, all creation and our own lives to offer.    ALL:  Blessed be God forever. 

Presider: Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation as we respond to your call to use our gifts in loving service to our sisters and brothers.  ALL:  Blessed be God forever. 

Presider: Jesus, who has often sat at our table, now invites all of us to join him at his. There is room and a place for everyone at this table. Please join us in this circle of love that feeds us all on our life’s journey.  (Everyone is welcome and has a place at God’s table).

Presider: As we recognize God within each other, let us greet one another at this table.
ALL: Namaste! Namaste! Namaste!

Presider: Pray my friends that as we celebrate this breaking of bread and blessing of wine we accept more fully the mission of our Church by actively living our response to God’s call. 
ALL:  May our gracious God accept these gifts for the praise and glory of God’s name, for our good, and for the good of all our Church. 

Presider:  God is always with you.  ALL:  And also with you. 
Presider:  Together, we lift up our hearts.  ALL:  To God and one another we lift them. 
Presider:  Together, we give thanks to our gracious God.  ALL:  Indeed it is right to constantly give thanks and praise. 

Voice 1:  Gracious God, source and sustenance of life, redeeming presence to the pain and brokenness of our world, Holy Spirit who enlivens all that exists, we beseech your healing power upon us and all for whom we pray today.  We join together with our community, with all creation everywhere, with all those who have gone before us and live in the eternal now (Names of our loved ones…………)
Let us sing:
ALL:  We are holy, holy, holy (x3), we are whole. (You, I, We)  By Karen Drucker

Voice 2:  We ask you to enliven anew in our hearts the empowering grace of your abundant Spirit, who infuses for us these gifts of bread and wine with the transforming energy of life, to nourish and sustain us in all times and especially in times of need.
(Please all extend hands as we recite the consecration together.)
ALL:  Before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted, Jesus took bread and gave you thanks.  He broke the bread and gave it to his disciples and said:  take this, all of you, and eat it; this is my body. 

ALL:  When supper was ended, Jesus took the cup.  Again he gave You thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said, take this all of you, and drink it; this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.  Do this in memory of me.
Presider:  Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
ALL:  Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Voice 3:  (Please place your hand on the shoulder of the person to your right)
As we gather around this Eucharistic table, we recall God’s blessing and love from ages past, and we celebrate anew the gift we share among us at this Eucharistic feast. May the Spirit of life and wholeness, who transforms the gifts we present, transform us too, that we may be refreshed in our inner being and be empowered to bring mercy, love and healing to those whose lives we touch and who are Jesus to us.

Voice 4:  Remember Gracious God, your Church throughout the world that we are open to all of your creation, all of your people everywhere who are made in your image, for you are a God of Extravagant Love for all of us.

Voice 5: Grant that, in union with all peoples living and dead, we may strive to create a world where suffering and pain are diminished, where justice and peace are restored, and where all people can live in health and wholeness. Let us be united in acclaiming the God of Life, whose abundance is offered to each and to all, until the Kin-dom arrives in the fullness of time. 

ALL:  Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours, gracious God, forever and ever.     Amen (sung). 

Presider 2: Let us join hands and raise our voices as we sing the Prayer of Jesus:
Our Father and Mother……


 Presider:   May the peace of our gracious and loving God be always with you.  ALL: And also with you.   Let us offer each other the gift of peace as we join hands and listen to the song sung by David Haas:
“The Peace of God”

Do not worry; reach out to God in prayer,
Stay with all you have learned, all that you have heard and seen,
And the peace of God will be with you.

Whatever is true, whatever is just, and all that is pure and pleasing
And all that is worthy of praise; think of these things.

The peace of God beyond all understanding will guard your hearts
And guide your minds in Christ Jesus.

Presider: Loving God,
ALL:  You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.
Presider: Loving God,
ALL:  You call us to be the presence of Jesus in the world. We will love tenderly.
Presider:  Loving God,
ALL:  You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.

Presiders:  This is Jesus, our Light, who liberates, heals and transforms our world.  All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.   ALL:  We are the Body of Christ. 

Communion: Instrumental 
Post Communion Song:  #330 – “As Grains of Wheat” – verses 1,2,4

Presider:  May love, wonder, gratitude and thanksgiving fill us, may compassion fully fill our hearts, that you may heal the numbness that continues because of our society’s injustices. May we each know that we are loved and may we continue to be the face of God to one another. Amen. 

Prayers of Gratitude/ Introductions/Announcements

Presider:  May God be with you.  ALL:  And also with you. 
Presider:  Let us call upon our gracious God as we share blessings with each other.  We bless one another and pledge to live the Gospel of Christ.  ALL:  Amen.
(Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing.)
ALL:  May our gracious God, bless us all, in the name of God our Creator, in the name of Jesus our Brother, in the name of the Holy Spirit our Wisdom, as we care and minister to one another in love, for we are the Body of Christ and the face of God to the world.  Amen.

Presider:  Go in the peace of Christ.  Let our service continue! 
ALL:  Thanks be to God. 
CLOSING HYMN:  #384 – “The Summons” verses 1,4,5