Saturday, May 11, 2019

Mary Mother of Jesus Catholic Community, Fourth Sunday of Easter 2019, Presiders: Elena Garcia, ARCWP, and Michael Rigdon, Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons

WELCOME/GATHERING SONG: “Canticle of the Sun” - (By Marty Haugen)


The heavens are telling the glory of God,
and all creation is shouting for joy.
Come, dance in the forest,
come, play in the field,
and sing, sing to the glory of our God.
Sing to the sun, the bringer of day,
He carries the light of our God in his rays;
The moon and the stars who light up the way
Unto your home. Refrain.

Praise to the wind that blows through the trees,
The seas mighty storms, the gentlest breeze;
They blow where they will, they blow where they please
To please our God. Refrain

Sing to the earth who makes life to grow,
The creatures you made to let your life show;
The flowers and trees that help us to know
The heart of love. Refrain

Presider: As we gather together in this sacred place and share in this banquet of love, let us do so in the name of God, our Creator, of Christ, our liberator, and of the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier. All: Amen.


All: Christ our hope has risen, Alleluia, Alleluia Presider: Let us rejoice and give thanks All: Alleluia Presider: Glory to you Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit All: Christ our hope has risen, Alleluia, Alleluia Presider: My sisters and brothers, God is with you! All: And also with you

PENITENTIAL RITE Presider: Creator God to whom all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and from whom no secrets can be hidden, cleanse our hearts by the inspiration of Holy Wisdom. All: Open them to new understanding. Presider: You are the Good Shepherd; you know us and you call us by name. All: Forgive us for the times we fail to recognize the good shepherds in our midst and heed their prophetic call. Presider: you give us the gift of Peace. All: Pardon the times we have not used our energies to create a world of peace and harmony. . Presider: We accept your love and understanding of the frailty of our human nature. All: We ask for the grace to continually acknowledge our need to grow in goodness, caring and compassion. Presider: And we join with you, Jesus, in believing that the strength and insight of the Holy Spirit will lead us to deeper dedication to justice, equality and peace in our world. All: Amen. (All raise hands extended in blessing over one another)

Presider: God, you sent Jesus to be our shepherd, All: Help us to embrace the mystery of salvation, the promise of life rising out of death. Help us to hear the call of Jesus and give us the courage to follow it readily that we too, may lead others to You. We ask this through the power of Holy Spirit Sophia Wisdom. Amen.


All: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all God’s people on earth. Creator God, heart of the universe, we thank you for the breath of the Spirit sustaining everything that exists, everywhere in the cosmos. Through the example and teachings of Jesus Christ, you gave us the grace to know that you are always among us – and that we can experience you in our brothers and sisters. We give you glory and praise through Jesus Christ, our brother, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom. Amen.


First Reading: From “The Healing Power of Peace and Nonviolence” These are the inspired words of Bernard Haring and we affirm them by saying: Response: Thanks be to God

Psalm 100 Response: Sing a joyful noise to the Beloved all peoples of the earth! Sing a joyful noise to the Beloved all peoples of the earth! Serve Love with a glad heart! Join hands in the great Dance of Life! Response Know that the Beloved of your heart is the Divine Presence! Love created us and we belong to the Most High We are born to be loving expressions of the Creator’s Divine Plan Response Open the gates of your heart with gratitude and enter Love’s court with praise! Give thanks to the Beloved, bless Love’s holy Name! Response For Love is of God and lives in your heart forever, With faith, truth, and joy, now and in all that is to come. Alleluia ! Amen ! (Psalm 100 adapted by Nan Merrill)

Second Reading: From “Stations of the Cross of Non-Violent Love” These are the inspired words of Emmanuel Charles McCarthy and we affirm them by saying: Response: Thanks be to God

Gospel Acclamation: # 565 - “Alle, Alle, Alleluia!”
Gospel: John10: 27-30 These are the inspired words of John the Evangelist. Response: Glory and praise to Jesus, the Christ


Homily for the 4th Sunday After Easter/ Good Shepherd Sunday (Inspired by Sophia Wisdom/delivered by Elena Garcia)

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” These words of Jesus refer to the Paschal Mystery which we celebrate at Easter. And so it is most appropriate that this Fourth Sunday of Easter be celebrated as Good Shepherd Sunday.

