MARY MOTHER OF JESUS INCLUSIVE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY
Interesting, Inviting, Involving, Inspiring
Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 18, 2020
Presiders: Cheryl Brandi and Elena Garcia, ARCWP
Music Minister: Linda Lee Miska
Theme: Hospitality and Unity
With eyes closed for a brief moment let us bring to mind the often forgotten reality that we are always and everywhere in the presence of the Divine. Let us be mindful that The Divine is present within each and every one of us and within all creation exponentially throughout the cosmos. This reality can be experienced simply by taking a few deep breaths.
Gathering Song : “We are Pilgrims- Servant Song”
~Will you let me be your servant- let me be as Christ for you
Pray that I may have the grace to, let you be my servant too.
~We are pilgrims on our journey, we are travelers on the road.
We are here to help each other walk a mile and bear the load.
~I will hold the Christ light for you in the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.
~I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow, till we see this journey thru.
~Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?
Pray that I may have the grace, to let you be my servant too.
P: Let us begin our liturgy today in the name of God, our source of All Being, Jesus the Christ our Eternal Word, and Sophia Holy Spirit Wisdom. All: Amen
Opening Prayer: All: Veni Sancte Spiritus! (At end of each line)
P: Spirit of love, come upon this community and dwell among us.
P: Spirit of unity, show us the path towards Christian unity.
P: Spirit of hospitality, teach us to be welcoming.
P: Spirit of compassion, instill in us an attitude of respect toward all creation.
P: Spirit of hope, help us to detach ourselves from all hindrances on our journey towards unity.
Transformation Rite: Litany of Peace by Dan Shutte
All: Before we bring our gifts to the table to share at the Banquet of love, we ask you loving God for forgiveness for the times we have failed to love one another and to work for unity among all people. Amen
Res. (After each invocation) Let us be your peace
P: God of all creation
P: God who walks among us
P: God of tender mercy
P: As we work for justice
P: With our hands and voices
P: With our words of comfort
P: With hope and healing
P: In joy and gladness
P: Now and forever
Gloria: Glory to God, Glory, O praise God Alleluia. Glory to God , Glory , O praise the name of our God!
P: Dear sisters and brothers in Jesus, we gather today to celebrate this liturgy of supplication for Christian unity. I have accessed and adapted this liturgy prepared by different Christian Churches in Malta. The history of Christianity in this small island nation dates back to the time of the apostles. According to tradition, St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, reached the shores of Malta in the year 60. The final two chapters of the Acts of the Apostles describe this eventful and providential episode. This text signals the beginning of Christianity in Malta- a small country made up of two main inhabited islands , Malta and Gozo. There are other islets at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, half way between the southern tip of Sicily and Northern Africa. Our prayers and reflections today are centered on Jesus prayer, “That they may all be one” Jn17:22 and on the hospitality shown by the islanders towards those who had just been shipwrecked. “They showed us unusual kindness.” (Acts 28:2)
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading: Acts 27: 18-28:10
Once everyone was accounted for and we realized we had all made it, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. The natives went out of their way to be friendly to us. The day was rainy and cold and we were already soaked to the bone, but they built a huge bonfire and gathered us around it. The head man in that part of the Island was Publius. He took us into his home as his guests, drying us out and putting us up in fine style for the next three days. We spent a wonderful three months in Malta. They treated us royally, took care of all our needs and outfitted us for the rest of the journey.
These is an inspiring account found in the Acts of the Apostles. All: Thanks be to God
Responsorial: Psalm 107 (Adapted from Nan Merrill )
Response: O that we might learn to see, hear and think with all our hearts!
~Know yourself! Let your aim be to recognize who you are. Aspire to live as sons and daughters of Divine Love, to enshrine the earth with divinity. To honor all relationships as sacred and to live in peace and in balance with all living things. Acknowledge the sacredness of every path, albeit different from your own; in this way you honor the Great Mystery and the wonder of all Life! Res………………..
~Enter the holy temple of your heart, and learn to still the tumult of the mind. For, to be serene even in the midst of chaos, is to know the efficacy of calmness. Peace dwells in the heart of
silence, compassion and mercy abide there as well. Come let us give thanks to the Heart of all hearts, giving praise for the unlimited gifts of Love. Res:………………
~ Pray for the well-being of all life, and learn to dance in harmony with the cosmos!
