Friday, July 23, 2021

Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic Community Liturgy, 17th Week of Extra-Ordinary Time July 24, 2021 - Presiders: Kathryn Shea, ARCWP, and Lee Breyer, Readers: Cheryl Brandi and Ann Cooke, Music Minister: Linda Lee and Rick Miller

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

ID 851- 0809-5506, Passcode 1066

Theme: “Get Used to Different”  

Welcome and Gathering 

Lee: 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.
-Please have bread and wine/juice nearby as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.
Whoever you are,
Wherever you are,
Just as you are,
You are welcome at this table. (Integral Christianity by Paul Smith)

Let us now take a few minutes to collect ourselves as we prepare to focus our minds and our hearts on our knowledge that we are all one, brought together at this time to transform ourselves and our world through love; love for our Holy One, love for our neighbors, love for ourselves, and love for our planet.  Let us begin our liturgy by expressing this love through song.  

Gathering Song: Tear Down the Walls by the Many

Opening Prayer

Kathryn: Oh Holy One, we are delighted to gather with you and one another today as we share this sacred space and as we celebrate our oneness in you.  You told us on many occasions to “love one another, as I love you.”  In this time of great turmoil on our planet, we need to more fully embrace and act upon your words.   As we gather today, may we be ever more mindful of our call and responsibility to Be love for one another.  We give thanks for our Brother Jesus, who being both fully human and divine, showed us how to Be love; how to tear down walls; and how to “get used to different”.  We rejoice that you have given us all we need to bring the true kin-dom of our Creator on Earth.  It is in our hands now, and we are ready. We live with the comfort of knowing you walk with us on our journey and that you continue to teach us through Spirit Sophia, Holy Wisdom.  And to this, we say, AMEN.

A Joyful Gloria: Linda Lee Miller and graphics by Rick Miller

Liturgy of the Word

Kathryn: First Reading:  Excerpt from the book, “We Make the Road by Walking” by Brain McLaren – 


Cheryl: IMAGINE YOURSELF IN GALILEE, on a windswept hillside near a little fishing town called Capernaum. Flocks of birds circle and land. Wildflowers bloom among the grasses between rock outcroppings. The Sea of Galilee glistens blue below us, reflecting the clear midday sky above. 

A small group of disciples circles around a young man who appears to be about thirty. He is sitting, as rabbis in this time and culture normally do. Huge crowds extend beyond the inner circle of disciples, in a sense eavesdropping on what he is teaching them. This is the day they’ve been waiting for. This is the day Jesus is going to pass on to them the heart of his message. 

Ann: Jesus begins in a fascinating way. He uses the term blessed to address the question of identity, the question of who we want to be. In Jesus’ day, to say “Blessed are these people” is to say “Pay attention: these are the people you should aspire to be like. This is the group you want to belong to.” It’s the opposite of saying “Woe to those people” or “Cursed are those people,” which means, “Take note: you definitely don’t want to be like those people or counted among their number.” His words no doubt surprise everyone, because we normally play by these rules of the game: 

Do everything you can to be rich and powerful. 

Toughen up and harden yourself against all feelings of loss. 

Measure your success by how much of the time you are thinking only of yourself and your own happiness. 

Be independent and aggressive, hungry and thirsty for higher status in the social pecking order. 

Strike back quickly when others strike you, and guard your image so you’ll always be popular. 

Lee: But Jesus defines success and well-being in a profoundly different way. Who are blessed? What kinds of people should we seek to be identified with? 

The poor and those in solidarity with them. 

Those who mourn, who feel grief and loss. 

The nonviolent and gentle. 

Those who hunger and thirst for the common good and aren’t satisfied with the status quo. 

The merciful and compassionate. 

Those characterized by openness, sincerity, and unadulterated motives. 

Those who work for peace and reconciliation. 

Those who keep seeking justice even when they’re misunderstood and misjudged. Those who stand for justice as the prophets did, who refuse to back down or quiet down when they are slandered, mocked, misrepresented, threatened, and harmed. 

