FRI-SAT-SUN     April 14-16, 2000    vol. 11, no. 75    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • APPRECIATION OF THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH: Installment 153 - The Passion of Our Lord part one
  • Daily WORD
  • Significant events that occurred this weekend in Church History

  • Appreciation of the Price of our redemption through the Passion of Our Lord

        Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. Today we present the first part of the catechesis on The Passion of Our Lord as explained in My Catholic Faith and how it was necessary for the redemption of all that Jesus underwent this most extreme form of human punishment for the remission of sins committed by all generations. For part one in the 153rd installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

    installment 153: The Passion of Our Lord part one

          After the Last Supper, Jesus went with His Apostles to the Garden of Gethsemani. And going a little further, He fellupon His face, praying: "Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou willest" (Matthew 26:39).

          After praying three times the same prayer, Jesus said to His disciples: "Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man will be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go. Behold, he who betrays Me is at hand" (Matthew 26:45-46).

          The following events marked the end of Our Lord's public life: His solemn entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper He ate with His Apostles, and finally, His passion and death. Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem in triumph, riding on an ass, with children waving palms and singing.

          The Church commemorates the entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. On that day palms are blessed, and there is a procession, in memory of the palms that the joyous people waved at the entrance into Jerusalem of Our Lord. Second Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter. The week following it is called Holy Week.

          On the Thursday evening after His entry into Jerusalem, Jesus ate the Paschal Supper with His Apostles. We call it the Last Supper, for it was the last meal He ate before His death. The Jews celebrated the feast of the Pasch in memory of their deliverance from Egypt. They had been saved by the blood of the paschal lamb.

          After the Supper, Our Lord washed the feet of the Apostles. He did this to teach us humility. In commemoration, the celebrant of Holy Thursday Mass today washes the feet of twelve men, after the Gospel.

          After the washing of feet, Our Lord instituted the Blessed Eucharist, said the first Mass, and gave His Apostles their first Holy Communion. By the Redepmption is meant that Jesus Christ, as Redeemer of the whole human race, offered His sufferings and death to God as a fitting sacrifice in satisfaction for the sins of men, and regained for them the right to be children of God and heirs of Heaven.

          A redeemer is one who pays in order to get back something lost. He gives satisfaction, compensation for an offense or injury done another. No creature could, of himself, make satisfaction for sin. Sin offends an infinite God, and therefore would need infinite satisfaction. Therefore Someone Infinite, Jesus Christ, had to offer that satisfaction. Jesus Christ suffered and died as man; as God He could neither suffer nor die. He suffered excruciatingly in order to make full reparation for sin, and to impress on us the great evil of sin. Even only one sin is so abominable to God that not all the deluges and fires can wipe off the stain. Only the blood of God Himself can do so. "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).

          Christ died for all men, without exception. He is the Redeemer of all men. Not all men are saved because not all accept the graces which Christ merited for us by His death. Many do not believe in Him. Of those who believe, many lead sinful lives. "Christ also lovedus and delivered himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:2). We can never realize fully that God died for us. We can never repay Him in this life or the next. The only way we can show our appreciation is to live according to His Will.

          The chief sufferings of Christ were His bitter agony of soul, His bloody sweat, His cruel scourging, His crowning with thorns, His crucifixion, and His death on the cross. Christ had often foretold His Passion. "For he was teaching his disciples, and saying to them, 'The Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and having been killed, he will rise again on the third day' " (Mark 9:30). Again: "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the Scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and will deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and spit upon Him, and scourge Him, and put Him to death; and on the third day He will rise again" (Mark 10:33-34).

      Monday: The Passion of Our Lord part two

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        This weekend we observe PALM SUNDAY Liturgy heading into Holy Week. For the readings, liturgies, and meditations on this feast, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Friday, April 14, 2000

        First Reading: Jeremiah 20: 10-13
        Responsorial: Psalm 18: 2-7
        Gospel Reading: John 10: 31-42

    Saturday, April 15, 2000

        First Reading: Ezekiel 37: 21-28
        Responsorial: Jeremiah 31: 10-13
        Gospel Reading: John 11: 45-57

    PALM SUNDAY, March 28, 1999

        Procession Gospel: Mark 11: 1-10 or John 12: 12-16
        Procession Psalm:Psalm 24: 1-10 and Matthew 21: 8-9

        First Reading: Isaiah 50: 4-7
        Psalms: Psalm 22: 2, 8-9, 17-20, 23-24
        Second Reading:Philippians 2: 6-11
        Gospel Reading: Matthew 14: 1-15, 47 or 15: 1-39


    Will our Hosannas turn to hisses or hurrahs?

          Palm Sunday signals the beginning of Holy Week when Jesus entered Jerusalem in glory. One week later He would rise in this city in even greater glory as He conquered death and redeemed us with His glorious Resurrection. The Passion, read at the gospel, signifies the mood for Passion Sunday and the tone set for Holy Week. We remember, in the Second Reading the words of St. Paul in Philippians 2: 8-11, "He [Christ] humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross. Therefore God also has exalted Him and has bestowed upon Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in Heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father." The words of the prophet Isaiah in the First Reading remind us there is no shame in following Christ and being loyal only to Him: "The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like fling, knowing that I shall not be put to shame" (Isaiah 50: 7). Only a few understood this and followed Him all the way to the foot of the Cross: His beloved Sorrowful Mother Mary, His beloved disciple and Apostle John and a chosen few, for "many are called. but few are chosen" (Matthew 20: 16).

