Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Eucharistic Liturgy in honor of Feast of Assumption at Eddy Memorial Geriatric Center, Troy, New York, Jim Marsh ARCWP, Mary Theresa Streck ARCWP, Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, August 15, 2018

Jim Marsh ARCWP Celebrates Liturgy 

Welcome and Announcements - Jim
Bridget:                As we gather together in this sacred place and share in this banquet of love, let us begin in the name of our God, who creates; of Jesus the Christ, who liberates; and of the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies us.   All: Amen.

Opening Song:    Mary’s Song by Millie Rieth
My soul doth glory in your love, O Lord.
My soul doth glory in your love, O Lord.
For you gazed on your servant with compassion,
And you reached out and took me by the hand.

Great are you, God, and holy is your name.
Your mercy reaches until the end of time,
Ah, the lowly you raise to the heavens,
And the proud-hearted have no part with you.

Ah, how you fill the hungry with your love.
With empty hands the rich are sent away.
You will always be mindful of your mercy,
As you promised your people long ago.

My soul doth glory in your love, O Lord.
My soul doth glory in your love, O Lord.
For you smiled on your servant with compassion,
And you reached out and took me by the hand.

Jim:                     Creator God to whom all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and from whom no secrets can be hidden. We acknowledge our humanness and our need to seek healing and wholeness for the times we have failed to live justly, love tenderly and care for our earth and all its creatures.
After a silent pause, invite all to extend hands in praying forgiveness over each other
All:       O Holy One, Father and Mother of all exists, we thank you for Jesus who taught us by his living, dying and rising, that nothing can ever separate us from your infinite love.  With your grace and mercy, may we be reconcilers and peacemakers in our world as we forgive each other our failures to care for one another and our earth in the name of God, our Creator, of Jesus, our brother, and of the Holy Spirit, our wisdom. Amen.
Let us continue to praise God in song …. (a capella)
Glory to God, glory,
O praise and alleluia.
Glory to God, glory,
O praise the name of our God. (3x)
Opening Prayer
Mary T:               O Holy One, we celebrate your love as we  experience it in our lives. May we recognize your presence in Word and in the Breaking of Bread this day.  May your peace fill our hearts, your justice direct our lives, and your love guide us to recognize you in the stranger, the outcast, the poor, and all those we meet daily.  We make this prayer in union with Jesus, our brother, and trusting in the power of your Spirit, Sophia Wisdom. All: AMEN.

First Reading      A passage inspired by Celtic theologian Pelagius
Look at the animals roaming the forest: God’s spirit dwells within them.
Look at the birds flying across the sky: God’s spirit dwells within them.
Look at the tiny insects crawling in the grass: God’s spirit dwells within them.
Look at the fish in the river and sea: God’s spirit dwells within them.
There is no creature on earth in whom God is absent. . . .
When God pronounced that creation was good, it was not only that the Holy One's hand had fashioned every creature; it was that the divine breath had brought every creature to life.
Look too at the great trees of the forest; look even at your crops. God’s spirit is present within all plants as well.
The presence of God’s spirit in all living things is what makes them beautiful;
and if we look with God’s eyes, nothing on the earth is ugly.
Go out into the natural world and look with God’s eyes; listen with God’s ears; know your place within God’s good creation.
Alleluia Response (a capella)
Gospel Reading            Luke 1:39-56

Mary set out and hurried to the hill country to a town of Judah, where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.  As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of the Messiah should come to me?  The moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken by God would be accomplished!"

Mary said: "My soul proclaims your greatness, O God, and my spirit rejoices in you, my Savior. For you have looked with favor on your lowly servant, and from this day forward all generations will call me blessed. For you, the Almighty, have done great things for me, and holy is your Name. Your mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear you. You have shown strength with your arm; you have scattered the proud in their conceit; you have deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places.  You have filled the hungry with good things, while you have sent the rich away empty.  You have come to the aid of  Israel your servant, mindful of your mercy—the promise you made to our ancestors—to Sarah and Abraham and their descendants forever."
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned home.
Homily Thoughts – Jim
I have a three basic homily thoughts to share ………….
First:   In our Catholic tradition, we have great respect for Mary as the mother of Jesus. Today’s Gospel from Luke tells that story from Mary’s own perspective. Luke tells us that an angel appeared to Mary and told her that she will bear a son and will name him Jesus. Mary is troubled by this and asks how it will happen and the angel tells her not to doubt … that she will conceive through the power of the Most High.
She then hurriedly goes off to visit her elderly cousin Elizabeth who is already six months pregnant, (God of surprises-much like the story of Sarah & Abraham). After greeting each other, Mary proclaims her famous hymn of praise, which we call the Magnificat. It is Mary’s great ‘yes in faith’ to all that will be.
In her wisdom, the Church calls us to stop and celebrate Mary on this calendar day.
Today’s Feast of the Assumption recalls the end of her life here on earth, and her union with the Holy One and her son Jesus for all eternity.
So what is it that we need to celebrate and ponder? Perhaps it is simply that Mary gives us a wonderful metaphor for the “female, mothering side of the Divine.” It is truly an understatement to say we desperately need this after centuries of exclusive patriarchal and masculine images that have caused many to feel a distance from God, to say nothing of the many problems we are experiencing in our church today.

