TUESDAY     April 18, 2000    vol. 11, no. 77    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
  • Events that occurred today in Church History
  • March 25th Medjugorje Message
  • Be an angel! Please help us keep this ministry going with whatever donation you can send.

    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

  • Terrorist threats to Vatican should be taken seriously
  • Filipino Muslim terrorists want all Christians out of the South


       Today's and tomorrow's liturgy are both for Holy Week as we continue the most intense and sacred week of the liturgical year. The theme of the Gospel today centers around two men who betrayed Our Lord - one repented, the other didn't. One is Peter, the other Judas in which the point is made clear that there is no shame in falling, only in failing to get up as you'll see in the meditation today. For the readings, liturgies, and special meditation for Tuesday in Holy Week, see DAILY LITURGY.

    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."

    Wednesday, April 19, 2000

        First Reading: Isaiah 50: 4-9
        Psalms: Psalm 69: 8-10, 14, 21-22, 33-34
        Gospel Reading: Matthew 26: 14-25


    What price is it worth to jeopardize Eternal Life?

         Would we chance failing to gain Eternal Life for a million dollars? How about a billion dollars? After all Judas Iscariot forfeited his opportunity to experience everlasting bliss for a mere thirty pieces of silver. We might say 'no way would we ever do anything like that...there's no earthly price we could be paid to betray Jesus.' Yet do we realize we do everyday when we opt for worldly pleasures over the rigorous but rewarding task of daily prayer, sacrifice, fasting and daily Mass. When we choose to see this movie or that television show which we know in our heart offends Jesus and His Immaculate Pure Mother Mary do we realize we are contributing to our own demise and growing closer to being Judas-like than Christ-like? When we speak against others or rudely to others do we realize we are pawns for satan? When we put our own interests before God's do we realize we are heading down the primrose path toward hell?

          Unfortunately, the politically correct thing today is to downplay hell and the devil, to play up that God is all merciful and will allow anything. Wrong. True He is all merciful and will forgive anything, but He will not allow anything. This is where we have to be on our guard. Too many are advocating that this is okay, or that is okay. Turn the clock back thirty years. What would we have said if we heard there was nudity and illicet sex in the movies, even on TV? Would our stomachs be turned with all the violence on the tube or on the Hollywood celluloid today? What would our reaction be to the idea of advocating abortion and condoms, of embracing homosexuality as normal...even to accepting same-sex unions which they brazenly call "marriage?" We would be indignant and in shock. Then why aren't we reacting the same way today? Because it's not politically correct to correct others. We can't rock the boat...just let bygones be bygones and all that garbage psychobabble that is definitely taking our society into a Sodom and Gomorrah-like culture...the culture of death as Pope John Paul II calls it. The Holy Father is one pillar who is not afraid to go against the wave and rock boats the world over. And we need to follow his example and join him for his way is Christ's way...the only way! True that way leads straight to the Way of the Cross but that's what being Catholic is all about. It's not the rewards and adulation of this life that counts, but the acceptance and pleasing of God that highlights our itinerary as we map out our Heavenly destination.

          But this rendezvous with Christ and His Church Triumphant can only be achieved if we take seriously our role as the Church Militant and speak out against atrocities and apathy toward God's Laws and His Holy Church which has become the prime target for bashing in the late 90's. We must ask ourselves when confronted with this movie or that song, this person or that situation, would Jesus and Mary approve? Would they sit and watch it with us? If not, what are we doing there? When we give in to the world's ways, when we blame everyone but ourselves we are contributing to the purse that betrayed Christ. We make ourselves no better than the Iscariot. Let us not be the ones whom like Judas said "Surely it is not I, Rabbi" and then hear the fateful words of Jesus confirming our worst fear: "It is you who have said it" (Matthew 26: 25).

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    Special Prayer for Tuesday in HOLY WEEK

      O Almighty and Eternal God, grant that we may celebrate the sacred rites of Our Lord's Passion in such manner as to be worthy of Thy pardon. 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 Tuesday in Holy Week, April 18, see LENTEN REFLECTION.

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    "Wilt thou lay down thy life for me? Amen, amen I say to thee, the cock will not crow before thou dost deny Me thrice."

    John 13: 38

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    Events that happened today in Church History

       On this day one year ago Pope John Paul II elevated three more to sainthood when he canonized three religious founders, two Italian and one French, all from the nineteenth century. Two bridged the 19th and 20th centuries: Saint Giovanni Calabria, an Italian priest from Verona who founded the Congregations for the Poor Servants of Divine Mercy and died at the age of 81 in 1954, and Saint Agostina Livia Petrantoni, founder of the Sisters of Charity who was martyred by an angry patient in 1913 at the age of 49. The other was Saint Marcelino Champagnat, a French brother who founded the Marist Brothers in the aftermath of the French Revolution. 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 18:

    • 1506 A.D.
    • Foundation stone is laid at a celebration overseen by Pope Julius II to begin construction of the new St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

    • 1521 A.D.
    • The Diet of Worms in which Holy Roman Emperor Charles V condemns Martin Luther a year after the latter had been excommunicated by Pope Leo X. Luther, a proud man, refuses to repent despite the severe action taken against him.

    • 1998 A.D.
    • The Shroud of Turin goes on display in Turin, Italy. It would be available for pilgrims to visit through June 24th including the Holy Father on May 22nd. Over three million would pass through the turnstiles.

