WEDNESDAY     March 22, 2000    vol. 11, no. 58    SECTION TWO

     See why so many consider the Daily CATHOLIC as the "USA Today for CATHOLICS!"


To print out entire text of today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION THREE and SECTION ONE

SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • APPRECIATION OF THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH: Installment 136: Covetousness and Lust
  • Events that occurred Today in Church History
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD

  • Peace to Jordan and Shalom to the people of Israel! After first Papal Mass in the Holyland, the Holy Father visits site in Jordan of supposed baptism of Christ before flying on to Israel and being welcomed in Jerusalem

       Today we bring you events of the Holy Father's second day in the Holy Land yesterday, including his first Papal Mass, an outdoor event held in Amman's stadium that attracted 40,000. He visited the village of Wadi al-Kharrar on Jordan's east bank, where Jesus was purportedly said to have been baptized; then flew to Tel Aviv, landing in a cool rain where he was welcomed by Israel's President Ezer Weizman and Prime Minister Ehud Barak who both accompanied the Pope by copter to the Holy City of Jerusalem where the Pope was escorted to a residence near the Garden of Olives for the night. For accounts of these and other events during the Holy Father's second day in the Holy Land provided by ZENIT and CWN News, see JOHN PAUL II's "JUBILEE JOURNEY" - DAY TWO


        AMMAN, Jordan ( -- Pope John Paul II celebrated a Mass in Amman, Jordan, on March 21, in a downtown athletic stadium.

        During the celebration-- which honored St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Jordan-- the Pope presided at the First Communion of 2,000 children. In total, about 35,000 people attended the Mass.

        When the Pope first arrived in the stadium, riding in his Popemobile, there was an enthusiastic welcome, and as he rode in a circuit around the facility, dozens of young people ran after the car-- with security officials allowing unusual freedom to the crowd.

        As the liturgical celebration began, the Pontiff blessed water taken from the Jordan River, and sprinkled the crowd with it, in a recollection of the baptisms performed by St. John in the Jordan as he prepared the people for the coming of Christ.

        In his homily, delivered in English, the Holy Father spoke of the Biblical importance of the land now known as Jordan. He pointed out that the city of Amman, identified in the Old Testament as Rabba, was the spot where King David lived when he took Bathsheba as his wife, and caused the death of her husband Ur the Hittite. Then the Pontiff went on to point out that God had mercy on King David despite his sin, and continued to recall how many prophets had testified to the faithlessness of God's people-- up to and including St. John the Baptist, "the voice crying out in the wilderness." The Pope closed this line of thought with the observation that Jesus himself preached in Jordan.

        Next the Pope spoke of the conclusions reached by the synod of bishops for the Holy Land, and reminded the Catholics of that region that "your future lies in unity and solidarity." While recognizing the roles of the Catholic patriarchs who were present for the ceremony-- each heading a major Catholic body in the region-- John Paul stresses that the local Catholic groups should work closely together, accentuating "the lines of friendship and collaboration among the Catholic communities in all their rich variety."

        At the conclusion of the Mass-- marked by the performance of the Alleluia Chorus from Handel's Messiah, with the singers accompanied by a large orchestra-- the Pope headed for the offices of the Latin-rite vicariate in Amman. There he met with the patriarchs and bishops of the Catholic Church in the Holy See. Most of those prelates would accompany him as he continued his trip to Israel. But one, the Coptic Catholic Patriarch Stephanos II Ghattas, returned to his residence in Cairo immediately after the meeting, explaining that "it would be delicate for me to go to Israel." The Coptic prelate observed that in any case, there are very few Catholic Copts in Israel.


        AMMAN, Jordan ( -- On March 21, Pope John Paul wrapped up his visit to Jordan with an afternoon trip to Wadi al-Kharrar, the site on the Jordan River where it is said that Jesus was baptized by St. John the Baptist.

        In 1997, archeologists reached the conclusion that Wadi al-Kharrar-- which is located well below sea level, not far from the Dead Sea-- could be the site of Jesus' baptism. The archeologists, teaming with Franciscans from the Studium Biblicum on Mount Nebo, discovered the remains of churches on the site, including a 4th-century Byzantine monastery and some caves of the sort that were occupied by hermits. An ambitious restoration project was quickly undertaken to open the site for visitors in time for the Jubilee.

        Although Pope John Paul only remained at Wadi al-Kharrar for about 30 minutes during his afternoon stop, the visit was seen as very important to Jordanian planners, who has predicted that 50,000 people would be on hand to greet him. (That figure may have been too optimistic, and the heavy winds that swept off the Jordan made the place uncomfortable for some visitors.) The Holy Father presided at a short ceremony which included the reading from the Gospel about the baptism of Christ, and a special prayer composed for the occasion.

