Sunday, June 3, 2018

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Feast of Corpus Christi, Presiders: Elena Garcia ARCWP and Beth Cooper , Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons, June 2, 2018

Theme: We are the Body of Christ

            Presider 1: Welcome everyone.  As we gather today to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, let us remember that are we the Body of Christ, mandated to share the body of Christ with the body of Christ.   

Opening Hymn: “The Supper” from Breaking Bread
Refrain:           Precious body, precious blood, seen as bread and wine;
                        Here our God prepares the feast divine.
                        Bread of love is broken now, cup of life is poured.
                        Come share the supper of our God.

Verse:  This is the bread of God coming down from heaven,
                        Giving life to us, to all the world.  Refrain
Verse:  “I am the living spring of eternal life;
                        You that drink from me shall not thirst again.”   Refrain
Verse: “I am the bread of heav’n giving life to you;
                        You that eat this bread shall never die.”   Refrain   
Verse:  “All those who feed on me have their life in me
                        as I have my life in the living God.”  Refrain
Verse: All praise to you O Christ present in this feast;
                        In this bread we share in one life, one God.   Refrain
Opening Prayer
Presider:  As we gather together in this sacred place and share in this banquet of love, let us begin in the name of God, the Source of all being, Jesus, Eternal Word, and of Holy Spirit, Sofia Wisdom.  ALL: Amen
Presider: My sisters and brothers, God is with you! ALL: And also with you
Presider:  Gracious and Gifting God,
ALL:  Through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, new life was brought into the world. Through the Holy Eucharist, the sacrament of unity, we receive nourishment and hope for our lives.
May our eyes, ears 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 to be keys that open the way to all who desire to live in union with You.
May it be so.  ALL: Amen

Community Reconciliation (Brief Pause for reflection.)

Presider:  Creator God, to you all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and no secrets are hidden. We ask you to send us your Spirit so that we may live more fully according to your will.
Presider: Christ Jesus, we ask for the grace to realize our continual need to grow in understanding, compassion and caring for ourselves, all of humanity and for our planet earth.
ALL: (with an outstretched arm):      
God, our Father and Mother of Compassion, through Jesus’ life, he revealed that nothing can separate us from your unconditional love. He sustained us with his body and blood unto life everlasting and sent the Holy Spirit who gives 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 Sofia, our healer and comforter.  Amen.

Glory to God
Presider: Let us raise our hands and hearts in joyful praise together with our brothers and sisters in the communion of saints as we sing:
Glory to God, glory, O praise God, alleluia. Glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God.  (3x)

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Religious Experience…..  /Bernard Lee     ALL:  Thanks be to God
Responsorial: Psalm 63:1-9      
ALL: I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of my God
Second Reading: “Flowers in the Desert”/ Demetrius Dumm        ALL: Thanks be to God
Sequence: Panis Angelicus (Cheri McDonough)
Gospel acclamation:                     ALL: Alleluia (Celtic version)
Gospel: Mark 14:12-16; 22-26   ALL: Glory and praise to our brother, Jesus the Christ

Homily Starter/ Community Reflections

Homily Starter for Corpus Christi- 6/2/18, Elena Garcia ARCWP

Today we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi. It has been one of my favorite feast days for many years. It still is, but my understanding has evolved. For a few moments, we will take a trip through memory lane.  Those of us who received our first communion as children remember having been taught that Jesus was going to COME into our hearts. We also were given to understand that we would experience this brief union with Jesus every time we came to mass and received the Body and Blood of Jesus, which was available to most of us only once a week.  But because we are “sinful adopted children of God”, we would not be worthy of this union and certainly not before confessing our sins and fasting in preparation for this encounter. So, for many years we believed these teachings and followed these and other precepts. We recited prayers like, “I am not worthy that you should come into my heart but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”, and we sang, “Oh Lord I am not worthy that thou should come to me but speak…..”

Then Vatican Council came along and life became a bit easier. Altars were moved, Mass was said in English, weekly confession was no longer mandatory, fasting time was reduced, and we no longer had to stick our tongues out to be fed, we could feed ourselves. Some priests actually became giddy and began to take Eucharist and other sacraments into the world where the people of God rejoiced and were glad. But Jesus was still COMING from somewhere up above to fill us with his presence for a very limited time and we would leave to face the week, business as usual. It appeared to be an opportune time to connect with the following of Jesus the Christ much like the early Christians did. We missed the opportunity.

