Thursday, April 18, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Holy Thursday Liturgy 2019 - Presiders: Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, and Mary Lynch

Holy Thursday Eucharist -  Re-membrance: A Living Presence - 2019
Receiving the Stole - A member of the community places a stole on each presider with a blessing prayer. 

Welcome and Theme 
Presider 1: Welcome to our Holy Thursday Liturgy – a time when we remember the final earthy days of our Brother Jesus. Tonight, we remember when Jesus took bread and wine and used them as symbols of his essence, his body and his blood. As we pray together, we recall those precious moments in our faith story and our commitment to follow our Brother, Jesus.

Opening Prayer
Presider 2:  O Holy One, throughout his life, Jesus revealed that nothing can separate us from Your infinite love. He lived a life of apparent joy in sharing meals with the people of the Galilean countryside. The open table of his public life challenged the discriminatory social code of his time and taught us that all people are to be included as equals in Your kin-dom. May we, like Jesus, continue to open our table, and our lives to all, especially those in need.

Presider 1: Please join in singing our Opening Song:  We Come to Your Feast by Michael Joncas


First Reading: Commitment by Michael Morwood

The human reality is that Jesus, the Jew, had a Passover meal with his Jewish friends. In a movement of friendship with Jesus, try to understand what might have been moving in his mind and heart as he came to the end of his life, knowing his ministry had failed. Let us take on board the image of a man who when he came to Jerusalem for the last time, broke down and cried over what might have been. Let us imagine Jesus considering the small group of men and women gathered around him thinking that the future of his dream and everything he was ready to die for rested with them. Only when we meet Jesus heart to heart in this way will we really understand and appreciate the true story of "Eucharist."

Jesus took bread, broke it, and identified the gesture with himself. The point of the gesture was not to raise questions about how the bread was Jesus or became Jesus. Rather, it was Jesus' powerful way of expressing symbolically, this is what it is like to be me. What Jesus wanted his friends to see in the gesture was his willingness to give his all for what he believed, someone blessed and broken and given. Jesus wanted his friends to remember him this way. But, more than that, he asked them to eat the bread. The point of eating the bread was not to raise questions about what they were actually eating. That question would not have risen in the minds of Jews sharing a Passover meal that was permeated with the power of symbol.  No, the obvious question here is: To what were those present committing themselves if they took the bread from Jesus and ate it? They would have realized that Jesus was symbolically asking for their commitment to carry on his ministry. He was asking if they, too, were willing to be blessed, broken and given.

These are the inspired words of Michael Morwood, theologian, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

Psalm 116

Response: Amen. Truly I say to you, gather in my name, I am with you. (2x)

Receive my love, O Beloved,
You who hear my voice and my supplication.
You incline your ear to me,
and I call upon You with trust both day and night.

Response: Amen. Truly I say to you, gather in my name, I am with you.

When the snares of fear encompass me,
when the pangs of loneliness envelop me,
I suffer distress and anguish.
Then I call upon you, my rock:
You come to my aid, Your strength upholds me.

Response: Amen. Truly I say to you, gather in my name, I am with you.
Gracious are You, just and true;
Heart of all hearts,
You are Merciful and forgiving.
You preserve the simple;
When I am humbled, You lift me up.

Response: Amen. Truly I say to you, gather in my name, I am with you.

What shall I render to You for all Your goodness to me?
I will drink the chalice of Love and praise
You, who have done wondrous things;
I will bear witness to You, O Bread of Life,
In the presence of all the people.

Response: Amen. Truly I say to you, gather in my name, I am with you.

A Reading from the Gospel according to John
JN 13:1-15

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to his beloved, the Holy One.

So, during supper, he rose and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples' feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
"Master, are you going to wash my feet?"
Jesus answered and said to him,
"What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later."
Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet."
Jesus answered him,
"Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me."
Simon Peter said to him,
"Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well."
Jesus said to him,
"Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
 for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all."
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, "Not all of you are clean."

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me 'teacher' and 'master,'  and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another's feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do."

These are the inspired words of John, disciple of Jesus, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

Mary Theresa’s Homily Reflection

Tonight is about remembering and about commitment.

When Jesus gathered with his friends and companions for Seders, they remembered their ancestor’s story of freedom from oppression.

And when they gathered together for the last time in Jerusalem in the Upper Room for a Passover meal, Jesus asked them to also remember all that he had taught them.

I wonder if he was thinking, “Will they remember the parables I told them?” “Did they even get their meaning?”

Throughout his ministry, Jesus modeled non-violent resistance to the crushing Roman occupation of their holy land and spoke searing words to the temple authorities, challenging their allegiance to Rome.

