Friday, February 19, 2021

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community,Presiders Anna Davis, Katy Zatsick ARCWP, Music Minister Linda Lee Miller, Feb. 20, 2021         

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Theme: “We Enter the Sacred Time of Lent” 

“God speaks in the silence of the heart, and we listen.

And then we speak to God from the fullness of our heart, and God listens.

And this listening and this speaking is what prayer is meant to be.”

--St Teresa of Calcutta

(Anna) Welcome:                                                                              

Welcome to our liturgical gathering on this Saturday afternoon. We rejoice that we can celebrate liturgy together during these difficult times. We extend to one another words of welcome, peace, and thanksgiving assuring each other that all are a part of this holy gathering. We invite you to pray the liturgy with us. You will be muted during the liturgy except for the presiders and readers. We thank our readers Judy and Kevin Connelly, and our ITs Peg Bowen and Pat Macmillan. When speaking please unmute and re-mute yourself. 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.

(Katy) Theme: Our celebration of Lent reminds us that the Hebrew people spent 40 years on a journey to new life in the promised land.  Jesus spent 40 days in the desert in prayer and fasting preparing himself to begin his public mission as prophet of reform for the people of his Jewish faith community.  RCWP teaches a theology of Original Blessing moving beyond the theology of atonement of Jewish understanding and of pre-Vatican II teachings. Our theology is informed by science teaching humanity is on an evolutionary journey into the Compassion and ONENESS who is Jesus “Our Alpha and Omega” our Cosmic Christ. 

Evolutionary theology experiences Lent as a time of spiritual reflection on deepening our relationship with God in whom we live and move and have our being. On Ash Wednesday we began the Sacred Time of Prayer and Reflection on where we are on our journey through life. We will spend 40 days in this desert conscious that we can travel deeper into our relationship with Holy Mystery and Jesus our wise Elder brother who left us his Path to follow through our own desert experience. We are called to spend time focusing on who we have been in life till this Lent and who we are called to become in preparation for rising with Jesus on Easter morning. (see endnote on the Hebrew understanding of sin)

Who I Was Born to Be   by Susan Boyle

When I was a child

I could see the wind in the trees

And I heard a song in the breeze

It was there, singing out my name

But I'm not a girl

I have known the taste of defeat

And I've finally grown to believe

It will all come around again

Refrain:  Though I may not

      Know the answers

                I can finally say I'm free

                If the questions

                Led me here, then

                I am who, I was born to be

So here am I

Open arms and ready to stand

I've got the world in my hands

And it feels like my turn to fly   R

When I was a child

There were flowers that bloomed in the night

Unafraid to take in the light

Unashamed to have braved the dark   R

Janet-Opening Prayer:  

Loving God, we come to listen to your Word, to experience your Word alive within us this Lent. May we find springs of Living Water as we journey through this wilderness time. May we learn and grow into who you call us to be following your path for our unique life.  May we be fearless in looking where we have missed the mark and may we spend time uncovering your gifts within us.  May we discover new beginnings through your Unconditional Love and your presence in our lives in these most challenging times. Amen. 

Sally-Remembering our living in the Communion of Saints and inviting their wisdom for our journey this Lent

            Loving God, we live and move and have our being in You. We give thanks for those throughout history who have affirmed your loving presence and moved your people to give witness to us through lives of faith.  They witnessed to your presence through lives characterized by love, mercy, compassion, generosity and forgiveness. We remember Mary and Joseph your parents and our own special saints we have known in our life time. May our ancestors in life and faith (pause: recall to mind those who shared wisdom with you) journey with us now as we spend time listening to Jesus who is our Way. We will spend time and reflection this Lent to deepen our experience of Holy Mystery. 

Anna-Transformation Rite:     

O Holy One, you call us to life in relationship first to you and ourselves with loving acceptance; then with our neighbors loving them as we love ourselves. Help us to experience your compassion within us so that on our journey in the desert we may be compassionate to all whom we meet. We ask this in Your Holy Name.  

All: I love you, I am sorry, please forgive me, thank you. Amen. 

Katy-Sign of Peace: Let us offer each other a sign of the Peace of Christ who walks with us through our Lenten journey.  (Namaste pose or other greeting) 

All: Namaste. May the Peace of Holy Mystery be yours as you journey toward Easter resurrection with Christ!

