Theme: Living the Christ Presence as Love in the World
Presider: Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus, an expansive Catholic Community where everyone is welcome to participate in our Eucharistic Celebrations. We use “expansive language” in all our scripture readings and prayers. We also invite your respectful and related comments when we share the homily and, a little later in the liturgy, everyone will have an opportunity to share their own personal intentions in the Prayers of the Community. Everyone, with no exceptions, will be invited to gather around the altar table and take part in praying the Consecration and sharing the Communion. We are delighted to see everyone here today - both the “old timers” and the newcomers - and we are pleased that we join together in this liturgy this afternoon. Lastly, all will be invited to join us for supper at a local restaurant after the liturgy.
Gathering Chant: Come Be Beside Us by Jan Phillips
Come be beside us.
Come be around us.
Come be within us.
Come be among us.
Presider: Holy One, we celebrate You within us and within creation as we live your loving presence by working for justice, equality and inclusivity each day in the world.
Please join in singing our opening song: We are Called.
Opening Song: We Are Called by David Hass #617 (all verses)
Come, Live in the light!
Shine with the joy and the love of our God!
We are called to be light for the kin-dom,
to live in the freedom of the City of God.
We are called to act with justice,
We are called to love tenderly,
We are called to serve another;
To walk humbly with God!
Come, open your heart!
Show your mercy to all those in fear.
We are called to be hope for the hopeless,
So all hatred and blindness will be no more!
Sing! Sing a new song!
Sing of that great day when all will be one!
God will reign, and we’ll walk with each other
As sisters and brothers united in love!
First Reading: Micah: A Reading from the Prophet Micah (6:8)
My people, you struggle blindly to know what the Holy One wants, and you act as if you remember nothing from your history, as if you know nothing. From the beginning of time, there has been one message from the Holy One, ONLY this: That we live justly, that we love tenderly, that we walk with integrity in the Holy One's presence!
These are the inspired words of the prophet Micah and we affirm them by saying: AMEN.
Responsorial: Psalm 34 as interpreted by Nan Merrill
Refrain: Your Spirit, O God, is upon me. You have anointed me.
I will bless the Beloved at all times;
a song of praise will I sing.
My soul speaks to the Beloved continually;
let all who suffer hear and be glad.
O, open your hearts, friends,
that your pain and loneliness
be turned to love;
and then, we shall rejoice in the Beloved together!
When I searched for Love, the Beloved
answered within my heart,
and all my fears flew away.
Look to the Beloved, and your emptiness
will be filled,
your face will radiate love.
One with love, you are never alone!
Second Reading: A reading from the Universal Christ
God loves things by becoming them. God loves things by uniting with them, not by excluding them. Through the act of creation, God manifested the eternally outflowing Divine Presence into the physical and material world. Ordinary matter is the hiding place for Spirit, and thus the very Body of God.
As the New Testament dramatically and clearly puts it, “Before the world was made, we have been chosen in Christ… claimed as God’s own, and chosen from the very beginning.” Christ is a good and simple metaphor for absolute wholeness, complete incarnation and the integrity of creation.
Jesus is the archetypal human just like us (Hebrews 4: 15), who showed us what the Full Human might look like if we could fully live into it (Ephesians 4: 12–16). Frankly, Jesus came to show us how to be human much more than how to be spiritual.
The whole of creation—not just Jesus—is the beloved community, the partner in the divine dance. Everything is the “child of God.” No exceptions. When you think of it, what else could anything be? All creatures must in some way carry the divine DNA of their Creator.
These are the inspired words of Richard Rohr, author of the Universal Christ, and we affirm them by saying, AMEN.
Alleluia (eightfold) - https://youtu.be/APtNt5iG1oY
Gospel: Excerpts from the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene
That is why the Good came into your midst, to the essence of every nature in order to restore it to its root.
Then He continued and said, That is why you become sick and die, for you are deprived of the one who
can heal you.
He who has a mind to understand, let him understand.
Matter gave birth to a passion that has no equal, which proceeded from something contrary to nature.
Then there arises a disturbance in its whole body.
That is why I said to you, Be of good courage, and if you are discouraged be encouraged in the presence
of the different forms of nature.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
When the Blessed One had said this, He greeted them all, saying, Peace be with you. Receive my peace unto yourselves.
Beware that no one lead you astray saying Lo here or lo there! For the Son of Man is within you.
Follow after Him!
Those who seek Him will find Him.
Go then and preach the gospel of the Kingdom.
