Saturday, May 2, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community - Fourth Sunday in Easter - Presiders: Kathryn Shea, ARCWP, and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP


Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

May 2, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Presiders: Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP & Kathryn Shea, ARCWP 

Theme: I have come to bring you life in abundance.


Welcome and Gathering

Presider 1:  Welcome to our Zoom liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community, where all are welcome. Our theme today is from the last line in the Gospel: I have come to bring you life, life in abundance. We invite you to pray the liturgy and respond where it says, All.  All participants will be muted during the liturgy except for the presiders and readers. During the shared homily we ask you to raise your hand if you would like to contribute. Please have bread and wine/juice in front of you as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.

Let us begin now with our gathering song: Psalm 139
Sung by Kathryn Christian

I'll not be afraid
You are with me always
I will trust in you
Through this night
I feel your Spirit rise
Deep within me calling
To let go and find new light

For you have formed me
In my mother's womb
My days are safely secured
If I take the wings
of the morning to the sea
There you will follow me

O God you have searched me
And you have known me
When I fall and when I arise
You search out my path
And you guide me knowing
Every word upon my heart

For you have formed me
In my mother's womb
My days are safely secured
If I take the wings
of the morning to the sea
There you will follow me

Opening Prayer

Presider 2:   Holy One, Your desire is for our wholeness and well-being.
We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world.
We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.
We ache for ourselves and our neighbors, standing before an uncertain future. 
We pray: may love, not fear, fill our hearts. 
Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.
May we find new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity.
You call us to profound trust in your faithful presence. Amen

Communal Reconciliation Rite

Presider 1: We pause now to remember the times we have not born fruit in loving 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.

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Adapted from the Frist Letter of Peter to the Christian Community
1Peter 2:20-25

Beloved:
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because our brother, Jesus, also suffered,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
By his example you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Responsorial: Psalm 23

O my Beloved, You are my shepherd,
I shall not want;
You bring me to green pastures for rest
And lead me beside still waters
Renewing my spirit;
You restore my soul.
You lead me in the path of goodness
To follow Love’s way.

Even though I walk through the
Valley of the shadow and of death,
I am not afraid;
For You are ever with me;
Your rod and your staff
They guide me,
They give me strength and comfort.

You prepare a table before me
In the presence of all my fears;
You bless me with oil, my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
All the days of my life;
And I shall dwell
In Your heart, my Beloved, forever.
Amen.
Translation by Nan Merrill, Praying the Psalms

Second Reading: A reading from Abounding in Kindness by Elizabeth Johnson:

Jesus did not come to die but to live and help others live in the joy of the reign of God. To put it simply, God is not a sadistic father, and Jesus was not a passive victim of divine desire for satisfaction. Rather, his suffering, freely borne in love out of fidelity to his ministry and his God, is precisely the way our gracious God has chosen to enter into solidarity with all those who suffer and are lost in this violent world, thereby opening up the promise of new life out of the very center of death. It is in this vein that we would do well to hand on the story of Jesus, so that faith is lived in the joy of life and compassionate action with those who are suffering, rather than in prizing pain in the name of God.

Alleluia
Gospel: A Reading adapted from the Gospel of John:
Jn 10:1-10

Jesus said:
“In truth, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for her, and the sheep hear her voice,
as the shepherd calls her own sheep by name and leads them out.
When she has brought them all out,
she walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow her,
because they recognize her voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”

Although Jesus used this story,
those questioning him did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, “In truth, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be safe,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”


Homily Starter: Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP


In today’s Gospel we hear the metaphor of Jesus as the gate or the door that leads to life in abundance.

I imagine Jesus saying to his followers: If you follow my teachings and walk through this gate where I am leading you, you will experience challenges and barriers and suffering along the way, but that is not the end of the journey. The journey is meant to lead you to a life of blessing. And this is not just about you, it is about caring for the most fragile among you so that they, too have life in abundance.

As Elizabeth Johnson so clearly states in the second reading, “Jesus did not come to die but to live and help others live in the joy of the reign of God… It is in this vein that we would do well to hand on the story of Jesus, so that faith is lived in the joy of life and compassionate action with those who are suffering.

Meditating on today’s Gospel through a 21st century lens, I thought about the many gates or doors that lead to a union with the Holy one and that no one religion or tribe has sole access to these gateways.

Matthew Fox in his book One River, Many Wells, uses the well metaphor as John uses the gate metaphor. He writes:
"The Holy One is like an incredible underground River flowing throughout the world.
Jesus is like a well that taps into the underground River.
Jesus is not the Water. He is a well. 
Christ IS the Water. Christ is the anointing Spirit of God.
Any well that taps into the River (The Holy One) is a real well. 
All wells that tap into the River tap into Christ, the water,
whether they call the Holy One’s Spirit by that name or not.
Jesus is the decisive well for Christians, who may also visit and drink from other wells."

All wells or doors or gates that lead to union with the Holy One, lead to life in abundance for everyone.

What do you think?
Communal Statement of Faith

We believe in You, Holy One,
Love poured out in all creation.
We follow our brother, Jesus
Who reminds us of Your love.
We believe in Your Spirit within us,
Your Presence evolving here and now
as we live justly, love tenderly and walk with integrity.
Amen.

Prayers of and for the Community

Presider 1: We now remember all those who need our prayers.

Voice 1: May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
Voice 2: May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.
All: We remember and we pray. 

Voice 1: May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health and making their rent.
Voice 2: May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options.
All: We remember and we pray. 

Voice 1: May we who have to cancel our trips remember those who have no safe place to go.
Voice 2: May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.
All: We remember and we pray. 

