Saturday, August 24, 2019

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Liturgy: 21st Sunday of Extraordinary Time, Aug. 24, 2019 Presiders Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Peg Bowen ARCWP Music Minister- Janet Blakeley ARCWP

Bridget Mary Meehan and Peg Bowen preside at Liturgy 
Presentation of Gifts

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community prays Eucharistic Prayer
Community anoints Joanne Cooper before heart surgery 

Theme: Activating Your Inner Spiritual Trainer

Welcome and Greeting
Presider 1: Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where everyone is welcome.  We use inclusive language in our scripture readings and prayers. We invite your respectful and related comments when we share the homily and in the Prayers of the Community. You are invited to gather around the altar table to take part in praying the Consecration and sharing Communion. You are invited to join us for supper at a local restaurant after the liturgy. 

Presider 2:  Today we are called to activate the Spiritual Trainer within us to grow stronger in loving and serving, justice seeking and truth –telling.

Opening Song: Come Be Beside Us by Jan Phillips

Come be beside us.
Come be around us.
Come be within us.
Come be among us.

Opening Prayer:
ALL: We listen to the voice of God speaking to us and give thanks that the power within us helps us grow into our kindest, most inclusive selves. Here we recognize that in the beloved community the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

Rite of Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Presider 1: Let us pause now to pray with one another for forgiveness for the times we failed to trust our Spiritual Trainer speaking within us and through others in our world. Let us pledge ourselves to engage in a spiritual workout each day to connect us with our power to heal and transform negativity, pain and suffering on our journey to wholeness and holiness.  


All: Raise hands in gesture of mutual forgiveness and sing this chant: Ubi Caritas, et amor, ubi caritas, deus ibi est.
(Sing 3 times refrain from-Taize)

ALL Sing: Glory to God, glory, o praise God, alleluia, Glory to God, glory, o praise the name of our God (3 times)

Liturgy of the Word
First Reading:  Isaiah 66:18-21
A Reading from the book of Isaiah

“I am coming to gather the nations of every language. They will come to witness my glory. I will give them a sign and send some of their survivors to the nations that have never heard of me or seen my glory. And they will declare my glory among the nations. As an offering to the Most High, they will bring all your sisters and brothers, from all the nations to my holy mountain in Jerusalem,” says Our God, “like Israelites bringing oblations in clean vessels to the Temple of the Most High. And some of them I will make priests and Levites. “says Our God.
These are the inspired word of the prophet Isaiah. R. Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 117 ( Psalms for Praying, by Nan Merrill)

Psalm Response: Go out to all the world and tell the good news

Praise the Most Merciful, All nations. Extol the Holy One, all peoples
Psalm Response: Go out to all the world and tell the good news

For great is the Blessed One’s Love towards us; The Beloved’s Faithfulness endures forever.

Psalm Response: Go out to all the world and tell the good news
Praises be to the Heart of all Hearts.

Psalm Response: Go out to all the world and tell the good news

Second Reading: A Reading from the letter to the  Hebrews 12: 5-7, 11-13
Have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you were addressed as God’s children?
My child, when God corrects you, do not treat it lightly;
But do not get discouraged when God reprimands you.
For God trains all loved ones and punishes all those acknowledged as God’s children.
Suffering is part of your training; you are being treated as God’s children. Has there ever been any child whose parent did not give training? Of course, at the time it is administered, all discipline seems a cause for grief and not for  joy, but later it brings forth the fruit of peace and justice to those who are trained in its school. So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight the paths you walk on, that your halting limbs may not be dislocated but healed.
These are the inspired words of the author of the Letter to the  Hebrews. R. Thanks be to God.

Alleluia (eightfold)

Gospel: A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 13:22-30
Jesus went through cities and towns teaching, all the while making his way to Jerusalem Someone asked, “ Are those who are to be saved few in number?”  Jesus replied “Try to come in through the narrow door. Many, I tell you, will try to enter and be unable. Once the head of the household has risen to lock the door, you may find yourselves standing outside, knocking and saying, please open for us,” but the answer will come, “I do not know you.” Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in your company, You Taught in our streets.” But again, you will be told, “I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Away from, you evildoers!”
“There will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Sarah and Abraham, Rebecca and Isaac, Leah and Rachel and Jacob, and all the prophets safe in the house of God, and you yourselves rejected. People will come from the east and west, from the north and the south, and will take their places at the feast in the house of God. Some who are last, will be first, and some who are first will be  last.”

These are the inspired words of Luke, follower of Jesus.

Homily Starter: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Today a growing number of people are engaged in physical fitness and eating healthy foods.  My community at Oakwood Manor works out to music in our heated pool each day.  Eating healthy is a work in progress for me. Breakfast for me most days is a plain ice cream sundae and a sugar free French vanilla latte at McDonalds where I meet with friends. On the improving side, I do not drink diet coke each day anymore and supper consists of 3 servings of frozen vegetables nuked in my microwave, a protein, and fruit. I know! There is lots of room for improvement!

 Rabbi Jesus knew how to keep his listeners on the edge of their seats. His responses sometimes provoked and even made them uncomfortable like I believe our readings do today. While physical training is popular topic, salvation and spiritual training are far more controversial and even polarizing topics.

When Jesus is asked in today’s gospel who will be saved, he does not give a direct answer. Rather he issues an invitation to enter through the narrow gate.

Some contemporary Christians believe that all we have to do to be saved is accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Many Catholics believe if they go to Mass on Sundays, stay out of mortal sin and follow the Church’s rules, they are good to go!

