Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Feast of St. Mary of Magdala (July 22), Community of St. Bridget Inclusive Catholic Community Zoom Liturgy

Suggestion:  Please provide a piece of bread and cup of wine/juice so that you can participate fully in this liturgy.

Come in.  Come into this place which we make special by our presence.  Where the ordinary is sanctified, the human is celebrated, the compassionate is expected. Together we make it a holy place with our every act of celebration.

ALL:   Let us celebrate the richness and diversity of life.

Opening Song: Mary Magdalene Song by David Ash   (video)

Mary Magdala, live within
And thy to Christ in the feminine.
Mary Magdala, live within
Fill our hearts with your love divine.

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Mary of Magdala.  We welcome all those who are here for the first time, or who have returned after an absence.  Your presence both enriches us and our time of celebration together.

Our scripture readings today center around Mary of Magdala's calling and relationship with Jesus.  May we find her to be a welcome guide and example for our own lives.  We open now to that same Spirit who enables us to respond within this time and place, in the name of the Divine: Source of All Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Transformation Rite
1.Aware of our uniqueness in this universe as a conscious life-form, appreciating connectedness and mind at work in all that exists, we want to acknowledge and celebrate the mystery and wonder of who we are and to accept the responsibilities that come with it.
2. We are mindful of people throughout human history who have opened our minds to a deeper appreciation of what it means to be human and our connectedness with all creation.
3. These lives and insights challenge us and call us to be open to life and love in all that we do, with special regard for generosity and forgiveness, for awareness of our bonding with all people, for responsibility to care for this planet and appreciation that we are children of this universe.
4. And so, we resolve to be open now to the kin-dom of Life, even in the midst of death.
To be open now to the kin-dom of Beauty, even in the midst of the marred and the mangled.
To be open now to the kin-dom of Goodness, even in the midst of egocentric foolishness.
To be open now to the kin-dom of Truth, even in the midst of falsehood.  Amen.

Gloria  Cantor:  Glory to God, Glory!  O praise God, Alleluia!
                           Glory to God glory!  O praise the name of our God!
5. Glory to the Spirit of Life, to the Holy One who surrounds us, who lives within us, whose Sacred Word is shared by us in our world.

6. Glory to the Spirit of Life, who offers us peace; peace in our hearts, peace in our thoughts, peace with one another as we reach out to one another and ask for blessing.

7. Glory to the Spirit of Life, who sent Jesus, who, by his word and ministry, teaches us how to live the Gospels, who brings hope and healing to all those in need.

ALL:  O Holy One, you are one with us.  We are strong in our faith and will live life in hope and faithfulness to you, to be church committed to the message of the Gospels.  We depend upon the ever-present Spirit to walk with us as we journey in the present and rejoice in the life before us.  Amen.
Cantor:  Glory to God, glory…

Opening Prayer
O God, may we see your feminine face in our female ancestors and in all women.  May we open our hearts, like Mary of Magdala, to the Risen Christ.  May we see the divine reality in the person of a woman, especially in women who are called to serve you.  May we, like Mary of Magdala, proclaim the Good News with courage.  ALL: Amen.

We call upon the Spirit of Our Living God as we listen to the Scripture readings broken open and shared by all.

First Reading:  A reading from the book of Songs:

Oh, the nights are long in my empty bed;
All night long in my dreams I look for you,
My lover, my heart.
But when I wake, there’s no one there.
I can’t sleep with this fire;
I’ll get up and go walking, out through the streets
To the square, looking for the one I adore.

Ah, but I went looking, and found no one.
The sentries on their rounds found me, though.
I wanted to ask them,
“Have you seen him, the one I love?”

But no sooner did I pass by them, did I find him at last,
The one that I hungered for.

The inspired words of an unknown poet at the end of the Babylonian exile.  Amen.

Responsorial: Cantor:   Blessed are we who believe
 That the promise made us by our God
 Would be fulfilled, would be fulfilled.

