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Theme: We are all one, despite our differences…
Welcome and Gathering
[LEE] Welcome to our Zoom Liturgy at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, where everyone is welcome in our Eucharistic celebrations. We use inclusive language in our scripture readings and prayers. Everyone will be muted (vocally silenced) during the liturgy except for the presiders and readers. However, at appropriate times - the shared homily, the Prayers of the Community, and when everyone is presented an opportunity to share some specified information and when we invite your comments… then you can unmute yourselves so we can hear you and share your contributions and, when finished, please mute yourselves again so that others have their opportunities to be heard. And also, please have your bread and your fruit-of-the-vine nearby yourselves as we all pray the Eucharistic Prayer.
So let us start today’s service with an opening song:
Welcome and Opening song
Christ Be Our Light – Sung by Linda Lee and Rick Miller
[LEE] Holy One, you have fashioned everything that exists in our ever-expanding universe. You have done so out of the kindness of your very being…your pure love for all that you created. At the dawn of creation, our existence on the planet Earth should have led us to our love and peace for one another in your image. But through time and our human behaviors, we humans wandered away from the state of our very origins to the cruelty of Cain who killed his brother Abel over a simple gift that Abel gave to you, the Creator of everyone, including them. Then, in time, violence and hatred became so common among those persons whom you created out of love, that over the years, mutual cruelty became something not considered to be an unthinkable behavior. The careless and hurtful actions toward our brothers and sisters have, since then, too often become something very far from the type of loving lives that we were called to share with each other.
[JOAN M]: By your creation, we--your people--were called again to live lives of love and peace, to see goodness and beauty everywhere, to live in harmony with all that you have created, and – to put it simply - to be the human family that we were meant to be. You call us to welcome everyone with whom we come in contact as your presence among us. And, in time, you sent Jesus as our model and brother, and the Holy Spirit to be our strength so that we could learn to live as your family, in your creation.
Communal Reconciliation, Healing and Transfiguration
[LEE]: Compassionate God, we know that to you all hearts are open, no desires are unknown and no secrets are hidden. You are our Father, and, as such, you knew everything that was in the single family you created. Our desire is to be continually conscious of your presence in us so that we can use that knowledge in shaping how we live, and in being aware of this in everything that we do with our brothers and sisters, whoever and wherever they may be.
[JOAN M]: Our loving Creator, we ask you to grant us the grace that we may realize our continual need to grow in a better understanding of our family, and in developing our sense of compassion as we care for all our brothers and sisters…and even the very planet you have created for us. We also ask you for the grace of a developing awareness of your forgiveness of our sometimes love-less and hurtful actions to people of other genders, beliefs, colors and nationalities.
[JOAN and ALL]: May we be more open to the strength of your Divine Presence within each one of us so that we will be more merciful and forgiving to our family members. That is your gift to us, something that we should share with everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions. Amen.
[JOAN]: Please place a hand over your heart as you say to everyone on Zoom today, and everyone NOT on Zoom today too.
ALL: My friends, I love all of you. I am sorry for whatever hurt my actions may have caused a sense of hurt to anyone, at any time. I certainly will thank you for your understanding and compassion towards me.
The Liturgy of the Word
[Jim B]: The first Scripture reading of today is a selection from the Book of Isaiah. He was a well-known prophet of his time…and that time was the late 700 BC. One of his prophetic mentions was quite well made... and for which he is known as the “greatest messianic prophet.” He prophesized that the messiah who would bring peace and justice to the earth would be a descendant of David. Today’s message will be brought to us by Cheryl who will proclaim the passage from Isaiah, chapter 58 and verses 7 to 10.
[Cheryl]: Isaiah told his population: share your bread with those who are hungry, and shelter homeless poor people; clothe those you see naked, and do not hide from the needs of your own flesh and blood. Then your light will shine like the dawn and your wound will be quickly healed over.
