Saturday, March 23, 2019

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy,Third Sunday of Lent, March 23, 2019, Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Anna Davis, Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Anna Davis co-preside at Liturgy

Theme: Being Transformed- Set Ablaze with Divine Love
Welcome and Greeting

Presider: Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome to share Eucharist at the Banquet Table. We use inclusive language in our scripture readings and prayers. We invite sharing at the homily that is related to our readings and respectful, as well as the prayers of the community Everyone prays the words of Consecration in the Eucharistic Prayer. We welcome our newcomers at the announcement time after Communion.  All are invited to join us for supper after liturgy.

Opening Song: We Are Called by David Haas #628

Opening Prayer
Presider: Holy One, you revealed your presence as the One Who Causes All to Be to Moses. You send him to the Israelites with the message You are the God of the Ancestors: Sarah and Abraham, Rebecca and Isaac, Leah and Rachel and Jacob. Today you reveal your divinity in each of us as we are transformed into sparks of love bearing fruit that will last.

Communal Reconciliation Rite

Presider: We pause now to remember the times we have not born fruit in our lives and our service to others. Recall one missed opportunity, one broken or damaged relationship. Now imagine this person or situation in the light of healing love as we ask for forgiveness.
(Pause briefly. Then Extend arm over community)
All: Please forgive me, I am sorry, I love you, I thank you.


First Reading: Exodus: 3:1-8, 13-15
Kevin Connelly

These are the inspired words of Moses, leader and liberator of our ancestors, the Israelites, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

Anna Davis proclaims homily

Responsorial Psalm: 103 Adapted from Nan Merrill

Response: Amen. Truly I say to you, gather in my name, I am with you. (X2)

Bless the Beloved, O my soul
And all that is within me;
I bless your Holy Name!
Bless the Beloved, O my soul,
And remember the goodness of Love.

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

You are patient with our stubbornness
You heal our disease,
You free us from our fears,
You crown us with steadfast
Love and Compassion.
Refrain: Amen, Truly I say to you, gather in my name I am with you. (2x)

You satisfy our every need
You renew our spirit like the eagle’s
Through You comes peace and justice for all the oppressed.
You make known the pathway of truth and guide us on the Way of Love.
Refrain: Amen, Truly I say to you, gather in my name I am with you. (2x)

Mary Al Gagnon
Second Reading:  A Reading from Preaching the New Lectionary

One would think that a God as magnificent and powerful as ours would not need intermediaries. Or if they were used, they would be of greater value than bushes in a mountainous wilderness or hired hands in orchards. Yet that is just the way God seems to work. God uses whatever or whoever is at hand.  This is true whether it is an element of the natural world that is normally indifferent toward human beings or an uncomplicated person whose only concern is to do her or his job well, or an individual who has been thrust by circumstances  into the limelight. In every life there are those who speak for or act in the place of God. Lent is a time given us to discern who these people or things are. Who communicates God to us? Who intercedes for us before the Holy One? On the other hands, in whose life do we act as emissary? How do we reveal to others the message of God we have received? How do we intercede on behalf of them? The challenge here is to listen to the messengers who bring us the name of God, even if it is not clearly defined.

These are the inspired words of Dianne Bergant, professor of biblical studies at Catholic Theological Union, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.
Gospel Acclamation: Spirit of the Living God by Michael Crawford

Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on us
Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on us.
Melt us, mold us
Fill us, use us
Spirit of the Living God
Fall afresh on us.

Jesus Cursing the Fig Tree, Mark 11:12-14 (different story from today's Gospel) Walters Museum, MS.W.592, folio 58a

Gospel: Luke 13:1-9
These are the inspired words of Luke, disciple of Jesus, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

Gospel Acclamation: Spirit of the Living God by Michael Crawford (repeat)

Homily: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP
3rd Sunday of Lent HOMILY- Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Bridget Mary Meehan, homilist

3rd Sunday of Lent HOMILY- Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

While no words or images are adequate to describe God, the story of Moses and the burning bush remind us of our relationship with Sacred Mystery as a journey of healing, liberation and transformation in the power of divine love.

