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March 30, 1999
SECTION TWO vol 10, no. 62
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION THREE and SECTION ONE
Today is Tuesday of Holy Week with tomorrow continuing the Holy Week Liturgy with Wednesday of Holy Week. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and the vignettes on Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Tuesday, March 30, 1999
Purple or violet vestments
First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Psalms: Psalm 71: 1-6, 15, 17
Gospel Reading: John 13: 21-33, 36-38
TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK
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, March 30, 1999
Purple or violet vestments
First Reading: Isaiah 50: 4-9
Psalms: Psalm 69: 8-10, 14, 21-22, 33-34
Gospel Reading: Matthew 26: 14-25
WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK
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).
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
Below is the fourth of several increments of the Prayer for Spiritual Renewal during Lent from the Treasury of Novenas booklet:
Lord, during this Holy Week nourish us wieth Your word of life and make us one with You in love and prayer. Fill our hearts with Your love and keep us faithful to the Gospel of Christ. Give us the grace to rise above our human weakness. Give us new life by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass.
Events Today in Church History
On this day in 1492 Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, the same ones who would commission Christopher Columbus ordered Jewish insurrectionists out of Spain, impowered the Spanish Inquisition and the grand master Cardinal Tomas de Torquemada to exile them because of their harassment of Spanish Catholics and meddling in government policies. It was the same Spanish Inquisition established by Pope Sixtus VI who we feature in today's series above. For other pertinent events that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for March 30:
Cardinal Giacinto Boboni of the aristocratic Orsini family in Rome becomes Pope Celestine III and the 175th successor of Peter. He was one of the oldest to become Pope, being 85 years-old at the time of his election. He would die seven years later on January 8, 1198. During his seven year papacy he would sustain the indissolubility of marriage and give official approval to the Order of Teutonic Knights whose principal duty was to defend the pilgrims in the Holy Land.
Start of the notorious Sicilian Vespers in Palermo in which over 8,000 Frenchmen were slaughtered.
Jews were exiled from Spain at the order of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, enforced by the Court of Inquisitions because of Jewish meddling in state affairs and insurrection against the Spanish Catholics.
King Henry VIII divorces Catherine of Aragon forcing the Church's hand with excommunication by Pope Clement VII four months later.
CATHOLIC CANVAS: Daily Dose of curious contents of the Church
Tying in with our Time Capsules feature today and Pope Sixtus IV, featured in today's HISTORY OF THE MASS above, we could say so much about the "Spanish Inquisition" which was instituted by Sixtus in 1478. So much has been written about the Inquisition, including the infamous Spanish Inquisition for which parodies and invective prose has been written against it, but the truth is, like so many things - when it is used for temporal good without concern for the spiritual it will not bear good fruit. Such was the Spanish Inquisition formed to originally protect Jewish and Moorish converts to the faith from retaliation by members of their former faith. But when placed in the powerful hands of kings it was abused as was the case with the monarchs of Spain who used it to wield power within the Church and control their subjects for their own means. Add to this the growing numbers of dissenters and many relied on the Inquisition to place fear into the insurrectionists through harsh means. In the spirit of intimidation the grand inquisitor Cardinal Tomas de Torquemada allowed knowledge of repercussions to be promulgated among the people, inciting fear in hopes they would comply with all the king said. While Torquemada intended to be obedient to Rome, the lure of being in the good graces of Spanish royalty and the fact the Roman Popes left a lot to be desired, played a significant role in Torquemada submitting almost entirely to the Spanish court and allowing them to dictate how to employ it For more details, we strongly recommend The Inquisition
(sources: The Glories and Triumphs of the Catholic Church, Benziger Brothers; 1999 Catholic Almanac, Our Sunday Visitor, Publishers; Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John Hardon, S.J., Doubleday; Catholic Encyclopedia, Thomas Nelson Publishers).
"I give you My Mother to help and guide you to Me. Do not spurn Her words, but heed them."
Our Lord reinforces the importance of heeding His Mother's Messages in Message #455 to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart on the Feast of Saint Blase, reminding all that her words are Divine Mercy for the Father has allowed Mary to be among His children for yet a while longer before the Justice comes. This Jesus reasserts in Message #456 on February 8, assuring all that all will be fulfilled as has been foretold in the Scriptures and that only by submerging ourselves in His Mercy and turning totally to the Refuge of His Sacred Heart can we escape the clutches of satan. For Message #455 and #456, click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."
Messages 455 and 456
Message Four Hundred-fifty-five, February 3, 1994
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus)
(Feast of Saint Blase)
Beloved Hidden Flower of My Mother's Immaculate Heart, say to the world: Be cleansed in the Sacrament of Confession. Be fed pure food and drink in Holy Communion. Sanctify each day and all your works by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Spend time in prayer with Me, and learn silence of body and mind. Only then will you recognize My voice speaking to your innermost being. Only then shall you shake off the shackles of the evil one, and soar into celestial light.
Dear children, there will yet be more warnings and chastisements. These are Mercy. Recognize the signs I am giving you. I give you My Mother to help and guide you to Me. Do not spurn Her words, but heed them. They are the key to My Heart, the very Font of Mercy.
Be humble and obedient. Imitate Me in all things, and fear nothing. Of yourself you can do nothing. With Me, all is possible.
I love and bless you. I await your Fiat! O! Let this time be one of full conversion, for the Justice is swiftly approaching.
Message Four Hundred-fifty-six, February 8, 1994
(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus)
(Feast of Saint Jerome Emiliani )
Beloved Hidden Flower of My Mother's Immaculate Heart, I bless you!
O! I speak to all of My children. It is for you that I came into the world; for you that I died! Will you reject Me?
Reflect deep in your heart My Most Sacred Passion and be still. Then shall the Holy Spirit descend upon you, to fill you with the Truth.
O! What little reverence I am given in these end times. There are so few souls who truly love Me, who truly trust Me. So many confess My name, but I solemnly tell you they are wolves in sheep's clothing and I will deny them when I come to judge. It is the meek, humble, contrite soul who gives Me comfort and an abode. It is to My little ones, weak and riddled with faults and weaknesses that My Mercy is poured out upon, who are filled with the Holy Spirit and give witness to the Trinity.
Behold, I solemnly tell all: Time is short and the Justice shall come as Scripture tells you. You must awaken and free yourself from satan's snares and then shall you recognize the signs of the times.
Yes, through My Mother I am calling many to refuge! If you love and obey, and keep Me always in your heart, you have nothing to fear. Am I not God? Have I not known you since the beginning of time, and before? Did I not see you as I suffered My Passion, and did not My Love for you propel Me to shed My last drop of blood?
Come then to Me, for I am the Font of Mercy, and in these end times I desire to pour out My Mercy as never before.
Heed My words. Heed My Mother's call. Respond in faith and trust, and all that you need shall be given unto you!
I love you. I bless you! Prepare now, for I come again!
March 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! I call you to prayer with the heart. In a special way, little children, I call you to pray for conversion of sinners, for those who pierce my heart and the heart of my Son Jesus with the sword of hatred and daily blasphemies. Let us pray, little children, for all those who do not desire to come to know the love of God, even though they are in the Church. Let us pray that they convert, so that the Church may resurrect in love. Only with love and prayer, little children, can you live this time which is given to you for conversion. Place God in the first place, then the risen Jesus will become your friend. Thank you for having responded to my call.
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE
The DAILY WORD
"Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek Me, and, as I said to the Jews, 'Where I go you cannot come' so to you also I say it now."
John 13: 33
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March 30, 1999 volume 10, no. 62 DAILY CATHOLIC