Second:  Can I safely say that each of you residents here at the Eddy are feeling the effects of aging? Each of you need some level of assistance in the tasks of daily living. Do you ever feel that you’re invisible, isolated from the world—perhaps from your families, neighborhood friends and former parishioners that you may not see too often?

Did you know that in South Africa, there is a beautiful custom of greeting each other? They use the word ‘Sa-wu-bona’ which means “I see you.” In other words you are not invisible to me…. And the response is either ‘Ye bo sa-wu-bona’ [Yes, I see you seeing me] or ‘Ngikona’ [I am here because you see me].

We heard in our first reading from the Celtic theologian Pelagius, God’s spirit dwells in all of creation …. and it is beautiful …. it is good!

So my friends, you are never really alone. Remember that at the center of your being is the very Spirit of God, inspiring your every breath. Each of you is a unique manifestation of the Divine—indeed, you are God’s beloved! His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, says it this way: “There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” So the next time a fellow resident or a staffer here at the Eddy greets you, be mindful that they are saying more than just hello—they are saying ‘I see you.’

Third:  We know that getting older and the aging process is natural. Could it be that this process is preparing us for the kin-dom of God? One of the great theologians of the last century, Pierre deChardin SJ thought that our ‘diminishment due to the aging process’ was how we prepare for the great merging with the cosmos that occurs when we die. Could it be that God is consuming us so we can be one?
And so I encourage all of us, you and I to have faith— each of us has a purpose and our lives make a difference. Pray every day for the grace to say ‘yes’ to all that will be, until God calls us home to the kin-dom for all eternity. Our Christian hope assures us—that communion will be the greatest ever!

Statement of Faith
We believe in the Holy One, a divine mystery beyond all definition and rational understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that ever will exist.
We believe in Jesus, messenger of the Divine Word, bringer of healing, heart of Divine compassion, bright star in the firmament of the Holy One's prophets, mystics, and saints.
We believe that We are called to follow Jesus as a vehicle of divine love, a source of wisdom and truth, and an instrument of peace in the world.
We believe in the Spirit of the Holy One, the life that is our innermost life, the breath moving in our being, the depth living in each of us.
We believe that the Divine kin-dom is here and now, stretched out all around us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and hands to make it happen.

Intercessory Prayers
Jim:  As we prepare for the sacred meal, let us be mindful of our personal blessings, cares and concerns as well as the needs of our world.   (Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words, “I bring to the table…”) At conclusion: We pray for these and all unspoken concerns of our hearts. Amen.

Bridget:    (lifting the bread and cup of wine)
Blessed are You, God of all creation.  Through Your goodness we have this bread and wine to offer, gifts from your creation, the earth, together with the work of human hands. They will become for us our spiritual food and drink. All:  Blessed be God forever.

Mary T:      God is with you.  All: And also with you.
Jim:            Lift up your hearts. All: We lift them up to our God.
Bridget:       Let us give thanks to our loving God. All: It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Mary T:               All-loving and ever-living God beyond all imagining, we give You thanks for the gift of awareness that allows us to recognize Your presence and action in our universe. Everything we have, everything we see, everything we do, everyone we love and everyone who loves us, reveals Your sustaining presence. We thank You for Your presence which animates life and all that exists. 
Jim:                     You express yourself in human life and through us you sing and dance, speak and write, love and create.  In this we never cease to hope, and for this we always thank and praise You. We join with the saints of all times and places as they sing forever to Your glory:
All: (sung) HOLY, HOLY, HOLY by Karen Drucker
We are holy, holy, holy.           Spirit Divine, Come to me.
We are holy, holy, holy.           Feeling love, healing me.
We are holy, holy, holy.           Open my heart, allow me to see.
We are whole.                         Beauty and love, lives in me.
You are holy, holy, holy…

Bridget:                Loving God, we live and move and have our being in You. We give thanks for those throughout history who have affirmed your loving presence and moved your people to give witness. 
     All:        They have witnessed to your presence in lives characterized by love, mercy, compassion, generosity and forgiveness.

Mary T:               We thank you for Jesus, who loved so greatly, taught so clearly, and proclaimed so courageously.  He set people free from images, ideas and religious practices that bound them in fear and a false sense of separation from you.
     All:        Through Jesus, we know our loving actions become a share in your life.  In Jesus, we see your Spirit challenging us to make your presence more visible on earth.

Jim:                     We thank You for Your Spirit of life and love among us. We are grateful that Your Spirit sets us free to discover your presence within us and in all of creation.        All: And for this we thank and praise You.