          How many of us have been called, yet waffle when it is time to "fish or cut-bait"? Going to Mass on Easter Sunday is a must, but to go on Palm Sunday, during Holy Week and especially taking part in the Easter Triduum seem to be too much. Oh, how weak we are. How we need to heed the words of Our Lady in this month's Medjugorje Message when she reminds us: "In this time, when due to the spirit of consumerism, one forgets what it means to love and to cherish true values, I invite you again, little children, to put God in the first place in your life. Do not let satan attract you through material things, but, little children, decide for God Who is Freedom and Love." She knows how these commercial and secular trappings do just that, trap us in a comfort zone that makes it difficult to acknowledge God first in our life. When we don't follow her advice and God's Laws through His Holy Church, the evil one manages to grab on harder, making it embarassing for us to admit our commitment to Jesus. His insidious world-first subtleties can cause our priorities and prudent time-management to turn topsy turvy. It's no fun being upside down. The best way to right ourselves is to resolve to do what Jesus' Blessed Mother requests. Thus, we need to take this Holy Week to reform our priorities, to look beyond the trees toward the realize we cannot share or enjoy this glorious dawn of salvation without burying our pride and self-will and enthusiastically joining Jesus on the Way to Calvary by submitting totally to His Will for He says in Luke 14: 26, "He who does not carry his cross and follow Me, cannot be My disciple."

          We can begin by meditating on the Passion of Jesus read at Holy Mass on Palm Sunday, then proudly proclaim our Catholicity and commitment by prominently displaying our blessed palm branches in our homes as a reminder that these same palms will be burned just before the following Ash Wednesday to be used to remind us that we are dust, and unto dust we shall return (cf. Genesis 3:19). Life is fleeting, Eternity is forever. The key to this Eternal Door is waiting for us to share the burden of the Cross. Are we willing to be Simon of Cyrenes and Veronicas? With God we can! Without Him, we are guaranteed to be among those who hissed and spit upon Him after they cheered Him in Hosannas! Do we really wanted to be counted in the latter, or be remembered for all eternity as His faithful chosen ones who responded when He called?

    Monday, April 17, 2000

        First Reading: Isaiah 42: 1-7
        Responsorial: Psalm 18: 2-7
        Gospel Reading: John 12: 1-11


    Worldly Riches are a mere drop in the Ocean of Heavenly Riches

          The three gospels leading up to Holy Thursday deal with Judas Iscariot and his path to damnation. In the first reading, Isaiah records in Isaiah 42:1 "...My chosen one with Whom I am pleased." This Our Lord wanted so much to say about one of His Apostles, Judas. Yet, at every occasion, Jesus sadly saw the path Judas was on. No matter what He would say, Judas had his eyes on worldly treasures rather than Heavenly riches. This is made evident in the Gospel for Monday of Holy Week where John relates the account of Lazarus, whom Jesus commanded back to life. Lazarus was a rich man who used his riches for the good of others and serves as an ideal example for wealthy Christians today that they indeed can use worldly riches toward eternal treasures by following the Gospel of Christ and heeding the teachings of Holy Mother Church. Judas had his priorities confused when he protested over the waste of expensive perfume Mary Magdalene used to anoint her Lord's feet. To Jesus, it was a humble gesture of love and obedience to God's Will; to Judas, it was a waste of money for he protested that "It could have brought three hundred silver pieces, and the money have been given to the poor" (John 12: 5). We get a good indication how the others felt about Judas' greed in the next sentence when John, the gentlest and most loving of all the Apostles curtly says in verse 6: "Now he said this, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and holding the purse, used to take what was put in it."

          In the eighth verse Jesus hits the nail on the head, so to speak when He says in John 12: 8 after admonishing Judas to leave the Magdalene alone, "For the poor you have always with you, but you do not always have Me." The impact of this sentence hits home that the greatest Treasure is there among them in the flesh in the person of the Son of God, Who prophesizes His burial and the Magdalene's role by indicating in the verse before that she should keep the rest to anoint His body which she indeed did and was one of the faithful, along with John, to follow Jesus all the way to the Cross and beyond to the Sepulchre. It was only fitting she was rewarded for her loyalty by being the first to see Jesus after He had risen.

          This lesson should help us put things in perspective, to realize the greatest treasures are not here on earth, but only in Heaven will we attain unfathomable wealth when we behold the face of God. Our lifespan is but a drop of water compared to the ocean of Heavenly Eternity. That in itself should help us put our priorities in order. Do we put more importance on that tiny drop of water than the entire Infinite ocean? Judas did and we all know his fate. That should strongly remind us the path he sought was a dead-end. When we realize the insignificance of this lifespan in relationship with everlasting life with God it will better help us join Jesus on the path to Calvary. There on the Cross was the greatest ransom ever made and for it, Jesus released to us untold of treasures that are ours for the asking. All we need do is heed His Will and knock at the Door of His Sacred and Merciful Heart for the day's Responsorial Psalm says it all: "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation."

