Saturday, March 30, 2019

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy for Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 30, 2019, Presiders: Elena Garcia ARCWP & Mary Teresa Streck ARCWP ,Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons

Theme: Living the Dream/ All are Welcomed
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 respectful and reading related sharing following the homily. All are welcome to share intentions at the prayers of the faithful. Everyone prays the words of Consecration in the Eucharistic Prayer. If you are with us for the first time or are returning and would like to introduce yourself we would be delighted to have you do so at the announcement time after Communion. All are invited to join us for supper at a local restaurant after liturgy.

Opening Song: “We Are Called” by David Haas #628

Opening Prayer
Presider: Loving God, You announced to Joshua that at long last you had removed the reproach of Egypt from them. After years of suffering and wandering in the desert, they were to enter the Land of Canaan, flowing with milk and honey. Today you remind us to believe that we are worthy of receiving greater love, joy and abundance, which often is experienced through a transformative process. Grant us the willingness to be transformed, not with an attitude of entitlement, but rather with a quiet yet solid awareness, that as your children we are all worthy and welcomed into your heart of compassion.

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, one time when we may have excluded someone. 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: Joshua: 5:9a, 10-12
These are the inspired words from the Book of Joshua, faithful follower and  leader of our ancestors, the Israelites, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.

Responsorial Psalm: 34  Adapted from Nan Merrill
Response: Amen. Truly I say to you, gather in my name, I am with you. (X2)

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.

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

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. For when you weep, the Beloved hears and comes to companion you; your burdens are eased by Love.

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

The Beloved is patient, ever waiting for us to cry out for forgiveness. To embrace Love’s way. The Beloved weeps with compassion over those who are crushed in spirit.  

The Beloved is ever ready to comfort us in our sorrows, to strengthen us on our soul’s journey to wholeness. The Beloved renews the life of all who surrender to Love.
 Response: Amen. Truly I say to you, gather in my name, I am with you. (X2)         

Second Reading: Transform Your Attitude  (A sharing by Christine Sine)
It is easy for all of us to create walls of fear. Fear that we will not have enough for our future, fear that someone else will invade our land and take what we have, fear that our world will change or that climate change will destroy the environment. Our fears may differ but we all struggle with fear.
More than anything we need to see fear transformed into trust. And trust in God opens new possibilities. One of our biggest struggles is trusting that just as God is working within us to unveil the divine image so God is working in the lives of those around us. Yes, even those of different race or faith or social strata, or sexual orientation. Make no mistake, all of us do need to be transformed and we shouldn’t seek to transform others until we have been transformed into the loving, caring, generous and forgiving person God intends us to be. Transformation is God’s business. The only person we can take responsibility for is ourselves.
When I visited St Catherine’s monastery in the Sinai desert, the oldest monastery in existence, I was astonished to find a mosque in the middle of it. Evidently Bedouin tribes would attack the monastery so Muslims, wanting to protect the Christians built a mosque in the monastery, making it into a sacred space. After the September 11th terrorism, Christians formed a circle of protection around our local mosque and prayed for their brothers and sisters of Muslim faith. The Muslims in return started holding an annual feast to which all were invited. Maybe it is time for Muslims and Christians to learn to protect each other again. Maybe it’s time for us to find new ways to gather together in hospitality rather than hostility and reach for understanding and acceptance rather than rejection and exclusion.
What if we transform the way we relate?   What if we consider our need to embrace rather than exclude. What if we replaced hostility with hospitality, criticism with concern, greed with generosity and consumption with stewardship? Jesus invites all of us to reach beyond our comfort zones and embrace those we have previously excluded.
I think that all people of faith should choose language that embraces, not excludes, reaching out with acceptance and love to those they disagree with. What if we resolved to only make comments that built up others and showed them love and acceptance? What if we left the transformation work up to God, and trusted in God to change people’s hearts and minds, not into the people we want them to be but into the people God wants them to be?
These are the inspired words of Christine Sine, writer for Godspace, and we affirm them by saying,  AMEN 
Gospel Acclamation: “Spirit of the Living God”      
Song before and after Gospelby 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.

