|MMOJ Inclusive Catholic Community celebrates Eucharist|
Presider: Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic community, where all are welcome to share the Eucharist. We use inclusive language in our scripture readings and prayers. We encourage respectful and reading-related comments in the shared homily. Everyone will be invited to gather around the Table to pray the Eucharist Prayer and share the Communion. We warmly welcome everyone to our liturgy today, especially our newcomers who will be invited to introduce themselves at the announcement time after Communion. Lastly, all are invited to join us for supper after the liturgy.
Presider: We come once again to the MMOJ banquet table to bread together and to recognize and acknowledge the compassionate presence of God who is in each and every one of us. In doing so, may we always remember that we are all formed as one body by our one Creator. We are all supported by the same Spirit to a common goal, while on our own separate journeys. We have the common mission of Jesus and the strength of the same Spirit. We pray that we will be understanding, loving and forgiving of each other as we make our ways to our heavenly home.
Presider: O Blessed One, we are blest to be with you as we share this sacred space and as we celebrate our oneness in you. You gave us the sacred command, “Do onto others, as you would have them do unto you.” We envision the day when everyone, everywhere, follows this and all your other teachings made known to us through our brother Jesus. We know that we are in you and you are in us as we live each day in conscious awareness of our responsibility to bring forth your Kin-dom on earth. And to this, we say: ALL: AMEN.
ALL: O Caring God, you create all that exists in our ever-expanding universe. You have done so out of your unending love. You call us to see the goodness and beauty always surrounding us so that we may live in harmony with all that you have created. You call us to live in peace with one another and to find ways to heal the wounds of hatred and violence, discrimination and oppression that too often surrounds us. Help us to find challenging ways of dealing with this…the methods of understanding and the strengths for compassion and forgiveness that Jesus exhibited during his time on this earth. We ask this so we may live in the love to which you have called us.
Gathering Hymn: We Are Called #617 (all verses)
Presider: Compassionate God, to you all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and from whom no secrets are hidden.
ALL: (with an outstretched arm): May we reach deep within ourselves to hear Wisdom’s many messages, to faithfully understand them, and to respond to them with compassionate actions to our brothers and sisters. May we emulate the virtues of pardon and peace that Jesus taught us so that we may- in turn- be more forgiving in our care for ourselves, for one another and for our planet Earth. May we open ourselves to the strength of the Spirit, made available by your Divine Presence within us, so that we may extend your merciful and forgiving grace that is your gift – through us – to everyone, everywhere - with whom you share your unending love. For this we pray, Amen.
Presider: Let us give glory to our loving Holy One.
All (Sung): Glory to God, glory, O praise God, Alleluia. Glory to God, glory.O praise the name of our God. (2X)
Liturgy of The Word
First Reading: 1 John 3:18-24
Ps: 103 Responsorial: Our God is kind and merciful; merciful is our God. #796
Second Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6
Gospel Acclamation: Celtic ALLELUIA
Gospel: Matthew 18: 21-35
|Kathryn Shea ARCWP proclaimed the Gospel|
Homily Starter: Lee Breyer
|Lee Breyer: homilist|
Earlier on, when I was thinking of a theme for today’s liturgy, I asked the Spirit for help. And when I was at event at the local UMC, it was opened with a prayer (no surprise). And during an “Our Father” (they’re not as progressive as MMOJ) when I was at “give us this day, our daily bread...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive our trespassers…”, I froze momentarily; my mind went black… and, in the stillness, come a thought – to which all I could say was “that’s it, thanks Spirit.”
When I had to develop that, I thought I would have a relatively easy time. After all, we’ve heard so very many times what is in every gospel, the commandments to love God, to love one another as God loves us, to love our neighbors, even those who are enemies. We know that we are to pray for and bless those who curse us, and – were that not enough, we are to do good to those who hate us and even persecute us. We know that from his behavior and sayings during the time of his passion and death on a cross.
But that is not the passage of the Prayer of Jesus told to us in Matthew (6:12) and is today’s theme… but is a good background for it. The “more to the theme’s point “is Jesus’ teachings: “Don’t judge, or you yourself will be judged. Your judgement on others will be the judgement you receive”. “The measure that you use will be used to measure you (Mt. 7:1-2)” or reworded as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and is more popularly known as “The Golden Rule”. Today’s gospel from Matthew is a good example of it. At the heart of its practice is love, the love of God, and the practice of forgiveness. Today’s gospel story is illustrative of the “Circle of Forgiveness.”
