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Showing posts from April, 2020

Easter Vigil - April 11

Genesis 1:1-2:2,26-31 Genesis 22:1-18 Exodus 14:15-15:1 Isaiah 54:5-14 Isaiah 55:1-11 Baruch 3:9-15,32-4:4 Ezekiel 36:16-28 Romans 6:3-11 Luke 24:1-12 The Easter Vigil is a serenade of sensory images, a heartfelt dance of prayer and movement, beginning with the warm crackling sounds of the Easter Fire in the Service of Light. Then comes the symbolic processional action-- from the darkness of death to the light of Christ’s love. The Body of Christ throughout the nave is illuminated in a wave of golden glowing lit tapers, a symbol of the new life of the resurrection. The beautiful liturgical rituals throughout the year build up to this night of all nights. This holy night we share in our story of salvation told through the nine scriptures readings, allowing us to become part of our past. Our senses are embraced in the ritual used to display our Christian history of new life. I am swept away in the loveliness of this service. Proclaiming our story from creation, sacrificial love, o

Good Friday - April 10

Isaiah 52:13-53 Psalms 31:2,6,12-17, 25 Hebrews 4:14-16,5:7-9 John 18:1-19,42 For this reflection we asked the seventh grade class of Visitation, under the direction of teacher Kaitylyn Chichuk, to help partake in a unique assignment…  A note from Kaitlyn Chichuk, Seventh-grade Religion Teacher: The seventh-grade class spent time praying with today’s responsorial psalm. Below are five of those reflections. “You know that feeling? Everything is going wrong and everything you do seems to make it worse. You think no one feels as bad as you do, and no one will ever understand. We feel alone. However, on Good Friday we remember that Jesus lived on Earth just like we do. He felt the judgement from others, the shame, and the humiliation. He knew what it felt like to not fit in. But Jesus kept his faith in God. He showed us we can’t forget our relationship with God will save us from the times when Satan tempts us with giving up and giving in to that awful feeling.” – Rebecca McGannon

Holy Thursday - April 9

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 John 13:1-15 “How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good God has done for me?” (Psalms 116:12) We are entering the space and time that is the Triduum; three sacred days of awe, sadness, wonder and joy. This time of year, the psalm response above is the only appropriate response for me. Breath held, my chest tight, I feel awed that we are experiencing and remembering the last hours of Jesus’ life - and then the mystery of the resurrection. As a young Catholic kid, and even as a young adult, I did not know much about the Triduum. My mother, of course, participated since she was the church organist. I wondered, “why do we attend the special, extra mass of Holy Thursday and service of Good Friday when we hear the same story of Jesus’ death told to us on Palm Sunday?” Yet, after sponsoring someone in the RCIA process, I realized I had been wrong about their purpose. Participating, being part of, the central Holy Days of our faith

Wednesday of Holy Week - April 8

Isaiah 50:4-9 Psalm 69 Matthew 26:14-25 In today’s Gospel, we learn Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, was paid “thirty pieces of silver” to hand over Jesus. Just days later, at the Passover supper, Jesus instituted the Eucharist with all Twelve – an event we will consider tomorrow night with the beginning of the Triduum. Tonight, though, we focus on the fact that Judas, the betrayer, nonetheless “reclined at table,” partaking of the body and blood of Christ in the immediate presence of his Lord and his brother disciples. How bitter it surely was for our Lord, reclining with those he loved most, those who had not melted away after his diffi cult and unexpected teachings, to know that one of these intimates – Judas – had betrayed him at the very culmination of his ministry. Today’s Psalm focuses on the bitterness of betrayal: “I have become an outcast to my brothers… Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak…” Already at supper, Jesus is experiencing the nearly infinite agony of all

Tuesday of Holy Week - April 7

Isaiah 49:1-6 John 13:21-33, 36-38 The sun was just starting to peak over the horizon, and I was already 40 miles outside of Kansas City. It was the start of my busy season and the thought of the early mornings and the many miles that lay ahead over the next few months had me feeling quite sorry for myself. I noticed the bumper sticker first, a pink ribbon bearing the words fight like a girl. When I pulled up beside the vehicle, I saw a bald woman, about my age, with a huge grin on her face, singing her heart out. I have no idea what she was singing but, in my mind, it’s always been Gloria Gaynor’s “I will Survive” – or maybe even Cake’s version (she seemed a little edgy – in the good, I want to hang out with this woman, kind of way). I instantly felt horrible for feeling sorry for myself. Here I was, healthy, with three beautiful healthy children, a healthy husband and jobs that allowed us to provide them with a great education. And this woman, who, by all appearances, was fighting