Cheryl: Jesus has been speaking for only a matter of seconds, and he has already turned our normal status ladders and social pyramids upside down. He advocates an identity characterized by solidarity, sensitivity, and nonviolence. He celebrates those who long for justice, embody compassion, and manifest integrity and non-duplicity. He creates a new kind of hero: not warriors, corporate executives, or politicians, but brave and determined activists for preemptive peace, willing to suffer with him in the prophetic tradition of justice. 

Our choice is clear from the start: If we want to be his disciples, we won’t be able to simply coast along and conform to the norms of our society. We must choose a different definition of well-being, a different model of success, a new identity with a new set of values. 

Ann: Jesus promises we will pay a price for making that choice. But he also promises we will discover many priceless rewards. If we seek the kind of unconventional blessedness he proposes, we will experience the true aliveness of God’s kingdom, the warmth of God’s comfort, the enjoyment of the gift of this Earth, the satisfaction at seeing God’s restorative justice come more fully, the joy of receiving mercy, the direct experience of God’s presence, the honor of association with God and of being in league with the prophets of old. That is the identity he invites us to seek. 

That identity will give us a very important role in the world. As creative nonconformists, we will be difference makers, aliveness activists, catalysts for change. Like salt that brings out the best flavors in food, we will bring out the best in our community and society. Also like salt, we will have a preservative function—opposing corruption and decay. Like light that penetrates and eradicates darkness, we will radiate health, goodness, and well-being to warm and enlighten those around us. Simply by being who we are—living boldly and freely in this new identity as salt and light—we will make a difference, as long as we don’t lose our “saltiness” or try to hide our light. 

Lee: It’s hot in the Galilean sunshine. Still, the crowds are hanging on Jesus’ every word. They can tell something profound and life-changing is happening within them and among them. Jesus is not simply trying to restore their religion to some ideal state in the past. Nor is he agitating unrest to start a new religion to compete with the old one. No, it’s abundantly clear that he’s here to start something bigger, deeper, and more subversive: a global uprising that can spread to and through every religion and culture. This uprising begins not with a new strategy but with a new identity. So he spurs his hearers into reflection about who they are, who they want to be, what kind of people they will become, what they want to make of their lives. 

Cheryl:  As we consider Jesus’ message today, we join those people on that hillside, grappling with the question of who we are now and who we want to become in the future. Some of us are young, with our whole lives ahead of us. Some of us are further along, with a lot of hopes left and not a lot of time to fulfill them. As we listen to Jesus, each of us knows, deep inside: If I accept this new identity, everything will change for me. Everything will change.

These are the inspired words of Brian McLaren and we affirm them by saying:  All.  Amen.

Alle, Alle, Alleluia: Linda Lee

Gospel: The Calling of Matthew is an episode in the life of Jesus which appears in all three synoptic gospels, Matthew 9:9–13, Mark 2:13–17 and Luke 5:27–28, and relates the initial encounter between Jesus and Matthew, the tax collector who became a disciple.

Homily Starter – Kathryn Shea

Community Sharing

Communal Statement of Faith

Lee and ALL: 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 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 and for the Community

Kathryn: We now bring our prayer intentions to the Table

Our response is: All: Holy One, we know you hear our prayers. 

We pray for our MMOJ intentions on our community prayer list. (Joan shares)

Our response is: All: Holy One, we know you hear our prayers. 

For what else should we pray?

Our response is: All: Holy One, we know you hear our prayers. 

Kathryn: Holy Mystery may we respond to the needs of our sisters and brothers in loving prayer and solidarity. Amen

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Michael: Gracious Wisdom, you embrace us with your extravagant affection in our times of both blessedness and weakness.  You are always with us…you living in us and we living in you.  As we prepare for this sacred meal, we are aware of our call to serve, our call to tear down the walls of hatred in its many forms, and our call to be different.  In this festive meal, your Spirit is poured out on each of us, your anointed disciples, gathered together in this time and place.  We also ask that your Spirit be spread to those of our community who are not with us today.