O Love, You are my Beloved, and I long for You.
All that is within me thirsts,
As in a dry and barren land with no water.  R

So I have called out to You in my heart,
Sensing your power and glory.
Because your wondrous Love is Life in me,
My lips will praise You.   R

My soul feasts as with a magnificent banquet,
And my mouth praises you with joyful lips,
When I ponder on your kindness,
And meditate on You throughout the night.   R

For You are my help,
And in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You,
Your love upholds me.
All who open their hearts to Love
Will live in peace and joy!   R

Second Reading:  A reading from the Paul’s letter to the Romans:

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the Cenchrea.  Welcome her, in the name of our God, in a way worthy of the holy ones, and help her with her needs.  She has looked after a great many people, including me.
Give my greetings to Prisca and Aquila; they were my coworkers in the service of Christ Jesus, and even risked their lives for my sake.  Not only I, but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.  Remember me also to the congregation that meets in their house.  Greetings to my beloved Epaenetus; he is the first convert to Christ from Asia.

My greetings to Mary, who has worked hard for you, and to Andronicus and Junia, my kin and fellow prisoners; they are outstanding apostles, and they were in Christ even before I was.

Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the churches of Christ send you greetings!
The inspired words of the apostle, Paul.  Amen.

Cantor:  8 Alleluias

Gospel: A reading of the Holy Gospel according to Mary:

Peter questioned Mary's ideas about the Savior: "Did he really speak with a woman without our knowing about it?  Are we to turn around and all listen to her?  Did he choose her over us?"

Then Mary wept and said to Peter, "My brother, Peter, what are you thinking?  Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am telling lies about the Savior?"

Levi responded and said to Peter, "Peter, you have always been an angry person.  Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries.  But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you, then, to reject her?  Surely the Savior's knowledge of her is trustworthy.  That is why he loved her more than us.

"Rather, let us be ashamed.  We should clothe ourselves with the perfect Human, acquire it for ourselves as he commanded us, and proclaim the good news, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said."

After he had said these things, they started going out to teach and proclaim.

The inspired words of the Apostle to the Apostles, Mary of Magdala.  Amen.

Cantor:  8 Alleluias

Homily/Reflection – Feast of St. Mary of Magdala 2020- Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP

There are people that can ‘sense’ the world seen and unseen in ways that many of us do not.  We can list saints of all shapes and varieties, and name some of our dearest friends and relatives, poets, artists, writers, musicians, nature and animal lovers—they all may well fall into this realm of seeing beyond what others see.  And each time this occurs, they are all sacred moments.

As expressed in our chosen readings today, you probably have “sensed” that Mary of Magdala was a woman of tremendous sensuality.  Unfortunately, due to her ability to deeply experience the world and her God through this gift, many people of her time and throughout history were uncomfortable with this woman’s sensual depth and dismissed her gift, relegating her a harlot in the annuls of history.  It wasn’t until very recently that Mary was released from this ill-conceived moniker, and is now rightly honored as the Apostle to the Apostles, being the first to share the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection.

And that is what we celebrate today.  St. Mary of Magdala, the woman who could see and sense the divinity and humanity of Jesus in a way no one else could imagine. 

We are a ritual people.  We have rituals in our daily living, in our annual celebrations of birthdays and anniversaries, graduations, receiving awards, and even our rituals for deaths and burials.  Our Catholic tradition acknowledges sacred moments in life that need to be celebrated.  Theological leaders in church history have named seven of these moments whereby we experience the hand of God in very special ways.  These moments are called sacraments—seven out of the many profound moments through which we can encounter God.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church sites sacraments as perceptible signs accessible to our human nature.  To understand what that means requires us to embrace holy ritual that is based on and requires our human sensing.  Physical sensual presence—touching, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling—is the means through which we experience the Holy One.  Mary of Magdala knew and experienced Jesus through her gift of sensing.

The most sensitive of all human senses is touching, and touching is required for sensing deeply.  We limit our human way of experiencing and coming to encounter our Creator and our universe if we can’t use all of our senses.

In these days of physical isolation because of the pandemic, we are faced with unprecedent ways of providing the sacramental experience.  Some faith communities are providing livestreamed liturgies with no assembly gathered, some are providing real time experiences with Zoom technology without the physical presence, and others are now permitting limited in-person assemblies that must wear face masks and maintain social distancing, picking up their communion wafer as they leave.

If we believe and embrace that sacraments are encounters with the Holy One, how do you think Mary of Magdala would deal with this “new age” of sacramental technology with limited sensual experience?  Do you think it would limit her encounter with God?  Does it limit yours?  I am opening this up as an exploration of beliefs going forward.  Your ideas will enrich us all.

