Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Community Liturgy – Second Sunday of Lent- Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, Jill Striebinger ARCWP, Feb. 27, 2021
Zoom link for video- 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
ID 851- 0809-5506
Credit: Unsplash: Ben White
Theme: Listen to the Holy One and Follow Jesus Today
Jill: Welcome to our liturgical gathering on this Saturday afternoon.We thank our readers and IT team for being part of our liturgical team today. When speaking please unmute and re-mute yo urself. During the shared homily we ask you to unmute yourself to contribute your thoughts and when you are finished, remember to re-mute yourself. Have bread and wine/juice in front of you for communion and a lighted candle to remind us that God is always present.
Opening Song: I Am the One Within You
In these hard times, we commit ourselves to listen with open hearts and to respond to the needs of our sisters and brothers by loving service.
ALL: We will follow Jesus.
In this time of racism, sexism, violence and poverty, we commit ourselves to listen with compassion and to respond by working to change unjust structures.
ALL. We will follow Jesus.
In this time of divisiveness and hostility
we commit ourselves to listen deeply to the struggles and conflicts, and respond by fostering unity, community, and diversity.
All: We will follow Jesus.
Opening Prayer: (Jill)
Holy Mother, how difficult it must have been for you to remain silent and trust that the child you gave birth to knows what God needed him to do. In order to allow our children to grow and be independent, we sometimes encourage, we sometimes admonish, and we sometimes stay silent, hold our breath, watch, and exhale a prayer for our child’s higher good. As Jesus modeled The Way, so have you modeled the motherhood of Jesus. May God give us the wisdom to know when it is right to be silent and when it is right to speak up. May God grant us the grace to listen with open hearts to maintain compassion for ourselves and others.
LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Ann C.
Spirituality of Listening by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Time and again in the last month of his life Moses told the people, Shema: listen, heed, pay attention. Hear what I am saying. Hear what God is saying. Listen to what the Holy One wants from us.
Speaking and listening are forms of engagement. They create a relationship. We can enter into a relationship with God because we are linked by words. In revelation, God speaks to us. In prayer, we speak to God. If you want to understand any relationship, between husband and wife, or parent and child, pay close attention to how they speak and listen to one another. Ignore everything else.
There is something profoundly spiritual about listening. Listening lies at the very heart of relationship. It means that we are open to the other, that we respect him or her, that their feelings matter to us. A good leader listens to those he or she leads. Listening does not mean agreeing but it does mean caring. Listening is the climate in which love and respect grow.
Listening is the prelude to love.
These are the inspired words of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and we affirm them by saying, Thanks be to God.
Response: Be still and know that I am God by Shaina Noll
Second Reading: Donna N.
The Art of Silence from Aspects of the Heart by Sister Joan Chittister
“Silence is where we must go when we want to be truly spiritual people. Only there does God speak to the heart. But learning how to keep silent and when to keep silent—and when not to—is a great spiritual art.
Hard and bitter silence refuses to allow another person the chance to change the position that has hurt me. It refuses, as well, to allow me to understand the needs of those around me. Soft and pliant silence makes it possible for the other to speak. More than that, it enables me to see the world from someone else’s point of view.
Calm and receptive silence invites the ideas of those around me. It gives them dignity and value. It gives me another side to my personality.
Silence that is cowardly appears to agree with everyone but in the end contributes more to division than to unity. It questions nothing, understands nothing, advances nothing in a group. It is more about safety than it is about growth. “Sometimes,” the graffiti artist wrote, “silence is not golden–just yellow.”
Silence requires us to attend to the turmoil within us. It refuses to allow us to ignore our own greatest questions in life. The silence that seeks to bury our secrets from ourselves only eats away at our own souls.
There is no virtue in keeping silence in the face of injustice. That kind of silence only makes us either the accomplice or the thrall of those who refuse to allow another truth to be spoken. The silence we keep in the company of evil is evil. Truth spoken out of the hot center of the cave of silence is always a gift.”
These are the inspired words of Joan Chittister and we affirm them by saying, Thanks be to God.
Gospel Acclamation: Spirit of the Living God- Linda Lee Miskahttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-4Oe8mt--o&feature=youtu.be
Gospel: Jack D.
A reading from the Gospel of Mark
Mark 8 31-37
Jesus began explaining things to his disciples: “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.” He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it.
But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! You have no idea how God works.”
Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You are not leading; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?
These are the inspired words of the Gospel writer, Mark, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.
Peter gets admonished, chewed out by Jesus because Peter tried to take away Jesus’s autonomy, his power, his vision of a God of love whose life giving Spirit within us gives us the ability to change the world.
Peter’s intention was good. He cared deeply for Jesus. But Peter has no authority to make choices for Jesus and that was why Peter was rebuked.
In contrast, Jesus’s own mother, Mary stood by silently. Why? Because she birthed Jesus in a state of grace and awareness. Jesus grew up with a mother who challenged injustice poverty and prayed for the well-being of the oppressed. She knew that it was her job to make choices for him when he was a child and it was her job to teach him how to make his own independent choices.
This physical birthing is synonymous to our spiritual birthing as this physical death that Jesus exemplified is synonymous to our spiritual death. Jesus showed us that once you are dead you cannot be killed again. Jesus gave us a Way to birth ourselves. By his resurrection, he showed us that we are born into a new reality that is aligned with God.
Like Peter, Christians for centuries, have struggled to understand why Jesus suffered an unjust tormented death.
“Contemporary theologians,” Elizabeth Johnson writes, “offer a shift from the cross as a sole, violent act of atonement for sins before an offended God, to the cross as an act of suffering solidarity that brings divine saving power into intimate contact with human misery, pain and hopelessness. “
In a world torn apart by hatred, violence, grief and greed, unless we confront the Peters in our world, who maintain structures of domination, we will not be able to live as equal and beloved images of God. “Sadly, it seems that until the freedom of the powerful is inconvenienced by the oppression of the marginalized, they will remain silent and impotent,” writes Rev. Dr. irie Lynne Session, “Sometimes, we’ve got to shout it out? Sometimes, we’ve got to speak up! Sometimes we must move out of the comfort zones of silence.” ( The Gathering, A Womanist Church, p. 119.
In times when we experience our own fragility, in times when our only prayer is help, in times when we weep and wail, the Voice of God speaks within us and within others.
In the 1970’s when I was on my first mission as an IHM Sister, in Philadelphia , my Dad was hospitalized with life-threatening pancreatitis. I prayed my heart out and finally when I was at my wits end, I heard a Voice within me saying: “ I love your Dad far more than you do, I will take infinitely better care of him than you can imagine.”
In my journey through the ups and downs with cancer during this past year, I have felt the Christ Presence speaking to me in the healing prayers and embraces of family, friends, and through you, my dear MMOJ community. My journey is lead me to a deeper listening to the heartbreaking sufferings of others in similar situations and a powerful experience of the healing power of love.
Being a disciple of Jesus today may take us places that we never have imagined. As we pray together, love one another and act together for justice, Jesus walks with us, Mary walks with us, Peter walks with us, the entire Communion of Saints walks with us. We are never alone.
What more could we ever want?
Shared Homily- Reflection Question:
What did you hear in today’s readings, music and homily starter about deep listening to the Holy One and following Jesus?
Jill and all:
Statement of Faith
We believe in the Holy One, 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 the Divine Word,
bringer of healing, heart of Divine compassion,
bright star in the firmament of the Holy One's
prophets, mystics, and saints.
We believe that We are called to follow Jesus
as a vehicle of divine love,
a source of wisdom and truth,
and an instrument of peace in the world.
We believe in the Spirit of the Holy One,
the life that is our innermost life,
the breath moving in our being,
the depth living in each of us.