Let us rejoice as we sing: 

All:  Holy, Holy, Holy Linda Lee Miller

(adapted from Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker) 

Cheryl: We thank you for the gift of Jesus of Nazareth in history -- and the gift of Jesus in faith. On earth, his life burned with the vision of his mission on earth. Through the example of his life – his teachings and actions - he showed us not only how we should live, but also what was worth even dying for. 

Lee and All: When his time on earth had come to an end, Jesus – aware of and accepting his destiny – gave us his life for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death.  And then, in providing an example of this wisdom for all people in ages to come, he opened wide his arms…and died.  And the spirit that lived in Jesus resurrected him to a new life, a promise made to all of us too who live the new story.  Jesus is with us today and he will be through the end of time.

(With an outstretched arm, we pray the consecration together.  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 Jesus 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.  

           [short pause]

Mary AL: 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.

Lee: Jesus, who was with God “in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth,” is with us now in this bread. The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup.  Let us proclaim this mystery of faith.

Kathryn and All:  Jesus has died.  Christ is risen.  The Divine Presence lives in us and through us in the world today.

Mary Al: God, we know that you bless your church throughout the world. We, your people, ask for your grace that we may continually grow in our love and caring for Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop and for everyone with whom we come in contact, especially those who live on the margins of church and society. They are all our brothers and sisters, members of your Blessed Family.  We remember also all those, living and dead, who touched our lives and left their footprints on our hearts.  We remember especially….(mention names here, if you would like to..) 

Anna: We believe that the Spirit of God is at work in and among us and will do more than we could ever ask or imagine.  We believe that it is through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, Creator God, forever and ever.  

Great Amen: Linda Lee Miller

The Prayer of Jesus

Lee and ALL: Let us pray as Jesus taught us. 

O 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 we need.  You remind us of our limits, and we let go.  You support us in your 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, Miriam Therese Winter, MMS

Sign of Peace:

Ann C: Jesus said to his disciples, “My peace I leave You.  My peace I give You.”  Let us now extend a sign of peace to one another by saying, “Namaste, Namaste, Namaste”.

Lee: Please join in praying the Litany for the Breaking of the Bread:

Lee 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.

Michael: This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Blessed are we who are called to Christ’s table.  

Cheryl and All:  What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives.  As we share communion, we become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.                          

Please receive/share Eucharist now, saying: “You are the bread of life.” And “You are the cup of compassion.”

Communion Song:  I Am For You by Rory Cooney, Gary Daigle, and others

(With Seth accompanying)

I Am For You

There is a mountain, there is a sea.  There is a wind within all breathing.  There is an arm to break every chain.  There is a fire in all things living. 

There is a voice that speaks from the flame,

I Am For You

I Am For You

I Am For You 

Is My Name

There was a woman, small as a star, full of the patient dreams of her Nation.

Welcoming in an angel of God, welcoming God’s cold invitation.

Let it be done, she sang unto me; 

I Am For You

I Am For You

I Am For You 

Let it be

There was a man who walked in the storm, caught in between the storms and the lighting, 

Sharing his bread with those cast aside, feeling by touch the lost and the dying.  Sending us forth, he says to his friends,  

I Am For You

I Am For You

I Am For You 

To The End 

We are anointed, servants of God.  We have been born again of Sprit. We are the Word God speaks to the world, freedom and light to all who can hear it.  So let us be the Word of the Lord, 

I Am For You

I Am For You

I Am For You 


There is a world that waits in the womb. There is a hope unborn God is buried. 

Though the powers of death fill the night, there is a day our God is preparing.

Sing of the joy we sing in our Lord,

I Am For You

I Am For You

I Am For You 

We Are One. (Repeat)   


Community Blessing

Kathryn: Please raise your hands in blessing: And together with our arms extended to one another we say: 

May our lives radiate the love of the Holy One.