        The Pope's visit did not settle a dispute between proponents of two different sites which lay claim to being the spot of Christ's baptism. On March 22 the Pontiff will visit the other site, on the opposite side of the Jordan, which has laid claim to that title since the 4th century. Pope John Paul showed no interest in injecting himself into the archeological dispute. Instead, he remarked that while "the two banks of the rivers are visited by groups of pilgrims," nevertheless "they all give honor to the baptism of our Lord."


        TEL AVIV ( -- As he arrived in Tel Aviv to begin his historic visit to Israel, Pope John Paul II said to his hosts: "We must struggle always and everywhere to present the true face of Jews and Judaism, of Christians and Christianity, at every level of understanding, teaching, and communication."

        The Holy Father arrived at the Tel Aviv airport in the afternoon on March 21, after a half-hour flight from Jordan. In an airport ceremony held in a light rain, the Pontiff was welcomed by Israel's President Ezer Weizman and Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

        In his remarks, the Pope summarized the purposes of his visit to the Holy Land. "My dear Israeli brothers," he said, "it is with profound emotion that I touch the soil of the land were God chose to 'place his tent,' thus allowing man to meet him in the most direct manner." Emphasizing his strong desire to visit the Holy Land during the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ, the Pope stressed that this visit was a "personal pilgrimage" that would take "the Bishop of Rome to the origins of our faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

        The Pontiff complemented the Israeli head of state, Weizman, as a "builder of peace." And he added that the world "is following the peace process with great interest," recognizing the "difficult search for a durable peace, with justice for all."

        The Pope also took note of the progress in relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people. Since the last trip of a Roman Pontiff to the Holy Land-- the visit by Pope Paul VI in 1968-- formal diplomatic relations have been established between the Holy See and Israel, he observed. He suggested that the two religious groups should now redouble their "courageous efforts to suppress all forms of prejudice." In calling for mutual respect, the Pope used the same words he had used in a visit to the synagogue in Rome on April 13, 1986.

        Finally the Pope said that his own "personal pilgrimage" could be seen as "homage to the three religious traditions that coexist on this land." He prayed that "my visit will contribute to the growth of inter-religious dialogue" which in turn could help to furnish "the motivation and perseverance to work for that peace and that justice that all the peoples of the Holy Land do not yet have, but to which they all fervently aspire."

        Along with the Israeli government officials who met his plane, the Holy Father was welcomed to Israel by Catholic bishops of the Holy Land. Notable among them was the Melkite Archbishop Boutros Mouallem of Akka-- a see that includes Haifa, Nazareth, and all of Galilee. The appointment of Archbishop Mouallem in 1998 prompted a negative reaction from then- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was rebuffed by the Vatican when he lobbied heavily in favor of another candidate. Archbishop Mouallem was elected to his current post by the Synod of the Melkite Catholic Church, which accounts for the largest number of the Catholics in Galilee.


        TEL AVIV ( -- Speaking in Hebrew, Israeli President Ezer Weizman welcomed Pope John Paul II to his country on March 21, as darkness gathered over Israel and a soft rain fell on the Tel Aviv airport. The Israeli head of state observed that Israel is "the spiritual center of the Jewish people," and said that in the Jewish state there is "peace and serenity" among the believers of all faiths. He added: "It is important that the sons and daughters of the Church understand the reality of modern Israel."

        Weizman spoke of the "terrible Shoah" which had wiped out "one-third of the Jewish people," and of the "religious persecutions and anti-Semitism" which the Hebrew people had suffered in exile. He praised Pope John Paul for "your contribution to the condemnation of anti-Semitism as a sin against heaven and against humanity." And he added his praise for "your plea for pardon for the past actions committed against the Jews by members of the Church." The Israeli president said that the peace process in the Middle East is "encouraging and impressive," and said that "we hope for peace, we dream of peace, we pray for peace."

        However, Weizman gave a subtle indication that Israel would not accept one Vatican suggestion regarding the peace process: the creation of an international status for the city of Jerusalem. While acknowledging that Jerusalem is "a sacred place for Christianity and Islam," Weizman insisted that it would always be "the heart of the people of Israel" and "the capital of the State of Israel."

        After the airport greeting ceremony-- at which he met personally with leaders of the Israeli government, the local Catholic hierarchy, the rabbis of Jerusalem, and the Muslim leaders of the region-- Pope John Paul boarded a helicopter for the trip to Jerusalem, where he would spend the night at the apostolic delegation.


