Friday, April 14, 2017

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community: Good Friday 2017

Welcome and Theme
Jesus’ life not his death was the source of his empowerment and subsequently our source of empowerment. He modeled living and loving for us right up to the moment he breathed his last breath. The stories about Jesus, and the parables he taught, were examples of how to live and love in the midst of suffering.  Suffering is not what makes us whole. Loving in spite of the suffering makes us whole. As we listen to the following readings, reflections and songs, let’s focus on the how of loving.

Opening prayer 
Loving One, we are in you and you are in us. We know Jesus struggled just as we struggle, We accept our path as he accepted his.  Your presence enables us to walk the path of life with love, peace and empowerment. We are filled with gratitude for You and for each other.  Amen

Reflection 1: Uphold Human Dignity of Each Person as an Equally Valuable Member of the Human Family

Catholic social justice teaches us that all people are made in the image of God and so possess an equal and inalienable worth. Because of this essential dignity, each person has a right to all that they need to allow them to live their full potential as intended by God. God is love, and we were created to love and be in relationship with each other. Human dignity is upheld when each person's needs are met and when they live in harmony with others in a community that together pursues the common good.

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In the end this is Love: not that we love God, but that God loves us, Beloved, if God so loves us we also must love one another. (1 John 4:7–8,10-11)

O Great Love by Jan Novotka

O Great Love, heart of all that is
O Great Love, O Great Love
Ground of Existence, Source of All
That is seen and unseen
O Great Love, arise,
in our world rise up
Fire of truth within us
O Great Love, arise.

God of Love, you have created all that is good and rich and full, all that sustains and energizes humanity. You have created all women and men in your very image- of goodness and of worth. We believe that you are truly present in each of us, no matter our heritage or our creed

We pray that all people can live in harmony with a place to call home, and be nourished in body and in spirit. We hope for immigrants to be welcomed, and are saddened when anyone is oppressed because of race, gender or heritage. We grieve the violence and hatred in our cities and in countries around the world.

We ask your forgiveness for any times we have succumbed to words or actions that harm another human person. Help us to always honor each person as created in your likeness.

We look to you to open all human hearts, lead us to show your goodness by always placing people before money or power.                    Written by Sister Marge Clark, BVM

Reflection 2: Embrace Our Right and Responsibility to Participate with Others in Our Shared Public Life

Catholic Social Justice teaches us that we have a responsibility to participate in politics out of a concern and commitment to the good of the community. This means that we cannot be bystanders who scoff at the political process. Instead, we are called to vote, to inform ourselves about the issues of the day, to engage in serious conversation about our nations future, and to learn to listen to different perspectives with empathy. This responsibility to participate means each person also has a fundamental right to participate, and must be equipped with the resources needed to do so.

 “What good is it, my sisters and brothers, if someone says he or she has faith but does not have good works? Can that faith save him or her? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, go in peace keep warm and well fed, but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have good works, is dead." (James 2:14 to 17)

We Go Forth
By Jan Novotka

We stand here together
Hand in hand, side by side.
We walk into mystery
For the sake of all.
We go forth, as one,
As one, we stand strong.
Letting go, letting in,
We emerge with new wings.

God of the ages, you placed us at this point in history with the mandate to serve. We are standing on the shoulders of giants who brought us to this place of freedom and equality. You ask us to continue their good work and to right the wrongs that remain. We have the power to speak our truth, to vote, to work on behalf of those who still yearn for freedom and full inclusion in society.

This is our time. It is our challenge to raise up those who are pushed aside. Strengthen us to see beyond appearances and find you in everyone. Bless us with the gift of leadership, the courage to walk unafraid into the future, the compassion to reach out to those in need, and the conviction to stand alone when necessary.  Amen.
Written by Sister Carren Herring, RSM

Reflection 3: Be in Solidarity with Those Who Are Living in Poverty in the Struggle against Structures of Injustice

Catholic Social Justice teaches us to look at reality through the eyes of those who have been made poor by oppression and injustice. We do this when we join together to end poverty. People forced into poverty have the single most urgent claim on the conscience of the nation because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity. The responsibility to uphold the dignity of each person means that we must judge our lifestyles, policies, and social institutions in terms of how they affect those suffering from the injustice of poverty

 "If someone who has worldly means sees a sister or brother in need and refuses her or him compassion, how can the love of God remain in this person? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth." (1 John 3:17-18)

Come Be In My Heart by Sara Thomsen

Wisdom, compassion, love, understanding (3x),
Come be in heart, come be in my hands,
Come be in my feet, come be in my working and playing,
the words that I am saying, my laughing, my crying,
my living, my dying.
Come be in my heart, Holy One, come.

God of Wisdom, open our eyes and minds to the unjust economic structures that we have created that have reduced our sisters and brothers to subsistence living. For we believe that

Response: We are not free until we are all free.

God of Transformation, help us to find ways to change our life styles and ways of supporting greed so that all have enough of the earth's resources to live with abundance and dignity.For we believe that

Response: We are not free until we are all free.