But they were grieved. They wept greatly, saying, How shall we go to the Gentiles and preach the gospel of the Kingdom of the Son of Man? If they did not spare Him, how will they spare us?
Then Mary stood up, greeted them all, and said to her brethren, Do not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute, for His grace will be entirely with you and will protect you.
But rather, let us praise His greatness, for He has prepared us and made us into God’s people.
When Mary said this, she turned their hearts to the Good, and they began to discuss the words of the Jesus the Christ.
Peter said to Mary, Sister, we know that Jesus the Christ loved you more than the rest of woman.
Tell us the words of the Jesus the Christ which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them.
Mary answered and said, What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you.
And she began to speak to them these words: I, she said, I saw our beloved Jesus in a vision and I said to Him, Lord I saw you today in a vision. He answered and said to me,
Blessed are you that you did not waver at the sight of Me. For where the mind is there is the treasure.
I said to Him, Jesus, how does he who sees the vision see it, through the soul or through the spirit?
Then Jesus the Christ answered and said, He does not see through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind that is between the two that is what sees the vision.
By Janet Blakeley, ARCWP
Our hearts are burning to bring you the essence of our recent ARCWP retreat – to impart something of the experience to you. But where to begin!?! I thought of going through today’s liturgy to look for main ideas. I didn’t make it past the opening prayer. That one sentence is packed with learning for us if we contemplate it. “Holy One, we celebrate You within us and within creation as we live your loving presence by working for justice, equality and inclusivity each day in the world.”
“Holy One” has become an acceptable name for those whose understanding of “God” has expanded beyond “God in the Sky” or even “God of the Universe”. It can serve to name the God who not only created everything but who continues to create – whose essence can be uncovered within everything. A God who doesn’t contradict scientific findings but who enlarges our scientific understanding. A God whom scientists can talk about as they recognize the mystery of the beginnings of the universe and whom they theorize created and is creating – even now – other universes. A God who encompasses us, our universe and more, and who is encompassed by us. A name that works even for those who have not encountered the One We Love but who seek something beyond themselves.
Is there anything wrong with the name “God”? No! But when we sit before the awesomeness of our God, the name doesn’t always convey enough of what we feel and see. Sr. Claire Labbee, CSJ. Used to say, “Well, there’s God, and then there’s (arms stretching way out) G-uah-ah-d!” In silence we come to know that our God is everything we know and everything we don’t know and still is our God. We can search for names and dream up names and still they are totally inadequate. We keep trying because each attempt makes us dig deeper and peer more deeply into the Divine. Today, the name “Holy One” speaks for some people – maybe you.
The next words of the opening prayer make us question ourselves. “We celebrate you”. Do we? Do we open our hearts and eyes to SEE this God, and then celebrate what we find?! If we don’t, we cannot BE God in the world because we don’t KNOW God. But the Divinity found within every single thing is waiting there, poised to be seen and celebrated!
If we have seen this Divinity, how do we celebrate? By joyfully BEING the living, breathing, loving presence of Holiness in the world. We ARE justice. We ARE equality. We ARE inclusivity – each day in the world.
Richard Rohr pondered all this just a few days ago. He said he thought a person really could not call herself a Christian if she did not KNOW the Christ within her. Because to be a Christian is to BE Christ. Not imitate, but BE.
This simple opening prayer gives us our questions for today. If we are to BE GOD, we have to first KNOW GOD who is hidden within each of us.
+ Why does Divinity hide itself?
+ What do I have to do to find it?
+ Have I ever found it?
+ What is it like?
What we have talked about today may seem unrelated to Mary Magdalene. But the wondrous, expansive God we explored is the God of Jesus, the one Mary Magdalene loved. Next week we will look at this same Divinity found in the Man, Jesus.
Statement of Faith
All: We believe in the Holy One, who is love poured out in creation.
We believe in Jesus, who showed us how to live, who prayed that “All may be one.”
We believe that we are called to follow the Spirit, the source of wisdom and truth within, around and among us.
We believe that we are the Christ Presence evolving here and now as we live justly, love tenderly and walk with integrity.
Prayers for the Community
Presider: We bring to the table the intentions of our sisters and brothers. Please feel free to voice your intentions beginning with the words “I bring to the table….”
Spontaneous intentions from assembly
Presider: Healing God, you faithfully accompany us as we reach out in love to those who need our prayers and those we hold in our hearts. Amen.
