Saturday, August 27, 2016

Homily Starter and Liturgy for Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community by Kathryn Shea, ARCWP, 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Aug. 27,2016

Kathryn Shea ARCWP and Lee Breyer co-preside at
Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Liturgy
Aug. 27, 2016,

One definition of the word “humble” is: of low social, administrative, or political rank; having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance; lowly, small beginnings, the opposite of pride if defined as an inordinate heightened level of self esteem. 

So, Lee and I don’t like this definition. We think the word “humble” needs re-defining, as does the word “pride.”  Lee reminded me that the idea that God humbles the proud and exalts the humble is a common theme in Hebrew wisdom writing.  But, “humility” needs a better understanding.    

I remember about three years ago, my very good friend, Mary Theresa Streck, an ARCWP priest in the Albany Upper Room community, really encouraged me to take the path to priestly ordination.  I told her, “Mary T, I am just a lowly social worker.  I do not have a degree in theology, and I’m not even sure I could really quote the bible, and I still say bad words.”  And she said, “Dear Kath, there is no one lowly in the eyes of God.”  And the rest is history. 

And as we heard in our second reading today, nothing God creates is lowly.  It is all exquisite.  Including us. 

We mental health therapists, stress the importance of feeling proud of one’s self, of parents feeling proud of their children, and that pride is important and a critical ingredient to healthy self esteem.  Seth asks us many times a week, “Mom and dad are you proud of me?”  It’s important.  Pride and humility are not mutually exclusive.  When pride is defined as  proper and realistic sense of one’s self, it and humility are very supportive of each other.

So, what do we take away from today’s readings?  My take-away is that we do not need to boast to others about how great we think we are.  That is not pride, it is arrogance.  And there is a difference.  Some of the most humble figures in our time are Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mother Theresa.  Their greatness and humbleness was because of whom they were; Jesus like. 

So, Lee’s definition of “humble” is “honesty.” He says, “Honesty is an unpretentious, a non-exaggerated evaluation of the importance of oneself or position, and that humility is ultimately “in the eyes of God.”  I’m going with Lee’s definition. 

And in the end, after having searched for the lowly and sought after the exalted, one finds there is really only love.  We are all on a grand journey together to discern what love truly means, and re-discover how much we are all inter-connected.     

        Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
                                                     Interesting, Inviting, Involving, Inspiring

                                         22nd Sunday in Extraordinary Time
August 27, 2016

                                              Presiders: Kathryn Shea, ARCWP, Lee Breyer, Seth Winners
                 Music Ministers: Linda Lee Miska & Russ Banner

                                                   Theme: “Walk humbly with God”

Gathering/Opening Prayer

Presider: Gracious and Gifting God,
May we be aware of your presence with us, as we gather once again in this MMOJ community room, much like the first followers of Jesus, your Beloved, after the Resurrection.
May our ears, eyes and hearts be open to your truth in the words and stories we will share this day.
May we be nourished by this simple meal of bread and wine to stand tall with conviction and courage as “daughters and sons of Sarah and Abraham.”
May the sacredness, indeed the ‘sacrament of our time together’ inspire us to co-operate gracefully with you “in making all things new.”
May it be so …… AMEN. (adapted from Upper Room liturgy August 21,2016)

All: This is the day that our God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Opening Song: “We Are Called” #628, all verses (God for Lord)    

Penitential Expression and Community Forgiveness

Presider: Creator God, to you all hearts are open, no desires are unknown, and no secrets are hidden. We ask you to send your Spirit to us so that we may live more fully according to your will. Through your grace, all of us, everywhere, are one family and you have made us worthy to be called your blessed people.
Presider: Christ Jesus, we ask for the grace to realize our continual need to grow in understanding, compassion and caring for ourselves, for others, and for our planet earth. We ask for your forgiveness for our hurtful actions to people of other beliefs, nationalities, races, and actions.
All: Help us to extend your forgiving presence that is your gift through us to all those with whom we share this earth, with no exceptions.

Presider: We join with you, Jesus the Christ, in believing that the insight, direction, and strength of the Holy Spirit will lead us to deeper commitments to peace, justice, equality, and nonviolence. Together, as the family of God – and sisters and brothers of one another – we pray…

All: (with an outstretched arm): God, the Father and Mother of compassion, through Jesus’ life, he revealed that nothing can separate us from your unconditional love. He sent the Holy Spirit to give us the understanding, willingness and courage to love one another. We ask you to grant us the grace of pardon and peace so that we may – in turn – forgive each other our failures to care for one another and for our Earth. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our brother and of the Holy Spirit, our healer and comforter. Amen.