May we live justice and equality in our church and our world.

May we have the courage to tear down the walls of oppression and stand with those who are persecuted and marginalized. 

May we be a blessing in our time. 

ALL:  Thanks be to God.  Alleluia! 

Closing Song:  Go Make A Difference

Many thanks to all of you who have inspired me and mentored me.   

If you would like to add your intercession to our MMOJ Community Prayers book,

Please send an email to

If you would like to invite another person to attend our liturgy please refer them to where the day’s liturgy is found. Zoom instructions are also included there.

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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Rev. Christina Moriera, ARCWP, With Members of Toutes Apotres (All Apostles!) Calls For The Creation of Independent Commission on the Situation of Women in the Catholic Church

Rev. Christina Moriera, second from left with members of Toutes Apotres 

NCR Article - July 22, 2021: Women Believers Changed the Roman Empire - Now We Much Change the Roman Church by Christine Schenk

On the feast day of the "apostle to the apostles," St. Mary of Magdala, I want to reflect on something I suspect this first witness to the Resurrection and foremost leader in the early Jesus movement might find puzzling. Namely, what is the big deal about recognizing women's leadership in today's Catholic faith communities?

We live in a very different cultural context than did Mary of Magdala and other early Christian women, but our own times are no less in need of Christ's healing energy than the ones in which they lived.

The Jesus movement spread rapidly throughout the Roman Empire because of the initiative of female prophets, evangelists, missionaries, heads of house churches and widows, and financial support from Christian businesswomen such as Mary of Magdala and Joanna (Luke 8:1-3) as well as Lydia (Acts 16:11-40), Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2), Olympias, a fourth-century deacon (whose feast day is July 25) and others.

Pope Benedict XVI himself acknowledged as much on Feb. 14, 2007, when he said the "the history of Christianity would have turned out very differently without the contribution of women" and noted the "female presence that was anything but secondary."

Church historians tell us that the domestic networking and evangelizing efforts of women led to the remarkable expansion of early Christianity. Early house churches were led by women of status such as Grapte, a second-century leader of communities of widows and orphans in Rome. Through the house church, early Christians gained access to social networks that brought them into contact with people from diverse social classes.

When a female head of household, perhaps a wealthy widow or freed woman, converted to Christianity, Christian evangelists such as Prisca (Romans 16:3-5) or Paul gained access not only to her domestic household but also to her patronage network. This meant that her slaves, freed persons, children, relatives and patronal clients would convert as well. Thus, when Paul converted Lydia, he automatically gained entry to a broad swath of social relationships and a potentially wide audience.

While most Christian women were probably freeborn or freed persons, they were able to acquire wealth (and therefore status), through small business enterprises such as processing wool, trading in purple dye (Lydia), leather work and tentmaking (Prisca), and the like.

In their exhaustively researched book A Woman's Place, Carolyn Osiek and Margaret Y. MacDonald demonstrated that within their Christian social networks, these lower-class Christian women had money, high status and freedom of movement, especially throughout the extended household of antiquity.

This is affirmed by a notorious critic of the early church, Celsus, who took a dim view of women's evangelizing activities.

Celsus believed "the Christian family is at the very heart of the growth of a troublesome new movement." He said Christians encouraged insubordination, and convinced the "foolish, dishonorable and stupid and slaves, women and little children," not "to pay any attention to their father and school teachers" and "leave father and their school masters, and go along with the women and little children who are play fellows to the women's apartments, the wooldresser's shop, or the cobbler's or the washer woman's shop" [Origen, Against Celsus].

Celsus' critique coincides with evidence from early Christian texts that the Jesus movement expanded through house churches and small business networks such as those of Lydia, Prisca, Grapte and Paul. Evangelization was conducted person-to-person, house-to-house by women who reached out to other women, children, freed persons and slaves.