Gospel: Luke 15:1-3,11-32  
These are the inspired words of Luke and we affirm them by saying:  Amen   
Homily: Elena Garcia, ARCWP
Homily on the Missing Son by Elena Garcia-3/30/19

Most of us are familiar with the gospel parable of the prodigal son. I have for a long time heard it with an ear tuned in to a message of repentance and forgiveness. Well my friends, Sophia has challenged me to expand that understanding in order to view it though a different lens. And she used several sources to help me with this task. Thoughts like “left behind”, “not  invited”,  “family members missing”, “not  feeling welcomed” raced through my mind. And when I shared this with an ARCWP sister I was provided a reading by the Jewish scholar Jill Levine and the following are some of the thoughts I was able to glean from this reading and which confirmed somethings I have  known but which had remained in the quiet recesses of my consciousness.

The traditional way of considering this parable as repentance and forgiveness no longer resonates with me. A careful reading of the passage informed my understanding that there was no sin involved which required repentance and forgiveness. There was a family, a father and two sons, one was immature and by our standards, irresponsible, but not necessarily a bad boy. The other was a stay at home son who yearned to be recognized for his efforts to contribute to the family’s wellbeing.  And there was a father who loved his two sons and related to each one differently but nevertheless with a love that only a parent could extend. In this story the family was not all present, someone was missing, and that void impacted differently on each member.

Jesus told this story following his observation that he was being criticized for eating and hanging out with undesirables. It all makes sense when we consider that His mission was to enlighten us to the awareness that we are all children of God, all part of the family of God, we are all sisters and brothers, we are all loved by the same parent and as kin we all have a share in the riches of the Kingdom.  And each is cherished, loved,  gifted and guided according to our individual and collective uniqueness.

And after all this time we still do not get the message. We are all on this same planet with equal rights to the wonderful gifts bestowed on us. Yet we are all about division and exclusiveness, conquering  and  Empire domination.  Empire talk has led many people to believe that we have the right to decide who is included and who is not welcomed at God’s family table. We are at a crossroads in evolution, a time to join Jesus and participate with him in challenging the earthly powers that support division and exclusion.  We are the body of Christ. We must struggle to understand and to teach that this is not normal.

We can only wonder what each member of that  parable family learned and how they resolved the conflicts of inclusion, appreciation and celebration of each other as members of a family. And also the ripple effect going out to extended family, co-laborers and friends wishing to celebrate the reunification of this family unit.

In preparation for some reflection questions, repeat:
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Be still

Questions For Reflection
~Do you feel that Jesus was trying to make us aware of our responsibility to make everyone feel counted?
~ Can you accept and profess a universal connection as siblings to all human beings on our planet?
~How can that acceptance become operative in our lives?

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
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 #631 “Blest are They” DavidHaas(
(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.
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST                                                                            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 to 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 (You) (I)(We)   (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” (Love-Joy) 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.                                    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.
All Sing: Sanctuary                                                                                                                      God prepare me, to be your sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true.                              With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living sanctuary, for You.   2x with music & 1x acapelo
Communion Song: Instrumental followed by # 585  “We are Many Parts”             (all verses)    (SUBSTITUTE “OUR GOD” FOR “THE LORD)
Presider: Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions and Announcements, Blessing
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:  Welcome, Welcome Emigrante (Buffy Sainte Marie)                                          (Mindy Simmons sings and plays on guitar)   Join in or listen to the words of inclusion.
(Parts of the Liturgy were written by Bridget Mary Meehan and Mary Theresa Streck. The Eucharistic Prayer was adapted from Beatitudes for Peace by John Dear.)

Welcome Welcome Emigrante
So welcome welcome emigrante to my country welcome home.
Welcome welcome emigrante to the country that I love.
I am proud I am proud I am proud of my forefathers and I say they built this country.
And they came from far away to a land they didn’t know the same way you do my friend.

So welcome welcome emigrante to my country welcome home.
Welcome welcome emigrante  to the country that I love.
I am proud I am proud  I am proud of my forefathers and I sing about their courage, for they spoke a foreign language and they labored with their hands, the same way you do my friend.

So welcome welcome emigrante to my country welcome home
Welcome  welcome emigrante to the country that I love.
I  am proud I am proud I am proud of my forefathers and I sing about their patience, for the work they did was lowly and they  dirtied up their clothes,  they spoke a foreign language and they labored with their hand, and they came from far away to a land they didn’t know, the same way you do my friend.

So welcome welcome emigrante to my country welcome home.
Welcome welcome emigrante to the country that I love.

Community gathers after liturgy for dinner and continued sharing: