Friday, March 5, 2021

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy, Third Sunday of Lent, March 6, 2021, Presiders: Joan Pesce & Kathryn Shea ARCWP Readers: Mary Kay Staudohor and Lee Breyer         

Zoom link for video- 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

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                           Theme:  Listen with your Heart”


(Joan) 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 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. And now, let us quiet our hearts so that we may fully hear the words of our Creator. 

Welcoming Song: Come As You Are – The Many

Opening Prayer

(Kathryn) Oh Holy One, we are delighted to gather with you today as we share this sacred space and as we celebrate our oneness in you.  You said to us, “Pay attention to how you listen!”  As we gather today, may we ever be more mindful of how we listen; to ourselves, to others, and to you, our Holy One.  May we also pay greater attention to the many ways in which you speak to us so that we are better able to listen to the messages from the trees, the animals, the wind, and the clouds.  You are alive in all that we see, smell, taste, touch, and hear on this Earth.  May our hearts be open to listen to all the ways that you speak to us and through us.  We live with the comfort of knowing you reside in our hearts and ours in you.  And to this, we say, AMEN.

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: A Reading from The Art of Spiritual Listening by Alice Fryling

(Mary Kay)  When we listen to people who are in doubt and spiritual pain, we listen to them, and we wait with them.  We wait attentively to see how God will minister to them.  

Our presence, our attentiveness, our questions, our responses are all important, but we need to remember that we are primarily observers.  “Intense listening is indistinguishable from love, and love heals.  This kind of listening means that the people receiving attention are allowed to be the experts of their own pain.” We are companions to the one who is on the journey.  It is not our journey.  But our presence is vital for the one who is walking by faith and not by sight.

By our presence and love for our doubting or troubled friend, we are affirming the love and presence of God who spoke through the prophet Jeremiah:

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares our God, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray with me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you.” {Jeremiah 29:11-14)  

These are the inspired words of Alice Fryling and we affirm them by saying, Thanks be to God.

Responsorial: The Law of the Lord

Gospel:  John 2:13-25

(Lee) Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, 
as well as the money changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, 
and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, 
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, 
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 

Then, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.

While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing.
But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, 
and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.
He himself understood it well.

These are the inspired words of the Gospel writer, John, and we affirm them by saying, Amen. 

Profession of Faith

(Joan and ALL):  We believe in the Divine Mystery, beyond all description and understanding, the heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that will ever exist in this expanding universe.

We believe in Jesus of Nazareth, the human Jesus … an enlightened soul who carried the message of God’s Word everywhere he went.  Jesus showed us how we could heal ourselves from our spiritual weaknesses. Jesus is the heart of God’s compassion.  He is the bright star in the firmament of God’s prophets, mystics, and saints.  And it is through him that we have become a new people.  We are can share an important and key teaching of his message: that we are all holy, we were born holy, and we shall be holy forever.

We believe in the Spirit, the one who inspires our innermost life.  She keeps the Holy One present to all those who are searching for meaning and wholeness in their lives.  She strengthens our call to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God’s love.  She is the one who helps each one of us reach deep within ourselves so that she can energize us when our spirits grow weary.

And we believe that God’s kin-dom is “here and now,” stretching out all around us and it is experienced by those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and hands to share it with all those with whom we come in contact.

Prayers of the Community

(Lee)  With heads and hearts mindful of God’s unconditional love that is embedded in each one of us, let us all bring our needs and those of everyone here with us today.  After each intercession, let us respond: Healing God, grant us your blessing.

That those who are suffering with Covid-19 may find some degree of comfort in their suffering.  Healing God….

That those who find themselves in a quite sad state of aloneness resulting from the safety and healing processes of the virus.  Healing God…

That those who are in housing or financial difficulties find the means needed to relieve at least some of the painful results of their challenging situations.  Healing God…

That those in broken homes and families, especially those living on our borders, find physical and mental relief.  Healing God….

And for whom or what else do we pray today ……  (“I bring to the table….” please make your intentions here) 

Joyful God, we know you attend to our prayers and respond with your wisdom and love.  In you, we place our faith.  ALL: Amen.

Offertory Prayer

(Kathryn) Please lift up your bread and fruit of the vine for this short blessing, then you can put it down.

