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 26: 14-27; 27: 11-54
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 Son-rise...to 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?
Roman-born Pope John XIX crowns Conrad II, king of Germany, as Holy Roman Emperor
Death of Saint William of Norwich, captured by Jewish zealots and martyred by crucifixion at the age of twelve in England.
Count Tichborne, whom many patterned Robin Hood after, makes a promise to God before his death, heeding the advice of an abbot who asked him to help the people who were hungry. Thus he left in his will a tradition begun this day of giving a gallon of flour to every resident of Hampshire, England.
A crossbow wounds Richard I - the Lionheart at the Battle of Chalus, and he is forced to retreat and live to fight another day.
Groundbreaking and construction begin on Saint Mary's College in Oxford, England with the Dominicans overseeing the project.
Alfonso XI, King of Castile, dies as a result of contracting the plague of the Black Death
Death of Pope Gregory XI, the 201st successor of Peter and the last of the Avignon French Popes. Through the insistence of Saint Catherine of Siena Gregory returned the papal headquarters to Rome after a 75 year exile. Born in Maumont, France, he was elected on December 30, 1370. During his eight year pontificate the Roman Senate donated a part of the Vatican Hill to him which would establish the present Vatican City. Gregory XI included St. Mary Major's among the major Basilicas for gaining a jubilee indulgence which will be in effect for Jubilee 2000 as well.
Juan Ponce de Leon discovers Florida, proclaiming it for Spain and the Church.
Start of the Scots' War of Independence from England.
Henry of Trastamara assassinates the King of Castile - Pedro at Montiel. Pedro was known as "the Cruel" because of his abuse of the Inquisition and he was the first known European monarch to be able to write fluently.
Gunpowder used for the first time in Europe by the Venetians against the Genoese in a battle of two Catholic cities over territories. This deeply troubled Pope Urban VI, the first Italian pontiff after a long line of French popes.
St. Mary's College officially opens its doors of higher learning in Winchester, England.
Birth of the Renaissance Franciscan monk from Firenze who was a master with the brush, Fra Bartolomeo.
Birth of the master painter and sculptor Raphael Santi who would die at the relatively young age of 37.
Jesuit priest Father Henry Garner is executed for complicity in the Gunpowder Plot in which King James I falsely accuses Catholics in England for not being loyal to the throne.
I solemnly tell all the world that the disasters which have occurred world-wide are a Merciful warning that the Hand of the Father shall soon strike with Justice. My children, behold in your own country the continuing series of events which have taken from many all worldly possessions. See in these incidents the Supreme Power of Almighty God, Creator of all. In one moment, at His Will, the fragile earth you cling to is devastated, and in that devastation the worldly possessions you cling to are stripped from your grasp. My Divine Mercy alone has prevented great loss of life, for I am calling all of My children back to Me, their God and King. I desire My Divine Mercy to be poured out and received by all the world.
I solemnly tell you that My Sacred Heart bleeds anew for there are so few who seek and claim My Mercy in great faith and trust. These few souls give Me much consolation, and through their willing sacrifice the Hour of Mercy still exists, and the moment of the Great Justice is held off.
But if the world does not change, if mankind does not convert and return Me to My rightful place as Sovereign King in their lives, then the Justice, like a thief in the night, will swiftly come annihilating all evil!
Dear children, I am your Lord and Savior. I am Jesus Christ. I want to bring you to everlasting joy with Me and I have shown you the path. It is the Way of the Cross.
Beloved of My Sacred and Sorrowful Heart, during this season of Lent you must daily meditate upon My Passion. In this way you allow Me to be your strength against all the legions of demons who seek your ruin. I solemnly tell you this year shall not end before many tepid, lukewarm souls are converted by the power of the signs I shall send upon the world!
Make haste. Repent of your sins. Leave sin behind. Be a holy people, true children of God. Trust in Me for all your needs, for the moment is upon you when you will recognize that there is not one country or government that has power. The power comes from my enemy, Lucifer himself, who plots to ensnare all the world beneath him. He shall not win. By My Merits My Mother's own Immaculate Heart shall triumph and evil shall be swept from My sight.