The image of the Good Shepherd is one of the most primitive, the most enduring and the most endearing images of Jesus. It is found first of all in the Old Testament. “For thus says Sovereign YHWH: I myself will look after my sheep... and a bit further it says “As a shepherd tends his flock, so will I tend my sheep”... and again “the lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal.” (Ezekiel 34:11) It is also one of the most beloved Psalms, “The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I will want.” (Psalm 23)

In the New Testament, Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd, fulfilling God’s oath to his people. His mission is to the lost sheep of Israel. He will leave the ninety-nine in the flock in search of the one lost stray. He will lay down his life for his sheep. He will be the shepherd at the last judgment who will separate the sheep from the goats.

This image of the Good Shepherd does not move us as it did the people of Israel, and the early Christians. But if we really want to understand the Scriptures and to know our true relationship with God we must understand the image of the Shepherd and his sheep.

The people of Israel and the early Christian community cherished this image of the Good Shepherd. In Biblical times sheep were very important. They provided both food and clothing. The pastures available were such that they imposed on the shepherd the nomadic life. He had to travel with his sheep from one region to another as the seasons changed. This created a close rapport between the shepherd and his sheep. The Shepherd cares for his sheep, calls them by name, leads them to pasture and water, finds shelter for them in inclement weather, defends them against bandits and wolves, and willingly lays down his life for them. The sheep have great confidence in the shepherd. They recognize his voice, obey his commands, and they follow wherever he leads them. The people of Israel and the early Christian community understood the rapport between the shepherd and his sheep..

Unfortunately, shepherds and sheep are not very common or relevant in our high tech, computerized world. And we do not like to think of ourselves as dumb, submissive animals. We are, after all, sophisticated human beings. We have an intellect and a free will, we go where we will and do what we want. And we don’t like sheep dogs yapping and snapping at our feet. But perhaps we are more like sheep than we care to admit. Just like sheep we seem to be oblivious of everything except the plot of grass that surrounds us here and now. We spend all of our time feathering this little nest here as if it will go on forever. Just like sheep we are not conscious of the ravenous wolves that surround us in the counter-culture in which we live. To say nothing of the wolves that come to us in sheep’s clothing. And just like sheep we always think that the grass is greener on the other side, so we stray from the flock.

Consider for a moment the concept of relationship and responsibility. Can you think of a time when you thought you lost someone or something? The realization that your child or a family heirloom entrusted to you is missing. The child was in the store with you just a minute ago and you look around to notice that absence. The family heirloom has been passed on to you for keepsake and now it is nowhere to be found.. Initial awareness of the absence renders you anxious, physically weakened, and focused on one and only one task, search and find. And nothing can distract you from that task as you remind yourself how it is that you were entrusted with the care of that person or thing and how much it means to you. So you call the child by name, each time a bit louder and each time with more intensity and you go in search of the loved one. And every passing moment is agonizing, until you spot the beloved somewhere in the store wandering and looking lost. And a mixture of emotions comes barreling onto you, but the greatest of these is relief and gratitude and a renewed commitment to watch over, protect and provide safety. The importance of that person or thing in your life has defined your response to your call to relationship.

In today’s Gospel Jesus reminds us that we are his beloved, that as we grow to learn the sound of his voice, we will follow it, that he will never let anyone separate us from his hand and that of Abba God, for He and Abba God are One.

Whether we appreciate it or not, the image of the Good Shepherd and his sheep is enshrined forever in the Bible and in Christianity. And in reality and truth it fits every generation, even our own.