Litany of Faith
A Litany of Women for the Church, by Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister

1.  Dear God, creator of women in your own image, born of a woman in the midst of a world half women, carried by women to mission fields around the globe, made known by women to all the children of the earth, give to the women of our time the strength to persevere, the courage to speak out, the faith to believe in you beyond all systems and institutions so that your face on earth may be seen in all its beauty, so that men and women become whole, so that the church may be converted to your will in everything and in all ways.

2. We call on the holy women who went before us and who stand beside us, channels of Your Word in testaments old and new, to intercede for us so that we might be given the grace to become what they are and have been for the honor and glory of God.

Come, O Jesus, send us your spirit, renew the face of our Church (x2)

3. •       Saint Esther, who pleaded against power for the liberation of the people, pray for us.
•       Saint Judith, who routed the plans of men and saved the community, pray for us.
•       Saint Deborah, laywoman and judge, who led the people of God, pray for us.
•       Saint Elizabeth of Judea, who recognized the value of another woman, pray for us.
•       Saint Mary Magdalene, minister of Jesus, first evangelist of the Christ, pray for us.

Come, O Jesus, send us your spirit, renew the face of our Church (x2)

4. •       Saint Scholastica, who taught her brother Benedict to honor the spirit above the system, pray for us.
•       Saint Hildegard, who suffered interdict for the doing of right, pray for us.
•       Saint Joan of Arc, who put no law above the law of God, pray for us.
•       Saint Clare of Assisi, who confronted the pope with the image of woman as equal, pray for us.
•       Saint Julian of Norwich, who proclaimed for all of us the motherhood of God, pray for us.

: Come, O Jesus, send us your spirit, renew the face of our Church (x2)
5. •       Saint Therese of Lisieux, who knew the call to priesthood in herself, pray for us.
•       Saint Catherine of Siena, to whom the pope listened, pray for us.
•       Saint Teresa of Avila, who brought women's gifts to the reform of the church, pray for us.
•       Saint Edith Stein, who brought fearlessness to faith, pray for us.
•       Saint Elizabeth Seton, who broke down boundaries between lay women and religious by wedding motherhood and religious life, pray for us.

Cantor: Come, O Jesus, send us your spirit, renew the face of our Church (x2)

6. •       Saint Dorothy Day, who led the church to a new sense of justice, pray for us.
•       Sr. Joan Chittister, who is passionate for change and challenges us to take the leap, pray for us.
•       Sr. Simone Campbell, who brings commitment and humor to the serious business of social justice, pray for us.
•       All our women bishops and priests, who lead Catholic women everywhere to honor their call to Ordination, pray for us.   
•       Mary, Mother of Jesus, who turned the Spirit of God into the body and blood of Christ, pray for us. Amen.

Cantor: Come, O Jesus, send us your spirit, renew the face of our Church (x2)

Prayer of the Faithful
Always mindful of our Creator’s love and care for us, we bring to our Table prayers of thanksgiving, petitions for help and compassion.  We pray that we will awaken to the call of responding to these prayers in the name of Jesus.  We turn our hearts and minds through these prayers to his message, to his hopes and dreams, to his ardent desire for a better society.  After each request, our response remains:  We awaken to your call!

7.  Jesus healed St. Mary of Magdala of a very serious illness and then she chose to follow him, supporting his mission with all of her resources.  Thank you, O Christ, for all the ways you heal us.  Open our hearts to receive your healing grace and let us, like St. Mary of Magdala, put all we have at your service.  For this we pray:

1.  Mary and the other women and men disciples persevered with Jesus, even when he was persecuted by his own religious leadership and government authorities.  God of Strength, help us stand in Jesus’ truth and healing love especially when we experience persecution for justice’ sake.  For this we pray:

2. Because of her witness and fidelity, St. Mary of Magdala is known as the Apostle to the Apostles.  Help us, O God of Righteousness, to accept your apostolic call “to go and tell our brothers and sisters of Jesus’ power to heal… even wounded structures which exclude.” For this we pray:

3.:  Women were faithful disciples of Jesus and significant leaders in the early Christian communities.  Help us Most Inclusive One, to reclaim our baptismal call to leadership.  For this we pray:

(For what else or for whom shall we pray?)

O Great Love, thank you for living and loving in us and through us.  May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings.  Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory.  Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world.  Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God.  Amen.
Sign of Peace
As we prepare for this sacred meal, we reaffirm that just as Jesus was anointed, so is each of us.  And so, we celebrate our Creator’s fruitful love as we extend our blessing to one another with joy.  May the peace that our brother, Jesus, offers, be always with us!

