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Theme: Embrace the fathomless mystery of the fullness of your humanity and divinity
WELCOME and GATHERING:
PEG: Welcome to our Zoom liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where all are welcome. 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. Our readers today are Mary Al Gagnon and Jerry Bires. Please have bread and wine/juice nearby as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.
BMM: Today we celebrate the feast of Mary Magdalene, first apostle and teacher of the male disciples. According to the Gospel of Mary, Jesus taught that we are not sinful, but rather, we are a holy mix of a self that struggles and triumphs and a soul that is limitless – rooted in infinite love. There is no spiritual authority outside of us that is greater than the presence of God within us.
Women of the Church by Carey Landry, vs. 1-2, recorded for MMOJ Liturgy by Linda Lee Miller
Women of the Church I Verses 1-2:
TERESA: Like Mary Magdalene, we proclaim the presence of the Spirit within each of us. Like Mary Magdalene, we proclaim Jesus' teaching that our humanity is holy and that our failures are blessed opportunities for spiritual growth. Like Mary Magdalene, we live the good news of the partnership of women and men as equals in proclaiming the Gospel.
COMMUNAL RECONCILIATION RITE:
BMM: We pause now to reflect on our failures to act as our best selves in our relations with others. We ask all those we have offended for forgiveness. We forgive ourselves. We forgive those who have offended us.
Pause briefly, then extend arm over your heart.
BMM and ALL: I love you, I am sorry, I forgive you, I thank you. I love you..
LINDA LEE and ALL: For the witness of Mary Magdalene, apostle to the apostles, we say glory! For her vision of the Risen One, we say glory! For new insights into the fullness of our humanity and divinity as the Christ Presence in our world, we say glory. For an awareness that no spiritual authority outside us is greater than the voice of God that speaks within our hearts, we say glory. For the gift of love that cherishes human beings of all races, genders, and ethnic identities as spiritual equals in the Body of Christ, we say glory. AMEN!
LITURGY OF THE WORD:
READER: Jerry Bires
First Reading: a reflection on Mary Magdalene, Alana Levandoski, composer of "Human One"
This journey of seeing Easter through Mary Magdalene's eyes has caused a spiritual free fall for me... and now nothing less than tender, merciful, love - held fast to what seems irreconcilable - will do.
There is now no need to spend my energy focused on the kind of Jesus follower I am not. The cynicism bred from that impasse has been exhausted.
But if anyone is interested in, or confused about why I "stay"... it is simply this: Because I am in love.
With the Christ Mystery.
With the anointing way of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
With all people.
With all traditions, including perhaps especially, indigenous wisdom.
And with all things.
Now is the time for holding fast to this kind of love. The kind that sends such a ripple across the universe that it comes back. Because after all, it is anywhere, and everywhere.
It is deeply radical, but rooted in a sober core, that trusts in the free fall, as though it is a dear friend... The free fall I am talking about is really what the creative process is. It is surrendering to what abundantly multiplies when we plant ourselves, and die like a seed.
These are the inspired words of Alana Levandoski and we affrim them by saying: AMEN
RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 91- Kathryn Christian
READER: Mary Al Gagnon
Second Reading: Mary Magdalene: Adapted from Soul Sisters: Women in Scripture Speak to Women Today, by Edwina Gateley
Ah, Mary of Magdala, they did not tell us your story. It was lost, buried deep in layers of fear and denial, that such a one as you – female, fiercely loyal friend of Jesus – could walk so closely with (him), never leaving his side even as you stood before the gates of hell.
What dread sickness was it, Mary, that gripped you with all of seven symptoms? They did not tell us your story …but we know your spirit was battered in a society which had no place for you.
Was your sickness then a soul-sickness, sister? Were the demons that devoured you, offsprings of despair in a patriarchal culture where your voice could never be spoken? Your words never heard?
They did not tell us, Mary. They did not tell us your story. Could your seven demons be those very ones that reside still in your sisters, two thousand years later, cowering in shadowy apartments, brutalized by domestic violence and believing it deserved? Afraid to speak, to break the chains that bind them?
Ah, Mary of Magdala, were you also imprisoned by your story never told? Your story of the empty grave was dismissed as rambling – distraught woman-nonsense. How was it with you then, Mary of Magdala? Standing in the place of revelation, singular woman witness of the Resurrection? How was it to be so bereft and then be thrust, still weeping, into the bliss of the Realm of God, to run then, with that vision – that new of life – to those who lived in fear?