Monday of Holy Week - April 6

Isaiah 42:1-7 John 12:1-11 “Though war be waged upon me, even then will I trust.” Ps 27:3 As long as I can remember I have had this unwavering trust that things will work out or that things will be taken care of, or it will all be okay. Most of the time I believe this is my faith carrying through (however, other times I fear I am the brunt of a “blond joke”). It is a sense not really felt but simply here. Like the Responsorial Psalm says, “The Lord is my light and my Salvation.” I too trust my path will be lit for me as long as I watch and listen. During this last week of Lent, as we move closer to celebrating the Triduum, it becomes more important to spend time listening and watching for those subtle signs. My best time to listen and watch is either as I am just beginning to fall asleep or as I am waking up with a clear mind. Both are opportunities to quietly reflect on how my day has been or what my spiritual goals may be. I simply try not to make lists but to be still in mind

Passion Sunday - April 5

Matthew 21:1-11 Isaiah 50:4-7 Philippians 2:6-11 Matthew 26:14-27:66 For this reflection we asked the eighth grade class of Visitation, under the direction of teacher Joan Barnosky, to help partake in a unique assignment… A note from Joan Barnosky, eighth-grade teacher: The entry into Jerusalem for Jesus was much different from the exit. He entered as a master; he left beaten, spit upon, and carrying a cross for his own death. I asked Visitation’s Class of 2020 to “tweet” about an experience when they: felt on top of the world, but soon were at the bottom; had lots of friends, but later felt betrayed and alone; were the betrayer or bystander to someone else’s betrayal. Below are three of those tweets: “Basketball has always been something I’ve really enjoyed. Last year, I was on the “A” team and had so much fun. When tryouts rolled around this year, I was very excited. I felt really confident, but, to my surprise, I didn’t end up making the team. I was heartbroken and did not

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent - April 4

Ezekiel 37:21-28 John 11:45-57 When my husband Jim and I moved to Kansas City in 2004, we shopped around for a church home. Although I recognize now we were supposed to choose a parish based on our geographic location, we sought the sort of community we had grown accustomed to in Columbia. Our first Mass at Visitation was incredible; while the liturgy was moving, what really seemed to saturate our senses that day was the lay-out of the church. The congregation worshipped around the altar, rather than behind. Although there were no familiar faces at that first Mass, the sanctuary offered a promise of community yet to come. In today’s readings, there is a recurrent theme of bringing people together, scattered sheep being brought home. Jeremiah reminds us: “The Lord will guard us, like a shepherd guarding his flock.” Ezekiel 37 notes “I will make with them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever.

Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent - April 3

Jeremiah 20:10-13 John 10:31-42 “Let me witness the vengeance you take on them...” ( Jeremiah 20:12) Jeremiah, this isn’t very nice! You are a man of God, desiring not only God’s vengeance on your persecutors, but also asking to witness your enemies’ shame. How could you wish for such a thing? Jeremiah’s words grate on my sensibilities. They grate on me, not because Jeremiah is a man of God, but because I, whose life has been vastly easier than the badgered prophet’s, I too have such desires. Too often I think about the awful ways some people might be laid low, because in my view they have hurt others. Who are these awful people in my life that merit such vengeful thoughts? Rest assured, they are not folks who are out to kill me, or rob me, or kidnap my grandchildren. No, they are friends, acquaintances, family members who don’t behave like I think they should; or hold different political or economic views than I do; or have, intentionally or not, hurt or slighted me in some w

Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent - April 2

Genesis 17:3-9 John 8:51-59 I have a confession: I hate tattoos. Don’t like them. Never have. I cringe when I see people who have them. I don’t know why. There is no traumatic event in my life involving tattoos. I just don’t like tattoos. No big deal, right? A little weird; but who cares? Except I judge others who have tattoos, and it affects my relations with people. It’s not like I hate everyone with tattoos. I have friends and family with tattoos – I still care for them. But it bugs me for some reason. While my dislike of tattoos is an oddity, it’s not that unusual to judge others. We do it all the time and there is some value to judgment. In order to live in a civilized society, we must be measured and governed by rules. We must be judged to avoid chaos. But do we judge too much? So, what does any of this have to do with the Readings? Today in the Gospel we hear about judgment: “They picked up rocks to throw at Jesus.” In the Gospel, Jesus encourages us to be true to his

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent - April 1

Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95 John 8:31-42 Spirituality is as unique and personal to all of us as our beliefs and awareness of being connected to something bigger or the “meaning of life.” My spiritual life is constantly evolving. It waxes and wanes like the ocean tides. Truth be told, I feel closer to God some days more than others. I want to be close to Jesus, but I’m guilty of letting the travails of life dictate my intimacy with the Lord. A couple times each year I have to reset and give myself a spiritual self-check. Am I aware of God’s presence in my life? Do I listen to God’s will and follow his teachings? What does it really mean to have FAITH? In the Lenten season, I look for inspiration. And I found inspiration from the prophet Daniel. “He has sent his angel to rescue his servants.”  The complex passage could have many meanings. To me, simply, it is an illustration of unadulterated faith to the one true God. Three Hebrew men stand up to a self-proclaimed God and risk ce