God of Insight, enable us to see beyond our narrow perspectives and to realize that our social institutions and national policies have created the degrading forces that condemn our sisters and brothers to generations of poverty. For we believe that

Response: We are not free until we are all free.

God of Goodness and Compassion, grant us mercy for our blindness in NOT seeing you in those made poor by oppression and injustice and grant us a fierce passion to join together in the struggle to end poverty. For we believe that

Response: We are not free until we are all free.

Written by Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN

Reflection 4: Bridge Divisions, Rising Above Individualism for the Good of the Whole Community

Catholic Social Justice teaches us that all people are children of God so every person belongs to a single and interconnected human family. As sisters and brothers, our  needs are met in relationship with one another. When making individual and collective decisions, we have a responsibility to consider the good of the community over and above the interests of the few. Authorities at every level must work together for the good of the entire community. A just community is united in creating the conditions for every person to flourish and realize their full human potential as children of God.

"As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

Something New 
Jan Novotka 

Open the eyes of my heart.
Purify and bless my heart.
Open my heart,
That I might see,
That I might be,
Something new.

Behold, behold,
I’m making something new.

Open the eyes of our hearts.
Purify and bless our hearts.
Open our hearts,
That we might see,
That we might be,
Something new.

Behold, behold,
I’m making something new.

O Divine Love, you create us at every moment and call us into the fullness of life in community.

Open our eyes that we might see how we as humans are all connected with each other and all of creation.

Open our minds that we might have imagination and insight to create policies for the good of all.

Open our hearts that we might reach beyond our personal preferences, fear and individualism to bridge the divides in our world.

Open our hands that we might give and receive caring even with those we disagree with.

Oh Divine Love, flame up in us that we might know that together we reflect your fullness of life. Let nothing separate us from the reality that in you we live, move and have our being. In the name of all that is holy we pray. Amen
Written by Sister Simone Campbell, SSS

Reflection 5: Unite With Workers to Build an Economy That Puts People, Not Profit, at the Center

Catholic Social Justice teaches us that work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God's creation. Work should enhance the dignity of the person by allowing all workers to express their uniqueness in a way that contributes to the common good. The community must also recognize the dignity of work by ensuring that it is justly rewarded with a living wage. As human beings are social, they have a fundamental right to organize collectively to create better working conditions for themselves and others.

"Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Holy One.” (James 5:4)

Spirit of the Living God
Sung by Michael Crawford

Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me
Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me.
Melt me mold me
Fill me use me
Spirit of the Living God
Fall fresh on me.

Oh God, We cry justice for workers who have a right to a just wage, safe working conditions and to a job that enhances their human dignity.

We cry justice for workers who labor in unhealthy environments thereby compromising their health and the security of their families.

We cry justice for immigrants who want a better life for themselves and their children.

We cry justice for refugees who want safety and a place to live and to work but are discriminated against because of their countries of origin, status, their language and their race.

We cry justice to change an economic system that has put profit and greed before the common good of the people they employ and serve.

We cry justice for our Muslim brothers and sisters who are maligned and persecuted for their creed and belief in Allah.

We cry justice for the unemployed who want to work but because of circumstances are not given a chance.

We cry justice for jobs that allow each worker to express their creativity, thereby being co-creators with the God of Creation.

We cry Justice... We cry Peace. Amen  

Written by Sister Anne-Louise Nadeau,SNDdeN

Reflection 6: Nurture the Earth, Recognizing That We Are Interdependent with the Rest of God's Creation

God gave human beings the task of caring for and nurturing all of creation. Because human beings are intimately connected with all that exists, our health and well-being are dependent upon that of the earth and all its creatures. We must cultivate and care for the earth in such a way that its bounty can provide for and sustain future generations.  Creation was entrusted to all of God's children, and thus all people have an equal right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. Because those on the margins of society are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation, concern for creation is inseparable from concern for justice.

Genesis 1:28 The Holy One blessed humankind and said, "Bear fruit, increase your numbers, and fill the earth – and be responsible for it! Watch over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things on the earth! Genesis 1:28

Circle Chant
By Linda Hirschhorn

Circle round for freedom
Circle round for peace
For all of us imprisoned
Circle for release

Circle for the planet
Circle for each soul
For the children of our children
Keep the circle whole.

God of all life, thank you for the gift of our Mother earth home and for intimately uniting us as sisters and brothers with all your creation on whom our health and well-being depends.  We want to live in greater care and solidarity with the earth and with people on the margins of society who are disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation.

Empower our response to Pope Francis's challenges -rejecting the harms of a throwaway culture and an economy of exclusion, and nurturing life through supporting sustainable development, investment in 'green jobs' and advocating for those in poverty.

Inspire us with Wisdom that we may cultivate and care for the earth in ways that its bounty enables future generations to thrive in a peaceful world that is free from war over resources and that sustains all with clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, and nourishing food to eat.

Guide us in all these ways of justice, now and forever, Amen.

Written by Sister Leanne M.Jablonski, FMI

Go in Peace!

With grateful thanks to NETWORK for the text from “Catholic Social Justice Refection Guide”

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