Ah, Mary, we your sisters need to hear your running and your story resurrected and dusted from the tomb of scriptural exegesis into the bright sunlight. We need to claim your vision breaking through dead history into our warm lives.
We, women waiting, need to find you, Mary of Magdala. In the torn threads of our own journeys, we need to weave you, Mary, sister and friend, into our lives that we might stir and rise, fluttering in hope of new beginnings, no matter how long dead we have lain in the ground. Ah, then, Mary, brave woman of Magdala, we too will run from our tombs singing our song of resurrection with you, soul sister, into the bright, bright sun.
These are sacred words of Edwina Gateley, and we affirm them by saying:
CELTIC ALLELUIA - Linda Lee Miller
READER: Peg Bowen
GOSPEL: A Reading from the Gospel of Mary, the Magdala
4: 1-2 The Blessed One …greeted them all saying, “Peace be with you? Bear my peace within yourselves.
4: 5-11 For the Child of Humanity is within you! Follow it! Those who seek it will find it. Go then and proclaim the good news of the realm. Do not lay down any rules beyond what I determined for you, nor give a law like the lawgiver, lest you be confined by it. When he had said this, he departed.
5:1-2 But they were pained. They wept greatly, saying, “How shall we go to the nations and proclaim the good news of the Child of Humanity? If they did not spare him, how will they spare us?
5: 4-6 Then Mary stood up. She greeted them all, and said to her brothers and sisters, “Do not weep and be pained, nor doubt, for all his grace will be with you and shelter you.” When Mary said this, she turned their heart to the Good, and then began to discuss the words of the Savior.
6:1-2 Peter said to Mary, “Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of the women. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember, which you know and we do not, nor have we heard them.” Mary answered and said, “What is hidden from you I will tell you,” and she began to say to them these words.
10:1-4 But Andrew responded and said to the brothers and sisters, “Say what you will about what she has said, I do not believe that the Savior said this…” Peter responded and spoke concerning these same things. “Did he really speak with a woman without our knowing it? Are we to turn around and all listen to her? Did he choose her over us?”
These are the inspired words of the Gospel of Mary and we affirm them by saying, AMEN.
HOMILY STARTER: Bridget Mary Meehan
At the heart of Mary's Gospel is a passionate enthusiasm for becoming a true human being. This ancient gospel, which states that Jesus teaches us how to embrace the goodness of our humanity, is also reflected in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Thomas. The concept of a corrupt sinful humanity is not prevalent in the early gospels. It developed in later Christianity with theologians such as Augustine and Martin Luther. Scripture scholar Hal Taussig writes, “Indeed, Jesus's words in the Gospel of Mary about the child of true humanity are strikingly similar to his words about the realm of God in Luke: ‘The realm of God does not come in a way that can be grasped,’ nor will people say ‘look here it is! or There it is!’ for the realm of God is among you. (Luke 17: 20-21)”
In the Gospel of Mary, Jesus shared special teachings with Mary which she tries to share with the male disciples. However, Peter and Andrew refused to believe that Jesus could possibly have shared with Mary what he did not share with them because she was a woman. So too today, the Vatican rejects the call of women to be ordained because they are women. They hold on to the misogynist teaching that priests must bear a physical resemblance to Jesus. Like Mary Magdalene, we claim our spiritual power, embrace the fullness of our humanity and divinity, and go forth to preach the gospel. It is time to save Jesus from the institutional church and its toxic teachings! As we explore the canonical and newly discovered gospels in early Christianity, we discover a fuller understanding of Jesus’ teachings and ministry that feels like we are meeting Jesus for the first time!
We will now prayerfully reflect on “Human One” by Alana Levandoski
What did you hear in our readings today about Mary Magdalene that is relevant today?
COMMUNAL STATEMENT OF FAITH:
ANDREA and ALL:
We believe in one God, 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 God's Word, bringer of God's healing, heart of God's compassion, bright star in the firmament of God's prophets, mystics, and saints.
We believe that we are called to follow Jesus as a vehicle of God's love, a source of God's wisdom and truth, and an instrument of God's peace in the world.
