Saturday, August 22, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, Aug. 22, 2020, 21st Week of Extraordinary Time, Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Peg Bowen ARCWP, Readers: Judy and Kevin Connelly,Music Minister Linda Lee Miller

MMOJ- Over 40 participants in our Eucharistic Liturgy

photo by Wylly Suhendra on Unsplash
Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

21st Sunday in Extraordinary Time
August 22, 2020

Theme:  Empowered and Responsible for the Well-being of All

Welcome and Gathering

Presider 1:  Welcome to our liturgy with the Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome. In the early Jesus movement, the word church referred to gatherings which met in the homes of the followers of Jesus.  These gatherings had no hierarchical structures, no priests, nor did they meet in church buildings. Contemporary scholars remind us that Jesus did not give his movement a specific authority structure. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus gave the “keys” to Peter and to the community. So, what does it mean to be empowered and responsible for promoting the flourishing of God’s people, and creation in our church and world today?

Presider 2:  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.  Please have bread and wine/juice nearby as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.

Let us now sing our opening song:  Companions on the Journey

Opening Prayer

Presider 1:  Like Peter, we, the community of faith, are given the keys to the kindom. Like the early followers of Jesus we are aware of the Christ Presence within us and within all. We are called to do everything we can to promote the human rights and well-being of all God’s people in a peaceful and just world. We will do so.   ALL:  Amen

Communal Reconciliation Rite

Presider 2:  We pause now to remember the times we have failed to challenge hierarchical control and doctrines of domination that violate freedom of conscience and human rights. Now imagine ways we can confront discrimination and injustice in the Church and world.   (Pause briefly. Then extend arm and let healing love flow from you to all people.)
ALL:  We love you, Please forgive us, We are sorry, We thank you.


ALL (and Presider 2):  For the generosity of strangers, who help others in good times and bad times, we say glory! For all who lobby for justice and human rights in the Church and world, we say glory! For essential workers, doctors, nurses, and teachers, who work side-by-side to face the challenges of the worldwide pandemic, we say glory. For an awareness that no spiritual authority outside us is greater than conscience, 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!

Liturgy of the Word

(Judy Connelly) Our First Reading is from Doors to the Sacred and What Jesus Meant

Jesus told his disciples if they wanted to be great, they would need to serve others. The earliest disciples of Jesus saw their role as one of ministry or service. At the beginning, Peter acted as leader of the Twelve and a speaker for the group.  However, neither Peter nor the other disciples were priests or bishops. The Catholic biblical scholar, Raymond Brown wrote, “Peter never served as bishop or local administrator of any church, Antioch and Rome included.”  There are no texts in the gospels in which Jesus passed on special power to perform sacramental actions like baptizing, laying on of hands or presiding over the Eucharist by a well-defined rite. 

The idea that there is an “apostolic succession to Peter’s fictional episcopacy did not arise for several centuries, at which time Peter and others were retrospectively called bishops of Rome to create an imagined succession. Even so there has not been an unbroken chain of popes. Two and three claimants existed at times, and when there were three of them, each excommunicating the other two, they all had to be dethroned. The Council of Constance started things over again with a new appointment in 1417.”

This is the reason that the apostolic succession which the RCWP Movement claims dates from the 16th century, and in the broadest sense has its origins in Mary Magdalene and the women leaders in the Jesus movement and in early Christian Communities!

These are the sacred words of theologian Joseph Martos in Doors to the Sacred (pp. 406-407) and historian Gary Wills in What Jesus Meant (pp. 80-81).

(Kevin Connelly) Responsorial: Psalm 138
(adapted from Psalms for Praying by Nan Merrill)

Our response is:  I give you thanks, O Blessed One.

Before all the people, I sing your praise.
I am delighted that You dwell within me,
In the Sacred Chapel of all souls;
My gratitude knows no bounds.

Response: I give you thanks, O, Blessed One.

For you are the Holy One, the Life of our life.
On the day I called you answered me;
The strength of my soul You increased.

Response: I give you thanks, O, Blessed One.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
You preserve my life;
You are a loving Presence as I face my fears and doubts.
Your strength upholds me.

Response: I give you thanks, O, Blessed One.


(Peg Bowen) Gospel: A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew 16:13-20

When Jesus came to the neighborhood of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples this question: “What do people say about who the Chosen One is?” They replied; “Some say John the Baptizer, others say Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  “And you,” he said, “who do you say that I am?”

“You are the Messiah,” Simon Peter answered, “the firstborn of the Living God!”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon ben-Jonah! No mere mortal has revealed this to you, but my Abba God in heaven. I also tell you this, your name now is ‘Rock’, and on bedrock like this I will build my community, and the jaws of death will not prevail against it. Here I’ll give you the keys to the reign of heaven: whatever you declare bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you declare loosed on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Then, Jesus strictly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

These are sacred words from the Gospel of Matthew in the Inclusive Bible and we affirm them by saying  
ALL:  Thanks be to God.


Homily Starter:  In the Gospel of Matthew 16 we hear the words of Jesus that give apostolic authority to Peter. But, as historian Gary Wills points out, in the same gospel Jesus gives the power not to Peter exclusively but to the followers as a community. “In truth I tell you {hymin plural) that whatever you tie on earth will have been tied in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven” (Mt. 18:18). From this Augustine concluded that Peter is just “a representative of the church”- and in fact the community as a whole had the power to include or exclude members in the early gatherings. The idea that Peter was given some special power runs into the problem that he had no successor.”
(What Jesus Meant, pp. 80-81).