Liturgy of the Word

Janet-First Reading:  Sr Jean-Marie Howe, from “Cistercian Monastic Life/Vows: A Vision” p. 367 

Transformation through immersion and consciousness depends on our capacity to be penetrated by the Mystery of Christ. Our being, our substance, must be porous in order for the Mystery to enter, to penetrate.  That is the crux of the matter.  It is not enough simply to be immersed in… life. We must let ourselves be plowed so that the furrows of our person become deeper and deeper, so that our earth becomes softer and softer.  This is something our being craves, but this plowing is kenosis (emptying, the death which must precede new life, rebirth) and kenosis is not easy. In the measure that our being becomes porous, open, grace can penetrate us.  Depth is possible. Transformation is possible. Thus, an ever-deepening penetration by the Mystery can fill us with spiritual being. The inspired words of Jean-Marie Howe and we affirm them by saying; All: We listen with our souls. 

Sally-Responsorial Psalm: adapted from Psalm 78    (Nan Merrill-Psalms for Praying)

All: Response: Listen well, O peoples of the earth, to inner promptings of the Spirit.

Let Silence enter your house that you may hear!

For within your heart Love speaks:

of spiritual truths to guide you upon the paths of peace.

Response: Listen well, O peoples of the earth, to inner promptings of the Spirit.

Do not hide this from your children; teach the inward Voice, and help all generations to listen in the silence,

That they may know the Beloved and be free to follow the principles of Love. 

Herein lies the hope of the future; to live as co-creators with the great Creator, 

Not like those who live in ignorance too impatient to wait for Love’s word. 

Response: Listen well, O peoples of the earth, to inner promptings of the Spirit.

As you listen for Love’s voice within your own heart, 

You will live with integrity,

You will radiate love. 

For You, Love of all loves, gift us with freedom.

Response: Listen well, O peoples of the earth, to inner promptings of the Spirit.

Listen long in the Silence that the word may be heard.

That decisions arise from the depths of your Inner Being where Wisdom dwells.

For the Spirit of Truth is written upon gentle and open hearts, not as on stones of old.

With steadfast love will the Counselor guide you and 

to all who abandon themselves to the Beloved 

will the Divine Plan be revealed. 

Response: Listen well, O peoples of the earth, to inner promptings of the Spirit.

Anna and All: Praise to you Jesus, you are humanity’s Cosmic Christ

Anna-Gospel Reading:  Mark 1:12-15

Immediately (after his baptism by John) the Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness, and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan.  Jesus was with wild beasts and the angels looked after him.  After John’s arrest, Jesus appeared in Galilee proclaiming the Good News of God: “This is the time of fulfillment.  The reign of God is at hand! Change your hearts and minds, and believer this Good News!” We affirm the inspired words of Mark: All: We listen with our souls. 

Anna and All: Praise to you Jesus, you are humanity’s Cosmic Christ

Homily Starter

Anna’s Comments

"The Time Is Now"

As we enter the sacred time of Lent, Joan Chittister reminds us "That the spiritual life is a universally common call, not a graded exercise...What would it mean to the world if both lay and religious decided ‘To live as Jesus lived' rather than simply go to church was Church attendance and church law rather than the Gospel and scriptures that defined our spiritual responses to life.  In fact, our very distance from public affairs was itself a measure of the serious Christian life."

Reflecting on her words may help us to plan our Lenten Commitments of action.  Joan's words are " I am impelled to respond; I am impelled to do something; I am impelled to be me!  Let's Enter Lent with Actions motivated By Words!  

Katy: Our liturgy theme today focuses on our prayer and reflections during this Sacred time of Lent.

Mark’s Gospel is very brief “Immediately after his baptism by John, the Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness, and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. Jesus was with the wild beasts, and angels looked after him.” After Jesus spent time in the desert, he began his prophetic mission of healing, teaching, and embodying the reign of God in human community. Sr Jean Marie teaches that Lent can be a time of transformation for us IF we open ourselves to be furrowed and filled by the Grace of God. 

This year I celebrated my 78th birthday in January, I experienced it as benchmark birthday and was open to Sophia’s Wisdom.  During prayer and journaling I felt the energy of change growing within me.  Looking toward Lent and a time of deepening my relationship with God; I asked God to provide for me a new perspective, “What do I need to focus my prayer and reflection on this Lent?” As always, the Holy One provided a new book “Spiritual Essentials for Life’s Second Act LET THIS BE THE TIME” by Janet Schaeffler (I have outlined after the liturgy itself)  

Have you met any of these needs in your own life? 