We place on our plate the harvest to be won by labor’s love.  And into the cup we pour all the sap which is to be pressed out this day from the Earth’s fruits.
ALL:  Blessed be the Divine Presence forever.

Prayer Over the Gifts
Holy Mystery, we offer this prayer in union with the whole church.  In this bread and wine, you give us food for body and spirit.  May our strength be renewed by your generous blessings that will bring us health of mind and body.  Grant that our loving relationship that we are gifted with through this holy sacrament bring us to imitate that love in our own lives living in community with one another.  We ask this through Jesus, our brother. 
ALL:  Amen.

The Holy One is with us, abounding in Love!
4. We open our hearts in Christ, who lives and loves, heals and empowers through us!

5. Let us give thanks to the Source of All Life.

O Loving God, you who bring to birth the world of our dreams for mutual respect and partnership, we do well always and everywhere to give you praise.  Give us courage to act justly and work collaboratively to change systems that keep people poor and marginalized in our society. We thank you for the women and men who are working for justice and equality in our church and world. Your gift of the Spirit gives us hope that one day all will be one with your Divine Presence for all eternity.  With thankful hearts in the company of the angels and saints, O God of Abundance and Welcome, we praise you in song:

Here in This Place, by Christopher Grundy  (lyric/video)

Holy One, may your presence here
open our minds
may your Spirit among us
help us to find
you are rising up now
like a fountain of grace
from the holy ground
here in this place.

Holy, holy, holy God
of love and majesty
the whole universe speaks of your glory
from the holy ground here in this place. Here in this place.
6:  We give grateful thanks for those who came before us, for all those who gave from their hearts, who gave from their lives, that there might be a better world, a safer world, a kinder world, we pray for peace in their name.

7:  And for the children, that they may live, that they may have children of their own and that it will go on – this great blossoming that is meant to go on and on – we pray for peace, in their name.

1:  And for all peoples of this Earth who have no voice in this,
For the animals that have no voice in this,
For the plants, the trees, the flowers that have no voice in this,
For all who share this Earth with us, we pray for peace in their name.

2:  You are holy indeed O Mothering God. You are the Heart of Love. You affirm women’s bodies as holy and women’s stories as sacred.  Pour out your Spirit upon all who work for justice and equality.

ALL:  Pour out your +Spirit anew upon this bread and wine so that we may become the body and blood of Jesus, the Christ, in whom we have all become your daughters and sons.
3. This Table we share is adorned with gifts given for all to share in equality and justice, a Table where all are welcome, and from which nobody is to be excluded.

ALL:  We take this bread, as Jesus took bread, and we give thanks, as he gave thanks for life’s journey with God.  And Jesus offers it to us now saying: “Take and eat, this is my very Self.”  (All raise bread)

We take wine, as Jesus took wine, mindful of our bonding with God and with all that exists, and we commit ourselves to loving inclusively and generously.  Jesus takes the cup, speaks the grace, and offers it to us now, saying:
“Take and drink this cup of my life-blood, the life of the
new and everlasting covenant.  It is poured out for you and for all, so that you might be free.  Whenever you re-member me like this, I am among you.”  (All raise cup)
4. We give thanks for who we are in Christ:
Matter become conscious, the universe coming to reflect on itself, earthen vessels that hold a treasure, temple of God’s Spirit, the Body of Christ.

5.  Loving God, we have looked for others to save us and to save our world.  Yet, we are called, and consecrated, and sent into the world to establish justice and the blessed fulfillment that comes with simplicity and the giving of ourselves in love.

6.  We open now to the web of life that holds all beings in intimate embrace, making it possible to distinguish, but never disconnect any part from the whole or whole from the parts, making us kin in the kindom of life.

7.  We open now to knowing this adventure to be a journey back to the very-present source—discovered in our own depths—and a forward journey toward a new and eternal creation, which is being born through us, and know above all and below all that this is not a path to God, but a path in God.

P:       For it is through learning to live as Jesus lived,
          And why he lived,
          And for whom he lived,
          That we awaken to your Spirit within,
          Moving us to worship you truly,
          Life-giving God,
          At this time, and all time, and in always.  Cantor:  Amen!

