Friday, July 17, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community July 18, 2020 Zoom Liturgy 16th Sunday in Extra-Ordinary Time Feast of Mary Magdalene, First Apostle and the Radical Love at the Heart of Christianity Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Pat MacMillan Readers: Judy and Kevin Connelly, Music Minister- Linda Lee Miller

Mary of Magdala "Apostle to the Apostles" by
Emer O'Boyle (2003)

We should clothe ourselves with the perfect Human, acquire it for ourselves as he commanded us, and announce the Good News. (Gospel of Mary 10:11-13)

Presider 1: Today we celebrate the feast of Mary Magdalene, first apostle. The lost gospel of Mary Magdalene, buried deep in the Egyptian desert in the fourth century by monks who were ordered by an edict to destroy all copies, was discovered in January 1896 at a market in Cairo by a German scholar named Carl Reinhardt. Written in Coptic on ancient papyrus, it reveals powerful teachings about a radical love at the heart of Christianity. Her gospel says that we are not sinful, nor should we feel ashamed for being human, but rather  that we are a holy mix of a self that struggles and triumphs and a soul that is limitless- rooted in infinite love. There is no spiritual authority outside of us that is greater than the presence of God within us.

Welcome and Gathering

Presider 2:  Welcome to our Zoom liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome. 
-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. Our readers today are Judy  and Kevin Connelly . Our music minister is Linda Lee Miller  on youtube.  Mary Theresa Streck is our IT.
-Please have bread and wine/juice nearby as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.

Gathering Song:Women of the Church by Carey Landry, Recorded for MMOJ Liturgy by Linda Lee Miller Verses 1-2:

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!

1. 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.

2. Companions and disciples of Jesus,
chosen and called by name,
witnesses of wisdom, weavers of the Word,
lead us in the ways of Truth.

© 2005, 2010, 2011, Carey Landry. Published by OCP. All rights reserved.

Opening Prayer

Presider 1:  Like Mary Magdalene, we rejoice that our spiritual power to live the Gospel is rooted in the presence of Spirit within each and all of us. Like Mary Magdalene, we rejoice that our oneness with Christ frees us from rules, projections and expectations that limit our ability be a radiant reflection of the Holy One’s love and compassion. Like Mary, our call is to walk with Christ and to love as Christ . All: Amen

Communal Reconciliation Rite

Presider 2: We pause now to remember the times we have let false messages about our unworthiness cloud our vision of the infinite depth of love within us.  Now imagine the imperfections, chaos and messes of your life illuminated by a love within you that is healing and transforming you as you evolve and grow in awareness of your divinity and humanity.

(Pause briefly. Then extend arm over your heart)

All: I love you, I forgive you, I am sorry, I thank you.


ALL:  For the witness of Mary Magdalene, apostle to the apostles, we say glory! For her vision of the Risen One, we say glory! For new insights into the  fullness of our  humanity and divinity as the Christ Presence in our world, we say glory. For an awareness that no spiritual authority outside us is greater than the voice of God that speaks within our hearts, we say glory. For the gift of love that cherishes human  beings of all races, genders, and ethnic identities as spiritual equals in the Body of Christ, we say glory.  Amen!

Liturgy of the Word

(Judy Connelly) Our First Reading is from Mary Magdalene Revealed

Mary Magdalene’s gospel starts with missing pages. These are the word we can’t get back , this is the wisdom, the voice of Christ from the heart of a woman, that was torn out and most likely destroyed before the rest of her gospel was buried. There was something so incendiary in these first six pages that her gospel starts on page 7.

The point of Mary’ s gospel is not to suggest that we need to become someone else, someone “better.”

It’s about acquiring a vision that allows us to see what has always been here, within you. It’s about the quality and intensity of our existence. It’s about the possibility of actually being present, instead of being caught without even realizing it in the endless stories the ego tell; from the second we wake up, dividing us from what’s already here, dividing us from each other and ourselves, dividing us from what we consider good, or god. It’s about really waking up to the fact that our system of understanding the world is no longer serving us.

It’s more of a series of perpetual moments when you remember that you don’t have to feel separate from love-if you don’t want to. Even in the midst of the worst of what we say to ourselves, even when someone we love most in the world can't see us at all, we can practice a way that humbles us, that disrupts the ego's grasp , and let us return again, with ease (even eventually, with levity) to love... And in that moment of recognition, this is when we save ourselves from the self that was never real to begin. This is where we see with the eye of the heart. ( These are the sacred words of Meggan Watterson, in the Introduction to Mary Magdalene Revealed and we affirm them by saying,

All: AMEN.  

(Kevin Connelly) 
Responsorial: Psalm 119
Our response is:
All: I radiate your love within me.