Prepare yourselves well by daily growing in faith. I beseech all to place all their trust in Me, and to return love to Love. When you do this, my children, you have nothing to fear, but your hearts are at peace and you rejoice in Me.
I love you. I bless you. I present to each of you My Sacred Cross and ask: "Will you also abandon Me?"
O! Let all voices cry out as one that their Trust is in Me, and then shall unity come.
Heed My words given in Mercy. No longer doubt...but believe. Wait, watch and pray and believe I am with you, for I know My own.
In these days I shed many tears because I see how very few of my children have taken to heart my words. O! How I beseech everyone to Pray! You do not see that which is about to befall you! You do not see the Infinite Mercy of God in the great catastrophes which strike at the world, at your own country. O! How the cries of my children reach out, lamenting the loss of their worldly goods. But they do not see God's Mercy in this, nor do they recognize that He, their Father, has spared countless lives because of the few willing souls who suffer greatly and offer all to God in union with my Son's Passion.
Dear children, life and suffering must go hand in hand. You must imitate my Divine Son, Who bore His cross even unto death. Suffering purifies the soul, elevates it above the human passions.
I beseech you, my children, to renew each day your consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of my Divine Son through the Immaculate Heart of your Heavenly Mother. You can do this very simply - by recalling to your mind that you are God's child, secure in the Refuge of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Dear children, the evil one is trying to bring many to despair. One crisis seems to follow another. The evil one knows well how short his time is, and thus will avenge himself with all his forces.
I solemnly tell you, do not be afraid. Do not become anxious, nor feel abandoned. Call upon my Divine Son and cling to His cross. The demon cannot harm you. To the degree of your faith, trust and love, he will flee from you in an instant, for he will see that you bear the likeness of my Divine Son who dwells in your soul.
O! Become humble, obedient little children who possess great faith, absolute trust and sublime love. Let no opportunity escape your notice to pray for all the world, which is so in need of Divine Mercy. Now is the Hour of Divine Mercy. It must come before the Justice of the Father. Know that God's Mercy is Infinite, and cannot be separated from His Justice, which is Love.
I call all of my little ones to begin anew to strive for unity of mind and heart through the grace of the Holy Spirit. You must be strong in your faith, for the enemy will assault you from all sides. I am with you for yet a little while. Join your prayer to mine as I intercede for all the world.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
His first appointment was was President of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", a post he served until 1995. Next the Pope named him President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace where he fulfilled all duties required of him until last year.
Finally, on November 15, 1994 His Holiness, seeing the greatness in this French prelate and his expertise in the Curia and with people universally, chose him to head up the newly organized Central Committee for the Jubilee of the Holy Year 2000 a position of high profile with massive, global responsibilities and logistic headaches that the Holy Father knew he could conquer. He remains in this same position today and most probably will through January 6, 2001 when Jubilee 2000 will officially come to a close. He played a crucial role in the first official liturgical event for the Jubilee yesterday when he concelebrated with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth near the very spot where the Angel of the Lord - the Archangel Gabriel announced to a humble, Jewish virgin named Mary that she had been chosen from all time to be the Holy Tabernacle of the Son of God. You will be seeing much more of this dynamic cardinal throughout the next year and a half and he carries a presence that illustrates why John Paul II chose him for this massive project that truly incorporates the Universal Church.
He was transfered to the order of cardinal bishop on June 24, 1998 and assigned the suburbicarian see of Porto-Santa Rufina which means the suburban diocese outside Rome. In addition to his full-time duties for Jubilee 2000, he serves Curial membership on the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Congregation for Catholi Education, the Apostolic Signatura Tribunal, the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. With that kind of work load, one wonders if he ever has time to sleep. But, this strategic cardinal and close confidant of the Pope's is like the Holy Father in that he draws inner strength from the Holy Spirit and guidance from Our Lady.