(Joan): 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 gain our strength to live the new lives that we are called to in our current temporary settings. 

ALL: Blessed be God forever.

(Kathryn):  Divine Presence, we believe that you are always with us, loving in each one of us, and healing others through us.

ALL: Namaste (with a facing hands and a nod gesture)

(Joan) We are grateful for our many blessings, especially that we are able to gather together. 

Eucharistic Prayer

(Mary Kay)  Ever present and always caring, loving God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. In you we live and move and have our very being. Your Spirit dwelling in us gives us the hope of unending peace and joy with you.  Your gift of the Sprit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is the foretaste and promise of the paschal feast of heaven.  We join together with all those who have gone before us and now live in the eternal now, as we sing…

SONG:  We are holy, holy, holy …you, I, we.

(Lee)  We thank you, God, for the gift of Jesus in history – and the gift of Jesus in faith.  You raised him up from among your people to baptize us in your Spirit.  His life was moved by his vision of your presence among us.  He burned with insight and truth, revealed you in his life well lived and He showed us, through his example, not only how we should live but also for what we may die.

(Joan)  When his time had come, Jesus suffered for what he deeply believed and taught – namely, that it was his conviction that love is stronger than death.  And then, as a model of the depth of his belief in that for those in ages to come, he opened wide his arms and died.  The Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead showed us that life is eternal and love is immortal. Jesus is with us today and he will be though the end of time.

Joan and ALL:  O God, let your Spirit of life, healing and wholeness come upon these pieces that were gathered from vines and the fields and are with us today as we celebrate this liturgy. May She have them become for us the Body and Blood of the resurrected Christ, our brother.  (Please extend an arm toward your bread and wine as we pray the Consecration together).  

(Kathryn)  We remember the gift that Jesus gave us on the night before he died.  He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal. And it was at that supper that he took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this, all of you, and eat it.  This bread is you; this bread is me. We are one body, the presence of God in the world.  When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you.  This is the new and everlasting covenant.

In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: take this all of you and drink it.  This wine is you; this wine is me. We are one blood, the presence of God in the world.  When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you. This is the new and everlasting covenant.     

Let us proclaim this mystery of faith…

Kathryn and ALL: Jesus has died.  Christ has risen.  The cosmic Christ lives in and through us in the world today 

We believe that the Spirit of God works through us, She can and will do more than we could ever know or even imagine. The Spirit gives us the strength to be compassionate carriers of the Gospel message. Amen.       

The Prayer of Jesus

Joan and All:  THE LORD'S PRAYER

An adaptation for our times by Lenora Rand 

God of Love, who we experience as mother, father, friend, lover,

our deepest longing, our best thought, our solid ground,

the sacred soil from which everything grows, our greatest hope.

Your love covers the entire earth, holding us all in your embrace.

You hold everything together. We want to know what your vision for the world is - help us. We want to live in that vision - guide us.

Everything we eat and drink, everything that gives us life and joy,

it all comes from you.

We want to thank you for your mercy. You hold nothing back.

Help us be that open and generous with others and with ourselves.

Help us forgive each other. Deep in our hearts we believe that this is your world

and that you love us all. Help us live with you and with each other in that powerful love. 

And together we will sing of your mercy and grace and power, forever and ever, Amen.

Sharing the Peace of Christ

Kathryn:  In Christ, we are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters to one another.  We have been given the gifts of compassion and peace.  

As members of Gods Blessed Family, let us share those gifts with one another always in our actions and extend a sing of peace to one another.

Communion: as we eat the bread and wine that we consecrated

Lee: Loving God, you call all us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.  We will live justly.

Mary Kay: Loving God, you call us to be Your presence in the world. We will love tenderly.

Joan:  Loving God, you call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity.

Kathryn:  And, in all these things, we will live with our lives and listen with our hearts.  .

Kathryn:  We have Jesus with us here in the Bread of Life and the cup of the new Covenant.  Let us now eat and drink the Sacred Meal.