    • 1999 A.D.
    • Pope John Paul II canonizes Saint John Calabria, Saint Agostina Livia Petrantoni and Saint Marcelino Champagnat. All three founded religious orders in the 19th and 20th centuries, the first two in Italy with the Congregations for the Poor Servants of Divine Mercy and the Sisters of Charity respectively, and St. Marcelino the Marist Brothers in helping resurrect the faith after the French Revolution.

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    We will continue to bogey until we correct the hitch in our own behavior!

       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".

    "A child kicks the door on which he bumped his head; the golfer breaks his club because he did not make the hole. Yet it was the golfer's fault he missed - not that of the club, nor of the God Whom he may curse, in his irritation. The world is like the golfer; man forever throws the blame for his troubles away from the one place where it belongs - himself."

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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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    Be an angel!

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    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

      Joy of Holy Week in jeopardy because of jihad threat to the Vatican

         The august joy of Holy Week has been shadowed by the possible threat of Islamic terrorist attacks on the Vatican. The Israeli government's security agency Mossad has sent word of these possible attacks to the Holy See to heighten security for places wehre public ceremonies will be taking place including St. Peter's Square, the Colosseum and Easter Sunday. There are even reports of terrorist attacks against the "heart of the Church" in Italian newspapers, some against the Pontiff himself, others against the visible structure of the Church. It's time to pray all the harder during Holy Week. continued inside


        VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com) - The Israeli security agency Mossad has reportedly warned Italian and Vatican security officials that "Islamic terrorist groups" might be planning an attack on the Vatican during the Easter holidays.

        The warning came in time to heighten security for the public Palm Sunday ceremonies which included a papal Mass in St. Peter's Square with 100,000 people, according to The Times of London newspaper. According to the report, the tip was the sign of a warming relationship following Pope John Paul II's visit to Israel last month.

        The Vatican had already increased security for the Jubilee Year at the prompting of Italian police, including the placement of 35 airport-style metal detectors inside Bernini's colonnade. The Times of London also reported that hidden surveillance cameras have been set up and plainclothes police are stationed inside the square and on rooftops.

        Il Messaggero newspaper also quoted Italian intelligence sources claiming terrorists plan to "strike at the heart of the Catholic Church during the Holy Year." The newspaper said Saturday the target was "probably the Pope himself", although other targets were possible, since "what matters is the symbolism of an outrage ... an attack in or around the Vatican would be enough."

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      Terrorists in Philippines lay out their demands: Christians get out!

         While hopefully the terrorist threats are just that - threats, they are very real in the Philippines being carried out in the dreadful saga of Muslim terrorists holding 70 Catholic students, teachers and a preiest hostage. They have released their demands for the total removal of all Christians from the southern region of the Philippines. The government of the country has stated it will not give in to the terrorists' demands and meanwhile the hostages suffer. Much prayer and heartfelt negotiations are needed so this standoff can be resolved in the name of peace through prayer to the Prince of Peace. continued inside


        MANILA (CWNews.com/Fides) - A Philippines Muslim rebel group that kidnapped more than 70 Catholic students, teachers, and a priest last month have issued demands, including the removal of Catholic influences in the region, alarming missionaries in the southern Philippines.

        "Remove all crucifixes, have Islamic instruction in schools, release terrorists and kidnappers: these conditions laid down by rebels in Basilan wound to the core our hearts as missionaries," said a missionary who asked to remain anonymous for his protection. The Abu Sayyaf rebel group still holds a group of 29 hostages, including Claret missionary Father Rohel Gallardo. The rebels also asked to speak with the Italian ambassador Graziella Simboletti because "Christianity came from Europe."

        After receiving two truckloads of rice and other food on April 14 the rebels released two ten-year-old children who had been taken ill. The children were handed over to Father Nestor Banga, Catholic representative in negotiations.

        The rebels listed their requests in a letter to President Estrada signed by their leader Khaddafy Janjanlani. They demanded the release of terrorists now being held in the US including Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of a bomb blast at the World Trade Center in New York; Abu Haider, one of Janjalani's instructors, detained in California; and Egyptian sheik Abdurrahaman Omar, detained in New York. They also demanded the release of two members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, detained in the Philippines; the removal of all crucifixes in the area of the cities of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi Tawi; and a presidential order to the Education Department to allow Islamic instruction for Muslim school pupils.

        "The destiny of the Catholic priest, the teachers and students is in your hands, as head of state and father of the people", the rebels' letter to Estrada continued. "We expect a reply. The release of the hostages depends on the government's decisions."

        The Philippine government has said it will not give in. Alexander Aguirre, a presidential councilor for national security warned the rebels that "the government's patience is not unlimited."

        In the meantime, the local Catholic community has organized peace marches and prayers for the victims. On April 13 in Quezon City, Claret missionaries organized a peaceful procession and interreligious prayer meeting, with Christians and Muslims. Among those taking part, Father Bernardo Blanco, a Claret missionary kidnapped in 1994 and held for 49 days by the same Abu Sayyaf group, told about his experience in the rebels' hands.

        The Abu Sayyaf group is a faction of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front with 15,000 fighters which rejects an agreement reached between the other rebel group Moro National Liberation Front and the government to set up the Autonomous Muslim Region of Mindanao.

    For more NEWS & VIEWS, see SECTION THREE

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    April 18, 2000     volume 11, no. 77
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