        JERUSALEM ( -- As the Pope arrived in Jerusalem on the evening of March 21, the Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah said that "John Paul II has a prophetic voice, and political leaders should listen to him."

        Patriarch Sabbah, who is an Arab himself, made a particularly forceful statement on the status of Jerusalem-- a bone of contention between Israel and the Holy See. He remarked that "religious freedom is not adequate" in the city. The Patriarch argued that "everyone, Israeli or Palestinian, should have the same rights; no one should have the impression that he is not welcome in Jerusalem."

        The Patriarch continued by observing that while Pope John Paul does not speak in political terms, he carries "a message of turth and of justice" that should guide politicians.

    For news on the Pope's "Jubilee Journey" to the Holy Land this week, see also
    Day ONE
    Back to Top of Page

    Holy Father salutes Jordan as the gateway between Old and New Testament

       Today we bring you the Holy Father's homily from his first Papal Mass in the Holyland at the downtown athletic stadium in Amman, Jordan yesterday morning. The Pope took the opportunity to speak of the biblical impact of this land as the gateway between the Old and the New Testament, especially the coming of the Baptist who prepared the people for One Whose sandals he was not worthy to carry. His Holiness emphasized the theme of "One crying out in the wilderness - make straight the way of the Lord." See THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

    installment 136: Seven Deadly Sins part two - Covetousness and Lust

          Covetousness is the excessive love for, and seeking after, wealth and other worldly possessions. Covetousness is one of the ugliest of sins. It was a sin of Judas. He loved money so much that he even betryaed Our Lord for thirty pieces of silver. Covetousness is also called avarice. A covetous person strives for more riches than he requires, and is never content, however much he already possesses. He greedily clings to what he has, and is stingy and hdates to give anything away. For money Judas betrayed the Lord. "There is not a more wicked thing than to love money: for such a one setteth even his own soul to sale" (Eccliastes 10:10). "Take heed and guard yoursselves from all covetousness, for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15). We meet with covetous persons among both rich and poor. Often among the rich there is money without avarice, and among the poor, avarice without money.

          2. From covetousness arise hard-heartedness towards the poor, lying, cheating, usury, defrauding laborers of wages, and other sins. "Those who seek to become rich fall into temptation and a snare...For covetousness is the root of all evils" (1 Timothy 6:9-10). It destroys faith, for the avaricious are so absorbed in attaining wealth and money grubbers that they have no time for their spiritual welfare.

          To provide for one's future and that of one's family is praiseworthy. To avoid waste and extravagance is a virtue. To accumulate even considerable wealth, by proper means, is not wrong. The rich, however, must remember their obligation to use their wealth for the glory of God, not for their own pride.

          Liberality, which disposes us rightly to use worldly goods, is opposed to covetousness. The avaricious man is very foolish. He works hard all his life and becomes hated by men: he earns besides eternal damnation after death and all for nothing. When he dies all he has are a few feet of earth for his grave; his money is left to heirs who most probably ridicule his miserliness or waste the money to gain which he lost his soul. "For when he shall die, he shall take nothing away; nor shall his glory descend with him" (Psalm 48:18).

          Lust is the inordinate seeking of the pleasures of the flesh. Lust defiles a man as no other sin does. It degrades man to the level of the beast. Pride is the sin committed by lucifer, avarice by Judas, and lust by the brute. Of all vices, lust is most severely punished on earth. It leads to loss of health and reason. It was the cause of the Deluge. It was the cause for the destruction with fire and brimstone of Sodom and Gomorrha. "But immorality and every uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becomes saints" (Ephesians 5:3). The Blessed Mother Mary has imparted to many, many saints, visionaries and messengers over the centuries that there are more people in hell for sins of the flesh than any other sin.

          Those tempted to lust should remember that man was made to the image and likeness of God. Will they so rashly destroy that image, to make themselves like to beasts? In fact, beasts are better than lustful men, for beasts act in that manner from instinct; they have no soul like God. Chastity is the virtue opposed to lust.

          Impurity weakens the will and darkens the understanding. For this reason amendment is very difficult, and the sinner falls into many other sins. So Solomon, who yielded to lust, finally lost all his wisdom and turned to worship false gods.

          From lust spring jealousy, hatred, murder, loss of faith, breakup of families, and other sins. The consequences of lust are seen in the case of Henry VIII. It was the cause of his apostasy, and his apostasy dragged an entire nation into similar apostasy. "For know this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous one (for that is idolatry) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:5).