Glory to God

(Sung) Glory to God, Glory, O Praise and alleluia, Glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God. (3x)

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29         All: Thanks be to God.
Responsorial: #748 – God you have the words of everlasting life.  
Second reading: A Poem by A.R. Ammons   All: Thanks be to God.
Gospel Acclamation:   Alleluja (Celtic Alleluja)
Gospel: Luke: 14:1, 7-14    All: Glory and praise to our brother, Jesus the Christ.

Shared Homily/Community Reflection

Profession of Faith

All: We believe in God, the Creator of the universe, whose divinity infuses all that exists, making everything sacred. We believe in Jesus, the Christ, who leads us to the fullness of humanity. Through him, we have become a new people, called beyond the consequences of our brokenness. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God who keeps the Christ-vision present to all those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives – and the Sustainer who heals and energizes us when our spirits grow weary in our journeys. We believe that God’s kindom is here with us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and hands to make it known to all.

We say: Amen to courage, to hope, and to truth. We say: Amen to the partnership and equality of all people of different genders, races, and faiths. We believe in a world of peace and justice for everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions. In all of this, we surely believe.

Prayers of the Community

Presider: We are a people of faith. We believe in the power of prayer, and are mindful of God’s unconditional love and care for each one of us. And so, we bring the needs of the people to our merciful and gracious God.   After each intercession, please respond: Compassionate God, hear our prayers.

Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers. We ask you to strengthen us in our concern for one another – here and throughout the world.   We ask you to support us in our works for justice and equality so that, with our sisters and brothers, we may promote cultures of peace without violence in our world. As we always do, we make these prayers in the names of Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom. Amen.

Offertory Procession/Song: “In This Place” #308, verses 1,2,4 (God for Lord)

Preparation of the Gifts

Presider: Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, this grain of the earth that human hands have prepared for our use. It will become for us the bread of life.
All: Blessed be God forever.

Presider: Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, this fruit of the vine that human hands have prepared for our use. It will become for us our spiritual drink.
All: Blessed be God forever.

Gathering of the Gifted:

Presider: Jesus, who has often sat at our tables, now invites us to be guests at this, his family table. Everyone is welcome to share in this meal, one blessed by our God.

ALL: Compassionate God, we, your people, are united in this sacrament by our common love of Jesus. We are in communion with everyone, everywhere, who shares your gift of compassion, especially all those who are marginalized and oppressed. May we love tenderly, do justice, and walk humbly with you in solidarity with our brothers and sisters everywhere. May we live as prophetic witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus, supported in this by the vision that directed him and the wisdom of the Spirit who supports us. Amen.

Presider: Let us give thanks to the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.
All: With hearts full of love, we give God thanks and praise.
Presider: Holy Spirit, we realize your presence among us as we gather at the family table.
All: Fill us with reverence for you, for one another, and for all of creation.
Presider: Let us lift up our hearts.
All: We lift them up to the Holy One who lives in us and loves others through us.
Presider: God dwells in each one of us.            All: Namaste!

Eucharistic Prayer

Voice 1: Ever present and always caring God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. In you we live and move and have our being. Your Spirit dwelling in us gives us the assurance of unending peace and joy with you. That Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is the foretaste and promise of the paschal feast of heaven. And so we sing in thankful praise:

All (sing): We Are Holy, Holy, Holy…(3x) You Are Holy, I Am Holy, We Are Holy…

Voice 2: We thank you, God, for the gift of Jesus in history – and the gift of Jesus in faith. Through him, you breathe life into us. He was moved by his vision of your constant presence in everyone, everywhere he went. He revealed you in everything he did in his life well lived. And he showed us, through his example, not only how we should live, but also for what we may die.

Voice 3: When his time on earth had come, Jesus – aware of and accepting his destiny – gave up his life for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death. And then, providing an example of this insight for the understanding of ages to come, he opened wide his arms and died. Then the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, showed us that life is eternal and love is immortal. Jesus is with us today as he will be through the end of time.

All: O God, let your Spirit of life, healing and wholeness come upon these gifts that we brought from your fields and placed on our table — this simple wheat and wine. May She make them holy so that they will become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus, our brother.

(With an outstretched arm, we 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 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. Do this in memory of me.   [Pause]

In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the 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. Do this in memory of me.

Presider: 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 prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim this mystery of faith.

All: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ lives in us and through us in the world today.