Is there one or more that you would you like to focus your reflections and prayer around this Lent? 

I will focus on one and encourage you to use this resource or other resources that will help you focus on such needs/opportunities to grow and celebrate as we spend 40 days in the desert before we rise again with Jesus our Cosmic Christ.

Chapter 5 The Need to Navigate Change and Transition 

I have lived in Fl since 2010, my grandchildren were 9, 14 and 15. I spent a lot of time helping Lisa who became a single mom with three children. I helped with creating MMOJ legally and as a community. In the last 5 years, I have had 6 major surgeries, the last being a shoulder replacement.  I have helped with the creation of ARCWP and play an active role in committees and preside at liturgies both in Sarasota and Sun City Center itself. My daughter has remarried and begun a new life as a couple. My grandchildren are navigating college and moving on in their busy 20 something lives. 

I feel called to be active for justice especially for equality for Persons of Color as I have a great niece and nephew who are bi-racial. The deaths of George Floyd and others has proven the systemic racism that permeates our institutions. This Lent will be a discernment for my life going forward. As Sister Janet writes, pg. 66-67 listing the benefits of change for Personal growth, life values, strength and progress in emotional and spiritual growth. 

Please take a couple of minutes now to silently review what were your disciplines for Lent in the many years of your experience. 

We may use our Catholic imagination of the 21st century to reflect on this time with Jesus and ask “What will my spiritual journey this Lent look like?”

Katy: Let us listen to our reflection song then we will open for your thoughts on our readings. 

Be Still and Know I Am God-Kathy Sherman CSJ

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (from ARCWP Community of St Bridget)

Janet and all: We believe that where people are gathered together in love,

God is present and good things happen and life is full.

Anna and all: We believe that we are immersed in mystery, that our lives are more than they seem, 

that we belong to each other and to a universe of great creative energies, whose source and destiny is God.

We believe that the spirit of God beat in the heart of Jesus of Nazareth,

and God’s Good News was heard by the broken and wounded.

Sally and all: We are glad that the spirit of peace is present with us, the People of God

as we gather to celebrate our common existence, and the fidelity of God.

And most deeply we believe that in our struggle to Love, we incarnate God in the world.

Katy and all: And so aware of mystery and wonder, caught in friendship and laughter, 

we become speechless before the joy in our hearts as we celebrate the sacredness of life 

in this bread broken and wine poured out to be shared by all.  Amen.  (John Shea, adapted.)


Anna: You, O Holy One are our place of refuge; You continue to call us forth to be your people in a world of division and distress. You speak to us in the silence of our hearts, and we listen. And then we speak to you from the fullness of our hearts. And this listening and this speaking comes from an awareness of your presence within us and all of creation.  Response All: May we listen for your Word as we journey through the desert.

Janet: For the healing of all those impacted by Covid 19 especially for those who have lost friends or family. R: 

Sally: For the Biden-Harris administration and Congress that American Rescue Plan will be approved as rapidly as possible. R.

Anna: That all Americans will support the Constitution of the United States and the Rule of Law with equal justice for all. R. 

Katy: (lifting up MMOJ Book of Community Prayers) For all the intercessions in our MMOJ Book of Prayers. R. 

Katy: For what else should we pray: 

Katy and All: We open our hearts to Jesus Christ, O Holy Mystery, you bring to birth the world of your ever evolving creation of the universe and humanity.  During our Lenten journey give us courage to act justly and work collaboratively to change systems that keep people poor and marginalized in our society.  May our lives give praise to you as we walk you Way. 


Anna: (lifting up the bread) Blessed are you, O God, Creator of all.  In this time of our Lenten journey, our bread is your MMOJ community as we gather together bringing our souls’ openness to know you ever deeper.  Through your divine providence, we have this bread to offer, it will become for us the Bread of Life.   ALL:  Jesus, fill our hearts with your Spirit as we journey. 

Katy: (lifting up the wine) Blessed are you, Holy Mystery.  This wine is our desire to live following your Way of Love, may we this Lent permit you to furrow deeper into our souls that we will be open to be filled with your grace and presence.  Through your divine providence, we have this wine to offer, it will become our spiritual drink.  ALL:  Jesus, fill our hearts with your Spirit as we journey. 