          Sodomy, or sins against purity by persons of the same sex, is a form of lust and condemned by God. It is important to remember in these days of "political correctness" when homosexuals are trying to attain recognition and acceptability for their lifestyle that their lifestyle was, is and always will be sinful and can never be accepted as "right." But the gay man or woman can be accepted as a child of God by rejecting the sin just as heterosexuals cannot lust after a person of the opposite sex or copulate with them outside of the sanctity of marriage. It is good to remember always that God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.

      Tomorrow: Seven Deadly Sins: part three Anger and Gluttony

    Back to Top of Page

    Events that happened today in Church History

       On this day two years ago, Pope John Paul II beatified in Nigeria Blessed Father Michael Cyprian Iwene Tansi a holy Trappist monk and first native-born Nigerian missionary with the man who worked so hard for his beatification - Cardinal Francis Arinze concelebrating the Mass. The latter, now President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and Nigeria's first cardinal, was baptized by Blessed Tansi as a youth. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

    Historical Events in Church Annals for March 22:

    • 752 A.D.
    • Election of Stephen to succeed Pope Saint Zachary but he died from a stroke four days later before he was consecrated so he was never considered a Pope according to Canon Law. His immediate successor would be the true Stephen II.

    • 1459 A.D.
    • Birth of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor

    • 1594 A.D.
    • Paris surrenders to King Henry IV of France

    • 1947 A.D.
    • Saint Nicholas Von Flue of Switzerland is canonized by Pope Pius XII

    • 1591 A.D.
    • Pope Gregory XIV bans all wagering on papal elections as well as betting on the length of a papal reign or when cardinal would be named and who.

    • 1947 A.D.
    • Pope Pius XII publishes his eleventh encyclical Fulgens radiatur on Saint Benedict.

    • 1998 A.D.
    • Pope John Paul II travels to Nigeria where he beatifies the first native-born Nigerian saint Blessed Father Cyprian Michael Tansi, the same holy missionary who baptized Nigeria's Cardinal Francis Arinze.

    Back to Top of Page


     Today's and tomorrow's liturgy are both Lenten Weekdays For the readings, liturgies, and meditations, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2000

        First Reading: Jeremiah 18: 18-20
        Responsorial: Psalm 31: 5-6, 14-16
        Gospel Reading: Matthew 20: 17-28

    Thursday, March 23, 2000

      Thursday March 23:
      Thursday in Lent
      Optional Feast of Saint Turibius de Mogrovejo, Bishop

      Purple vestments

        First Reading: Jeremiah 17: 5-10
        Responsorial: Psalm 1: 1-4, 6
        Gospel Reading: Luke 16: 19-31

    Optional Feast of Saint Toribio de Mogrovejo, Bishop

         Born in 1538 at Mayorga, Spain Saint Toribio Alfonso or Turibius taught law at the University of Salamanca where he caught the attention of King Philip II who appointed Toribio as chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. Though still a layman, he was further appointed to the Archbishopric of Lima, Peru in 1580. Upon the announcement he received the Sacrament of Holy Orders before setting sail for the new world. There he discovered that his diocese stretched from Panama to Argentina and under his jurisdiction whom he counseled and encouraged were such luminary saints as Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Martin de Porres, Saint John Macias, and Saint Francis Solano. His greatest achievement was reforming the way the Indians were treated, fighting for the poor by founding many churches, schools, hospitals and clinics as well as the first seminary in 1591 where, within a few years, it was packed. Archbishop Toribio studied extensively learning the various dialects in order to better reach the people. It was on his way back to Lima from a pastoral visit to one of the Indian villages that he died in Santa, Peru on March 23, 1606. In 1726 Pope Benedict XIII canonized him.

    Back to Top of Page

    Special Prayer for the Second Wednesday in Lent

      Favorably regard Thy people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and grant that they whom Thou commandest to abstain from carnal food, may also cease from hurtful vices. 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 and WAY OF THE CROSS Meditations for Wednesday, March 22nd, see LENTEN DEVOTIONS.

    Back to Top of Page

    Daily WORD

    "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 to be mocked and scourged and crucified; and on the third day He will rise again."

    Mattthew 20: 18-19

    Back to Top of Page

    Click here to go to SECTION THREE or SECTION ONE or click here to return to the front page of this issue.

    To research any of the past 500 plus issues in archives from November 1, 1997 to the present, see ARCHIVES

    March 22, 2000     volume 11, no. 58
    The DailyCATHOLIC is available Monday thru Friday at