MONDAY     April 17, 2000    vol. 11, no. 76    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Daily WORD
  • Significant Events that occurred today in Church History
  • March 25th Medjugorje Message
  • Whatever donation you can send will help this ministry reach more souls!


       Today's and tomorrow's liturgy are both for Holy Week as we begin the most intense and sacred week of the liturgical year. The theme of the Gospel today centers around Our Lord's time at the house of Lazarus after he had been raised from the dead by Jesus. The meditation revolves around the different motives of Mary Magdalen and Judas Iscariot as you'll see in the meditation today. For the readings, liturgies, and special meditation for Monday in Holy Week, see DAILY LITURGY.

    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."

    Tuesday, April 18, 2000

        First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
        Psalms: Psalm 71: 1-6, 15, 17
        Gospel Reading: John 13: 21-33, 36-38


    The tale of two Apostles who both denied Christ

          The Gospel for this day, from John, treats the two Apostles who denied Christ. One, of course was Judas Iscariot who swiftly left the Last Supper room to do his dastardly deed and ultimately despaired for the evil one had so greatly possessed him as John points out so poignantly in verse 27 when the Evangelist writes, "And after the morsel, satan entered into him." The other is Simon Peter. Always the inquisitive one, Peter presses Our Lord as to who is the one who will betray him. He even pledges his loyalty so boldly that he swears he will follow Jesus wherever He goes. Jesus knows only too well Peter's weaknesses and prophesizes in John 13: 38, "Amen, amen, I say to thee, the cock will not crow before thou dost deny me thrice."

          Incredulous, Peter truly believes this will never happen, but alas we all know it did. We also know Peter went on to become the Rock Jesus had intended in founding His One True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. What was the difference between the two? Besides character, one asked for forgiveness and resolved to amend his ways just as the Good Thief Dismas also did as he was clinging to life on the cross with Christ; the other despaired, too proud to come in humility and ask to be reconciled. Judas' actions were also paralleled by the Bad Thief who hung there scorning Jesus and deriding Dismas.

          How many times have we denied Christ? Oh, true, they were small, but they build up. As Catholics we have the saving grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But we cannot abuse it. We can't feel it is a convenient outlet to just wipe away the same sins we intend to commit again. No, we must make a commitment to sin no more as the priest commands at the end of Confession. Sure, because we are human, we will sin again...but it is not a will to sin, but our weakness that we fall. The shame is in staying in sin, refusing to get up. There is no shame in falling and rising again, asking forgiveness. Jesus is always there to help us, just as He was there to forgive Peter He was there to forgive Judas, but the Iscariot did not respond. Will we respond when we fail? Will we come running to the Merciful Heart begging for Mercy? Our Lady assures us of being forgiven and begs us to go to Confession often, at least once a month and more if possible. The more we take advantage of this wonderful Sacrament, the more we realize the graces inherent and the protective shell we can build around our soul and lifestyle to keep satan out. Like Peter, we too, have been chosen. Like Peter, we too, have fallen and will fall again. Like Peter, we can rely on the Holy Spirit to instill the Gifts that will enable us to continue joyfully on the way to Calvary as we eagerly repeat the words of the Psalmist in today's Psalm 71: 3 - 4, "Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked."

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    "Let her be - that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For the poor you have always with you, but you do not always have Me."

    John 12: 7

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    Special Prayer for Monday in HOLY WEEK

      O Almighty God, may the merits of the Passion of Thy Only-begotten Son give us new strength, for our own weakness brings nothing but failure in the face of so many afflictions. 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.

    For the Daily LENTEN REFLECTION for Monday in Holy Week, April 17, see LENTEN REFLECTION.

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    Events that happened today in Church History

       On this day one Pontiff died and another was elected 747 years later. In 858 the 104th successor of Peter passed away. That was Pope Benedict III whose pontificate lasted three years and is best remembered for his efforts to unite East and West against the Saracen threat. It was he who first introduced the possibility of a Crusade, which would come a few centuries later. Also on this date 395 years ago in 1605, the College of Cardinals chose Cardinal Alessandro Ottaviano de' Medici who chose the name Pope Leo XI. Unfortunately his papacy lasted only ten days, falling deathly ill during a procession to St. John Lateran, the 232nd in the line of Peter died on April 27th. He was esteemed and loved by the people for his piety and generosity. 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 17:

    • 858 A.D.
    • Death of Pope Benedict III, the 104th successor of Peter. He was known as the Pope who was beloved by the people for his virtue. He was the first pontiff who suggested the concept of the Crusades by rallying Christians to fight against the threat of the Saracens.

    • 1172 A.D.
    • The King of England Edward I makes a historic visit to Glastonbury Abbey on Easter Sunday, making it the first official visit by a monarch to this celebrated monastery of the middle ages.

    • 1492 A.D.
    • Christopher Columbus is appointed Admiral and Viceroy by the Capitulationes de Santa Fe, which paves the way for him to head the expedition to the new world.

    • 1536 A.D.
    • The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V challenges the French king Francis I to a personal combat as many bolt from the Church and Pope Paul III intervenes to pacify these Catholic monarchs.

    • 1605 A.D.
    • Pope Leo XI is crowned as the 232nd supreme pontiff but he would only live for ten days, falling ill and dying while on procession from the Vatican to the Lateran.

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    Beware of the Trojan Horse within

       They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".

    "Nothing so cripples the spiritual life as those hidden 'bugs' in the motor of our soul. They may be any one of several common faults such as self-seeking, bitterness towards others, jealousy and hate. Those who are trying to grow closer to God without self-analysis wonder why they suffer such frequent defeats: invariably it is because of the Trojan Horse within them, the unrecognized dominant fault. Until that is dug out and admitted before God, with a desire to destroy it, there will be no real spritual progress. As St. Augustine has said, 'He, Lord, is Your best servant who looks not so much to hear that from You which he himself wills, as rather to will that which he hears from You."

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    March 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

    NOTE: We respectfully recognize and accept the final authority regarding apparitions, locutions and prophecies presently being reported around the world rests with the Holy See of Rome and the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church to whose judjment we humbly and obediently submit.

    "Dear children! Pray and make good use of this time, because this is a time of grace. I am with you and I intercede for each one of you before God, for your heart to open to God and to God's love. Little children, pray without ceasing, until prayer becomes a joy for you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

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    April 17, 2000     volume 11, no. 76
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