Your integrity will, then, go before you and the glory of Your God behind you.
Cry, and God will answer; call and God will say “I am here.”--- provided you remove from your midst oppression, finger pointing, and vicious rumors.
If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted, then light will rise for you in the darkness and the gloom will become for you like midday.
This is the Word of God, provided for us by Isaiah and presented to us by Cheryl. And for this we say…
Amen… Alleluia…Thanks be to God
[LEE]: A second reading is more current than that of Isaiah. It is from the first letter of Paul to his Christian community in Corinth, written about 57 AD. Paul is more familiar to us as someone born in Tarus in 10 AD, educated, etc, in Jerusalem where he was hostile to the new religion -- until he fell off his horse in route to Damascus in about 34 AD. Joan will proclaim to us a part of that first letter.
[JOAN]: The cup of blessing that we bless – is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread we break – is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
And to this very concise and pointed section of Paul’s letter, we assume his teaching and will consume his message and say:
Thanks be to God who is in us …and we are in God. Alleluia
[LEE]: And now, we continue with two good news pieces. The first is from the Gospel of Luke Chapter 6, verses 31 to 38, and that is followed by a summary selection from Paul’s letter to his community in Rome, Chapter 14, verses 7-9. The first one will be presented to us by Joan.
Alle, Alle, Alleluia: Linda Lee
[JOAN M]: The first is from the gospel of Luke: Do to others what you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit does that do to you. Even the most difficult among us do as much: they love those who love them. Love your enemies and do good to them. Lend to them without expecting repayment…and, with this, your reward will be great. You will rightly be called “Children of the Most High,” since God is good… even to those who are ungrateful.
Be compassionate, as your loving God is compassionate. Do not judge. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Pardon and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. A full measure –packed down and running over – will be poured into your lap. For the amount that you give to others is the amount that you will be given back.
[LEE]: And from Paul’s letter to his community: We do not live for ourselves, nor do we die for ourselves. While we live, we live for Christ Jesus. And when we die, we die for Christ Jesus. Both in life and in death, we belong to Christ.
That is why Christ died…and came back to life again. It was to share his message to both the living and the dead.
And to these clear and inspired messages of Luke and Paul, we all say: Thanks be to God!l
Alle, Alle, Alleluia: Linda Lee
Homily starter: Lee Breyer
Communal Statements of Faith
[JOAN M and ALL]]: We believe in God, a Divine Mystery that is beyond any of our understanding now and that will be so into eternity. We believe that God is the Creator of an unfinished world in an ever-evolving cosmos. God is the Holy One who invites us to join with one another, our brothers and sisters, and with our Deity in developing a world of true justice, a new world of love and peace, all this on our common planet home.
[JIM B and ALL] We believe in God who calls all the many peoples of the world to harmony and unity so that we, the people, working together will be able to heal the hurts and sufferings that have been caused over time and to replace them with meaningful and lasting celebrations of peace, love and enduring partnerships.
[CHERYL and ALL] We believe in God who has not divided us, the people of the world, into divided categories of the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick, the wise and the unwitting, the advantaged and the disadvantaged. We believe that God created all of us to be brothers and sisters of one another, all living in a single Blessed Family
[JOAN M and All]: We believe in Jesus, the Word of God, who became human like us. He befriended both the well-placed persons and those who were poorest – regardless of their positions in society or their places on the planet. He spoke truth to everyone with whom he came in contact and practiced among them the love, peace and justice that he taught.
And for all this, Jesus was put to death for doing what was his blessed mission on this earth. But then, Jesus was raised to a new life, the Christ who would be with and in -us and all of God’s creation forever.
Prayers of the Community
[LEE]: We are a people of faith; we believe in the power of prayer.
[LEE and ALL]: We believe that we send blessings to all those who are struggling in their physical and mental health conditions as a result of Coronavirus and its deviants: Covid-19 and Omicron.
Our response is: we remember them and we pray.