Communion Rite:  Let us pray together in the Name of Jesus:
1.  O Holy One, you are within, around and among us.
    We celebrate your many names.
    Your wisdom come; your will be done,
     Unfolding from the depths within us.
2.  Each day you give us all that we need.
    You remind us of our limits, and we let go.
    You support us in our power, and we act with courage.
3. For you are the dwelling place within us,
    The empowerment around us,
    And the celebration among us,
    Now and forever.  Amen.

As we break bread together, we pray:
4.  Aware of our sisters and brothers who suffer injustice,
We speak truth to power.
5.  Aware of discrimination and exploitation against people of color, LGBTQI, immigrants and refugees, We work for justice and equality.

6.  Aware of our connection with everyone and everything,
We are becoming who we are called to be.

P:  Let us eat the bread of life and drink the wine of unending delight in memory of Jesus.

ALL:  We are the face of God!

All are welcome to receive this gift of unity as we share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ.

Communion MeditationGod of the Movements and Martyrs - David LaMotte, performed by The Many  (lyric/video)

God of the movements and martyrs
God of the powerless child
God of the hurt and the hopeless
and unreconciled.

God of the just and the faithful
God of the night and the day
God of the whole of creation
In your name we pray.

Many have followed the Savior
into the face of the storm
Strengthened by long generations
by love they were formed.

In basements of tall-steepled churches
In shadows of fences and walls
In alleys and hallways of power
They answered your call.

Now it's our turn to do justice
Humbly we rise to the day
Give us the strength and the wisdom
to walk in your way.

Gather the loaves and the fishes
Share until all have been fed
Walk in compassion and mercy
By love we'll be led.

Standing in circles surrounding
All holding hands while we pray
When powers bear down on the helpless
we'll stand in the way.

God of the worn and the wounded
Let us be healed by the truth
When doorways are blocked we will lower
our friends through the roof.

God of the circle that holds us
God of the ones pushed away
We will reach out to our neighbors
In your name we'll say:

No matter your creed or your country
No matter the hue of your skin
Your age, "who you love," or the body
your soul was born in.

No matter the places you're broken
No matter the things you have done.
Lay down that weight on the altar
A new day's begun.

You are the child of the Maker
You are beloved and known
Join us in work of the kindom
We welcome you home
. (x2)

Closing Prayer
O God of love and compassion, just as you called Mary of Magdala, you also call us to go forth and to proclaim the Good News.  We answer you as people who are often unsure of our desire to be so embraced.  Guide us closer to You and to each other.  Strengthen us in our walks of life and build us into the Kindom of God, sealing us with the Spirit of your promise.  We ask this through our Holy Sophia.
ALL:  Amen.

All are invited to extend your hands for our mutual blessing--please join in:

7. Spirit of Jesus, it is you who accompany the lost and defeated on the journey to new, unimaginable life.

1. In you we hope despite anything that disappoints or defeats us.  We put our hope in You, that you will bring into being things that do not exist, and inspire us with energies for justice, earth care, and community building.

2. May wonder and thanksgiving fill us, may compassion penetrate us, that we may penetrate the numbness that continues our society’s injustices.

3.  May we know that we are loved.  May we continue to be the face of God to each other.

ALL:  And may we be blessed in our time in the name of the Divine:  Source of All Being, Eternal Word, and +Holy Spirit.   Amen.

P:   Go in the peace of Christ.  May Mary of Magdala be our model of courage and faithful service.  By her example, may we delight in the presence of Jesus and shout with joy:  "I have seen the Rabbi!"
ALL:   Thanks be to God.

Closing SongWomen of the Church by Carey Landry

Refrain:  Women of the Church, how rich is your legacy!
      Women of the Church, how great is your faith!
      Women of the Church, wellsprings of integrity!
      Lead us in the ways of Peace!

Women at the foot of the Cross,
Fearless and truly faithful friends,
First ones to see the Risen One of Life
And the first to tell good news.  R
Living signs of purpose and strength,
Hands of feeling, hearts of love,
Women of vision, voices born of voices,
Lead us in the ways of Hope. R

Women martyred in our time,
Laid down their lives for the poor,
Moments of courage, who stood with those oppressed,
Help us all to walk your path.  R

Thank you for your courage to worship in the spirit of
equality and justice!

We welcome you to join us again and support this Community with your presence and prayer.

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