We believe that God's "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 THE COMMUNITY:
BMM: We now remember all those who are rising up to confront systemic and institutional racism, sexism and injustice. ALL: Your Love calls us to action.
PEG: For all those working for human rights in our world. ALL: Your Love accompanies us.
BMM: For all those suffering the loss of family members, friends and essential workers due to COVID and violence in the past year. ALL: Your Love comforts and challenges us.
JOAN Meehan: We pray for our MMOJ intentions.
PEG: For what else should we pray?
PEG: Holy Mystery we respond to the needs of our sisters and brothers in loving prayer and solidarity. ALL: AMEN
PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS:
BMM: Blessed are You, Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this bread, to share, the Bread of Life.
BMM AND ALL: Blessed are You, Holy One, forever.
PEG: Blessed are You, O Loving One, through Your divine providence we have this wine to share, our spiritual drink.
PEG and ALL: Blessed are You, Holy One, forever.
BMM: Nurturing One, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Christ, whose presence we are as we proclaim the liberating power of your Spirit Sophia, in our humanity and divinity, calling us to build the unity of Love in a more compassionate and just world. ALL: AMEN
PEG: Spirit of Love, you reside in the heart of the brokenness around us and in, the struggles of life. Aware of the fathomless mystery of humanity made in the image of God, we sing:
Holy, Holy, Holy -- Linda Lee Miller (adapted from Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker)
We are Holy, Holy, Holy…3x , You are Holy, Holy, Holy, I am Holy, Holy, Holy, We are Holy, Holy, Holy
BMM: Human One, Your Spirit moved through Mary of Magdala revealing new depths of your presence. It was you who made our inmost selves, you knit us together in our mother’s womb. In drawing closer to you, we draw closer to your ways written into our bodies and souls, the sacred texts of your love etched in every moment and encounter of life.
Please extend Your hands in blessing and say together:
PEG and ALL: Pour out Your Spirit Sophia anew upon this bread and wine and upon us as we become more deeply the Christ Presence in our world.
BMM and ALL: On the night before he died, Jesus came to table with his family and 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.” pause
PEG and ALL: 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.”
PEG: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:
PEG and ALL: Christ has died in all those who have passed away.
Christ is rising in all who are set free by love.
Christ comes each day in all who work for the world’s healing.
BMM: Creator of All, we remember all the companions who have gone before us: Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala, all holy women and men and our dear Sally, who have lived lives of love and service in the midst of suffering and injustice. We pause now to remember our personal communion of saints.
Lift the bread and wine
PEG and ALL: For it is through living as Jesus lived, and loving as he loved, that we awaken to our full humanity and holiness empowering us to generously serve the needs of all.
Great Amen, Sung by Linda Lee Miller
MARY KAY and ALL: The Prayer of Jesus
Our Mother who art in Heaven.
Each breath brings us to you.
Your wisdom come, Your will be done,
as we honor your presence within us.
You give us this day all that we need.
Your bounty calls us to give and receive
all that is loving and pleasurable.
You are the courage that moves us
to be true to ourselves
and we act with grace and power.
We relax into your cycles of birth,
growth, death and renewal.
Out of the womb, the darkness, the void,
comes new life.
For you are the Mother of All Things.
Your body is the Sacred Earth and our bodies.
Your love nurtures us and unites us all.
Now and forever more.
Written by Dale Allen
SIGN OF PEACE:
Blessing Song by Jan Phillips
BMM: Please join in praying the Litany for the Breaking of the Bread.
BMM and ALL: 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.
PEG: This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Blessed are we who are called to Christ’s table.
PEG and ALL: We are the Body and Blood of Christ for the world.
Receive the bread and wine you have consecrated at your table
Courageous Women by Jan Novotka, video by Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP and Juanita Cordero, RCWP
BMM: Thanksgivings, Introductions, Announcements
PEG: We give thanks for the goodness of human existence. We embrace our humanity – with all its imperfections – as holy ground. As we go forth, may we be vibrant reflections of the Christ Presence in our world. ALL: AMEN
BMM: Please extend Your hands as we pray our final blessing:
BMM and ALL: In the spirit of Mary Magdalene, first apostle, and leader of the disciples,
We bless each other.
We bless all living beings,
We go forth, to live the Gospel of mutual partnership and hospitality.
Woman Spirit by Karen Drucker
Liturgy written by Bridget Mary Meehan
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