We pray for those many broken families, torn apart and suffering in their mental and physical separations, especially those on our national borders.
Our response is: we remember them and we pray.
And for whom or what else do we pray at this time?
[LEE] Our response is: We remember these and all our unspoken intentions in our hearts. And we also pray for all our brothers and sisters, known and unknown, who are in need of our help.
The Gathering of the Gifted
[JOAN M] Let us all lift up our hearts in our oneness with our Creator and our blessed family.
[JOAN and ALL]: We lift the up in tender love and openness to serve all God’s people everywhere.
Let us give thanks for the many blessings and gifts we have received here today and in all our “todays.” And let us do that in song…
Song: Linda Lee Miller (adapted from We Are Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker)
[CHERYL and ALL]: Blessed are you, our God. Through your goodness, we have our bread and wine that we will consecrate with your blessing. Whatever the challenges and difficulties that we may experience in life, we know that your gifts of peace and love will support us during these trials. Whatever the errors of judgements that we will make along our ways, we know that your gift of forgiveness is ours “for the asking.” Merciful God, pour out your Spirit on the bread and fruit of the vine that we have with us today. And we, once again, will celebrate the Passover Meal that Jesus shared with His friends on the night before he died…and we know that you will be with us in-person – blessing us today. And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, gave thanks to you, and then said a blessing before he shared it with his friends 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.
[JOAN M and ALL]: And 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….
Christ is dying in our times, in all those who are suffering from sickness with Coronavirus and, especially those who have died of Covid -19 and the Omicron virus.
Christ is rising in all those family members who are working for love, peace and forgiveness among those who are struggling with the hateful events of our times.
May God bless, and through the Holy Spirit, strengthen all those who are working hard to be the really true Face of Christ in our day.
Prayer at the passing of Peace
[JIM B]: Jesus, you said to your disciples, and to us through them: “My peace I leave you; my peace I give you.” Look on the faith of all of us who share this liturgy; we are thankful for your gift of the peace that we share among ourselves here and with others…our brothers and sisters in your “Blessed Family.” And we ask for the strength of the Spirit so that we may spread that peace to everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions.
[JOAN M]: We are grateful for your presence with all of us now as we offer a sign of the peace you have passed on us so that we may share it with one another.
And now, friends, let us share that sign of peace to one another, with our folded hands towards them. Namaste…Namaste…Namaste.
[CHERYL]: And now we are blessed to share together the sacred meal of the Eucharist that we just consecrated. Let us hold up our bread and wine and say:
ALL: This is the bread of life and the cup of blessing. Blessed are we who are called to this sacred meal.
As we consume the Body of Christ, let us say; “this is the love of God in the world”, and as we consume the Blood of Christ, let us say “this is the peace of God in the world”. (Please receive/share Eucharist now)
Come be in our hearts – Sara Thomsen Video by Denise Hackert-Stoner
Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion
[LEE and ALL]: Let us continue to live our lives in compassion and peace, holding fast to what is good and rejoicing in the power of the Spirit. Let us look back in our liturgy today to the readings from Luke and Paul…they write about the manner we are called to live and the reason for doing it. May we always be the Face of God in the world…reflecting that blessing with everyone we meet. Amen.
Comments of Thanksgiving, Introductions and Announcements
[LEE]: and Let us all go forth in mutual understanding, compassion and peace, holding fast to what is good and rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit, our family support. We are called to see goodness and beauty everywhere we go, and to live in harmony with one another and with all of creation, the environment in which our family exists. We are called heal the wounds of hatred and violence, discrimination and oppression, anywhere we find it. With the grace of God, the fellowship of Jesus, and the strength of the Spirit, we can do all this on our different paths to the same heavenly goal. Let it be so. Amen.
To support our community and its activities, this liturgy being an example, please send donation funds to:
Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
St. Andrew UCC, 6908 Beneva Road Sarasota, FL. 34238
Thank you very much