Saturday, April 18, 2020

MMOJ Inclusive Liturgy- April 18th, 2020, Second Sunday of Easter, Presiders: Lee Breyer and Kathryn Shea ARCWP, Linda Lee Miller


                                                 Theme: The Gift of Doubt

Welcome and Gathering
Presider 1:  Welcome to our Zoom liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community, where all are welcome.  At these difficult times, it is now more important than ever to gather together to support one another as “companions on this journey”, a journey of the unknown.  For “wherever two or more of you are gathered in my Name, there is love.”

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. 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:

Gathering Song: “One Pair of Hands” by Elvis Presley

Opening Prayer

All: God of life, wholeness and holiness, you who direct all creation to its fulfillment in Jesus, the Cosmic Christ – help us to open our hearts to the message of the Gospel so that your peace may rule in our hearts and your justice may guide our lives.  Loving God, we pray that all world leaders, especially, acknowledge and practice the wisdom that you have given everyone so that we can all live together in the peace of Jesus and that we all can care for and protect our planet Earth and one another.

Presider 1:   We rejoice in Your presence within, around, and among us. We pray for those who are sick and suffering, for all of those not able to be with us today, and for all health care workers and care givers. With you, we rise up in love to bring new life to our world!

Communal Reconcilation Rite
Presider 2: 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.

Presider 1:  Let us give glory to our God ….
All (Sung):  Glory to God, glory, O praise God, Alleluia.  Glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God. (3X)

Liturgy of the Word
First reading   Acts: 2:42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Holy One added to their number those who were being saved.       
Teachings from the Acts of the Apostles.        
All: Thanks be to God.
Psalm 118:  Responsorial:  Give thanks to our God who is good, whose love is everlasting.
Let the house of Israel say it,/ “Your love is everlasting!”
Let the house of Aaron say it,/”Your love is everlasting!”
Let the house of our Holy One say it,/”Your love is everlasting!”
R: Give thanks to Our God, who is good, whose love is everlasting.

It was the stone rejected by the builders/that proved to be the keystone;
This is Our Holy One’s doing,/and it is wonderful to see.
R: Give thanks to Our God, who is good, whose love is everlasting.
Second reading: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Praised be the Abba God of Jesus the Christ who has given us great mercy and a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  An inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, is awaiting you, who are protected by the power of the Holy One through faith for an awakening ready to be revealed in time.

There is cause for rejoicing here.  You may for a time, have to suffer the distress of many trials. But this is so that your faith, which is more precious than gold, may by its genuineness lead to praise, glory and honor that, though perishable, is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the awakening of your souls.
From the teachings of the apostle, Peter.
All: Glory and thanks to our God. 
Gospel Acclamation:    Celtic Alleluia
Gospel: John 20: 19-31  
 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Temple authorities.   Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Having said this, Jesus showed them his hands and his side.
Then the disciples were filled with joy when they saw Jesus, who said to them again, "Peace be with you. As Abba God has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen Jesus!”
Thomas’ answer was, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."

Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."

Thomas answered him, "My Master and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."

Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Only Begotten, so that by believing you may have life in his name.
This is the good news according to John.

Second Sunday of Easter
April 18, 2020
Homily Starter: By Kathryn Shea, ARCWP
Theme:  The Gift of Doubt

I have, for a very long time in my life, had difficulty with this Gospel of the “doubting Thomas”.  I’ve always thought Thomas got a bad wrap of sorts, because he wanted some sort of proof that Jesus resurrected and reappeared to the disciples.  But, why is doubting a bad thing?  Doubt keeps our minds open.  I think we should always question what we hear/see to see if/where Truth lies, and if it resonates with us.  A part of the global crisis we are in today is because blind followers do not question or doubt our government and church leaders. And if we don’t follow their directives, orders, beliefs, we are called “radicals, socialist, heretics, etc.”  Jesus was accused of being a radical, a socialist, a heretic, make no mistake about that. So, I feel very confident in saying: We stand in great company.   Yes, Thomas wanted some verification of proof that indeed it was Jesus visiting the apostles.  And I say, good for him! 
So, this Gospel is really all about doubting vs believing.  I do not think doubting and believing are opposites.  I think you can both doubt and believe.  We, as a society, just tend to make everything black or white, right or wrong, real vs. unreal. But, what if there is room for both?
Many biblical scholars think that John’s Gospel was written at least 100 years after Mathew, Mark, and Luke, and at about the same time as the writing of Thomas’ Gospels.  In my thinking, which is continually evolving, the author of John’s Gospel might have been a bit threatened or jealous of the author of Thomas’ Gospel and might have seized an opportunity to throw Thomas under the bus as the “doubting Thomas”.
Biblical Scholar Elaine Pagels (Pay-gels) believes that John’s gospel was written in the heat of controversy, to defend certain views of Jesus and to oppose others. What John opposed includes what the Gospel of Thomas teaches—that God’s light shines not only in Jesus but, potentially at least, in everyone. Thomas’s gospel encourages the hearer not so much to believe in Jesus, as John requires, as to seek to know God through one’s own, divinely given capacity, since all are created in the image of God. And the Gospel of John won the debate and was included in the official canon of the New Testament. Thomas’ Gospel was discarded.
Who is correct? Maybe the church and civic society would have evolved very differently if the Gospel of Thomas had been added to the official canon.
The bottom line for me is… it’s okay and good to doubt, to have differing opinions, to ask questions, to verify, to think through, to research, to find what is my truth and resonates in my heart.  So, call me “doubting Kathryn”, but I applaud Thomas and appreciate doubting.  What about all of you?  How do you view doubt?
Shared Homily/Community Reflection
Profession of Faith
All:  We believe in the Sacred Mystery that is beyond all definition and understanding. The creator and heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that will exist in this ever-expanding universe.
We believe in Jesus of Nazareth, the human Jesus, the Divine Presence of God on earth, who carried the message of God’s Word and who, through the example of his life, showed us how we could heal ourselves and others.  He is the heart of God’s boundless compassion.  It is through him that we have become a new people.  We are here in this place and this time to share his message among ourselves and to others…the truth that we are all holy, that we were born holy, and that we shall be holy forevermore.
We believe in the Spirit, the breath of God in the cosmos who inspires our innermost life.  She brings the Divine Presence to all those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives.  And She is the one who helps us reach deeply within ourselves so that we can use the graces that will bring us healing and energy when our spirit may grow weary.
And we believe that God’s kin-dom is here and now, stretched out all around us for those with eyes to see it, minds to understand it, hearts to receive it, and hands to make it known to everyone.
We say: Amen to courage, to hope, and to truth.  We say: Amen to the partnership and equality of all people of different genders, races, and faiths.  We believe in a world of justice and peace for everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions.  In all of this, we surely believe.   