But what if, in my setting, there is no circle, no identified recipient of my forgiveness? Or what if it can be identified, but is not – for whatever reason - accepting my forgiveness?…Or, what is probably more common in our experience is not a person…but is an organization, a movement, a gathering of people with similar ideas about a common cause, etc. that is not of our “liking...and whose messages are “offensive” to us, evoking a similar negative response from us. What does “forgiveness” mean to me then...especially given the messages we hear, know and believe…but, at these times, can be very difficult to follow? Today’s message from the Prayer of Jesus can seem to be more like a haunt than a blessing.
We know that forgiveness, even with some little degree of changed thought, can relieve – again to some degree – the built up of resentment, anger, mental distraction from what are more pleasant thoughts and attitudes. But knowing that, attempting to follow the example of Jesus in everything we do and say, and trying to not be a “difficult” person to be around socially, does not make forgiving very easy.
This is not a new situation for any of us….the “we should” but “we don’t. And we all very frequently pray “forgive us our trespassers (or debts) as we forgive our debtors” and will do so again shortly. Our words and our actions on this, we can admit, don’t really go together…as much as we would like and even try.
This presents a real challenge. as was set at the beginning of this liturgy. We try to meet this challenge…in some way, at some times. Would you like to share a strategy or two that you have found useful in meeting this challenge?
Shared Homily/Community Reflection
A challenge: forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And our response to it is….
Profession of Faith
We believe in God, the Divine Mystery, who is beyond all description and understanding. We believe that God, the Creator, is the very center of this expanding universe and whose divinity is infused in everything that will ever exist, including ourselves -- in our humble time and space.
We believe in Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ who is the touch of God to our earthly humanity. He carried the message of the Holy One’s word to everyone whom he met during his time on earth, and who continues to do so to everyone now in this day and until time is no more. Jesus will continue spreading the Good News of God’s unconditional compassion and mercy to us, a new creation that is called beyond the consequences of our human brokenness and raised to a fullness of life.
We believe in the Spirit, the Breath of God in the world, the one who inspires and strengthens us to be the instruments of compassion, forgiveness, mercy and peace that we were created to be. She is the light of the Christ-vision present to everyone especially those struggling in the darkness now…so that, someday, they may experience the everlasting grace of the Loving God.
And we believe that God’s kindom is here-and-now, today, and all the tomorrows to come. It is, stretched out around the whole of creation for those who have heads to understand it, eyes to see it, hearts to receive it and hands to deliver its message to those around them.
Prayers of the Community
Presider: We are people of faith and believe in the power of prayer. We believe that we send blessings to those who are suffering in their fears and who need to experience hope; to those who are grieving and need to be comforted in their losses, to those who are facing medical challenges and need to be granted relief and healing. We bring the needs of these brothers and sisters throughout the world to our gracious and comforting God. After each intercession, we respond: God of Compassion and Mercy, to you we make these prayers, confident that you hear them.
Presider: That those who suffer separation from their family members and friends may find some comfort by knowing that so many people around the world share their concerns and efforts for peace and those of so many of their sisters and brothers in our country as well as theirs. For this we pray. God of Compassion and Mercy…..,
Presider: That those who are injured by statements and actions of hatred and violence, their own or those of others, will find understanding, forgiveness and consolation they so badly need. For this we pray. God of Compassion and Mercy….
Presider: And for whom else or what else do we pray at this time? (Other intentions here) R.
Presider: We hold these and the unspoken intentions in our hearts with us when we gather around the Banquet Table.
Preparation of the Gifts
Offertory Song: Table of Plenty, #310, vs. 1,3,4
Gathering of the Gifted
Presider: Jesus, who has often sat at our tables, now invites all of us to join him at his. Everyone is welcome to share in this blessed meal. (Everyone is invited to the table)
Presider: Blessed are you, God of 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. (Hold it up.)
Presider: Blessed are you, God of 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 our spiritual drink. (Hold it up.)
ALL: Blessed are we who have been called to this table of plenty by the God who loves us and the Spirit who strengthens us on our journey. Let us show our gratitude and care for one another in our recognition of the Divine that exists in each one of us. Namaste 3x
Presider: And we express our joy in this blessed experience by singing our “family camp song.”
ALL: We are holy, holy, holy, we are whole (3x). You are…I am…We are… (Karen Drucker)
Voice 1: Gracious God, at this - your banquet table - we celebrate your divine love for us beyond anything we could ever expect or certainly could never earn. It is given to us only because of your goodness. Your divine compassion connects all of us, those who are here today and those of our community and families who are elsewhere, on our journeys into the heart of your compassion and mercy.
