Saturday, January 11, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Liturgy, Baptism of Jesus, January 11, 2020, Presiders: Kathryn Shea, ARCWP, and Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons


Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
Baptism of Jesus
January 11, 2020
Kathryn Shea, ARCWP, and  Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP
Music Minister: Mindy Lou Simmons
Theme: Call to Ministry: The Gift of You


Presider: Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic community, where all are welcome to share the Eucharist. We use inclusive language in our scripture readings and prayers. We encourage respectful and reading-related comments in the shared homily. Everyone will be invited to gather around the Table to pray the Eucharist Prayer and share the Communion. We warmly welcome everyone to our liturgy today, especially our newcomers who will be invited to introduce themselves at the announcement time after Communion. Lastly, all are invited to join us for supper after the liturgy. 

Presider: Today we celebrate our baptismal call to live the good news of the Holy One’s love as blessings in our community and in our world. Jesus’ ministry was inclusive of men and women who were disciples and companions in proclaiming the Gospel. Like Jesus and his disciples, we are called, consecrated, gifted with many talents to be shared as we co-create a peaceful world through justice. 

Gathering Hymn: We Are Called

Centering/Opening Prayer 

Presider: Holy One, we give thanks for the human capacity for compassion, goodness, truth, ingenuity and courage. We give thanks for the many companions who exemplify these qualities for us. Through them we encounter you, the light and energy of the universe in human form. 


ALL: O Caring God, you create all that exists in our ever-expanding universe. You have done so out of your unending love. You call us to see the goodness and beauty always surrounding us so that we may live in harmony with all that you have created. You call us to live in peace with one another and to find ways to heal the wounds of hatred and violence, discrimination and oppression that too often surrounds us. Help us to find challenging ways of dealing with this…the methods of understanding and the strengths for compassion and forgiveness that Jesus exhibited during his time on this earth. We ask this so we may live in the love to which you have called us. 


Presider: Let us give glory to our loving Holy One. 

All (Sung): Glory to God, glory, O praise God, Alleluia. Glory to God, glory. 
O praise the name of our God. (2X) 

Liturgy of The Word 

First Reading: A Reading from the Prophet Isaiah 
IS 42:1-4, 6-7 

Thus says the Holy One, 
You are my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
You shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making your voices heard in the street.
A bruised reed you shall not break,
and a smoldering wick you shall not quench,
until justice is established on the earth. 

I have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness. 

These are the inspired words of the Prophet Isaiah and we affirm them by saying, Amen. 

Second Reading: The Gift You Are – Michael Morwood 

We are gifts of the universe unfolding for billions of years to produce a wondering and wonderful life-form with awareness, appreciation, and creativity. We are gifts of the universe, bringing us forth to sing, to dance and to be joyful on its behalf, on behalf of all of creation. We are gifts of the Great Mystery, permeating penetrating and embracing everything that exists, and coming to human expression in us. We are gifts of human love, of commitment of risk of hope of trust of promise of dreams of what could be. We are gifts of all the joy that love can bring, of dreams come true, of Divine possibilities. We are earthen vessels, gifted with the power and impulses that drive the universe. We are earthen vessels, charged with the Great Mystery at work everywhere in the vastness of the universe. We are gifts to be opened and shared, called to be co-creators of an evolving humanity, enablers of the “kingdom of God”. We come to this gathering to affirm our commitment to expansion, to risk to possibilities to the gift we want to be, and can be for anyone whose lives we touch. We gather around bread and wine and the story of Jesus who lived the gift of human existence wholeheartedly. We eat and drink today thankful for every person and for every influence in our lives that have helped and opened us to live beyond our fearful inner voices and have led us to embrace life wholeheartedly. We eat and drink as a public sign of our readiness to BE the gifts we are, open to the Spirit of Life and Love moving in our hearts and minds. To wherever the Spirit of Life and Love may lead us we give our, Amen. 

Celtic Alleluia 

Gospel: Matthew MT 3:13-17 

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to dissuade Jesus, saying,
“I should be baptized by you,
and yet you come to me?”
Jesus replied, 

“Leave it this way for now. 
We must do this to completely fulfill God’s justice.” 

So John reluctantly agreed.

Immediately after Jesus was baptized 
And was coming out of the water, 
The sky opened up 
And Jesus saw the Spirit of God descending 
As a dove and hovering over him. 
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my own, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” 

These are the inspired words of Matthew, disciple of Jesus, and we affirm them by saying, AMEN. 