Prayers of and for the Community

Presider 1:  Aware that the Holy One is present within us and works through us, we bring to the table our intentions
All: We remember and we pray. 

Presider 2:  For  all  health care workers who are bringing healing to the suffering,
All: We remember and we pray. 

Presider 1:  For wisdom for government leaders in this world-wide pandemic,
All: We remember and we pray. 

Presider 2:  For those who have lost their health, jobs  and homes,
All: We remember and we pray. 

Presider 1:  For all those who need our prayers. Please speak your intentions now.  (pause)
All: We remember and we pray. 

Presider 2: We can do all things in the power of the Spirit working through us.
All: Amen

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 and works through us.

All:  Holy, Holy, Holy (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.”


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:
hrist 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.


Presider 2: Pease share Eucharist now.  (Instrumental music)

Post Communion Reflection

“You Are the Face of God” by Karen Drucker -  Linda Lee Miller

You are the face of God
I hold you in my heart
You are a part of me
You are the face of God.
You are the face of God
I hold you in my heart
You are my family
You are the face of God
Concluding Rite

Presider 1:   The Holy One is within You. 

All:  And also within You.

Presider 2: Please extend Your hands as we pray our final blessing. 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: Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens - #636

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world
Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dew fall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass
Mine is the sunlight
Mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning…
God's recreation of the new day
Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

Liturgy adapted from 2020 Easter Liturgy by Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

ARCWP/RCWP Article on Questions and Important Information about our Movement a renewed model of priestly ministry in a community of equals

One Pair of Hands by Elvis Presley

"The pandemic may speed up change in the Church- Unplanned for, unexpected and, perhaps, even undesired, the approaching end of the cultic priesthood has been accelerated by our present situation"

Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory of Washington celebrates Easter Mass to a virtual congregation at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington DC, April 12, 2020. The Archdiocese of Washington closed the basilica to the public and live-streamed...
My Response: Inclusive Catholic Communities with ARCWP/RCWP priests are providing Zoom liturgies where participants bless/consecrate bread and wine in weekly Eucharistic celebrations.
Our theology affirms that it is the gathered assembly who celebrates Eucharist, not the priest alone.
We are already providing leadership in this transition that Fr. William Grimm writes about in the article below.
From What Jesus Meant by  scholar Gary Wills:
Jesus disapproved of the sacrificial system and confronted the religious leaders, the priests . In the Gospels the priests are the most active plotters to kill Jesus. There were no priests among Jesus’ followers. Jesus did not ordain anyone.
(The Catholic Church claims that the apostles became priests at Last Supper and that Peter was the first Pope! no scripture basis!)
The early church functioned without priests. Gary Wills writes:
“nowhere  is it indicated that there was an official presider at the Christian meal (agape)much less that consecrating the bread and wine was a task delegated to persons of a certain rank. When the term priesthood finally occurs in the Pseudo Petrine letters it refers to the whole Christian community. (1 Peter 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9 Peter refers to himself as a  “fellow elder” among the other elders. ) (What Jesus Meant, pp 69-70 
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP 

"Now, because the pandemic has required the cancellation of liturgical gatherings in much of the world, we are experiencing what many Catholics, such as those in Amazonia, have experienced for years and which is the obvious future for the whole world. We are no longer able to gather in presbyter-led liturgies as we have known them for centuries...

