Monday, June 20, 2016

June 19, 2016 Liturgy at Upper Room Community in Albany, NY

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Presiders: Lynn and Bernie Kinlan

Receiving the Stole: “Lynn and Bernie, we your community call you forth and bless you as you lead us in liturgy today.”

Welcome and Theme (Lynn):
We want to welcome everyone to our Upper Room inclusive celebration where every voice is important and every person is a vital part of the whole. We extend a special welcome to all the fathers who are with us on this Father’s Day as well as the fathers who are not with us today but who are in our thankful hearts.

Today’s theme explores losing our self-absorption in our own lives, our own regrets or second guessing and taking up the daily cross to meet the challenges of a suffering yet loving world in a way that brings us closer to the Divine, helping us to save our lives.

Opening Prayer (Bernie):
Creator of our wonderful world, open our hearts and minds to our daily challenges. Really give us eyes to see with faith beyond our own needs to those of our neighbors, friends and even our enemies. Give us the spirit and courage of Jesus, human like us, to leave behind our absorption with ourselves toward involvement in action to do good.

First reading: from Hungering and Thirsting for Justice

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.
With less of you, there is more of the Holy One.

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you.
Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less.
That’s when you find yourself a proud owner of everything that can’t be bought.

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for the Divine One
who is food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever have.

You’re blessed when you care.
At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourself cared for.

You’re blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right.
Then you can see the Creator in the outside world.

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate
instead of competing and fighting. That’s when you discover who you really are
and your place in the family of all Creation.

You’re blessed when your commitment to the Divine provokes persecution. The
persecution drives you even deeper into the kin-dom of God.

----  These are the inspired words of Lacey Louwagie and Kate Ward

Gospel:  LK 9:18-24

Shared Homily Remarks to open our Dialogue (Bernie):
At the start of today’s gospel reading, Luke shows Jesus at prayer with his followers nearby. What do we imagine Jesus is praying for, thinking, meditating about? Surprise! He is wondering, ‘What do people think of me?” – such a human musing that we can all relate to. Don’t we do the same – sometimes more than we want to admit?

Jesus then throws this query to his followers: “Who do people say I am?” When Peter hits the bullseye, “You are the Christ of God”, Jesus admonishes his followers not to tell anyone. Why, we may wonder. 

Luke, writing many years after Jesus’ death, knows what is to come in the future. Instead of becoming a glorious, saving Messiah who would free the Jews from the Imperial Empire of the Romans, Luke lets us in on what happens to the Chosen One and all those who choose to be his followers. The formula, the game plan is not one of earthly victory; rather it is the paradox, the greater challenge, to lose one’s life in order to save it.

What can this mean for us?  And further, “What profit is there in gaining the whole world?” After all, doesn’t our culture seduce us to seek the American Dream? Aren’t we supposed to be able to ‘have it all’?

No, our action plan can be echoed in the challenges proposed in our first reading, “Hungering and Thirsting for Justice” which says, “you’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are. You find yourself a proud owner of everything that can’t be bought.”
I think we are being asked to swim upstream – Go against the flow – harder to do – but can’t it be thrilling, facing our daily challenges?

“Lose yourself for my sake.” Now, what do you think?

photos by MTStreck

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