Voice 4: In memory of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we offer you, God, this life-giving bread and this saving cup. May all who will share in this sacred meal be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit. And may that Spirit, that Wisdom, that moved in Jesus move as freely in our lives as She did in that of Jesus.

Voice 5: God of blessing and peace, we remember your church throughout the world; help us grow in love, together with Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and your whole family everywhere – especially those who live on the margins of church and society. We remember the victims of the recent floods and earthquakes, and those struggling to reconstruct their homes and lives from these devastating events. We remember the communion of saints both living and dead, who touched our lives and left their footprints on our hearts. We remember especially…(pause to mention names).

All: Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, Creator God, forever and ever… and let everyone sing… Great Amen (3X)

All (holding hands): Our Father and Mother, who are in heaven, blessed is your name……

All: God, we have just prayed that your kindom may come among us. Grant that we can open our ears to hear it, our hands to serve it, and our hearts to make it real.   Amen.

The Sign of Peace

Presider: Jesus, you said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you; my peace I give you.”   Look on the faith of those gathered here and ….

All: … grant us your peace. O God, following the example of Jesus and with the strength of the Spirit, help us spread that peace throughout the world, to everyone, everywhere, no exceptions. Amen.

Presider: May the peace of God be always with us, and let us extend that peace to one another. (Instrumental: “Peace Before Us” during Sign of Peace)

Litany for the Breaking of the Bread

Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of non-violence for peace and justice.   We will live justly.

Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of understanding and compassion, forgiveness and healing everywhere in your name. We will love tenderly.

Presider: Loving God…All: you call us to speak truth to power. We will walk humbly with you.

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

Pre-Communion Prayer

Presider: Lord God, as we come to share the richness of your table, we cannot forget the poverty of so many of our brothers and sisters, our families and neighbors.

Men: We cannot eat this bread and forget those who are hungry. O God, your world is one world and we are stewards of its nourishment for all your people.
Women: We cannot drink this wine and forget those who are thirsty. O God, the very earth and its people cry out for environmental justice.

All: We cannot listen to your words of peace and not grieve for the world at war’s door.

Communion Song: Instrumental

Post Communion Song/Reflection: “You Are Mine” #462, all verses


Closing Community Blessing

All:   May our hearts be glad on our journey as we dream new dreams, see new 
visions, and create a new heaven and Earth.
May we live and work for compassion and peace, justice and non-violence in our
hearts and in those of everyone we meet.
May we learn to bless and honor and hold in reverence all creation, this earth,
and one other.

Closing Community Hymn and Commissioning: “Nobody Can Stop The River From Flowing” – Kathy Sherman

Nobody Can Stop The River From Flowing

Nobody can stop the river from flowing,
Nobody can stop the river from flowing,
Nobody can stop the river from flowing,
We are going forward and we’re flowing like a river.

Nobody can stop compassion from flowing,
Nobody can stop compassion from flowing,
Nobody can stop compassion from flowing,
We are going forward and we’re flowing like a river.

Nobody can stop the hope that is flowing,
Nobody can stop the hope that is flowing,
Nobody can stop the hope that is flowing,
We are going forward and we’re flowing like a river.

Nobody can stop the peace that is flowing,
Nobody can stop the peace that is flowing,
Nobody can stop the peace that is flowing,
We are going forward and we’re flowing like a river.

We are going forward and we’re flowing like a river.

Presiders: As we leave here in the peace of Christ, let us be the people that God created us to be. Let our service continue.

All: Thanks be to God; let it be so!

"Shifting winds in Maynooth - but Church must embrace change or lose its flock" by Martina Devlin, Irish Independent

Pope Francis blesses a child as he arrives to lead the weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square. Photo: Getty1
Pope Francis blesses a child as he arrives to lead the weekly audience in Saint Peter’s Square. Photo: Getty
Outstanding  article on the meltdown of the Catholic Church in Ireland.  Until women are treated as  equals in the Catholic Church, including priestly ministry in a new model of an accountable, community-based, justice centered  church modeled on Jesus' vision of inclusivity, it will continue to be "lost within a gilded labyrinth." Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,,

Another day, another flavourless statement from Maynooth. It is remarkable how an institution as vibrant and effective as the Catholic Church during its 2,000-year history should become now so lost within a gilded labyrinth.