Awaken all you who are asleep, let us plant seeds for the commingling of heaven and earth. For the Energy of Love radiates in everything, and receptive hearts are purified by its Fire. Blessed are the children of Light, for they know their home in the Universal Heart. Res:……………
Second Reading: Message from Pope Francis on Christian Unity The Christians of Indonesia, reflecting on the theme chosen for this Week of Prayer, decided to draw inspiration from these words of Deuteronomy: “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue” (16:20). They are deeply concerned that the economic growth of their country, driven by the mentality of competition, is leaving many in poverty and allowing a small few to become immensely wealthy. This jeopardizes the harmony of a society in which people of different ethnic groups, languages and religions live together and share a sense of responsibility for one another.
But that is not simply the case in Indonesia; it is a situation we see worldwide. When society is no longer based on the principle of solidarity and the common good, we witness the scandal of people living in utter destitution amid skyscrapers, grand hotels and luxurious shopping centres, symbols of incredible wealth. We have forgotten the wisdom of the Mosaic law: if wealth is not shared, society is divided.
Saint Paul, writing to the Romans, applies the same thinking to the Christian community: those who are strong must bear with the weak. It is not Christian “to please ourselves” (15:1). Following Christ’s example, we are to make every effort to build up those who are weak. Solidarity and shared responsibility must be the laws that govern the Christian family.
As God’s holy people, we too constantly find ourselves on the threshold of entering the Lord’s promised kingdom. Yet, since we are also divided, we need to recall God’s summons to justice. Christians too risk adopting the mentality known to the ancient Israelites and contemporary Indonesians, namely that in the pursuit of wealth, we forget about the weak and those in need. It is easy to forget the fundamental equality existing among us: that once we were all slaves to sin, that the Lord saved us in baptism and called us his children. It is easy to think that the spiritual grace granted us is our property, something to which we are due, our property. The gifts we have received from God can also blind us to the gifts given to other Christians. It is a grave sin to belittle or despise the gifts that the Lord has given our brothers and sisters, and to think that God somehow holds them in less esteem. When we entertain such thoughts, we allow the very grace we have received to become a source of pride, injustice and division. And how can we then enter the promised kingdom?
The worship befitting that kingdom, the worship demanded by justice, is a celebration that includes everyone, a feast in which gifts received are available to and shared by all. To take the first steps towards the promised land that is our unity, we must first of all recognize with humility that the blessings we have received are not ours by right, but have come to us as a gift; they were given to be shared with others. Then, we must acknowledge the value of the grace granted to other Christian communities. As a result, we will want to partake of the gifts of others. A Christian people renewed and enriched by this exchange of gifts will be a people capable of journeying firmly and confidently on the path that leads to unity.
These are inspired words shared by Pope Francis All: Thanks be to God
Gospel Acclamation: “Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on…..” ( us, all) Michael Crawford
Gospel: Jn17: 20-23 The Message (Bible in contemporary language)
On the night before he died Jesus prayed: “I’m praying not only for these but also for those who will believe in me because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind – just as you Abba, are in me and I in you, so they be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, so they’ll be as unified and together as we are—I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that you’ve sent me and loved them in the same way you’ve loved me.
This are the inspired words of John the evangelist.
We respond: Praise to you Jesus the Christ. You are indeed the Good News!
Homily/ Shared Homily
As a church we have prayed for Christian Unity for many years. In the light of an ever evolving cosmos, how is this prayer different for you from say a few years ago.
Profession of Faith:
~We believe in God, the Divine Mystery that is beyond our understanding… the Creator of an unfinished world in an ever-evolving cosmos. God is the Holy One who invites us to join with our brothers and sisters in creating and building a world of justice, a new world of love and peace on our planet Earth.
~We believe in God who calls all of the world’s wide-spread populations to harmony and unity so that, in settings of peace and understanding, we may heal the hurts and the sufferings that have been caused over time and replace them with a celebration of love and enduring partnerships.
~We believe in God who has not divided the people into the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick, the wise and the unwitting, the advantaged and the disadvantaged. We believe in a God who created all of us to be brothers and sisters of one another in a Blessed Family.
~We believe in Jesus, the Word of God who became human like us. He befriended the well-placed and the poorest persons regardless of their positions in society. He spoke truth to every man and woman with whom he came in contact, and he spread to everyone, the love, peace and justice that he always preached. And for all this, he was put to death for doing what was his blessed mission.