His critique tells us that Christian women (and a few good men) took initiative outside of patriarchal norms because of their belief in Jesus. Women's countercultural exercise of authority in the context of everyday domestic life is one oft-unheralded key to Christianity's rapid expansion.

Women's missionary authority and leadership to and within these extended households would change the face of the Roman Empire.

Which brings me to the current discussion and debate about ordaining women deacons in the Catholic Church. I spent many years researching women and authority in the earliest churches for my first book Crispina and Her Sisters. There is absolutely no question that women served as deacons in both the eastern and western churches. Phyllis Zagano, Gary Macy and others have demonstrated conclusively that early ordination/consecration/blessing rituals were the same for both female and male deacons in late antiquity.

Yet our all-male, 21st century Catholic hierarchy persists in ahistorical hairsplitting by questioning whether early female diaconal ordinations were truly "sacramental" or not.

Their argument fails to address the fact that the theology of the sacrament of ordination changed dramatically in the 12th century when churchmen unilaterally decided that women were no longer capable of being ordained. In fact, sacramental theology was not defined in the church until the 12th century. And even then, different churchmen had different lists of what constituted a sacrament.

One must therefore ask, how valid is it to apply sacramental criteria from 12th century medieval culture to our church's most ancient ministerial practices?

This very question was raised by a member of the 2016 commission on women deacons, Jesuit Fr. Bernard Pottier, who referenced it as one of three interpretative obstacles the 2016 commission encountered. These were:

* What is meant by ordination in the early days of the church?

* How not to give in to anachronism when speaking of sacramental theology?

* What does the unity of the sacrament signify, in relation to the documents of 1976 and 1994 (two teachings on the non-ordination of women) and the recent modification of canon law of 2009, Omnium in Mentum (separating functions of the diaconate from priesthood)?

As is by now well known, a new commission on the female diaconate has been appointed, and several members of the new group have publicly opposed the idea of a female diaconate.

Which is discouraging.

But I take heart. Jesus' resurrection power — first proclaimed by Mary of Magdala — is well able to convert a floundering — and stubborn — patriarchal church. Our faith-filled foremothers proclaimed Jesus despite patriarchal pushback and it changed the face of the Roman Empire.

The One who once asked, "Woman, why are you weeping?" will also help us change the face of Roman Catholic Church.

Christine Schenk

St. Joseph Sr. Christine Schenk, an NCR board member, served urban families for 18 years as a nurse midwife before co-founding FutureChurch, where she served for 23 years. Her book Crispina and Her Sisters: Women and Authority in Early Christianity (Fortress, 2017) was awarded first place in History by the Catholic Press Association. She holds master's degrees in nursing and theology.

Woman Priest, Christina Moriera, ARCWP, Participates in Inclusive Prayer Service for Full Equality of Women in the Catholic Church in Paris


Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation Featuring Mary of Magdala and in support of Women Priests - July 22, 2021

Sister Joan Chittister calls Mary Magdalene “an important icon for the 21st Century” who urges women to listen to the call of Christ over the call of the church; and who calls “women to courage and men to humility;” and a Christianity that “rises above sexism.” 

When I preached my first sermon as an Episcopal priest, a woman came up afterwards and said, “I’m Roman Catholic and I disagreed with your decision.  But I’ve read you books and felt I should come to hear you speak.  During the mass I was hit right here”—she pointed to her heart—”first by a woman celebrating mass and second by your talk.  Now I get it.  You have to speak—you have so much we have to hear and your church won’t let you speak.” 

Many Catholics have told me over the years how meaningful it is to see women priests celebrating Mass such as the woman celebrant at Grace Cathedral that day.   

The arguments offered against ordaining women by Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and now repeated by Pope Francis are simply without basis.  They tell us that Jesus did not ordain women and so we must not do so.  They are correct that Jesus did not ordain women—but neither did he ordain men!  The priesthood is a second century response to the Jesus event–so the argument simply does not hold water.  It is spurious.  By the second century men had taken over the running of things and women were put in their place.