Voice 2: We thank you for the gift of Jesus of Nazareth in history – and the gift of Jesus the Christ in faith. You chose him from among all your people to baptize us in your Spirit. His life was moved by his consuming vision of your presence in every step in his earthly mission. He revealed you to us through his compassionate life well-lived. And he showed us, through his teachings and examples, not only how we should live, but also for what we might suffer and possibly, even die. Through him and your Spirit, you breathe life into us so that we may be witnesses to his gospel messages.
Voice 3. When his time on earth had come to an end, 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. Then, in providing an example of this wisdom for everyone in all the ages to come, he willingly “paid the price” for his message…he opened wide his arms and died. Then the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, to demonstrate - to us, through him - that life is eternal and that love is immortal. That same Spirit that lived in Jesus - at that time - will be resurrected in each one of us - in our time. The Jesus of history and faith is with us today, just as he will be through the end of time.
ALL: 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 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. When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you. This is the new and everlasting covenant. (pause)
ALL: 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. When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you. This is the new and everlasting covenant.
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 this mystery of faith.
ALL: Jesus has died. Christ is risen. The cosmic Christ lives through us in the world today.
Voice 5: Loving God, we know that you bless all of us, your church, everywhere we are in the world. Help us grow in our love and caring for Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and everyone with whom we come in contact - especially those who live on the margins of church and society. They are all our brothers and sisters. We remember also the Communion of Saints - all those, living with us now and those who have already gone to their eternal home. We remember, especially, those who touched our lives and left their footprints on our hearts, among these are….. (mention names here….)
ALL: We believe that the Spirit who moved through Jesus, will move through us as well. She can - and will - do more than we could ever think possible…or even imagine. She can give us the strength to be compassionate, forgiving and peaceful carriers of the gospel message. So, in our acknowledgement and gratitude for that, let us sing our appreciation: Amen (3x)
The Prayer of Jesus
Presider: Let us, with hands still joined, raise our voices and sing the Prayer Jesus taught us:
ALL: (sing) Our Father and Mother, who are in heaven, blessed is your name….…….
The Blessing of Peace
Presider: Jesus, we know that you, who have given us the gifts of compassion, forgiveness and peace, are with us now – in each one of us – as we join hands in a circle of love and sing our wishful prayer…. “Let there be peace on earth.” (#526)
Litany at the Breaking of the Bread
Presider: Loving God All: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of non-violence in our efforts 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 forgiveness and understanding, compassion and healing everywhere in your name. We will love tenderly.
Presider: Loving God All: you call us to speak truth to power. We will do so, walking humbly with you.
Presider: This is Jesus, who calls us to share our bread and wine on the altar of the world. All of us are invited to do that now in this blessed space…and at this sacred banquet of love. We do so acknowledging that .. ALL: we are the Body of Christ. This is the good news of the gospel.
All: When we share in this meal in which we have always been worthy and celebrate today, we commit to live your teachings, loving Jesus, and to broadcast your stories that make the Spirit rise up in us and empower us to proclaim the kin-dom of God to this world. This is the good news of salvation.
Presider: Then let us share and spread this good news! ALL: Amen.
As we share this sacred meal, we say to one another with the passing of the bread, “You are the love of God in the world.” When we share the wine we say, “You are the peace of God in the world.”
Presider: As we come to share the richness of this sacred table…ALL: O God we cannot forget the poverty of so many of our brothers and sisters, our families and neighbors.
Presider: We cannot eat this bread and forget those who are hungry. ALL: O God, your world is one world and we are just stewards of its nourishment for all your people everywhere.
Presider: We cannot drink this wine and forget those who are thirsty. ALL: O God, this earth and its people cry out for environmental justice.
ALL: We cannot listen to your words of peace and not grieve for the world at war’s doors.
Communion Music: Instrumental
Post-Communion Reflection/Meditation: “If Not Now” by Carrie Newcomer
Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion
Presider: Holy One, may this Eucharist in which we shared Jesus’ healing love today, deepen our oneness with you and with one another in all our tomorrows. May wonder and thanksgiving fill us with knowledge and understanding as we experience the infusion of your compassion, forgiveness and peace., ALL: Amen.
ALL: Caring God, we pray that this Eucharist in which we always share Christ’s healing love deepens our oneness with you and our unity with one another. May the wonder and thanksgiving of this blessed meal fill us with a deeper knowledge, understanding and experience of your love and compassion for each one of us. Be with us as we continue on our paths and follow in the footsteps of Jesus – bless and strengthen us to be your face to the world.
Presiders: May we all go from here in the peace that Jesus gave us, caring love for one another. Let our service continue in all we say and do! All: Thanks be to God; let it be so.
Closing Song: Take the Word of God With You #382 (all verses)