Celtic Alleluia 

Shared Homily led by Mary Theresa Streck and Community Reflection 

As I was meditating on the readings for today, I thought about the reading from Isaiah and imagined that most observant Jews in first century Judea also meditated on that beautiful love poem. I thought of Jesus sitting in the synagogue in Galilee listening to this same reading just as you and I are listening to it today. And since the synagogues of that time were primarily a community gathering place, I imagine Mary, Joseph and Jesus sitting with their neighbors to listen and discuss their sacred text. 

Our Jewish ancestors entered into the sacred texts and found themselves in a relationship with the Beloved, the Holy One, the Source of All That Is. And they heard the call to use their gifts in gratitude to the Beloved for the sake of the community. I imagine that the Isaiah text lit a fire in the heart of the young Jesus who realized his call to be a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, and to release those who lived in darkness. I believe that realization led him to the Jordan River where he publicly dedicated himself to the Holy One.

The Isaiah love poem and the Morwood song of praise are meant for you and me and it is an affirmation of the gifts we are for each other. As a son or daughter of the Holy One, we are called, consecrated, and ordained to use our gifts to co-create a peaceful and just world community.

As I was preparing for my ordination, that text in Isaiah lit a fire in my heart and affirmed my call to ministry. As we, the MMOJ Community enter the texts today, do we hear our call from the Beloved and our call to recognize and support each other’s gifts?

What did you hear today in the readings?

Renewal of Baptismal Promises (Jay Murnane) 

I promise to see what is good for my sisters and brothers everywhere, rejecting injustice and inequity and living with freedom and responsibility as a child of the Holy One. 

I promise to work for the realization of the Spirit’s vision of harmony and right relations among all peoples, rejecting the idols of money and property and color and sex and power. 

I promise to seek peace and live in peace in one human family, rejecting prejudice and half-heartedness in every form, and all barriers to unity. 

I promise to cherish the universe, and this precious planet, working creatively to renew and safeguard the elemental sacraments of air, earth, water, and fire. 

I believe in the Holy One, the great Spirit of Creation, in Jesus, the simple servant of justice and love who lived among us so that all might live with abundant fullness; in the breath of the Holy One’s center, the Spirit who continues the work of forgiveness and reconciliation, birthing and blessing, challenge and hope, so that together we can continue the work of creation. Amen 

Prayer for Our Community 

ALL: 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. [Please state your own intentions. (“I ask prayers for…..”) 

Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God, amen. 

Preparation of the Gifts 

Offertory Song: Wade In The Water

Gathering of the Gifted 

Presider: Blessed are you, God of Creation, through your goodness we have this bread to offer…this grain of the earth that human hands have prepared for our use. It will become for us the bread of life. (Hold it up.) 

Presider: Blessed are you, God of Creation, through your goodness we have this wine to offer…this fruit of the vine that human hands have prepared for our use. It will become our spiritual drink. (Hold it up.) 

Presider: Jesus, who has often sat at our tables, now invites all of us to join him at his. Everyone is welcome to share in this blessed meal. (Everyone is invited to the table) 

ALL: Blessed are we who have been called to this table of plenty by the God who loves us and the Spirit who strengthens us on our journey. Let us show our gratitude and care for one another in our recognition of the Divine that exists in each one of us. Namaste 3x 

Liturgy of the Eucharist 

Presider: Please join in praying the Eucharistic prayer (Written by Jay Murnane) 

Voice 1: God beyond our words, we gather to give thanks and open our awareness to the goodness of all of creation. You invite us to co-create with you and we remember our responsibility to serve. 

Voice 2: We open this circle to the memory of all of the joyful troubadours and faithful servants who have gone before us. Joined with all that is alive, we lift up our lives and sing: 

ALL: We are holy, holy holy… 

Voice 3: We thank you for Jesus, simple servant, lifting up the lowly, revealing you as God-With-Us, and revealing us as one with you and all of creation. 

Voice 4: On the night before he died, Jesus gathered for supper with the people closest to him. Like the least of household servants, he washed their feet, so that they would re-member him. 

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

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

Presider: (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) 

Let us share this bread and cup to proclaim and live the gospel of justice and peace. 