“Equality Under God: Women Priests.” A small group of women are defying the Catholic Church’s prohibition of women’s ordination and becoming priests anyway. Video by CBC News: The National

Jesus broke with traditional patriarchal control compulsions and Mary Magdalene, who actually lived in Jesus’ day and was close to him, represents women leadership because she announced the good news of the resurrection and she developed a ministry of healing and exorcisms.

New Testament scholar Bruce Chilton has written a substantive book on Mary Magdalene: A Biography in which he tells us that she offers “insight into the ultimate significance of who her rabbi was and what his life and death truly mean.”  He calls Mary “one of the prime catalysts and shaping forces of Christianity—the role for her that Mark’s text intimates.” 

A lot of the strange stories foisted onto her “are unmistakably male fantasies” such as Martin Scorsese’s picture in The Last Temptation of Christ, of her operating a “one-woman Galilean brothel” such as never could have had happened in a small Jewish enclave.  Or that she bore Jesus’s child (Dan Brown).

 Says Chilton: 

[Mary Magdalene offered] signature sacraments of exorcism, anointing, and vision….Her three gifts of Spirit include dissolving what is impure or evil, offering ointment for sickness and sin, and permitting her followers to perceive the spiritual truth of Resurrection.  These sacraments follow the centuries-old practice of women in Galilean Judaism… and did not require hierarchy or dogma. 

Her life “is a sacramental biography” marked by how she “unleashed” ritual power during Jesus’ life and at his death.*

There is much here for women, men and their institutions to meditate on in 2021.

* Sister Joan Chittister, “Feast of St. Mary Magdalene is July 22.”

** Bruce Chilton, Mary Magdalene: A Biography (NY:  Doubleday, 2005)pp. 87f., 157

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-denominational Priest, pp. 277f.

Banner Image: “Mary Magdalene meets the Risen Christ.” A beautiful stained glass depiction in St Mary in the Lace Market, Nottingham, England. Photo by Lawrence OP on Flickr

Queries for Contemplation

What does Mary Magdalene mean to you?  How do you see her rediscovery speaking to culture and religion and spirituality today?

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy Celebrating Mary of Magdala - Presiders: Juanita Cordero, RCWP, Mary Theresa Streck, ARCWP, and Joan Chesterfield

Welcome and Theme:

Mary Theresa: Welcome to our Upper Room Community. Today we honor and celebrate St. Mary of Magdala, beloved companion and disciple of Jesus.

Today we honor and celebrate all of the strong and courageous women who confronted the darkness in their lives and pushed through the darkness to recognized the Divine Light within. 

Today we honor Juanita who was ordained a priest fourteenth years ago on the feast of Mary and we honor all women who walked the pathway to ordination in the Roman Catholic Church.

We are grateful that Edwina Gateley is joining us today and will read a selection on Mary of Magdala from her book: Soul Sisters.  And we are grateful that Edwina will lead us in our homily sharing.

Opening Prayer

Juanita: Like Mary of Magdala, apostle to the apostles, we rejoice that our spiritual power to live the Gospel is rooted in the presence of Spirit within each and all of us. Like Mary of Magdala, we rejoice that our oneness with the Holy One frees us from rules, projections and expectations that limit our ability to be a radiant reflection of Divine love and compassion. 


Gathering Song: Women of the Church by Carey Landry 

Listen to Edwina Gateley read the first reading, Juanita Cordero read the Gospel and Edwina lead us in the homily starter:


Our First Reading Mary of Magdala from Soul Sisters by Edwina Gateley


This is an excerpt from the text:  

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 (and brothers) 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.

Mary Theresa: These of the inspired words of Edwina Gateley, disciple of Jesus, and we affirm them by saying, Amen.


