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Easter Vigil - April 20, 2019

Genesis 1:1-2:2,26-31Genesis 22:1-18Exodus 14:15-15:1Isaiah 54:5-14Isaiah 55:1-11 Baruch3:9-15,32-4:4   Ezekiel 36:16-28   Romans 6:3-11   Luke 24:1-12
I signed on for the daunting task of reflecting on the readings given for the Easter Vigil. For reference, that is seven readings from the Old Testament, two from the New Testament, plus several responsorial psalms. The amount of material to digest is enormous. But I guess to fully understand the magnificence of the resurrection; you start from the beginning (Genesis 1:1) and work your way through. Could these readings from the Easter Vigil be the “cliff notes” of our faith?
We start with THE beginning, literally the beginning of all creation… “and it was good.” We move through a couple of poetic psalms, reminding us that “the earth is full of goodness.” We march forward, chariots and all (Exodus 14) with a reminder that with God’s help we can power through, from sea to dry ground. Slow and loud claps accompany Dave Ekerdt and those “hor…
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Good Friday - April 19, 2019

Isaiah 52:13-53    Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9    John 18:1-19,42
Now it is finished.”This statement is read every Good Friday, with such silence throughout the church that you can hear a pin drop.I recall years ago a time with Father Rotert saying those words; he could hardly get through it, his voice quivering.
I was honored to be asked to write a reflection and a bit overwhelmed when given this particular day.As I read the gospel, I kept coming back to the statement, “Now it is finished”. I reflected on all those times I looked forward to “finishing” something, usually it wastied to work like finishing a project, getting to or meeting a deadline.However, the word can apply to many other things for all of us.
For example, our own twins are in 8th grade looking to “finish” this year and move on. Our Rockhurst junior is getting ready for his senior year and “finishing” high school.Our oldest, a gifted fifth grade teacher, is looking forward to “finishing” this particular school year.And as I w…

Holy Thurday - April 18, 2019

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14   1 Corinthians11:23-26  John 13:1-15
Holy Thursday is the liturgical culmination of all the preparation of the previous six weeks.It is the beginning of the holiest three days in the church year. In the liturgy’s first reading, God gives Moses precise and detailed information on how to prepare for the Passover meal.
When I read tonight’s first reading from Exodus, I reflected on all the times in my life when I had to prepare. If I had to be ready for an event, I did not get there without practice, practice, practice. I ask myself as Lent comes to an end and we begin the celebration of the Triduum, am I prepared? Did I pay attention to the readings each day of Lent? Did I do what I needed to do this Lent? To be prepared, takes practice.
My first recollection of an adult in my life other than my parents occurred at age five. I took piano lessons. It was considered a privilege and a discipline in our home. Each week I had a lesson and I was to practice every day and c…

Wednesday of Holy Week - April 17, 2019

Isaiah 50:4-9  Psalm 69  Matthew 26:14-25
After quickly skimming the first reading, my immediate reaction was that I would focus on the gospel.Then… I read the gospel:Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. “Ah, I think I’ll give that first reading a more thorough review” I said to myself. It took reading only the first few words to make it clear that was the right choice: “The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.”
In my case, “them” are two sons and a husband.Well-trained may not apply to my public speaking skills, but I do feel that my calling is to be that voice for them--to have the words that will comfort them and lift them up.
Of course, that is not always easy, no matter my calling. They are human and individuals. There are times that they do not want to hear what I am saying. They let me know. Often, their resistance to my message is because I was not really listening to them. I did not fully understand their fe…

Tuesday of Holy Week - April 16, 2019

Isaiah 49:1-6 John 13:21-33,36-38
As I read today’s first reading from Isaiah, I wondered why did God make the prophet a sharp-edged sword and then conceal him under his arm? Why did he make him a polished arrow and then hide him?
It is interesting, and to an extent comforting, to see that although the times have changed, the questions and the need to know remain the same.We ask why? Annoying in its simplicity, this three-letter word has challenged the mind for millennia. Sometimes the answer is simple, yet so often it is complicated with uncertainty. As humans, we desire to put the pieces together and make sense of it all.
However, life is not that easy, it is not a puzzle where you are given the image before you start to assemble. With a puzzle, you can even make do with a missing piece or two. In life, all the information must be present to understand the grand design. So, we toil, searching for why a negative or positive event has occurred.  We blame others, ourselves, even God.

Monday of Holy Week - April 15, 2019

Isaiah 42:1-7    Psalm 27   John 12:1-11
As a cradle Catholic born and raised in Brookside (St Elizabeth Class of '85), I am appreciative that the Faith Formation Team reached out to me for this year’s Lenten reflection booklet.  Like so many of us, my life at times is on overload.  The opportunity to reflect as the Lenten season approaches is an important and helpful thing for me to do as part of my faith journey. 
The part of my readings that stands out to me is found in the responsorial psalm: “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”  It continues, "When evildoers come at me...though an army encamp against me...though war be waged upon me, even then I will trust." This kind of faith has been particularly important (and necessary) for me as a Catholic.
As a St. Elizabeth parishioner for the first 30+ years of my life, although a very positive experience for me personally, being a parishioner there brought many challenges.For St. Elizabeth was a hotbed for priest abuse b…

Passion Sunday - April 14, 2019

Isaiah 50:4-7  Philippians 2:6-11  Luke 22:14-23,56
As parents of two little girls, we often ponder how best to instill faith and Christian values in our curious, growing girls. It seems natural to start with dinner blessings, bedtime prayers, and stories of the Nativity. Reminding a child to be grateful for, and to celebrate, their blessings is much easier than talking about servitude and self-sacrifice.

The Lenten season can be challenging to explain to a child. It is an innately sorrowful time as we confront and mourn Jesus’ suffering, but it is also a time to celebrate and serve. How can we teach our children to understand and celebrate the pain that comes from personal sacrifice?

As Christians, we are guided by examples of the power Christ’s servitude. This week’s readings from Isaiah, Philippians, and Luke’s gospel, provide comfort and courage in times of sorrow and hardship. Christ was aware of the immense sacrifices he would be forced to make and the consequences that would res…