Breathe on me, O Breath of Inspiration, in the silence of my tranquil heart, infill me with your wisdom. O that I might radiate the compassion and peace, truth and beauty of the Beloved!

All:  I radiate your love within me.

Direct my steps, O Holy One, that I may humbly walk with you.  The witness of your Life is my model; therefore, my soul yearns for You. The unfolding of your Way gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.

All:  I radiate your love within me.

My mouth pours forth praise continually, for I am ever grateful for your Promises, You come to me and are gracious to me, as You are to all who open their heart’s door.

All:  I radiate your love within me.

Guide my steps according to your Wisdom, and show me how to lovingly co-create with You. Let me not be lured by the world’s values, that I may walk the path of wholeness.

All: May I radiate your love within me.
(Adaptation by Nan Merrill, Praying the Psalms; An Invitation to Wholeness)

(Kevin Connelly) 
Our Second Reading is a Letter to the Romans (8:26-27)
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult time of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs and enlarged in the waiting. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Meanwhile the moment we get tired in the waiting God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. God’s Spirit does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. She knows us far better than we know ourselves; knows our pregnant condition and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.  
These are sacred words of Paul, apostle to the Gentiles, and we affirm them by saying:
  All: Amen.

Be on your guard so that no one deceives you by saying,
look over here!” or “Look over there!” For the child of true Humanity exists within you. Follow it!
Those who search for it will find it.
These are the sacred words of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, apostle to the apostles and we affirm them by saying,
All: Amen
Homily Starter: Bridget Mary Meehan

On July 22nd, we celebrate the feast day of Mary Magdalene, apostle to the apostles. Our liturgical team – Pat MacMillan, Mary Theresa Streck, Kathryn She and I decided to offer a two week celebration of the first apostle, her lost gospel and powerful teachings.

Three copies of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene have been found- two in Greek and one in Coptic. All three versions are missing six pages in the beginning and four pages in the middle.

You might wonder what was so revolutionary that these pages were ripped out?

A few thoughts to ponder:

Mary’s gospel is the only gospel written by a woman. Scholars believe that it was written around the same time as the Gospel of John during a time in which there were various Christian communities who believed women were as worthy and capable as men to teach and lead the church.

Mary’s gospel contains four powerful teachings:
1.     We are not sinful.
2.     Salvation is an act of personal transformation in which we experience the infinite love within us that makes us whole and transforms everything
3.     Our purpose is to become “the child of true humanity,” which means fully human and fully divine.
4.     There can be no spiritual authority outside of us that is greater than the voice of Spirit within us.

While these teachings are uplifting and  reflect contemporary theological thought, they were probably jarring to some of the early Church Fathers and bishops in the 3rd and 4th  centuries who were working with the Roman Empire to codify scripture and Christian belief  under a patriarchal system of male dominance that has perdured for centuries.

I believe that the church’s history would have been completely different if Mary Magdalene’ gospel had not been buried in desert for almost 2 centuries. In Praying with Women of the Bible, originally published by Liguori, a mainstream Catholic publisher, I proposed a few creative spiritual exercises to dialogue with Mary Magdalene ,
such as Imagine Mary of Magdala present at the Vatican today addressing the roles of women in the Church. What would she say or do? What questions or thoughts would you like to share with her?

 Here's how my conversation would go:

I love you, Mary, for being  a radiant reflection of the feminine face of God epitomized by compassion, courage and understanding despite the rejection of the male disciples.Thank you for starting a holy shakeup that continues to empower us in our work for inclusivity and justice in the Church and world despite the discrimination and oppression of the patriarchy.

In Joan Chittister’s words,  Mary Magdalene is a role model for women in leadership in the church and society today because:
“She calls all of us to faith and fortitude, to unity and universalism, to a Christianity that rises above sexism, a religion that transcends the idolatry of maleness, and a commitment to the things of God that surmounts every obstacle and surpasses every system.” (Joan Chittister, A Passion for Life p. 46)

Community Sharing: What did you hear in our readings today?

Communal Statement of Faith

All: (Presider 2) We believe in one God, 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 God's Word, bringer of God's healing, heart of God's compassion, bright star in the firmament of God's prophets, mystics, and saints. 
We believe that we are called to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God's love, a source of God's wisdom and truth, and an instrument of God's peace in the world.
We believe that God's 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 and for the Community

Presider 1: We now remember all those who are suffering especially from Covid and systemic and institutional racism. Our response is: All: Your Love calls us to action.

Presider 2: For all those suffering from Covid and all families who have lost a member due to the pandemic. All: Your Love accompanies us.

Presider 1: For all those suffering the loss of family members due to systemic, institutional racism and police use of deadly force. All: Your Love comforts and challenges us.