There is a way out of this maze of its own construction, as leaders from Pope Francis to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin realise. But their dilemma is how to secure buy-in for essential reforms from the Church's management class.
The scale of the necessary overhaul is significant, and many within the hierarchy are resistant to change. This means the reformers have a circle to square: on the one hand, gradual reform will meet with less resistance from traditionalists; on the other hand, it might be dismissed as tinkering at the edges.
For the Irish hierarchy to stick its collective fingers in its ears and go "la la la, we can't hear you" is no solution to the crisis lapping at its doors. It has pursued such a policy for decades, with dwindling vocations and empty churches to show for it.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin is among those trying to effect change - but will it be watered down so that the public barely notices any difference? This week's statement from Maynooth's trustees will do little to reassure the faithful, who have anxieties both about alleged seminary 'sexcapades' and the theologically inflexible priests being formed there.
The trustees (four archbishops and 13 senior bishops) intend to update whistleblower procedures and implement a social media policy. Useful in principle, no doubt, but it's over-optimistic to imagine an internet policy will end what Archbishop Martin described as "strange goings-on there".
Nevertheless, some shifting winds are apparent at Maynooth - even allowing for the reality that dynamic change must come from Rome. After all, one seminary in Ireland cannot alter recruitment policies to allow for the inclusion of women and married priests.
A development presented as potentially significant will see the establishment of a sub-committee to examine the pastoral needs of priestly training in contemporary Ireland. This sub-group will include lay people, families and "especially" women, as urged by Pope Francis. Alluding to contemporary Ireland demonstrates an awareness that current training is better suited to Ireland of the past than the present.
Every advance is to be welcomed. But telling women they can recommend who should become a seminarian, without allowing them to enter training themselves if they have a vocation, is like giving someone the vote but banning them from standing for election.
It's extraordinary how such indefensible inequality is allowed to continue with so little challenge from within the organisation. Imagine it in any other sphere: refusing legal rights to women, or property ownership, or excluding them from certain jobs.
Of course, such vetoes were once the case - but they were swept away, and no reasonable person would argue for their reinstatement. Nowadays, people look back and marvel how they were tolerated for so long. Just as many of us gape at the Catholic Church's persistent and dogmatic blindness regarding half of its membership.
Only 14 young men have entered Maynooth in the current intake, as the Church continues to swim against the tide. Consider how many recruits there might be if women were admissible, or the vow of celibacy was set aside.
Even so, one or two interesting ideas are emerging. One is an apprenticeship for seminarians in the community - that shows some creative thinking. The outside world cannot be banned from the cloisters if the Catholic Church hopes to train priests capable of connecting with those they purport to serve.
Also promising is the Maynooth trustees' reference to a national policy for recruitment to the priesthood: this represents an important opportunity for improvement and shouldn't be viewed as a mechanism to reinforce the status quo.
Rather worryingly, Archbishop Martin's comments in the aftermath of that statement from the trustees have the distinct smack of someone backtracking. A few weeks ago, he emerged with guns blazing, saying Dublin diocesan candidates for the priesthood would go to Rome rather than Maynooth - indicating a loss of trust in the Irish seminary.
Now, in a somewhat contradictory position, he has told RTE's 'Morning Ireland': "Maynooth is not to be condemned but it's not to be canonised either." It sounds as if he didn't gain support from fellow trustees.
Then again, the Catholic leadership's response to problems invariably leans towards the least change possible. Perhaps this is due to fear of letting critics appear to control a situation. But it points towards a central conundrum: the hierarchy is fundamentally unwilling to advance too far in the direction of change, and seems to believe a substantial strategic shift would be damaging.
Effort is diverted into defending the current position as opposed to reviewing it for an overhaul. And all the time the trust continues to be eroded. Not least because priests who speak out, voicing reservations about ultra-conservatism, are silenced and smothered by the hierarchy.
Whether we care to acknowledge it or not, the Catholic Church has helped to mold the contours of our society and culture. It is pitiful to see its disintegration, especially where need remains for many of its services in the community.
The institution has been integral to Irish life, since the days of the early monks who helped to preserve our legends - even if they rejigged the ending of stories such as the Children of Lir to suit a Christian audience. Christianity adapted to local circumstances, with Celtic feast days incorporated into the Christian calendar - the spring festival of Imbolc becoming St Bridget's Day on February 1, for instance.
But today, change is viewed with suspicion and when it happens, the pace is glacial. The hierarchy needs to lose its aloof remoteness. Restructuring and transforming how the Catholic Church does its business is long overdue. Walls need to topple. Above all, any discussion of reform without bringing women to the forefront is meaningless.
The Catholic leadership has forgotten that the Apostles walked with their people. If meaningful change continues to be blocked, any congregations left for priests to walk with will be meagre.
Irish Independent