Voice 1: May we who settle in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home.
Voice 2: As fear grips our country, let us choose love.
All: We remember and we pray. 

Voice 1: And during this time when we may not be able to physically wrap our arms around each other, let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.  Amen.
Prayers written by by Fr. Michael Graham, S.J.

Preparation Of The Gifts

Presider 1:  Blessed are You, O Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this bread to offer, it will become for us the Bread of Life. 

All: Blessed are You forever.  

Presider 2:  Blessed are You, O Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this wine to offer, it will become our spiritual drink. 

All: Blessed are You  forever.

Presider 1:  Nurturing One, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Jesus in communion with all who proclaim the liberating power of  your Spirit, rising in our midst.

All:  Amen.

Presider 2:  O Heart of Love, You dwell in us,

All: And we dwell in You.

Presider 1:  O Pursuer of Justice, You speak truth through us.

All: In service to our sisters and brothers.

Presider 2: O Source of All Life, in you we live and move and have our being,

All: All the days of our lives.

Eucharistic Prayer

Presider 1: Your Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is rising up in all who work for humanity’s healing and well-being. With thankful hearts, in the company all holy women and men, your liberating Spirit rises up within us, works through us and we sing:

All:  Holy, Holy, Holy (adapted from Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker)

We are Holy, Holy, Holy…3x , You are Holy, Holy, Holy, I am Holy, Holy, Holy, We are Holy, Holy, Holy

Presider 2: O Heart of Love, Your Spirit moved through Mary of Magdala and the Easter women as they stood by the broken body of Jesus and encountered the Risen One.  Your Spirit moved through your disciples as they joined with you after you ascended to be eternally with the Holy One.  Your Spirit moves through us as we serve the broken body of Christ rising up in our world today.

Presider 2:  Please extend Your hands in blessing.

Presider 1:  You pour out Your spirit anew upon this bread and wine and upon us as we become more deeply the Christ Presence in our world.
On the night before he died, Jesus came to table with the women and men he loved. 
Jesus took bread blessed and broke it, saying,
“Take, eat, this is my body. Do this in memory of me.”

(pause)

Presider 2: After supper, Jesus poured a cup of wine and shared it with his friends, saying,
“This is the cup of the covenant of my love. As often as You drink of it, remember me.”

Presider 1:  Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died in all those who have passed away in the Coronavirus.
Christ is rising in all those working for the well-being of humanity.
Christ comes each day in our work for a renewed world with justice for all.

Presider 2:  Embracing Presence, we remember all the companions who have gone before us:  Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala, and all holy women and men who are rising up in loving service to heal our world, For it is through living as Jesus lived, and loving as he loved, that we awaken to Your Spirit empowering us to work for justice. 
All: AMEN.

Communion Rite

The Prayer of Jesus
Presider 2:  Let us pray as Jesus taught us. Our Father and Mother…

Sign of Peace
Presider 1:  Jesus said to his disciples, “My peace I leave You.  My peace I give You.” 
The peace of the Holy One is also with You. 
(Let us place our hands in front of us, palms up, as we sing, “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”)

Presider 2: Please join in praying the Litany for the Breaking of the Bread
Holy One, You call us to speak truth to power; we will do so.
Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of healing and justice; we will do so.
Holy One, You call us to be Your presence in the world; we will do so.

Presider 1:  This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Blessed are we who are called to the table.

All:  We are the Body of Christ.

Communion

Presider 2: Pease share Eucharist now. 

Communion Meditation: St. Theresa's Prayer
Sung by John Michael Talbot

Anointing of Bridget Mary

Blessed are you, Loving God,
The boundless love of your presence blesses us at every moment of our lives.
May your compassion radiate from each of us
And bring the blessing of your healing, tender touch to (Name).

Bridget Mary, the same Spirit that moved in Jesus,
Dwells in you and fills you with love and peace beyond all imagination.
All of your loved ones in this community and in the Communion of the Saints join you in prayer.
In their name and in the name of the Holy One, We now anoint you for your journey. (anoint forehead and hand)

Bridget Mary, you are embraced by the Holy One and by all who are praying for you.
May you feel the power of divine love healing, comforting and strengthening you.
Amen.
Concluding Rite

Presider 1:   The Holy One is within You. 

All:  And also within You.
Blessing

Presider 2: Please extend Your hands as we pray our final blessing.

All: May we be the face of God to each other.  May we call each other to extravagant generosity!  May we use our hands as Jesus did to reach out to one another for love, support, and healing for our human family and our Earth.  May We go forth with the energy of Spirit within us to heal and transform our church and world, never being afraid to doubt what might not be Truth. 

Closing Song: We Rise Again

Closing Prayer: We Rise Again sung by Choir of Women Physicians sings RISE AGAIN (virtually)

(Leon Dubinsky 1985)

When the waves roll on over the waters
And the ocean cries.
We look to our sons and daughters
To explain our lives
As if a child could tell us why.
That as sure as the sunrise
As sure as the sea
As sure as the wind in the trees.
We rise again in the faces of our children.
We rise again in the voices of our song.
We rise again in the waves out on the ocean,
 And then we rise again.
When the light goes dark with the forces of creation
Across a stormy sky.
We look to reincarnation to explain our lives.
 As if a child could tell us why.
That as sure as the sunrise
As sure as the sea
As sure as the wind in the trees.
We rise again in the faces of our children.
We rise again in the voices of our song.
We rise again in the waves out on the ocean,
And then we rise again.
We rise again in the faces of our children.
We rise again in the voices of our song.
We rise again in the waves out on the ocean, And then we rise again.
And then we rise again.


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