Elizabeth Johnson, in her award winning theological masterpiece, She Who Is, describes a vision of the Holy One beyond all imagination and yet who can be spoken through the lens of women’s experiences and journey to equality.

Referring to the burning bush she writes:
“Symbolized by fire that does not destroy this one will be known by the words and deeds of liberation and covenant that follows. She Who Is, the one whose very nature is sheer aliveness…In the strength of her love she gives her name as the faithful promise always to be there amidst oppression to resist and bring forth.” (p. 243)

In the Gospel, Jesus does not give an answer to why bad things happen to good people.  He does not connect tragedy or loss with sin or guilt. Rather, the message seems to be that since our time is limited on this earth, we must be prepared because the end could come unexpectedly. 

Last week, Jack Duffy reminded his 44 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren that they were called to continue their mother and grandmother Helen’s legacy of joy, deep faith, and generous service. “This is the day God has made,” he said, a day to rejoice because Helen was freed from her body and was ready to be with Jesus singing and dancing forever.

Scholars tell us that one interpretation of the parable of the fig tree is about Jesus challenge to imperial domination by the Roman empire and the misuse of power by religious leaders.

Biblical people understood, as Alice Camille notes in her Lenten reflection booklet, that cursing brought hidden forces into action.  

Our words have power to harm or to bless. There are many article about the impact of negative words to harm and hurt, and positive affirming messages to heal and transform. Ms. Camille recommends we scatter blessings in a world of cursing, negative, hurtful, hateful speech. 

So, I thought I’d try out this on as a new sacred practice on my recent flight to Wisconsin, when a young family took almost 15 minutes to put all their baby stuff in the bins to go through security at the airport, I had an opportunity to scatter blessing prayers for the loving care of the 2 small children and gratitude that neither child was screaming in the long wait!

After our Celebration of Life liturgy for Helen Duffy and a wonderful reception at Holy Wisdom Monastery,  as we prepared to leave for the gravesite ceremony, a snowstorm and gusty wind started blowing. I bundled in a thick, borrowed windbreaker, armed with holy water from Knock in one hand and the prayer service in the other. The words: OMG came out of my mouth more than once as we drove in the blinding snowstorm.
At the request of the family members whom I was riding with, I shortened the service to 1 committal prayer. When I got out of the car on the wrong side into 2 feet of snow, a bad word almost came out of my mouth, but I made it on a slippery path with help of  a strong arm to the burial site.

 My brief prayer was followed by the prayer of Jesus, and a powerful rendition of Amazing Grace on the bagpipe by a gifted piper. Then I handed the Holy Water to Jack to sprinkle on the Urn as the seven children lowered Helen’s ashes into the earth. It was an unforgettable moment of loving letting go as the tears flowed.

In the end, life is short, no matter how long it may be. Our soul work is a process of each day letting go of negative, damaging behaviors and living the LOVE that will save us and our world!  

Questions for Sharing:
1   If the end of your earthly life was near, would you be ready?

2.  Share any Lenten practice/s that are setting your heart ablaze with divine love and helping you grow?

3.  Who are the messengers of God in your life? How do you reveal the message of God you have received?

Statement of Faith

Presider: Let us pray together 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.

Prayers of The Community

Presider: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns. 
Our response is: Holy One, You hear us.

At the end of prayers:
Presider: We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Procession of Gifts and Song

Blest are They by David Haas #631

(Presiders lift up the bread and wine)

Presider: Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer. 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: All are welcome to join us around the table.


Presider: God is within you, blessing the world through you.
All: And also within you. 
Presider: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up in the Holy One. 

Presider: O Holy One, the first passion of Jesus was his passion for you and his passion for justice, namely, to incarnate your justice by demanding for all, a fair share of a world belonging to and ruled by your covenant with Israel. In solidarity with the unnamed woman who anointed Jesus, the first to recognize the cost of his fidelity to you, and with all believers who have gone before us, we lift up our hearts and sing:

All: We are holy, holy, holy by Karen Drucker 

Voice 1: Holy One, we celebrate the life of your son and our brother, Jesus. He lived his life and walked forward to his death knowing that you were leading him. We walk forward in his pathway and follow his teaching.