Catholics are beginning to find new ways to share faith with each other, a search we must believe is inspired by the Holy Spirit who will not leave us bereft of the opportunity to gather in the name and real presence of the Lord.

Our new digital age of communications offers ways for communities to gather across vast distances. Someone in East Africa can worship with others in Scandinavia, South America and Oceania.
Obviously, sharing the Eucharist will mean something different from what has been the norm. Breaking bread and sharing the cup may take place simultaneously, though not in the same location. In that case, the declaration that the bread and wine are the Body and Blood of the Lord will take place in the “gathered” community, not relying upon a cleric who may not be “there.”
Father William Grimm is the publisher of UCA News and is based in Tokyo, Japan. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

"County, city must care for the most vulnerable" by Bridget Mary Meehan, Sarasota Herald Tribune

Kudos to Carrie Seidman for her April 12 column, “All talk, no action to protect homeless.” The failure of our city and county government officials to provide housing to protect and care for the unhoused is a moral failure and disgrace. We live in a community with plenty of money and resources, and with many people who care.
Our wonderful nonprofits are reliable partners in helping with this crisis, but many of these resources are no longer available because of the shutdown due to COVID-19.
We are all in this together. So, this means, Sarasota city and county officials, it is your job to lead, and take action now.
You were elected to solve difficult problems, not to talk about them forever. The only question is, are you up for the challenge?
For all of us, but especially for the most vulnerable among us, I hope so.
Bridget Mary Meehan, Sarasota, Florida

“Blessings” with Br. David Steindl-Rast

Bless what there is, for being. Whatever it be, bless it because it exists; you need no other reason.

Source of All Blessings, you bless us with breath 
In and out, in and out, ever-renewing us, ever anew, making us one with all who breathe the same air.
May this blessing overflow into a shared gratefulness, so that with one breath I may praise and celebrate life.
Source of All Blessings,
ou bless us with humility —
That down-to-earth quality that has nothing in common with humiliation but makes us stand tall and acknowledge both the humus that feeds us and the stars to which we aspire. 
May I learn to practice, and to honor in others, this sparkling humility which is the dignity that we, as human beings cannot afford to lose. 
Source of All Blessings, you bless us with imprecision —
With all that is vague, close but not quite; all that leaves room for the more specific, the more precise, and room for the imagination.
May I know when to be exact and when to move freely and blessed in the space so generously provided by all that is not perfectly defined, giving full scope to my dreams and my creativity.
Source of All Blessings, you bless us with memory 
That sacred ingathering of the past that allows us to recognize faces, learn poems by heart, find our way back when we are lost, and bring forth old and new from its nearly inexhaustible store. 
May I know what to forget and what to retain and treasure, keeping in mind the smallest kindness shown to me and spreading its ripples for a long time to come. 
Source of All Blessings, you bless us with change —
In the seasons of the year, from snow to greening, flowering, fruiting and harvest, in the seasons of life, from childhood to youth, full ripeness, and saging. All living things keep changing. 
May I welcome change as a sacred opportunity to grow and savor in each unrepeatable moment’s fleetingness what IS beyond change.
 Source of All Blessings,
you bless us with departures —
For they are a necessary part of our journey, necessary for the arriving. 
May I always be ready to take leave, always aware that every arrival is a prelude to departure, every birth a step towards dying, and may I thus taste the blessings of being fully present where I am. 
May blessings help to sharpen your taste for the gift of life in its immeasurable facets. May you grow ever more blessed, ever more able to bless.

Weave us Together' is by Rosemary Crow Weave

The song 'Weave us Together' is by Rosemary Crow

— Music & Lyrics by Rosemary Crow Copyright 1979
Weave, weave, weave us to-geth-er,
Weave us to-geth-er in u-ni-ty and love,
Weave, weave, weave us to-geth-er,
Weave us to-geth-er, to-geth-er in love.

We are man-y tex-tures, we are man-y col-ors,
Each one dif-f’rent from the oth-ers.
But we are en-twined with one a-noth-er
In one great tap-es-try….
Weave, weave, weave us to-geth-er,
Weave us to-geth-er in u-ni-ty and love,
Weave, weave, weave us to-geth-er,
Weave us to-geth-er, to-geth-er in love.

We are dif-f’rent in-stru-ments, play-ing our own mel-o-dies,
Each one tun-ing to a dif-f’rent key.
But we are all play-ing in har-mon-y
In one great sym-pho-ny….
Weave, weave, weave us to-geth-er,
Weave us to-geth-er in u-ni-ty and love,
Weave, weave, weave us to-geth-er,
Weave us to-geth-er, to-geth-er in love.

A mo-ment a-go, still we did not know
Our u-ni-ty, on-ly di-ver-si-ty.
Now Christ in me greets the Christ in thee
In one great fam-i-ly….
Weave, weave, weave us to-geth-er,
Weave us to-geth-er in u-ni-ty and love,
Weave, weave, weave us to-geth-er,
Weave us to-geth-er, to-geth-er in love.