Preparation of the Gifts
Offertory Song: I Am the Bread of Life - #364 (verses 1, 4,5)
I am the Bread of life. You who come to me shall not hunger; and who believe in me shall not thirst.
No one can come to me unless our God beckons.
Refrain: And I will raise you up, and I will raise you up, and I will raise you up on the last day.
I am the Resurrection, I am the life. If you believe in me, even though your die, you shall live forever.
Yes, God, we believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who has come into the world.
Presider: Blessed are you, Jesus of Nazareth, through your goodness we have this bread and this wine and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we remember how to live the new story and follow your examples of love and compassion.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Divine Presence, we believe that you are always with us, loving in each of us and healing others through us.
All: Namaste (with a nod…3x)
Presider: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up in tender love, open to serve.
Presider: Let us give thanks for all that we have.
All: It is our joy to be grateful for our many blessings as we gather at our family table.
(so… let us “gather at our family table”…)
All: Passionate God, you kindle your fire of enthusiasm in us as we contemplate the boundless, depths of your love.
In the power of your Spirit, we lift our hearts in prayer, invoking anew the gift of wisdom and enlightenment, that we may continue to praise and thank you, in union with all who sing the ancient hymn of praise:
Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker
We are Holy, Holy, Holy…3x
We are whole.
Spirit divine, Come to me
Feeling love, Healing me .
Open my heart, Allow me to see,
Beauty & love, Lives in me.
You are Holy, Holy, Holy…
I am Holy, Holy, Holy…
We are Holy, Holy, Holy…
All: Sending among us Jesus, our brother, You birth afresh in our world the power of Sophia-Wisdom within us. You give us eyes to see human needs, hearts to care for our sisters and brothers and hands and feet to lighten their burdens.
Presider: Please extend your hands in blessing.
All: Holy One, You transform these gifts of bread, wine, and our lives, with boundless grace that nourishes and sustains us on our journey.
Presider: On the night Jesus sat at the Seder supper with his companions, he reminded them of what he taught them and bent down and washed their feet. Jesus returned to his place at the table, lifted the Passover bread and spoke the blessing, and then broke the bread with these words,
All: Take and eat, this is my very self.
Presider: Jesus then raised high the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine with these words:
All: Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life for you and for everyone. Whenever you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you.
Presider: Let us proclaim the mystery of wonder in our midst.
All: Jesus, you walk with us on the path of holiness, you are the spark of love in whom we believe, the Wisdom of Sophia in whom we trust, and the desire for justice that consumes us.
Presider: As we celebrate the memory of Jesus, we remember our prophetic leaders. We remember the communion of saints who have gone before us and all who have inspired and loved us.
Presider hold up bread and wine
All: For it is through living as Jesus lived that we awaken to your Spirit loving through us in our service to our sisters and brothers.
Great Amen (Lilies of the Field)
Presider: Let us pray as Jesus taught us.
All: 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 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. Amen (Miriam Therese Winter)
Presider: Let us hold hands as we pray for peace in our world.
Song: Peace is flowing like a river by Carey Landry
Peace is flowing like a river,
flowing out of you and me.
Flowing out into the desert,
setting all the captives free.
Love is flowing like a river, …
Healing’s flowing like a river, …
Presider: Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread:
Presiders break the bread
All: Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly. You call us to be Your presence in the world. We will love tenderly.
You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.
You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.
Presiders lift the bread and wine
Presider: This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other.
All: What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.
Presider: Our Eucharistic celebration is all-inclusive. All are welcome to receive at this friendship table. Please pass the bread with the words: You are the Body of Christ. Please pass the cup with the words: You are the Face of God.
Communion Music: Instrumental
Presider: As we leave this sacred liturgy, let us extend our hands and bless each other.
All: May Spirit Energy ignite us to be a flame of love in our world.
May Spirit Love reconcile and heal all divisions.
May Spirit Peace enliven us in prophetic obedience.
Together, we are one in Christ, loving and serving God’s holy people.
Presider: Please join in singing our closing song: Companions on the Journey
By Carey Landry
We are companions on the Journey
Breaking bread and sharing life.
And in the love we bear
Is the hope we share,
For we believe in the love of our God
We believe in the love of our God.
No longer strangers to each other.
No Longer strangers in God’s house.
We are fed and we are nourished
By the strength of those who care,
By the strength of those who care.
We have been gifted with each other,
And we are called by the Word of God,
To act with justice to love tenderly,
And to walk humbly with our God,
And to walk humbly with our God.
Liturgy prepared by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP
(with minor tweaks)