Presider 2: That the Federal and State governments will provide PPE and all safety measures needed to protect medical staff, patients, and all workers in essential industries. All: Your Love empowers us.

Presider 1: We pray for our MMOJ intentions. (Katy shares)
For what else should we pray?

Presider 2: Holy Mystery we respond to the needs of our sisters and brothers in loving prayer and solidarity. Amen

Preparation Of The Gifts

Presider 1:  Blessed are You, Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this bread, to share, the Bread of Life. 

All: Blessed are You, Holy One, forever.  

Presider 2:  Blessed are You, O Loving  One through Your divine providence we have this wine to share, our spiritual drink. 

All: Blessed are, You, Holy One, forever.

Presider 1:  Nurturing One, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Christ, whose presence we are as we proclaim the liberating power of your Spirit Sophia, in our humanity and divinity, calling us to build the unity of Love in a more compassionate and just world.  All:  Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer
Presider 2: Your Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is rising up in all who work for humanity’s healing and well-being especially now during this Covid pandemic and systemic racism. With thankful hearts, in the company of 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 1: O Heart of Love, Your Spirit moved through Mary of Magdala as she taught us that we are unified and undivided in continuous communion with you.  Your Spirit moves through  our humanity and our divinity. Your Spirit moves through the love within us, expanding out in widening circles to embrace all people and creation in our evolving universe.
 Please extend Your hands in blessing.

All: (Presider 2)  Pour out Your Spirit Sophia anew upon this bread and wine and upon us as we become more deeply the Christ Presence in our world.

All (Presider 1): On the night before he died, Jesus came to table with his family and 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)

All (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 2:  Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
All: Christ has died in all those who have passed away from the Coronavirus and from police brutality.
Christ is rising in all those working for the well-being of humanity; searching for a vaccine, treatments and dismantling institutional racism and sexism.
Christ comes each day in our ministry, prayers and actions for a renewed world with justice and equality for all.

Presider 1:  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.  We pause now to remember our personal communion of saints. 

(Presiders hold bread and wine)
All: Presider 2: 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 and equality for all citizens in our country and for the life of your planet Earth. 

All: Great Amen (Sung) Linda Lee Miller
The Prayer of Jesus
Presider 1:  Let us pray as Jesus taught us. “Our Father and Mother…”

Sign of Peace: Peace is flowing like a River by Carey Laundry

Presider 2:  Jesus said to his disciples, “My peace I leave You.  My peace I give You.” 
(Let us place our hands in front of us, palms up, as we sing, “Peace is flowing like a river…” you may change “captives” to “peoples”)

Peace is flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me. Flowing out into the desert, setting all the people free. Love is flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me. Flowing out into the desert, setting all the captives free. Healing's flowing like a river, flowing out of you and me. Flowing out into the desert, setting all the people free. Alleluia


Presider 1: Please join in praying the Litany for the Breaking of the Bread All:
All: 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 2:  This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Blessed are we who are called to Christ’s table.  All:  We are the Body and Blood of Christ for the world.                         

Pease receive/share Eucharist now.

Communion Meditation Song: Standing on the Shoulders by Earth Mama
Presider 1: Thanksgiving: Please unmute yourself if you have a thanksgiving to share.                      

Concluding Rite

Presider 2:   The Holy One is within You. As you go forth to continue your ministry for justice and equality, and peace for all life and earth itself, may you be a radiant reflection of Christ in our world. All:  And also within You.

Presider 1: Please extend Your hands as we pray our final blessing.

All: We go forth in the spirit of Mary Magdalene, first apostle, to live the Christianity we have not tried yet.
We rejoice that Love is within us.
We celebrate Love outside of us.
We go forth, called to action, to move mountains!

Closing Song: 
Recessional: Women of the Church by Carey Landry verses 4 and 5, music played by Linda Lee Miller
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!

3. Living signs of service and strength,
hands of healing, hearts of love,
women of vision, voices for the voiceless,
lead us in the ways of Hope.

4. Women of compassion and care,
bearers of God’s life-giving light,
centered in prayer while working for justice,
lead us in the ways of Peace!

5. 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.

© 2005, 2010, 2011, Carey Landry. Published by OCP. All rights reserved.

If you would like to add your intercession to our MMOJ Community Prayers book,
Please send an email to

If you would like to invite another person to attend our liturgy please refer them to where the day’s liturgy is found. Zoom instructions are also included there.

Please support our community, send your check to:
Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
% St Andrews UCC, 6908 Beneva Rd., Sarasota, FL 34328

Liturgy adapted from Mary Magdalene Liturgy written by Bridget Mary Meehan and Mary Theresa Streck, Prayers of Community from Liturgy on June 20th by Katy Zatsick


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