Voice 2: We pray for the grace to let go of money, possessions, pride and privilege, to become vulnerable and open to you, to accept poverty of spirit and reliance on you.

Voice 3: We pray for compassion for all human beings, to feel empathy and love for everyone, especially the poor, oppressed, and mournful. We remember all those who suffer and die each year from war, poverty and unjust disease. We mourn for them, and for all creatures we destroy, and for the earth itself.

Voice 4: We pray to be gentle, nonviolent, courageous and humble, like your saints. We pray to grow in awareness of our unity with all of creation and co-create with You our earth as a sanctuary of peace.

Voice 5: We pray for a heart that hungers and thirsts for justice for all people who live in poverty, imprisonment and war.  We pray for the courage to carry on your struggle for justice for the world’s oppressed as we challenge the world’s domination systems.

Voice 6: We pray to be merciful, especially toward those whom the culture deems unworthy of your mercy and care. We embrace everyone with compassion and respect.

Voice 7: We pray for a pure heart, inner peace and holiness so that everything that comes from within us might be loving and holy. Opening ourselves up to your Spirit, may we see You everywhere, especially in every human being.

Voice 8: We pray to be Your peacemakers, to renounce violence and to serve your movement for the abolition of war and all oppression. We pray to make peace everywhere.

Voice 9: We thank you for your presence within, around and among us. We arise and walk forward even when rejected and persecuted while working for justice and peace. With you we will not retaliate but respond with love and compassion.

Voice 10: We rejoice, O Holy One, and we are glad as we join the lineage of Your prophets of justice and peace. We, Your daughters and sons, continue to work with your grace as we arise and walk forward in the footsteps of our brother, the nonviolent Jesus.

All: On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the people closest to him. Like the least of household servants, he washed their feet, so that they would re-member him.

Presider: (lifts bread as community prays the following:)

All: When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the Passover bread, spoke the blessing, 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. (pause) 

Presider: (lifts the cup as community prays the following:)

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.  (pause)

All: Let us share this bread and cup, 
and welcome everyone to the Banquet as we live the gospel of justice and peace in our world.

Voice 11: We are called to do everything Jesus did, to be the living presence of a love that does justice, of a compassion that heals and liberates, of a joy that generates laughter, of a light that illumines right choices and confronts the darkness of every injustice and inequity.

All: So, we trust you, O Holy One, to continue to share with us your Spirit, the Spirit that filled Jesus, for it is through his life and teaching, his loving and healing all honor and glory is yours forever and ever. 

All sing: Amen.

Presider: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:
All: Our Father and Mother ….
Sign of Peace

Presider: Let us hold hands and sing “Peace is flowing like a River” as we pray for peace and justice to spread through our world.

Prayer for the Breaking of Bread

Presider:  Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread:
(Presiders break the bread)

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

(Presiders hold up 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 are welcome to the Feast.

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.

Communion Song: Instrumental- 

Communion Meditation: Mindy Lou Simmons

Presider: Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions and Announcements


Presider:  Let us raise our hands and bless each other.

All: May you be blessed with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships.
May you seek truth boldly and love deeply within your heart.
May you continue to be the face of the Holy One to all you meet. 
May your name be a blessing in our time.

Closing Song: #413 Sing a New Church by Michelle Sherliza and Delores Dufner

(Liturgy written by Bridget Mary Meehan and Mary Theresa Streck.The Eucharistic Prayer was adapted from Beatitudes for Peace by John Dear.)

MMOJ Members Book Discussion on The Last Week by Dominic Crossan
led by Janet Blakeley ARCWP
Janet, Sally and Elena sharing a meal and laughter after Liturgy
Enjoying the evening after dinner,Bridget Mary, Mary Theresa and Joan

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP