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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

741: Emmaus Celebration for Today, Sunday, March 27, 2022 at 4:45

Day 741: Emmaus Celebration for Today,

Sunday, March 27, 2022

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Celebration for Sunday, March 27, 2022

Welcome Home: That we all may be One

Dear sisters and brothers,

The last couple of years have been tough and it’s easy to grow distant in our community in which we meet only a couple of times a month – and only by ZOOM for the past 2 years!~

I am sorely disappointed that we have not met face to face except in small groups. This afternoon we have a chance to share our thoughts and trace our faith histories. Each of us has a personal story about the road we’ve traveled and the road on which we continue to walk together.

With personal storytelling in mind isn't that what Pope Francis is asking us to do -- to share our stories, the good, the bad and the ugly? To listen to one another in a deep way and to and dialogue with each other? The word for it is Synod - a Greek word for a meeting of the minds and hearts with listening and compassion.

And in a way what we’ll do this afternoon is have our own Synod. In all the meetings I’ve been through while discussing the Synod – every person has made it clear that eating together, hearing each other's personal faith stories are the key to becoming one community. In those gatherings and in listening to each other we invite the Holy Spirit into our conversations, into our lives and into this community. I feel sure she will be with us now to make us one.

Tonight I’d like to take a few moments to break into groups (we can do that on Zoom) and to introduce ourselves to each other and tell our stories. Specifically, I’d like each person to have the opportunity to tell their personal story of their faith journey – which has brought them to this moment in a smaller group of maybe 3-4 people – and to have some time – as much as 10 minutes to tell their story. So many of us don’t know each other very well and this is a time to share our hopes and fears. It’s all about telling and most important – to listening with an open heart.

It may help us to ask a few questions of ourselves:

- How did my faith journey begin?

- Who are the people who inspired me along the way?

- What are the stories from scripture that have influenced me?

- Why do I care so much that I continue to meet?

I’d like to begin with a brief meditation that might help us calm our minds and open our hearts.

Opening Meditation:

Let’s Begin by sitting in a comfortable position and closing our eyes.

For just this moment, let go of your thoughts and the outside world.

Place your hands on your heart, in the middle of your chest, and be aware of your heart as a space. The heart is a point of awareness where feelings enter. Imagine your heart now as a warm room that is peaceful - lit by a subtle light as though through sheer curtains.

Resting your attention easily on your heart center, breathe gently and sense your breath flowing into your heart. You may want to visualize a soft, pastel light or coolness pervading the chest.

Let your breath go in and out, and as it does, ask your heart what it needs to say. Don’t phrase this as an order; just have the faint intention that you want your heart to express itself.

For the next few minutes, think about the arc of your faith life. Take a few steps back to your first memories of your faith and walk through your life. Sounds like a heavy lift doesn’t it. But there are milestones along the way for each of us:

Perhaps you remember your first communion, the stories your parents told you from the Bible, the stories from the nuns and priests, prayers you memorized – and still retain. Sacraments that were, and remain especially important. Stories that may have caused you fear or terror – something about “Lord I am not worthy,” Eternal fires…

Remember the changes brought on by Vatican II. The songs, the guitar masses, a whole new vibe in the church. The hope of being included and understanding that we make up the community of the people of God. The feeling that I am worthy that in fact I carry the Divine spark within me – a spark of total love that never goes out.

Think of the people who have inspired you along the road.

Your desire to serve others and your growing adulthood.

In your mind trace your path along the road to our celebration right now. Hold these thoughts in your heart and prepare to share what you want about your faith journey – and please know you will share only what you want to share.

You may have a flash of strong emotion—positive or negative—joy or sadness, grief or regret. You may remember something special, something so wonderful it left you breathless. A forgotten memory perhaps. Your breathing may change. You may gasp, sigh, or feel tears come into your eyes. Let the experience be what it is. If you daydream or drift off, don’t worry. Just bring your attention back to your heart center.

The Heart’s Message speaks to each of us in sadness or fear, delight or pleasure. If voices from your spiritual experience are angry, if they cast doubt or fear understand that they are a part of the tapestry of your faith. If you remember positive, loving, compassionate voices make room for them in your heart and memory.

And now let’s open our eyes and allow the Good News to filter through us:

The Parable of the Lost Son

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him,

but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

So to them he addressed this parable.

Then he said, “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.

When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any.

Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’

So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’

But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.

Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him.

He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.

But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.

But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”

30 minutes Shared Homily: Organize into groups for listening

and to have some time – as much as 10 miuntes to tell their story. So many of us don’t know each other very well and this is a time to share our hopes and fears. It’s all about telling and most important – to listening with an open heart.

It may help us to ask a few questions of ourselves. These are only suggestions – feel free to make up your own questions!

- How did my faith journey begin?

- Who are the people who inspired me along the way?

- What are the stories from scripture that have influenced me?

- Why do I care so much that I continue to meet?

A couple of rules in story sharing:

- Please speak from your heart.

- Please listen from your heart.

- Celebrate the storyteller.

- Thank each other for sharing.


We gather together to share the mystery of the Divine

In every person, In everything we do.

Spirit of Life, Spirit of the Divine, come to us in this celebration and bless these gifts of bread and wine. Encircle us with your love and inspire us to become the transformation we seek to become.

We are on our journey and our road meets with those of everyone who is walking toward freedom and liberation tonight – wherever they come from, whatever the sadness they face. With Mary we keep the human family together, telling them “we must go on, we cannot turn back. We have a role in creating a world of peace for us and all our children. Everyone is welcome in this new world without borders. Lament cannot take hold if gratitude gets there first.”

This is the message of our brother Jesus who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and fire. Our brother Jesus now invites us to share with him this simple meal which he celebrated the night before he died with his mother and his companions. He knew the hours were precious and the time short. This gave new meaning to his words:


Come to the table and break this bread with me and understand that it is life itself.

And then he raised the cup and looked with love at each of the people in the room and saw everyone who had lived or would ever live and he invited them all saying:


Come and drink this cup of wine which we share together. Remember me and celebrate me by re-creating this meal whenever the Spirit moves you. It is a cup filled with love.

Kiss of Peace:

Let’s offer each other a sign of peace.

The Welcoming to Communion:

All are welcome at our table. And we know that only at the shrine where all are welcome will God sing loud enough to be heard (St. Theresa of Avila)

In the eyes of the Divine we are more than worthy. So beautiful in fact that God enjoys you and says with great passion “You’re here, I found you and you may think you love me but… I love you More!

Communion Song:

Final Blessing:

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,

May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,

May your gravity by lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,

May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,

So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what's said,

May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,

May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough

to hear in the depths the laughter of god.”

“For Equilibrium, a Blessing:

― John O'Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

ANNOUNCEMENT: Words from Cory Booker on Judge Jackson

It took 192 years for the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court and it has taken 232 years for a Black woman to even be nominated. Senator Cory Booker Talks Historic Nature of Supreme Court Nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Senator Booker says

“you have earned this spot. You are worthy. You are a great American.”

Listen on this link

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's hero, Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman ever appointed to the federal judiciary, faced extraordinary obstacles. When she came out of law school, law firms wouldn’t even hire her because she was a woman. Did she become bitter? Did she try to start a revolution? No, she used the very Constitution of this nation to lift all of us. She wanted America to be America. As Langston Hughes wrote:

“O, let America be America again – The land that never has been yet — And yet must be – the land where every man is free... I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath – America will be!”

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