“My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me.” (John 10: 27)

How do we get to know and recognize that voice? You might begin by having a quiet time each day, when you turn off the radio, TV, internet, cell phone, put everything on the back burner. A time to put aside all things, a time to put aside all manner of doing. A time to be. A time to let go of all striving and working and struggling. A time to let go of all preconceptions of yourself and of God and just let you be you and let God be God. Know that God longs for this time with you. Know that the living God has been waiting for you. Holy Spirit will guard your heart, your soul and your mind . Jesus the Christ is ever present, closer than your own breath. You are embraced by love at this very moment You can trust that love for it is the very presence of God dwelling within you and around you. What a great blessing it is to be able to recognize the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and to follow him with great joy and confidence wherever he may lead us.

“The Lord is my Shepherd there is nothing I shall want.”

Questions for Consideration

~ What has been your experience of losing someone and then finding them?

~Does the invitation to learn the voice of Jesus and follow him resonate with you? How has it been operative in your life’s journey?

Statement of Faith 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


Presider: We are people of faith. We believe in the power of prayer. We believe that we send blessings to those who are struggling and who need to experience hope, to those who are grieving and need to be comforted in their loss, to those who are facing medical challenges that they be granted hope and healing. We bring the needs of the people throughout our community and our world to our gracious God. (After each intercession, the response is) All: Loving God, bless our petitions.

Presider: That those who are hungry and homeless, especially the children, may receive the food and shelter that they so badly need, we pray. All: Loving God, bless our petitions.

Presider: For what else shall we pray?

Presider: Healing God, you faithfully listen to our prayers. Strengthen us as we strive to respond to the needs of your people. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus, the Christ. All: Amen.

Offertory Song-
“Shepherd Me, O God” #468 Refrain and Versus 4 and 5


Presider: Blessed are you, gracious God of all life, through your goodness we have this bread, wine, all creation and our own lives to offer. All: Blessed be God forever.

Presider: Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation as we respond to your call to use our gifts in loving service to our sisters and brothers. All: Blessed be God forever.

Presider: Pray my friends that as we celebrate this breaking of bread and blessing of wine we accept more fully the mission of our Church by actively living our response to God’s call.

All: May our gracious God accept these gifts for the praise and glory of God’s name, for our good, and for the good of all our Church.

Presider: God is always with you. All: And also with you. Presider: Together, we lift up our hearts. All: To God and one another we lift them. Presider: Together, we give thanks to our gracious God. All: Indeed, it is right to constantly give thanks and praise.

Presider: Jesus, who has often sat at our table, now invites all of us to join him at his. There is room and a place for everyone at this table. Please join us in this circle of love that feeds us all on our life’s journey. (Everyone is welcome and has a place at God’s table.)

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER Presider: As we recognize God within each other, let us greet one another at this table.

All: Namaste! Namaste! Namaste! (I bow before the presence of God in you!)

Voice: Gracious God, source and sustenance of life, redeeming presence to the pain and brokenness of our world, Holy Spirit who enlivens all that exists, we beseech your healing power upon us and all for whom we pray today. We join together with our community, with all creation everywhere, with all those who have gone before us and live in the eternal now (Names of our loved ones............)

Let us sing:
All: We are holy, holy, holy (x3), we are whole. (You, I, We) By Karen Drucker

Voice: We thank you for our brother, Jesus, who showed us so simply, so tenderly, how the world is in our hands. He had nothing in this world but your love, companions on the journey, and his very self. Together, that was more than enough, and that remains our clarity in the midst of confusion: the miracle of healing, new hope, nurturance, nourishment, liberation and life.

(Place your hand on the shoulder of the person to your right) Voice: Loving God, let your Holy Spirit rest upon us, your people, converting us from the patterns of the world, until we conform to the shape of him whose food we now share.

(Extend hands as together we recite the epiclesis and consecration)

All: O God, let your Spirit of life, healing and wholeness come upon these gifts, gathered from the fields and placed on our table. May She have them become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus, our brother.

On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the people closest to him. Once again he showed us how to love one another.

Presider 1 lifts bread.

All: Having washed the feet of those gathered with him, Jesus took the Passover Bread, spoke the grace, broke the bread and offered it to them saying, Take and eat, this is my very self.

Presider 2 lifts the wine.

All: Then he took the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered it to them 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 1: Let us pray the mystery of faith.