Katy and All: Blessed are you, God of all creation and life, through your goodness we have this bread and wine and our own lives to offer as our gifts to you. Through this sacred meal and the gifts of Sophia Wisdom may we on our Lenten journey become your Loving Presence for all. Amen. 


Holy, Holy, Holy:  by Karen Drucker

We are holy, holy, holy,

We are holy, holy, holy,

We are whole.

Spirit Divine, Come to Me,

healing Love, healing Me.

Open my heart, allow me to see,

Beauty and love, lives in me.

You are (I am) holy, holy, holy…

Katy: We thank you for Jesus, who loved so greatly, taught so clearly, and proclaimed so courageously.  He set people free from images, ideas and religious practices that bound them in fear and a false sense of separation from you. Through Jesus, we know our loving actions become a share in your life.  In Jesus, we see your Spirit challenging us to make your presence more visible on earth.


 Anna and All: We thank You for Your Spirit of life and love among us. We are grateful that Your Spirit sets us free to discover your presence within us and in all of creation.  And for this we thank and praise You.  All: 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. 

(Please extend your hands in Blessing over the bread and wine) 

Janet and All: We remember that on the night before he died while at supper with his friends, family and disciples, Jesus took bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it all those present saying: “Take and eat, this is my body.”    (Pause)


Sally and All: When supper was ended, Jesus took the cup of wine, spoke the blessing and offered it to his family, friends and disciples saying: “Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life in you. Do this in memory of me.”


Katy: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.  

Katy and All: Nurtured by your Word, nourished by your food, called anew to be your people as we journey through Lent, we acclaim your praise.

Anna: Loving God, through Jesus You entrusted this pledge of love to us.  We celebrate the memory of his life, death and resurrection, and bring to You the gifts You have given us: reconciliation, justice, and peace. You fill us with Your Spirit in the sharing of this meal. You keep us in communion with one another and with all living beings. Your Spirit makes us a sign of unity, a model of equality and instruments of Your peace. 

Anna and All (Lift up the bread and wine) and sing: 

Great Amen:  Linda Lee Miller

Katy and All: Let us pray together the prayer of Jesus who knowing we would walk through the desert in challenging times taught us this prayer: 

Heavenly Mother, Heavenly Father, 

Holy and Blessed is your true name.

We pray for your reign of peace to come,

We pray that your good will be done,

Let heaven and earth become ONE.

Give us this day the bread we need,

Give it to those who have none.

Let forgiveness flow like a river through us,

From each one to each one to each one.

Lead us to holy innocence

Beyond the evil of our days.

Come swiftly Mother, Father, Come!

For yours is the power, the glory, and the mercy—

Forever your name is All in One. Amen          (Parker Palmer, Quaker Writer and Teacher, WI)

(All: Lift up the Bread and wine/juice)

Anna and All: This is the bread of Life; we will taste and see that our Loving God is good. We are worthy to receive the Body and Blood of Christ because we are the Body of Christ.  Amen. 

Janet and Sally: Let us now eat and drink mindful that The Holy One is present in each of us as we journey through entering into a deeper relationship with our Brother Jesus and our human family. All: Jesus you affirm our worthiness and by your word, we will heal the world.    

Communion Meditation: Kathy Sherman CSJ, “I Am with You on the Journey”


God of new beginnings, thank you for nourishing us in your sacrament. Reminded again of the power of your Infinite Presence within; we will journey through Lent. May we continue to open our hearts to the daily miracles of life that surround us each day as you speak to us through our thoughts, feelings and events of each day. We ask this in Your Holy Name.  All: Amen

Katy-Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions, and Announcements.

Janet, Sally and all: Let us raise our hands in blessing as we pray:

All: O God, may we give praise and rejoice for your call to renew and deepen our relationship with you this Lenten journey.

May we be ready and eager to accept your invitation to grow deeper in relationship with You in the depths of our souls and being.

May we hear Your truth for us in the silence of our bodies, minds and souls.

May we be open for healing transformation of our character defects during this holy season. 

May we have the strength to serve you more faithfully as we await resurrection with you on Easter.

May our efforts to grow ever deeper into our relationship with you be pleasing to you. 

This we ask through Jesus who is our Way, our truth and our life. Amen

All: Thanks be to God. Let our journey be so!

Closing Song: Blessing Song by Jan Phillips

May the blessing of peace be upon you may peace be all you know
may the blessing of peace be upon you may it follow wherever you go. 

Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem May peace prevail on earth 

Shalom, salaam, shaanti, pacem May peace prevail on earth. 

(continue with joy, love, light) 

END NOTE Hebrew understanding of sin: 

The Hebrew Understanding of Sin “Miss the Mark” versus “On the correct Path”: The Hebrew word for "sin" is חטאה (hhatah, Strong's #2403) and literally means "miss the mark." From my understanding of the Bible, there are two types of sin, accidental and deliberate. I explain it this way. The Hebrew people were a nomadic people and their language and lifestyle is wrapped around this culture. One of the aspects of a nomad is his constant journey from one watering hole to another and one pasture to another. If you are walking on a journey (literal or figurative) and find yourself "lost from the path," which is the Hebrew word רשע (rasha, Strong's #7563), you correct yourself and get back on the path. This was a "mistake" (accidentally missing the mark), but not deliberate. Once you are back on the right path, all is good. However, if you decide to leave the path and make your own, you are again "lost from the path", but this time, being a deliberate act, it is a purposeful mistake (missing the mark on purpose). In the Bible God gives his "directions" (usually translated as "commands") for the journey that his people are to be on. As long as they remain on that journey, they are tsadiq (Strong's #6662, usually translated as "righteous," but literally means "on the correct path"), even if they accidentally leave the path, but return (this is the Hebrew verb shuv, Strong's #7725, usually translated as "repentance," but literally means "to return") back to the correct path. 

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Article: Rethinking Christianity for 21st Century- Impact on Theologies and Community in Digital World by Gregory Sterling

"Theology. If we believe experience is a vehicle of theology, we will need to learn to respect the different experiences that shape theologies across the world. These will have a direct impact on our theological reflection. In China there are natural tensions between the official church and the underground or house churches, although these appear to be improving. In Africa, Christians struggle with the relationship between their spirituality and indigenous religions.11 The spirituality of African Christians is often a blend of native and Christian expressions.

These developments appear to me to be roughly analogous to the state of Christianity in the first three centuries C.E. At one time, there was a model of thinking of the early church as a single monolithic tradition. The tradition began with Jesus Christ, was developed by the apostles, and came to full expression in the work of the bishops who succeeded the apostles. Some offshoots from this tradition were heterodox, but they were exposed by the apostles and then by the heresiologists. This model of Christian origins is largely the construction of early Christian heresiologists like Irenaeus.

Twentieth-century scholarship overturned this model. Today it is recognized that Christianity emerged in different forms in various locales.12 The experience of Christianity in 1st-century Jerusalem was quite different than the Christianity in Corinth. Initially there was no such thing as orthodoxy in the sense of a uniform and well-defined movement. Orthodoxy emerged from the coalescence of various forms or patterns of Christianity. This does not mean that there was no continuity with the earliest forms of Christianity, but that orthodoxy was a clear development. It was not enforceable until the rise of bishops and the adoption of Christianity by Constantine.

In other words, rather than thinking of enforced uniformity, we need to think of diversity within a larger unity. If this is unnerving, we should remember that it was the diversity of the early centuries that helped to give Christianity its vibrancy and allowed it to take root in multiple circumstances throughout the Roman world. I think we need to allow for the same freedom today.

3) Community. The digital world is the greatest innovation since the printing press, and it has altered the way we think about community. The statistical rise of the “nones” has generated a new sociological category – people who have a sense of spirituality but are allergic to religious institutions. This generation forms customized cyber-communities rather than flesh-and-blood communities. The fact that two-thirds of the nones in the U.S. are spiritual but not religious makes them different from their more secular European counterparts. Notably, the phenomenon of non-affiliation is generational: 32 percent of those age 18-29 consider themselves nones, compared to only 9 percent of those over 65.

The current generation is wary of institutional forms of Christianity for many reasons. The scandals of the institutional church, the larger distrust of institutions, the failure of churches to proclaim the gospel clearly or authentically have all contributed. In my opinion, a crucial factor is the way younger people think about community and by extension religion. They regard religion as a matter of optional personal programming. Many create their own networks rather than join one that incorporates them. They do not join churches. Congregations are struggling to relate. As one minister memorably remarked: “We have too many eight-track churches in a MP3 world.”14 We need to learn how to build communities through digital communications that address the needs of flesh-and-blood human beings. We need to show how diverse people can live together and love one another in the spirit of Christ."