We believe that the Divine 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 Community:
Cheryl: As we prepare for the sacred meal, we bring to the table our intentions.
(Katy reads intentions from our Book)
Jim: You are invited to share your intentions now with these or similar words: I bring to the table…..)
Cheryl: O Holy One, you know our needs before we even speak. We hold the needs of our sisters and brothers in our hearts and will walk with them in prayerful solidarity in the days ahead. Amen.
Please lift up your bread and wine and pray together:
(Bridget Mary and all): Blessed are you, Jesus of Nazareth. It is through your goodness that we have this bread and wine and our own lives to offer. Through this sacred meal may we live as the Body of Christ in our world.
ALL: Blessed be God forever.
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
Cheryl B. and All:
O Divine Listener, we hear you speak to us in all who suffer and grieve. We hear you speak in all living beings for healing of our Earth. We trust that you work through us for the well-being of all. Trusting in your infinite love present everywhere, we sing:
Holy, Holy, Holy: by Karen Drucker
(We are holy, holy holy, you are holy, holy, holy, I am holy, holy, holy.)
Jim B and all: We thank you for our brother, Jesus, and for all our sisters and brothers who have done what is right and just instead of what is easy and comfortable in times of turmoil.
Bridget Mary and all: (Please extend your hands in blessing).
Loving God, intensify the presence of Your Spirit in these our gifts, as they, and we, become the Body and Blood of Jesus the Christ for our holiness and the wholeness of all creation.
On the night before he faced his own death, Jesus sat at supper with his companions and friends. He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly with them, he bent down and washed their feet.
(All lift the plate and pray)
Jill and All: When he returned to his place at the table, Jesus lifted the bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying:
Take and eat, this is my very self.
All lift the cup and pray:
Then he took the cup of the covenant, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying:
Take and drink.
Whenever you remember me like this,
I am among you.
Jill and all: Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith: Nurtured by your Word, nourished by your food, called anew to be your people as we journey through Lent, we acclaim your praise.
Cheryl B.. and All: Loving God, we join our hearts with all who are working for justice, equality and peace. We pray for wisdom for leaders in our religious and world communities.
Jim B. and All: We believe that the entire Communion of Saints, Mary Mother of Jesus and all our beloved saints cheer us on as we listen more deeply to the Holy One’s call to follow Jesus today.
Please hold cup and plate and pray:
Cheryl B and all: For it is through living as Jesus lived that we awaken to your Spirit within, moving us to love you and to serve others each day, we sing,
Great Amen: Linda Lee Miller
Jim B. and all: Let us pray as Jesus taught us:
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.
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.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us,
now and forever, Amen.
Adapted by Miriam Therese Winter
Sign of Peace:
Jill: Let us offer one another a sign of Peace.
Breaking of Bread:
Bridget Mary and all: Loving God, you all us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.
Jill and all: : Loving God, you call us to be Your presence in the world. We will love tenderly.
Bridget Mary and all: Loving God, you call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity.
Let us now eat and drink the Sacred Meal. Please receive communion saying: I am the Body of Christ.
Communion Song: Abide with Me – Carrie Newcomer
Closing Prayer :
Jill: Holy One, may we respect the autonomy of each individual by allowing them the grace to follow God in The Way they are called to follow. May we always speak up when we or those in vulnerable positions need advocacy for self-determination. May we be like mothers to ourselves and others by following Mary’s example – discerning when to advocate and when to stay silent.
Gratitudes, Introductions, Announcements
Jill and all: Please extend your hands and pray our blessing:
As we leave our celebration today, let us consider how very special each of us is as Jesus’ disciples in our world today.
Bridget Mary and all: May we listen deeply to God’s call to love , heal, comfort and bless others as Jesus did .
Jill: Go in peace, my sisters and brothers!
All: Thanks be to God.
Closing Song: You Raise Me Up
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