Then those self- appointed individuals in Rome, fearing the loss of control, power and financial stability, soon pulled in the reins. So, back to the church buildings some of us marched in obedience to mandates that sacraments, especially Eucharist, were to be administered on sacred ground and by ordained clergy.  And the marginalized were again left outside. As years went by a few changes were made to appease the disgruntled, like appointing Ministers of the Eucharist (at first all men and eventually the women) to help with the distribution of communion, and likewise, lectors to read scripture at mass.

Although the Council boldly proclaimed that Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life, I wonder how it is that there is such a disparity between theory and practice?  The demands of Eucharist were never disclosed or shared. And so, we have a varied understanding of Eucharist among members of the Catholic Church. They include those who attend Eucharist weekly out of church law obligation and fear of flirting with mortal sin; also those who attend because the practice is reinforced by the accepted norms of family or society;  those who come because for them it is truly the high point of their devotional and religious life;  then those who are good and active participants who see the Eucharist as God’s greatest gift to us; and finally, those who fight to their death to insist on their Catholicity but seldom darken the door of the church. That last group are the ones that attend on major feast days, funerals and weddings, while sacramental participation holds no meaning for them and is totally devoid of their daily lives.

I ask, why have we come to this pass? Could it be that our own attitude about the Eucharist has helped to enforce this existing situation? The one thing that seems to be common in all the above
mentioned groups is that they are all passive - in each of them the Eucharist is something that happens to us. Surely we have always thought of Eucharist as something we RECEIVE. This is reinforced by the mode of giving communion in which we stick out our hand or our tongue and the Eucharist is given to us with the words “Body of Christ”.  Even the priest prays for himself, “May the body and blood of Christ bring my soul to everlasting life.” If Jesus’ loud proclamation, “This is my body and this the cup of my blood which will be shed for you,” refers only to himself, Eucharist becomes essentially an exercise in historical memory. However, that is not Mark’s perspective. He understands sharing as joining actively with Jesus. THAT is what is asked of all who share Jesus’ life and mission in baptism. It is also what we are tempted to avoid as was Jesus at Gethsemane.

We who are here today, along with those who gather with us at any time, have awakened to the truth and reality of Eucharist. That is, we see the Eucharist from the point of view of giving more than receiving. Each time we celebrate Eucharist we do so as an expression and celebration of the community’s commitment to live for others and to give of ourselves for the life of the world. It was especially Jesus’ sacrificial ACTION that was memorialized by the early church. When Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me”, he was asking us to DO as HE DID, to offer our lives that others might live. The signs of the Eucharist are definitely beyond the bread and the wine. They are the bread that is broken and shared, and the wine that is poured out making the entire event Christ’s Eucharistic gift.

Jesus is already present in those gathered in his name. Our faith as a community and our desire to truly be the Body of Christ is a major aspect of Eucharist.  St. Augustine captured this reality many years ago. In his 272nd sermon he said, “If you are the Body of Christ, it is your mystery which has been placed on the altar of the Lord; you receive your own mystery. You answer ‘Amen’ to what you are.”

The Eucharistic presence of Jesus urges us on, challenging us to respond more fully to the mystery which is ours. If our faith is weak and the quality of our lives barely Christ-like, then Jesus’ presence within us will not be very obvious. On the other hand, as we grow into the likeness of Jesus and bring to the Eucharist a faith-filled presence, the Eucharistic Jesus will become more and more enfleshed within us. Then we will be able to say “Amen” to a reality which is visible for all to see, we will become more fully the body of Christ.

Father Paul Bernier ended his book Bread Broken and Shaped with these words:
“Eucharist is where all cares and concerns come to a focus, and where we are asked to measure them against the standard lived by Jesus when he proclaimed for all to hear that the bread that he would give would provide life for the entire world. But it will do so only if finding ourselves with a basket of bread, we have peered deeply enough into the heart of Jesus to know what to do with it.”

Our challenge is to freely accept that cross, to willingly drink that cup and to make Jesus’ words and actions our own. We are happy to be and to live as Christians!
I have used the following authors to prepare this homily starter: Paul Bernier, SSS; Henri Nouwen; Jude Winkler, OFM.

Questions for Reflection

~ Share your understanding and belief regarding Eucharist and how it may have changed throughout the years.

~ What have you brought along with you and what have you thrown overboard?

~ Where are you now?  Keep in mind we are in the process and personal growth takes time.

~What is your response or reaction to Jesus’ challenge to be his body and do what he did?