The traditional understanding of millions of Catholics and the hierarchy is that one must obey church doctrine on every issue because Jesus gave the keys to Peter and through him to the popes and the bishops in communion with him.  If we accept the scholarship that I share with you, we are on solid ground to reimagine that Jesus entrusted spiritual authority in the entire believing community.

I have a sign in my kitchen that reminds me daily of my fallibility and humanity.
“Embrace the imperfections, the chaos, the holy mess of your beautiful life.”

As I reflect on our two thousand year history of clerical domination and sexism, I see a lot of messes in our Roman Catholic stories, but, we are also a pilgrim people on the way to fuller equality and justice by living the change we have dreamed of in inclusive communities like Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community. We are bearers of hope and possibility- messengers of healing and love!

People today ask me, why do I belong to the Roman Catholic Church since they have excommunicated me multiple times. My response is that I cannot leave my precious family- who now number approximately 1.3 billion. All the baptized are spiritual equals in the Church. The hierarchy is not the Church alone, they are only part of it, even though they think they are in charge of it. We, the people of God, are co-responsible and empowered to be prophets of Jesus’ vision of inclusivity and equality for the flourishing of the Church and the world.

Seven Women, including Christina Moreira, who was ordained at St. Andrew in 2015 in Sarasota, wrote a letter to the papal envoy in Paris, volunteering to fill open ministerial positions including bishop, priest and pastor in communities in France. In response, the nuncio invited them to individual meetings with him in September.  So is this the beginning of an historic dialogue between a representative of Pope Francis and seven feminists including a woman priest advocating the full equality of all baptized in the Church? Stay tuned, Church!
Bridget Mary

Homily Sharing: 
What spoke to you in our readings and homily starter today? What did you hear?
What gives you hope? What challenges you?

Communal Statement of Faith

ALL (and 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 kindom 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 need our prayers. Our response is:
ALL: We remember and we pray.

Presider 2: We pray for our MMOJ community, especially for all those who are listed in our book of intentions.
For what else should we pray?

Presider 1: We remember these and all unspoken intentions.
ALL: 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.

Voice 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, speaking through our faith community, calling us to work for a more compassionate and just world.  
ALL:  Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer

Voice 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 turmoil. With thankful hearts, in the company of all holy women and men, your Loving 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

Voice 3:  O Heart of Love, Your Spirit moved through Peter, Mary of Magdala and all who serve the needs of their sisters and brothers. Your Spirit moves through us as we live our oneness and diversity in these chaotic times and promote human rights and the primacy of conscience.
Please extend your hands in blessing.

Presider 1 and ALL:   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 the 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)

Presider 2 and ALL:   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:

Presider 2 and ALL:   Christ has died in all those who have passed away;
Christ is rising in all those working for the well-being of humanity; 
Christ comes each day in our prayers and actions for a renewed world with justice and equality for all.

Presider 1:  Holy One, we remember and we are grateful for the companions who have gone before us: Mary, Mother of Jesus, Peter, Mary of Magdala, and all holy women and men who embrace every race and culture as Your own. May we be one as You are one in us and we in You.  We are grateful for our brother, Jesus, and we follow him…

(Presiders lift bread and wine)

For it is through learning to live as he lived,
And why he lived,
And for whom he lived,
That we awaken to your Spirit within,
Moving us to heal all divisions caused by our rituals, rules and theologies,
At this time and all time and in all ways.

Sung Amen

The Prayer of Jesus

Presider 2:  Let us pray as Jesus taught us: 

ALL:  O Holy One, who is within, around and among us,
We celebrate your many names.
Your Wisdom come.
Your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us,
Each day you give us all we need;
You remind us of our limits, and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us, now and forever.  Amen   (Miriam Therese Winter)  

Presider 1:  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 by Carey Landry

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 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 this table.  
ALL:  We are the Body and Blood of Christ for the world.

Please receive/share Eucharist now.

Communion Meditation: 

Presider 1:  Thanksgiving: Please unmute yourself if you have a thanksgiving to share.  Any announcements or introductions?

Concluding Rite

Presider 2:  As we go forth, we pray:  Holy One, Your presence is within us as we work for justice as co-equals responsible for the flourishing of your people. 
ALL:  And also within You.

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

ALL:  We go forth to live the Christianity that affirms our communal responsibility to live as the Christ Presence in the world.
We rejoice that Love is within us.
We celebrate Love outside of us.
We go forth, called to action and empowered by your Spirit to move mountains!

Closing Song: 

Blessing to the World, by Karen Drucker, Recorded for MMOJ Liturgy by Linda Lee Miller

You are the heart, you are the hands,
You are the voice of Spirit on earth.
And who you are, and all you do,
Is a blessing to the world.

We are the heart, we are the hands,
We are the voice of Spirit on earth.
And who we are, and all we do,
Is a blessing to the world.

I am the heart, I am the hands,
I am the voice of Spirit on earth,
And who I am, and all I do,
Is a blessing to the world.

You are the are the hands,
You are the voice of Spirit on earth.
And who you are, and all you do,
Is a blessing to the world... we’re a blessing to the world.

Liturgy: Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

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