~We believe in Jesus, who then, was raised to life.
~We believe in the Spirit of God, the Breath of our innermost life and the Sustainer of everything that exists in this world. She is the one who brings order out of chaos, peace out of strife, love out of hatred, and life out of death. We truly believe in Her. Amen.
Prayers of the Community
P: We cannot face the storms of life alone. A boat moves forward when all row together. In the face of difficulties we recognize the need to pull together and to unite our efforts. And so we pray.
P: Gracious God, heal the painful memories of the past which have wounded our churches and continue to keep us apart.
All: Hear our prayer for reconciliation.
P: Gracious God, teach us to fix our course on Christ, the True Light.
All: Hear our prayer for Enlightenment.
P: Gracious God, strengthen our confidence in your providence when we feel overwhelmed by the storms of life.
All: Hear our prayer for Hope.
Gracious God, transform our many separations into harmony and our mistrust into mutual acceptance,
All: Hear our prayer for Trust
P: Gracious God, give us the courage to speak the truth with justice in love.
All: Hear our prayer for Strength.
P: Gracious God, dismantle all national barriers, visible and invisible, that may prevent us from welcoming our sisters and brothers who are in peril or in need.
All: Hear our prayer for Hospitality.
P: Gracious God, change our hearts and the hearts of our Christian communities, that we may be agents of your healing.
All: Hear our prayer for Conversion.
P: Gracious God, open our eyes to see the whole of creation as your gift, and our hands to share its fruit in solidarity.
All: Hear our Prayer for Generosity.
P: What other concerns do we pray for at this time? …………………….
All Respond: Gracious God, hear our prayer.
P: Loving God, we trust that you hear the petitions spoken today and those that we hold in the silence of our hearts. Amen
Song: “Here I am God” (Substitute God for Lord) #379 Verses 1-3
PREPARATION OF THE TABLE
Presider: (Raise bread and wine) Ever gentle God, as co-creators of our planet, we offer you the gifts of bread, wine and our lives . May we celebrate our oneness with all creatures great and small in the family of God.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Pray that as we recognize our call to use our gifts in loving service to our sisters and brothers, we may become one with all in the Cosmic Christ.
All: Blessed be God forever.
Presider: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up in tender love, open to serve.
Presider: Let us give thanks to our God.
All: It is our joy to give God thanks and praise.
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER (Anaphora)
Voice: Gracious Wisdom, You embrace us with extravagant affection in our blessedness and brokenness. We thank you that in this festive meal, your spirit continues to be poured out among the circle of disciples gathered here. We give and receive forgiveness and offer the gift of your shalom/peace. We join with the angels and saints and people of every race, faith and nation to glorify your presence as we sing:
All: (sing) We are Holy, holy, holy. You are…. I am…. We are…. (Karen Drucker)
Voice: Gracious God, you set the banquet table and invite all to the feast of unending delight. Here we celebrate divine love beyond what words can describe in our evolving cosmos. Here your divine compassion connects us to the young, the old, the least and the last, to everyone everywhere on our journey into the heart of mercy.
Voice: We especially thank you, nurturing God, for Jesus – Your anointed, who shows us how to love with a peaceful and courageous spirit. In Jesus, you show us how to care for those who face illness and grief, and how to help those who experience rejection and marginalization.
Voice: God of tenderness, Jesus showed us the heart of mercy when he preached good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and healing to the broken. Jesus called women to be apostles and disciples and treated them as equals in his circle of companions.
Voice: In response to people’s sufferings, Jesus broke rules and violated religious taboos. He shared meals with women, saved a woman from being stoned and said that prostitutes would enter heaven before religious leaders. He healed the sick and comforted the lonely. He challenged the priestly class and political leaders of his time and so they ridiculed, tortured and put him to death.
In faithful love, you raised the crucified Jesus radiant and glorious to new life. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection shows us how to live freely and joyously in the midst of injustice, darkness, evil and death.
(Please extend hands as we recite the Epiclesis and Consecration together)
All: May your Spirit, present in these gifts and in us, fill us with a new outpouring of love. Make us more deeply one Body in the Cosmic Christ, so as to live in the fullness of your compassion.
On the night before he was betrayed, Jesus gathered with his friends for a meal. He took bread into his hands, broke it and said: Take this all of you. This is my Body. Do this to remember me.
Pause: In the same way after supper, Jesus took the cup, raised it with love beyond all telling. He gave thanks and shared the cup with those at table saying: Take this all of you and drink from it. This is the cup of my life blood, of the new and everlasting covenant. Every time you drink of it remember me.
Presider: In sacred memory, let us proclaim the mystery of our faith.
All: In every creature that has ever breathed, we see your tenderness. In every living being that has passed on before us, we see your goodness. In everything yet to be, Jesus The Christ will come again! In our breaking of the bread of earth, Jesus the Christ of the Cosmos is being re-membered!
All: Holy One, your transforming energy is always moving within us and working through us. We give thanks for all holy women and men who have been your face in our lives. They showed us how to forgive self and others, let go of guilt, refrain from judging others and see the good in people who irritate us. Let us pause to remember and name some of these holy women and men aloud or in the silence of our hearts.
Doxology Presider(s) hold(s) up the bread and wine.
All: Through Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus, all praise and glory are yours, Loving God. All: AMEN (Celtic)
Let us recite the Prayer Jesus taught us. (Adapted byMaria Gullo for centering prayer)
Our Father and Mother who is in Heaven, whose presence is with us always and whose spirit dwells within. Hallowed be your name. May your kindom come and may your will be done in our lives and on earth just as it is in heaven. Thank you for giving us this day, all that we need for sustenance, nourishment and growth. Forgive us, forgive us when we turn away from your love and when we trespass against you and those you put in our lives. Help us forgive those who turn away from love, who have trespassed against us. Keep us from yielding to temptation. Direct us away from anything or anyone that would distract us from your will, your highest good for our lives. Direct and protect us from all that is evil. For all glory and power is yours almighty God just as it was in the beginning, it is now and always shall be world without end. Amen
Sign of Peace
Presider: Jesus, you said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you, my peace I give you. Look on the faith of those gathered here today and…
All: …. grant us your peace, O God. Following the example of Jesus and with the strength of the Spirit, help us spread that peace through our words and actions to everyone, everywhere, with no exceptions. Amen
Hold hands as we sing: Peace is Flowing like a River. Love is…. Joy is…Alleluia…(Setting all the people free, “not captives”!)
Litany At The Breaking Of The Bread
P: Loving God, All: You call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly
P: Loving God, All: You call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of understanding and compassion, forgiveness and healing, everywhere in your name. We will love tenderly.
P: Loving God, All: You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk humbly with you and with one another.
Presider: (elevate(s) the bread and wine)
This is Jesus, who liberates, heals and transforms us and our world. He calls us to open doors that are closed and share our bread on the altar of the world. We are called to be one in heart and mind as Jesus and Abba God are one. All are invited to eat and drink at this sacred banquet of love. )
All: We are the body of Jesus the Christ.
Pre-Communion Prayer: “Sanctuary”
All Chant: God prepare me to be a Sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true.
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, sanctuary, for you. 3x
Prayer Of Thanksgiving After Communion
Presider: Loving God, may this Eucharist in which we shared Jesus’ healing love, deepen our oneness with you and with one another, our sisters and brothers. May your grace fill us all with the strength we need on our journeys, especially when your words are challenging. We will strive to live our lives in such a way that your compassion may be felt through us to all your children, as we live the Gospel values of justice, peace and equality. All: Amen
Community Prayers of Gratitude, Introductions, Announcements
Closing Community Blessing (Extend an arm in mutual blessing)
All: We have come together as Christians, and therefore as fellow disciples. As we yearn for Christian unity, let us commit ourselves anew to work for this common goal. May our loving God who called us from darkness into light , make us true bearers of Her light. May Jesus the Christ who shows us how to live life to the fullest, empower us to follow his example in serving others. Holy Spirit Sophia Wisdom moved over the waters of creation, and continually renews the earth.
May she strengthen us to endure the shipwrecks of life, united in our journey to all our sisters and brothers. As we leave here today let us unite our prayer with that of Jesus: “That All may be one as you Abba/Amma are in me and I in You; I pray that they may be one in us” Let this service continue as we set out together to proclaim in unity, the wonders of God’s love. Amen! Alleluia! Amen!
Sing: Go Make a Difference #500 (All verses)