Profession of Faith

CREED:  Taken from “The Friends in Faith” and shared by Joan Meehan
ALL: Gathered together as people of faith, we profess our belief in a God who is larger than we can name, unable to be contained, yet present in each one of us. We have come to know this God in the living of our lives, and in the holiness of the earth we share. We believe in a God revealed in all peoples—all genders, religions, and orientations. We embrace a compassionate God, who champions justice and mercy, and is always faithful when we call. Our God gives and forgives, patiently loving without conditions. We gratefully believe in a God who feels our deepest struggles, and celebrates our greatest joys. A God who both dances with us in celebration, and holds us when we cry. This God is not “other” to us, but shares our breath in every moment, and promises we are never alone. We believe in a God who believes in us- believes that we are precious and incredible gifts, worthy to claim image and likeness to the divine. We hold fast to our God who journeys with us, who continually calls us to choose the shape of our days through the choices we make. This God accepts us as we are, and shares each hope we have for our becoming. This is the God in whom we believe, our Creator, our Mother and Father who became human in Jesus, our brother. Our God is the Spirit of Life, the voice that continues to speak love, and asks us to answer. In this God we choose to believe.   AMEN

Prayers of the Community

Presider:  We are a people of faith. We believe in the power of prayer. We 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 Creator.  After each intercession please respond:
Compassionate God, hear our prayers.
~Jesus, priest of the new covenant, you invite all to your banquet table; let our lives lead others to know and love you.  Compassionate….
~Jesus, living bread, you refresh those who are burdened and weary; help us to bear one another’s burdens and so share the bread of your mercy. Compassionate ….
~Jesus, you broke bread with those who would deny and betray you; may the sharing of the Eucharistic meal bring a spirit of reconciliation to the world.  Compassionate….
~For what else shall we pray?
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 endeavors for justice and equality so that, with our sisters and brothers, we may promote cultures of peace without violence in our world. We ask this in the name of Jesus and Holy Spirit Wisdom. All: Amen

Offertory Procession
Song “We Remember” # 495 – verses 1 and 2


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 Gifts
Presider: Our brother Jesus, who has often sat at our tables, now invites all of us to join Him at his family table. Everyone is welcome to share in this meal.
(The whole community is invited to gather around God’s family table)

ALL: Loving and caring God, we, your people are united in this sacrament by our common love of Jesus. We are one with all beings in the community of creation and with all those who share your gift of compassion, especially toward those who are marginalized and oppressed. May we love tenderly, do justice and walk humbly with you in solidarity with our sisters and brothers. May we strive to live as prophetic witnesses to the Gospel of our brother Jesus, supported by the wisdom that directed him and by 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: God dwells in you!    ALL: And also works through you. Namaste!

Presider: Let us lift up our hearts and love deeply.
ALL: We lift them up to the Holy One who lives in us and loves all through us.

Presider: Let us give thanks to the creator of all.           
ALL: It is our joy to give God thanks and praise.

Eucharistic Prayer                                   
Presider: 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…(Music by Karen Drucker)

Voice: We thank you, God, for the gift of Jesus in history – and the gift of himself as a 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: 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 the 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 the mystery of faith.
All:  Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ lives in us and through us in the world today. His Body is blessed, broken and shared every time we comfort the troubled, counsel the confused and advocate for justice.

Voice: In memory of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we offer you, God, this living-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:  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 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 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 kingdom 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 today and…

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

Presider: May the peace of God be always with us, and let us extend that peace to one another as we join hands in a circle of love and sing:
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be. With God as our Creator, children all are we; Let me walk with all peoples in perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now. With every breathe I take let this be my solemn vow.  To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

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 the sacred banquet of love.  All:  We are the Body of Christ.

Pre-Communion Prayer

Presider:  Jesus, you invite us to receive you and become you for others.  We are the Body of Christ.  May the Source of Life whose power now at work in us can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, be given glory through all generations. Amen.
Sharing of Bread and Wine (As you offer the bread and wine to the person next to you say:
“You are the Body of Christ.” and “You are the blood of Christ.”

Communion Song:  Instrumental and moment of silence

After Communion Song
“Pan De Vida” # 345  Verses 1,2,3- Bilingual

Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion
Presider: Jesus, through your life, death and resurrection, you have brought new life to the world. Through the Holy Eucharist, the sacrament of unity, you nourish that life and give us hope. Strengthened by this bread, may we walk in your truth and learn to love one another as you have loved us. We ask this in your name. Amen

Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions, Announcements
Final Blessing

(Everyone please stand and extend your hands in mutual blessing.)
All: Loving Jesus, may we be compelled by an awareness of your presence within us to respond to your call to walk in your truth and strive to love one another as you have loved us.

Presider:  As we go forth from this sacred space, let us purposefully look with new eyes and hearts to recognize Christ within all who we meet.  Let our service continue.
All:  Thanks be to God. Let it be so!

Closing Hymn: “We Are Many Parts” # 585 – All Verses

Homily Starter Question
~ Has your experience and understanding of the Eucharist evolved through the years? If yes, how so?


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