Gospel: (Juanita) A Reading from the Gospel of Mary (4:8-10, 5:1-10)

Translated by Jean-Yves Leloup

Jesus said, “Go and proclaim the good news of the kin-dom. Impose no law other than that which I have witnessed. Do not add more laws to those given in the Torah, lest you become bound by them.” Having said all this, he departed. 

The disciples were in sorrow, shedding many tears, and saying: “How are we to go among the unbelievers and announce the gospel of the Kin-dom? 

They did not spare his life, so why should they spare ours?” 

Then Mary arose, embraced them all, and began to speak to her brothers: 

 “Do not remain in sorrow and doubt, for his Grace will guide you and comfort you. Instead, let us praise his greatness, for he has prepared us for this. 

He is calling upon us to become fully human.

Thus, Mary turned their hearts toward the Good, (The Holy One) and they began to discuss the meaning of Jesus’ words.

These are sacred words from the Gospel of Mary, and we affirm them by saying:

 All: Amen.

Homily Starter: Edwina Gateley


Mary Theresa: Please join in proclaiming our Statement of Faith.

Denise: 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.

Julie: 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.

Denise: 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.

Julie: 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.

Denise: 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.


Mary Theresa: As we prepare for this sacred meal, we are aware of our call to serve, and just as Jesus is anointed, so is each of us. We bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns.

We pray for these and all unspoken concerns. Amen.

Mary Theresa: With open hands and hearts, let us pray together our Eucharistic prayer: 

O Nurturing, Mothering One, You are always with us. We are grateful for Your constant loving and unconditional presence. You give us life, and we live and breathe with your Spirit. You create us female and male; You call us good, and we live as equal partners. You share the earth with us, and we, as co-creators with you, complement your ongoing activity of creation.

Joan: O Heart of Love, Your Spirit moved through Mary of Magdala as she taught us that we are in continuous communion with you. Your Spirit moves through the love within us, expanding in widening circles to embrace all people and creation in our evolving universe. United with all our blessed ancestors, with Mary of Magdala and all women and men who confronted the structures of oppression in their times with unique vision and compassion, we sing: 

Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker (adapted) 

Juanita: We give grateful thanks for all your faithful servants, opening for all of us a path to life.

Please extend your hands in blessing.

Your Spirit is in us and among us at this Eucharistic table.  We are grateful for this bread and wine which reminds us of our call to be the body of Christ in the world. 

We thank you for Jesus, simple servant, lifting up the lowly, revealing you as God-With-Us, revealing us as one with you, and all creation. He had nothing in this world but your love, companions on the journey, and his very self. Together, that was more than enough.

On the night before he died, Jesus came to the table with the women and men he loved.  He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly within them, he bent down and washed their feet.

(All lift their plates and pray the following) 

Back at the table, Jesus took the Passover Bread, spoke the grace, broke the bread and offered it to them saying, Take and eat, this is my very self.

(All lift their cups and pray the following)

Mary Theresa: Then he took the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered it to them saying:

Take and drink of the covenant

Made new again through my life in you.

Whenever you remember me like this,

I am among you.

What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives, 

As we share communion, we become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.

Please receive communion with the words: The Divine Spirit is within me. 

Communion Meditation: Courageous Women by Jan Novotka


Joan: O Divine Love, your transforming energy is within us and just as you called Mary of Magdala, you also call us to go forth and to tell the Good News.  

We pray for wise leaders in our religious communities. We pray for courageous and compassionate leaders in our world communities.  

We pray for all of us gathered here and like Jesus, we open ourselves up to your Spirit, for it is through living as he lived that we awaken to your Spirit within, 

moving us to glorify you, at this time and all ways.


Joan: 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 


Mary Theresa: Please raise your hands in blessing: 

May our lives radiate the love of the Holy One. 

May we live justice and equality in our church and world.  

May Mary of Magdala be our model of courage and faithful service.  

May we be a blessing in our time. Amen.

Mary Theresa: Our closing song is Women Spirit by Karen Drucker  - A tribute to all strong and courageous women.