Voice 5: We are willing to do everything Jesus did, to re-create the living presence of a love that does justice, of a compassion that heals and liberates, of a joy that generates hope, of a light that illumines people and confronts the darkness of every injustice and inequity. 

Voice 6: So, we trust you to continue to share with us your own spirit, the spirit that animated Jesus, for it is through his life and teaching, all honor and glory is yours, O Holy One, forever and ever. Amen. 

Presider: 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 (sing Great Amen) (Miriam Therese Winter) 

Sign of Peace 

Presider: Please join hands and send peace to each other as we sing our peace song: Peace is Flowing Like a River

Prayer for the Breaking of Bread 

Presider: Please join in the prayer for the breaking of the bread: 
Presiders break the bread 

All: Holy One, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly. 
You call us to be Your presence in the world. We will love tenderly.
You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence. 

(Presiders hold up bread and wine) 

Presider: "This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Through it we are nourished and we nourish each other. 

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. 

Communion: Instrumental – Come to the Water 

Communion Meditation: How Could Anyone Ever Tell You - sung by Mindy Simmons. 

Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion 

Presider: Holy One, may this Eucharist in which we share Christ’s healing love deepen our oneness with you and with one another. May the wonder and thanksgiving of this blessed meal fill us with a deeper knowledge, understanding, and experience of your love and compassion for each one of us. And may this be reflected in the love we share with all we come in contact. 

All: To this, our prayer, we all say….Amen. 

Introductions, Gratitudes, Announcements 

Closing Community Commissioning 

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

All: May we continue to be the face of God to each other. May we call each other to extravagant generosity! May we walk with an awareness of our call as companions on the journey, knowing we are not alone. May we, like Jesus, be a shining light and a blessing in our time! 

All: Amen. 
Closing Song: Sing A New Church

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Church must Face its own Role in Violence against Women Jan 7, 2020, by Jamie Manson , National Catholic Reporter

20200101T0843-0467-CNS-POPE-NEW-YEAR crop.jpg

Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he celebrates Mass on the feast of Mary, Mother of God, in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Jan. 1. (CNS/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis delivers his blessing as he celebrates Mass on the feast of Mary, Mother of God, in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Jan. 1. (CNS/Paul Haring) 

My Response:
I agree with Jamie Manson's excellent analysis on the Church's complicity in violence against women. The challenge the Church faces is to change its teachings and laws to reflect the full equality of women as images of the divine and decision-makers. In order to achieve this, Pope Francis must begin by acting on his words that women are equal to men. It is also important that the Church abandon a theology of complementarity which asserts male superiority that men have a "God-given"right to rule over women." And it is time to stop blaming God for sexism in the Church and embrace the full equality of women in every aspect of the Church's teachings, liturgies, laws and practices! Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,
Of all of the religious instruction classes that my mother took as a girl, one lesson in particular always seemed to stay with her: the day that the nun explained the church's teaching on divorce.
A girl in the class asked the sister whether it would be okay to leave her husband if he hit her.
"No," the nun replied. "Even if he beats you, you have to stay with him."
When she got home from class, my mother told my grandparents about the lesson. Horrified, they vehemently disagreed with the nun and told her she would have to divorce any man who put his hands on her.
My mother has recounted this story many times throughout my life, and what strikes me most about it is that she, in fact, did stay with a man who hit her. He was my stepfather, and I was 4 years old when I witnessed him punch her. I was never the same again...
...And yet the pope is the leader of a church that still to this day does not clearly teach that divorce is acceptable in situations of domestic violence. Francis' apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia quotes Pope John Paul II in telling those in abusive marriages that "separation must be considered as a last resort, after all other reasonable attempts at reconciliation have proved vain..."
And Francis still has not managed to definitively change the church's teaching that those who are divorced and remarried outside the church should be denied Communion, a spiritual violence that only exacerbates the shame and guilt heaped on those who have ended their marriages...
For all of the pope's concern about women, he still does not believe that they are equal to men. The day that teaching changes, the church can really begin confronting all forms of harm, oppression and degradation forced on women because of the dehumanizing belief that they are inferior simply on the basis of their sex.
The next time the pope wants to preach about the horrors of domestic violence or any other violence against women, he should first examine the ways in which the teachings of his own church play a role in creating or reinforcing women's suffering."
[Jamie L. Manson is books editor and an award-winning columnist at the National Catholic Reporter. Follow her on Twitter: @jamielmanson.]