Several weeks ago, Janet talked about how the Church misinterpreted the creation story found in Genesis 1 with its emphasis on original blessing and replaced it with an emphasis on original sin.  in this theology Jesus became a mere mop-up exercise for sin, and sin management,” as Richard Rohr suggests, ”His death instead of his life was  defined as saving us… We must reclaim Jesus as an inclusive Savior instead of an exclusionary Judge, as a Christ who hold history together as the cosmic Alpha and Omega. Some would call this the very shape of salvation.”  (Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, pp. 62,68)

 According to Scripture scholar Barbara Reid, the original meaning of the word “strive” refers to the effort and training that is necessary to develop spiritual strength. In the second reading the author of Hebrews makes an analogy between the training that a child receives from a parent and the guidance a loving God provides for deepening in the spiritual life.” 
( Abiding Word pp. 97-98)

So, the bottom line is how does Jesus’ words  “strive to enter through the narrow gate,” inspire and challenge each of us today to grow spiritually, more whole and holy, with our eccentric traits and unique talents?

Three spiritual exercises that strengthen me are:
1.   Prayer declutters my mind and centers my soul in love with the Beloved within a praying community. My practice is to hold in love the people and intentions I am asked to pray for at a holy hour where others are also praying at Incarnation Church Monday-Friday. 
2.  My second exercise is spiritual reading and journaling. This exercise stretches my mind and often inspires me. Currently, I am reading Ally Kateusz’s new book entitled Mary and Early Christian Women Hidden Leadership which has numerous texts and illustrations of Mary Mother of Jesus as a liturgical leader, high priest and bishop who led the apostles in prayer. I felt like jumping out of my seat when I looked at the illustrations depicting her with arms upraised, not as a submissive virgin with head bowed like so many statutes I have seen. 
3.    I strive to live in the present moment and respond to whomever or whatever comes before me as the voice of Christ. One humorous example, happened this summer in Dublin when I was walking down Grafton Street. A young man approached me and asked if I would buy him a jacket. When I agreed, he added that a trousers would be nice too. Long ago when I worked as a pastoral associate, Chaplain Frank Keefe said that I was like a magnet that attracted "broken wings." When people like Bill ask for help, I try to see them as the face of Christ dying, rising and coming again and again in our world.

Community Sharing: What practices help to activate your inner spiritual trainer to grow stronger in loving and serving others in today’s world?

Statement of Faith 
We believe in the Holy One, a divine mystery 
beyond all definition and rational understanding, in whose infinite love all creation exists and evolves.

We believe in Jesus, messenger of the Divine Presence,
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 reflection of divine compassion and healing
a source of wisdom and truth, 
and an instrument of peace and healing 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. 

General Intercessions:
Presider 1: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we pray for the needs of the people of God in our community and around the world.
 I bring to the Table… Response to each prayer: Amen
Please share your spontaneous prayers.
Presider 2: (HOLD UP BOOK OF INTENTIONS) We give thanks for all whom we held in the circle of grace and will continue to pray for and use our talents to serve our sisters and brothers with joyful hearts in the coming weeks. Amen.

(Lifting up the Bread and Wine)
Presider1: Blessed are you, God of Creation.  Through your goodness we have this bread that human hands have prepared.  It will become for us the bread of life.
 All Blessed be God forever.
Presider 2: Blessed are you, God of Creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to share. It will become our spiritual drink.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
(All are welcome to join us around the table)

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Presider 1: God is with you.
ALL: And also with you. 
Presider 2: Lift up your hearts.
ALL: We lift them up.

All:  O Holy One, we trust that your Voice speaks in us and through us as we recognize your presence in the least and the last in our communities, nations and world. May our spiritual practices expand our hearts to live compassion and work for justice for all. We remember the angels and saints and all our loved ones who have gone before us. Joined with all creation, we lift up our hearts and sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker

Voice 1:   We thank you for Jesus, our brother, who called us embrace the least and the last and to recognize them as the Face of God in our world. He lifted up the vulnerable, and revealed your abundant tenderness toward those who are sick and suffering, lonely and grieving, marginalized and excluded.

Voice 2: We celebrate our call to follow Jesus and to build communities of care where everyone has enough and where all are welcome.

(Extend hands in blessing toward bread and wine for Invocation of the Holy Spirit)

All: Now, as we share the bread of life and lift the cup of joy, we pray come Holy Spirit deepen your Presence within us and in these gifts of bread and wine. 

All: On the night before he died, Jesus gathered with his friends, and washed their feet, so that they would follow his example.

Presider 1:  (lifts bread as community prays the following:)

All: When he returned to his place at the table, he spoke the blessing, broke the bread and shared it with them saying: 
Take and eat of the Bread of Life 
Whenever you remember me like this  
I am among you. (pause) 

Presider 2  (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 live the gospel of compassion and justice where all are welcome.

Voice 3: 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: It is through the Spirit moving in Jesus’ life and teaching, his loving and healing and in our lives that all honor and glory is yours, O Holy One, forever and ever.
Great Amen (Lilies of the Field)

Presider 1: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:

All: Sing -Prayer of Jesus:-Our Father and Mother

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

Song: Peace is flowing like a river by Carey Landry

Prayer for the Breaking of Bread
Presider 2:  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 1: "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.

Meditation Song:  Instrumental
Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions and Announcements


Presider 2:  Let us raise our hands in blessing pray together:

All: May we live lives of kindness reaching out to those in need. May we listen to our Spiritual Trainer speaking within us and through us. May we walk with an awareness of our call to serve the last and the least as the “hands and feet of Christ each day.  All: Amen.

Closing Song:  We Are Marching in the Light of God(Singing, Dancing, Loving)

This liturgy was written by Bridget Mary Meehan. ARCWP