Bridget:                Loving God, intensify the presence of Your Spirit in these our gifts, as they, and we, become the Body and Blood of Jesus the Christ for our wholeness and the wholeness of all creation.

Mary T:               I invite you, the People of God, to extend your hands and pray with us:

All:      We remember that on the night before he died, while at supper with his friends, Jesus took the Bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it them saying: Take and eat, this is my body.                 (Pause)
All:      When supper was ended, Jesus took the cup of wine, spoke the blessing and offered it to them saying: Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life in you. Do this in memory of me.

Jim:            Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.
All:    Nurtured by your Word, nourished by your food, called anew to be your people, we acclaim your praise.

Bridget:                Loving God, through Jesus You entrusted this pledge of love to us.  We celebrate the memory of his life, death and resurrection, and bring to You the gifts You have given us: reconciliation, justice, and peace. 
                  All:    You fill us with Your Spirit in the sharing of this meal. You keep us in
                           communion with one another and with all living beings. Your Spirit
                           makes us a sign of unity, a model of equality and instruments of Your

Mary T:               Inspire our leaders, both religious and political, so that they act without fear to bring your justice.
                  All:    May they become peacemakers who transform our church and society
                               so that all living beings and our planet thrive.

Jim:                     You have gathered us around this table in friendship, with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the apostles, and all the saints. 
                    All:  May all who are suffering in any way be strengthened and consoled
                              by your Presence. You bless all who have gone before us and bring
                              them into the lasting joy and peace of your presence.

Bridget:                You gather together women, men and children of every race, language, religion and way of life to share in your one, eternal banquet. In your presence, we give you glory with all creation and with Jesus through whom your goodness flows.

Presiders elevate the Bread and cup as the community prays together
All:    Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit, may all glory and honor be Yours, all-loving God, forever and ever. AMEN

Mary T:               The Holy One is always within, around and among us, giving us all we need… and so let us pray together the prayer that Jesus taught us.  All: Our Father and Mother, …
Jim:   The peace of Christ be with you always.      All: And also with you.
As we share our joy, let us share God’s abundant peace. Please share a sign of peace with
those closest to you.

Peace Prayer by David Haas (play during Kiss of Peace)
Peace before us.                               Love before us…   
Peace behind us.                              Light before us…
Peace under our feet.                        Christ before us…
Peace within us.
Peace over us.
Let all around us be peace.
Bridget:                Please join in praying our prayer for the breaking of the bread:
                           Lamb of God, you desire the healing of our world. All: We live the Gospel
                               through our works of justice.  
Mary T:               Lamb of God, you desire the healing of our world. All: We are your presence in the world when we love tenderly.
Jim:                     Lamb of God, you desire the healing of our world. All: We speak with integrity when we share your Good News with the world.
Presiders hold up the bread and cup
Bridget:                This is Jesus, the Bread of Life. We are blessed to share this sacred meal.    
All:       Jesus, you affirm our goodness and worthiness by your word, and we will heal the world.
Presiders distribute communion—be attentive to staff’s directions. Each resident may “intinct” in the cup.

Communion Song:   Holy Is Your Name (Magnificat) by David Haas

My soul is filled with joy
as I sing to God my savior:
you have looked upon your servant,
you have visited your people.

And holy is your name
through all generations!
Everlasting is your mercy to the people
you have chosen, and holy is your name.

I am lowly as a child,
but I know from this day forward
that my name will be remembered,
for all will call me blessed. Refrain

I proclaim the power of God,
you do marvels for your servants;
though you scatter the proud-hearted
and destroy the might of princes. Refrain

To the hungry you give food,
send the rich away empty.
In your mercy you are mindful
of the people you have chosen. Refrain

In your love you now fulfill
what you promised to your people.
I will praise you, Lord, my savior,
everlasting is your mercy. Refrain

Blessing and Dismissal
Mary T:      Together let us extend our hands and bless each other    
May we continue to be the Face of God to each other. May the harmony of being connected across culture, race, time and space create in us the yearning to love as One Body: joyfully, extravagantly, even wastefully. May our living and loving this week be a blessing to all we meet.  Amen.

Closing Song:       Hail Mary: Gentle Woman by Carey Landry
Cantor Intro:
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.      Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Blessed are you among women and                      Pray for us sinners now
blest is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.                   And at the hour of death. Amen.
Refrain:      Gentle woman, quiet light, morning star, so strong and bright,
                  Gentle Mother, peaceful dove, teach us wisdom; teach us love.

Verse 1.      You were chosen by the Father, you were chosen for the Son. You were chosen from all women and for woman, shining one.  Refrain

Verse 2.      Blessed are you among women, blest in turn all women, too.
         Blessed they with peaceful spirits. Blessed they with gentle hearts.  Refrain 

Presiders:             Our celebration is over. Go in peace.
                           Thank you for celebrating with us!

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