(Please take/share Communion at this time saying: “The Bread of Life” (when taking the bread.) and “The Cup of Compassion” (when taking the wine)

Communion Song: 

Listen With Your Heart - Oribel Joy Divine

Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion

Joan & ALL:  Let us go forth in compassion and peace, holding fast to what is good and rejoicing in the power of the Spirit. May we always be the Face of God to the world reflecting well God’s compassionate and caring presence in us to everyone we meet.  May we always listen to ourselves, our neighbors, and our Creator with our hearts. 

Gratitudes - Introductions – Announcements

Closing Blessing   (please extend an arm in mutual blessing)

Lee:  May our gracious God bless all of us gathered here for our Celebration.  We ask this always in the name of our God – our Creator, in the name of Jesus – our Model, and in the name of the Holy Spirit – our Sanctifier, as we minister to one another and to all those we meet on our journeys.  Be with us as we all continue on our paths and follow in the footsteps of Jesus.  May we be the listening heart to the world.

Closing Song

The Spirit Is a-Movin’ – by Carrie Landry

Performed by Linda Lee Miller


Help MMOJ Move Forward!

If you are interested in being part of a team to investigate

expansion of Zoom/technology for post-Covid liturgies,

please send email to Joan Pesce,

Would you like to be part of Liturgical Team to Plan Easter Vigil?

If so, please join us on Friday, March 12, 10:30 AM- Noon.

Visit Bridget Mary's Blog to Review Liturgy for 2020 as a starting point for our discussion

Zoom Link for Liturgical Planning Meeting on March 12th, Friday, 10:30Am- Noon

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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Rejoice, Pray, and Be Grateful in this Time of Pandemic, Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. " 1 Thessalonians 5;16-18

In Living Well Through Lent 2021, Robin Brent makes an important point about this passage: 
"Scripture encourages us to be grateful in all things, not necessarily to be grateful for all things."

I don't think anyone would say that we should be grateful for a year-long pandemic that resulted in millions of deaths worldwide and unimaginable suffering for those who lost loved ones, jobs, health and finances. 

However, at the same time, we can be grateful that good things have  happened in this dark time of chaos and struggle. 

 In response to COVID 19  there have been major medical breakthroughs in the production of several effective life-saving vaccines. Now, millions are receiving vaccinations. 

We have witnessed the heroism of health care workers, first responders and essential workers who have risked their lives and well-being on a daily basis. 

Maps have shown a decrease in the pollution of our Earth because of less green house gases emitted from motor vehicles. 

New technologies, like Zoom have helped us to connect with loved ones and provided platforms for sharing.  In the last year, my faith community, Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community expanded our members more than two-fold because participants could celebrate inclusive liturgies with us on cyberspace from around the country and the world. 

While the future is unknown, there is much to be grateful for as we work together to eradicate COVID 19, to  grow more connected, and to heal our planet. 

Today and everyday, i will rejoice, pray and be grateful in these circumstances, knowing that grace, courage and compassion abounds.

Monday, March 1, 2021

A Deeper Dive with An Angry Jesus Inspires Us Today to Come Together to Challenge Injustice Everywhere by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

 I don't know about you, but an angry Jesus sometimes makes me nervous and other times energizes me to be part of what folks today call "good trouble", doing actions that promote justice and equality in our Church and world.

As I imagine an angry, wild Jesus,I see a loud, messy scene of overturned tables, fleeing animals and people running in every direction in the Temple.  I see grateful animals and unhappy vendors scattering for cover and then  going off to complain to the nearest religious or civil authority about this mad Jewish rabbi.

Scholars  today tell us that this disruption led to Jesus' tormented death on the cross.


Read  contemporary biblical scholars like John Dominic Crossan and Amy Jill Levine if you want to go down this path of exploration. 

As I took a deeper dive today into this Gospel, I am nervous and energized because I know there are tables to overturn and work that is messy and uncomfortable to do in the days and years ahead.

My strength is that  I am not alone. We are in this together. 

 All of us together of- no faith and every faith can work together  to challenge oppressive rules and rituals that religions impose, to confront religious and civic leaders that oppress people and abuse their power to serve the well-being of all, and to do something  to alleviate suffering and inequity in our communities, nation and world.   Jesus lit a fire of passionate anger and overflowing love for justice that energizes us today. 

My prayer is that we may all embrace our call to be  "good trouble."