I wonder if he knew early on how much trouble he was getting himself into by challenging those two systems of oppression.

I wonder if he was thinking about his small band of companions and how they would fare in the dark days ahead.

I imagine that many thoughts were going through his mind as he looked around lovingly at all those who followed him to Jerusalem.

They must have known the risks. Other revolutionaries had been crucified by Pilate. I imagine they were all scared. Even Jesus.

And that night, during the meal in the Upper Room, Jesus wanted his companions to remember all that he taught them. And to help them remember, he washed their feet…a servant’s task - and a teachable moment.

I can hear Peter’s protests. And Jesus reminds all of them, not just Peter, that he has given them a model to follow. Do as I have done – care for others and work for a better world.

And in another teachable moment for his companions, Jesus took bread, broke it, gave it to them with the words, “Take and Eat, this is my very essence.”

In our first reading, Michael Morwood beautifully expresses the meaning of these words to Jesus’ companions. 

 “They would have realized that Jesus was symbolically asking for their commitment to carry on his ministry. He was asking if they, too, were willing to be blessed, broken and given.” 

And it is that very same question we ask tonight, 2000 years later. If we eat this bread, are we willing to commit ourselves to the Gospel, to be blessed, broken and given?

Tonight, we are going to do something different. Instead of sharing now, we are moving the homily sharing during our meal.

Once everyone is seated, Mary will continue with a few words of reflection on the readings and then we will pass the mic to hear your inspired words.

Please turn now to page 4 in your program and we will pray together our Statement of faith.

Statement of Faith

Presider 1: Please join in praying our 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. 


Presider 1: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we lay our stoles upon the table as a sign that just as Jesus is anointed, so is each of us.  And, we bring to this table our blessings, cares, and concerns. Please feel free to voice your concerns beginning with the words, “I bring to the table…”
(Presider  - at conclusion)  We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Presider 2: O Holy One, you have been called by many names by many people in the centuries of our planet’s life. Yet, no name truly defines you or describes you.  We celebrate you as the marvelous, loving energy of life who caused us and our world to be. We celebrate you as the Source of light and life and love, and we celebrate your presence and all-ways care.

Presider 1: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer together:

All: Cosmic Birther of all that is, that was and that will be, we gather as a holy people, called forth to celebrate as companions on the journey of faith.  We come to the table of plenty as a community of believers celebrating the dignity of all people and the call to be a voice for our sisters and brothers who are oppressed and exploited.

We celebrate the example provided by our brother, Jesus, who offered hope and new life to all those to whom he ministered. Encouraged by his life and his ministry we sing a song of praise with all of creation.

We are holy, holy holy…. (by Karen Drucker)

All: We thank you for Jesus, our way to the truth about living.

We recognize our call to continue the ministry of Jesus and commit ourselves to work for justice and peace in the world today. Grant us nourishment at this table providing strength and perseverance as we stand up and speak truth to power.

Empower us with the grace of openness to be accepting of all who join us at the table of blessing as we recall the meals when Jesus gathered with people who hungered for acceptance and sustenance. Let us live lives focused on your bountiful love.

We recall now one of those meals when he had gathered with companions of the journey.  Jesus, hoping to lead by example, welcomed them to the table by first washing their feet, a sign of servanthood to be emulated. 

Washing of Hands

Presider 1: We pause now to wash one another’s hands as a gesture in imitation of what Jesus did in washing the disciples’ feet.  It is a symbol of our willingness to serve one another and meet one another’s needs.  

Song during ritual: The Servant Song by Richard Gillard

Presider 2: Please join in praying the words of remembrance:

One person from each table lifts the bread

All: When he returned to his place at the table, he took the Passover Bread, spoke the grace, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:
Take and eat of the Bread of Life
Given to strengthen you
Whenever you remember me like this
I am among you. 

Presider 1:  Please pass the bread with the words: You are the body of Christ.

One person from each table lifts the cup

All: Jesus then raised a cup of blessing, spoke the grace saying:
Take and drink of the covenant
Made new again through my life in you.
Whenever you remember me like this,
I am among you.

Presider 2:  Please pass the cup with the words: You are the Lifeblood of God in the world.

Presider 1: Our Communion Meditation is: I am the Bread of Life by John Michael Talbot


Presider 2: Let us continue our Eucharistic celebration with a meal together. Please join in praying a blessing for the food and companionship we are about to share.

All: We give thanks for the many blessings we receive and may we, like Jesus, continue to open our table, and our lives to all, especially those in need.

Presider 1: Please join in singing our Closing Song: Room at the Table by Carrie Newcomer and then offer each other a sign of peace as we proceed to the food table.

Room at the Table by Carrie Newcomer

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