All: This bread is you, this bread is me. We are one body, a reflection of God’s treasures, in communion with all creation.

Voice: Christ of the Cosmos, we thank you that there are 18 galaxies for every person, that our bodies are made of stardust. Every place we turn, you are present, loving us. You call us, “beloved” and invite us to join the dance of creation in a mystical celebration of our oneness with all living things in your divine love.

Voice: Christ of the Cosmos, we rejoice that You, who are more than we can imagine or dream of, dwell in mystery beyond all comprehension. We remember that it was you, who said: “Anything I have done in the name of the Holy One, you can do, too…and even more.”

Voice: Christ of the Cosmos, we remember Mary, mother of Jesus, faithful disciple and St. Francis who sang canticles to brother sun and sister moon. We remember our sisters and brothers, the great cloud of witnesses who have cared for earth’s creatures and have blessed our world with their loving service to God’s people.

Presider: We praise you in union with them. We awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to worship you truly, O Holy One, at this time and all time and in all ways. Amen.

Presider: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus:

Adapted from Miriam Therese Winter

O Holy One who is within, around and among us,
We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come; your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.

Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us, 
now and forever. Blessed be! Amen

Presider: Deliver us, God of Love, from every evil and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us holy in your sight and protect us from all anxiety and fear. We watch and wait, discerning signs that You are continually with us. All: Amen.


Presider: Jesus, You said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you. My peace I give you.” Look on the faith of all gathered here together and grant us the peace and unity of your kin-dom where you live forever and ever.

All: Amen.

Presider: May the peace of our gracious and loving God be always with you. All: And also with you.

Presider: Let us join hearts and hands and pray for peace in our world as we sing: “Peace is flowing like a river” love, joy, alleluia


Presider: Loving God,
All: You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.
Presider: Loving God,
All: You call us to be the presence of Jesus in the world. We will love tenderly. Presider: Loving God,
All: You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.

Presiders: (Lift Body and Blood of Jesus the Christ) This is Jesus, our Light, who liberates, heals and transforms our world. All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.

All: We are the Body of Christ.

Chant: “Sanctuary” God prepare me, to be your sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, sanctuary for you. 3x

Communion: Instrumental
After Communion Chant: “Come Be Beside Us” 3x (Jan Phillips)


Presider: We are now your thanksgiving, our very flesh, our very blood, in union with the flesh of all the earth. All the flesh that has ever inhabited this planet, in its goodness and in its mistakes. We are your blood now, with all the blood, the unjust blood that has been shed since Abel, the holy, to the end of time. You chose to walk in radical solidarity with us and we accept your invitation. We thank you that we can walk into the City of Humanity carrying our own very little light but knowing our body is now that light. What we think, and what we feel, what we love and what we hopefully do not hate is what we carry into our world. All: Amen.


CONCLUDING RITE Presider: May God be with you. All: And also with you.

Presider: Let us call upon our gracious God as we share blessings with each other. We bless one another and pledge to live the Gospel of Christ caring and ministering to one another in love, for we are the body of Christ and the face of God to the world. All: Amen.

BLESSING (Face one person near you or find someone to face. Place your hands on that person’s shoulders or head and looking into that person’s eyes repeat together after me) Remember, that you are highly favored, deeply loved and greatly blessed.

DISMISSAL Presiders: Go in the peace of Christ. Let our service continue!

ALL: Thanks be to God.

CLOSING HYMN: “We are marching in the Light of God” ( Found in the Christian Worship Collection)

We are marching in the light of God 4x We are marching, marching we are marching AHA We are marching in the light of God We are marching, marching we are marching AHA We are marching in the light of God

We are living in the Love of God 4x We are living, living we are living AHA We are living in the Love of God We are living , living we are living AHA We are living in the Love of God.

We are moving in the Power of God 4x We are moving, moving we are moving AHA We are moving in the Power of God We are moving, moving we are moving AHA We are moving in the Power of God

Repeat verse 1 and end by repeating twice We are marching, marching we are marching AHA We are marching in the light of God!

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