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    For Palm Sunday:

        "And they cried out, 'Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel!"

    John 12: 13

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    Special Prayer for Friday in the Fifth Week of Lent

      O Lord, fill our hearts with Thy grace so that we may avoid sin through our voluntary penance. May we suffer here in this life rather than be condemned to punishment in eternity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.

    Special Prayer for Saturday in the Fifth Week of Lent

      O Lord, may Thy people who are already dedicated to Thee, grow stronger in loving devotion to Thy service. May they grow in appreciation of this sacred rite and by becoming more pleasing to Thee, receive from Thee even greater gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.

    Special Prayer for PALM SUNDAY

      O Almighty and eternal God, it was Thy will that our Savior should become man and suffer upon the cross as a model of humility for all mankind. Grant that we may follow the example of His patience and share in His resurrection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.

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    Significant Events that happened this Weekend in Church History

       On this Palm Sunday 121 years ago in 1879 Saint Bernadette of Soubirous, the visionary of Lourdes passed on to her Heavenly reward in Nevers, France as a young nun of 35 years of age with the Sisters of Notre Dame. To the amazement of all her body never decayed and remains incorrupt today on display in Nevers. She thus became the third French saint whose body was preserved incorrupt along with Saint Catherine Laboure and Saint Vincent de Paul in Paris. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

    Historical Events in Church Annals for April 14:

    • 972 A.D.
    • Holy Roman Emperor Otto II marries Theophano, Princess of the Eastern Roman Empire, unifying the two empires for a short time.

    • 1291 A.D.
    • A flank of Knights Templars attack the Moslem camp at night in what was called the "Siege of Acre" and all are massacred. The infidels knew they were coming. The defeat greatly demoralizes the rest of the Templars.

    • 1386 A.D.
    • The doors of Saint Mary's College in Oxford, England are opened for the first time.

    • 1471 A.D.
    • The "kingmaker" Warwick is killed on Easter Sunday at Weymouth, England just before Queen Margaret arrives, but too late to save Warwick and her throne.

    • 1998 A.D.
    • 79 year-old Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer resigns as the leading prelate of Austria after 20 years of sexual abuse allegations tear the country apart morale-wise. The Cardinal said in a statement issued by the Vatican's apostolic nuncio in Austria that, "In the past three years, there have been several, often inaccurate assertions about my person. I beg God and people for forgiveness, if I have burdened myself with guilt."

    Historical Events in Church Annals for April 15:

    • 911 A.D.
    • Death of Pope Sergius III, the 119th successor of Peter. He had been elected on January 29, 904. During his seven year pontificate he had the Basilica of St. John Lateran, which had been destroyed by a fire, rebuilt. He insisted on and defended the rights of the Church against the feudal lords. He was also the first to wear the papal tiara.

    • 1450 A.D.
    • The Battle of Formigny where the French defeat the English in the 100 year war.

    • 1452 A.D.
    • Birth of Master Painter Leonardo da Vinci who would go on to paint some memorable religious scenes, most specifically "The Last Supper."

    • 1532 A.D.
    • The English Clergy is forced to submit to Henry VIII, King of England who bolted from Holy Mother Church.

    • 1912 A.D.
    • At 2:20 a.m. the S.S. Titanic sinks into the depths of the Atlantic after striking an iceberg, taking with it many Irish Catholics who had sailed in steerage for America seeking a better life.

    Historical Events in Church Annals for April 16:

    • 556 A.D.
    • Roman-born Pope Pelagius I becomes the sixtieth successor of Peter. He was the pope who built the Church of the Twelve Apostles.

    • 1071 A.D.
    • The Normans capture Bari on the Adriatic coast of Italy. Rome can do nothing, embattled between Pope Alexander II and the antipope Honorius. Though the original intent was to rid Italy of the infidels invading Italian soil, the Norman victory firmly entrenched them in Italy where they would take hold for centuries to come.

    • 1189 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Drogo, also known as Druon, a Flemish saint who became a hermit in Sebourg, France and is today the Patron Saint of Shepherds.

    • 1245 A.D.
    • Pope Innocent IV, a pope of questionable character, sends John of Plan de Carpine as papal envoy to the Mongols.

    • 1319 A.D.
    • Birth of John II "the Good", who would go on to be monarch of France.

    • 1879 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Bernadette Soubirous at the age of 35 in Nevers, France. She was the humble visionary at Lourdes to whom Our Lady confirmed "I am the Immaculate Conception." After struggling with the ridicule and disbelief of the villagers, she remained obedient to the Blessed Virgin's wishes in making Lourdes an international shrine of healing for all God's children. She became a religious with the Sisters of Notre Dame and died in the convent on this date. To the amazement of her fellow nuns and people the world over, her body never decayed and remains incorrupt to this day, on view in Nevers.

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