Adapted by Denise Hackert- Stoner
from Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy
Fourth Sunday in the Season of Creation
September 24, 2023
Welcome: As we sit here in the light of the setting sun let’s embrace one another in prayer. Let’s extend that prayerful embrace to all our fellow travelers on this ship; to the staff and crew who keep us safe, fed, and cared for; for our families, friends and communities at home; for the communities and individuals living in the cities we have visited; to the sea and all the living creatures living in it; to the earth and all its creatures; to the great, expanding universe which is home to all. May we be blessed. Amen.
We celebrate our Season of Creation as we sing this song with one voice.
Opening Song: God of Abundance by Kit Mills video by MT Streck
LITURGY OF THE WORD
Spread love everywhere you go: first of all, in your own home. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next-door neighbor . . . Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.
These are the inspired words of the Mother Theresa. We affirm these words by saying AMEN!
Celtic Alleluia by Christopher Walker
Gospel: A Reading from the gospel of Matthew (MT 20:1-16)
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o'clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.'
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o'clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o'clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
'Why do you stand here idle all day?'
They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.'
He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.'
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
'Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.'
When those who had started about five o'clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
'These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day's burden and the heat.'
He said to one of them in reply,
'My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?'
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."
These are the words of an author known as Matthew. The community affirms them saying: AMEN.
I offer one thought as to the meaning behind this familiar parable. For me, everything Jesus teaches about goes back to the commandment to love God and love neighbor. So, to him, our work, the reason for our lives, our mission, is to build the Kin-dom by sowing and nurturing love; by living a life motivated by love. The workers portrayed in the parable of the vineyard come to accept this mission at various times in their lives; some very early, some later on. But it’s not important when we begin this work of sowing love; our lives will help grow the Kin-dom on earth whenever and wherever we choose to love. And the reward? Rather than seeing the reward in this parable as personal “pay” or some kind of eternal reward for living a good life, I suggest that the outcome of love is more love. The reward for giving love, for living a life based on love,is that all people, all creatures, will be living in a world of love. A world of compassion. A world of justice. That is the Kin-dom of God. It’s so simple, and yet so not-easy. The birth of the Kin-dom is ongoing. It is taking one person at a time making the decision to work in the vineyard, sowing love with their lives. It is happening in every generation. It is a slow process. And the earth and all of its creatures wait.
Statement of Faith
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 the Divine Word,
bringer of healing, heart of Divine compassion,
bright star in the firmament of the Holy One's
prophets, mystics, and saints.
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.
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.
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.
Prayers of the Community
As we prepare for the sacred meal we bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns. Please feel free to voice your prayers beginning with the words “I bring to the table….”
We pray for these and all unspoken intentions and blessings. Amen.
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
We are a priestly people. We are anointed. With open hands let us pray our Eucharistic prayer as one voice:
All: Holy One, we yearn to be close to you and to live in the embrace of your gentle wisdom. Your divine grace leads us away from our anxieties, fears, and distractions and toward all that is blessed and joyous so that we might live in the Spirit and serve the cause of love.
Each of us is divinely created in Your image. We are precious to you and to each other because of who we are. We are beloved and blessed in your unconditional love, quite apart from how we act or fail to act. We resolve to look upon all our sisters and brothers as precious and deserving so that we serve to spread the gospel of love and peace.
Thankful for Jesus, who treated all of Creation with respect and abundant love, we seek to follow his example to be a light in the darkness. We recognize Your loving Presence here with us today and always, and we sing:
Holy, Holy, Holy: Here in this Place by Christopher Grundy
All: Dearest Holy One, may we live in Your love. May wesee you reflected in every person we meet. May we see you in the rocky hills, the deep womb of the sea, the sun that rises so faithfully each morning.
We thank you for Jesus, because he showed us with his life how to grow your Kin-dom. May your indwelling presence prompt us to bring gospel kindness and understanding to all. May we serve each other and all of creation as we walk in your love.
Please extend your hands in blessing.
All: We are grateful for the bread and wine that remind us that we are called to renew and to be renewed with the love of the Spirit of God who is in everything, everyone and everywhere. We thank you for Jesus, beacon of love and wisdom, offering us a perspective of openness and service to others. We are grateful for this bread and wine which reminds us of the call to spread the good news of love in our world.
On the night before he faced betrayal and death, Jesus shared supper with his friends. He reminded them of all that he taught them, and to fix that memory clearly with them, he bent down and washed their feet.
When he returned to his place at the table, he lifted the bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread, and offered it to them saying:
Take and eat, this is my very self.
Then he took the cup of the covenant, 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.
Bread and wine, blessed by you at their creation as wheat and grape, blessed again by the laborers who formed them, are blessed once more today by your Spirit. Like them, we open ourselves to that same Spirit, to be blessed and transformed by your Love.
What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives; as we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.
Through Jesus we have learned how to live. Through Jesus, we have learned how to love. Through Jesus we have learned how to serve. AMEN
Please receive the bread and wine with the words, The Kin-dom is Love.
Communion Song: I Am the One – Janis Ian, video by Denise Hackert-Stoner
Loving Source of our being, you call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We live justly, we love tenderly, we walk with integrity in Your Presence Amen.
Jesus Prayer for the Season of Creation
All: Generous Creator, the intricate and elegant biodiversity of our world is your hallowed autograph on our lives, our souls and our hearts.
We yearn for the wholeness of being in harmony with Your will and with all living things. Each day we draw on your creative, life-giving energy with awe as we find nourishment in, seed and field, river and forest.
We acknowledge our shortcomings, especially our feelings of being powerless in the face of climate change and injustice. We seek to be reconciled with those we have hurt and we resolve to do better.
With your unfailing wisdom and the wind of Your Spirit, inspire us that we may reach out and love one another and care for the world, our home. Strengthen us to work for local and global justice. May we one day reap a harvest of equality and fairness as if they were wildflowers, propagating spontaneously, unerringly and in surprising abundance. Amen. (Created by Lynn Kinlan)
Please extend your hands and pray our blessing together
May we celebrate all of creation with fearless love. May we offer each other this love and know there is enough lovefor all. We are filled with God’s abundance. Let us bring joy and blessing into the world. Amen.
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