DAILY CATHOLIC     MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND     May 28-31, 1999     vol. 10, no. 104


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Friday, May 28, 1999

      First Reading: Sirach 44: 1, 9-13
      Psalms: Psalm 149: 1-6, 9
      Gospel Reading: Mark 11: 11-26

Saturday, May 29, 1999

    Saturday, May 29:
    Eighth Saturday of Ordinary Time and
    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

    Green or White vestments

      First Reading: Sirach 51: 12-20
      Psalms: Psalm 19: 8-11
      Gospel Reading: Mark 11: 27-33


          Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary is a custom first promoted by the Benedictine Monk Saint Alcuin back in the days of Charlemagne (see archives December 23, no. 25 issue, volume 7). He composed different formulas for Votive Masses for each day of the week, with two set aside to honor Our Lady on Saturday. This practice caught on with great enthusiasm and eventually the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday became the Common of the Blessed Virgin. This Mass was a favorite with retired priests and those whose sight was failing for most had memorized this Mass and were able to say it by heart without having to read the Lectionary or Sacramentary. One reason Saturday was dedicated to Mary was that Saturday held a special meaning in Mariology. First of all, as Genesis accounts for, God rested on the seventh day. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was Saturday. Jesus, Son of God rested in the womb and then, when He became incarnate, in the loving arms of Mary from birth until she held His lifeless body at the foot of the Cross. Thus the God-head rested in Mary. It was also on Saturday after Good Friday that Jesus gave His Mother a special gift and reward for keeping her faith in His Divinity intact by making an exceptional appearance to her. Thus, because of these reasons, the devotion spread by St. Alcuin and other liturgies that evolved within the Church, Saturday took on a special Marian significance. Saturday took on even more significance in honoring Mary when Our Lady imparted to visionary Lucia in her third apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917, "Our Lord wishes that devotion to my Immaculate Heart be established in the world. If what I tell you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace; the war will end...I ask the consecration of the world to my Immaculate Heart and Communion of reparation on the First Saturday of each month...If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace...In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity." As we draw nearer to that wonderful event, it is more important than ever to honor Mary's request on the First Saturday as well as each Saturday that her feast is commemorated in the Church calendar, not to mention responding to her call daily with the Rosary and attending Daily Mass, nourished by her Divine Son present body and blood, soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary where she remains in the background in the liturgy of the Word so that her Divine Son's words and His Presence take the spotlight as He should while Mary remains the chief intercessor before the Holy Trinity as she should and serves as the ideal for all Catholics to strive for, as we should. The Dictionary of Mary states quite succinctly, "Through these liturgical acts, (honoring Mary on Saturday) Christians exalt the person of Mary in the action that renews the sacrifice of Christ and in the action that prolongs His prayer."

TRINITY SUNDAY, May 30, 1998

      First Reading: Exodus 34: 4-6, 8-9
      Psalms: Daniel 3: 52-56
      Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13
      Gospel Reading: John 3: 16-18


          This feast, one week after the Feast of Pentecost and one week before the Feast of Corpus Christi celebrates the most august mystery of our faith - that God is Three Persons in One. Each Person is distinct from the other but identical in Divine Substance. It was Jesus who revealed the Father and the Holy Spirit and thus Christians have always clung to this essence of the Triune Divinity. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the greatest example of this relationship for she was the daughter of the Divine Father, Mother of the Divine Son, and Spouse of the Divine Spirit. In the Trinity we proclaim our "sonship" to the Father, our fellowship to the Son for we are Jesus brothers and sisters, and through these relationships and our life of grace we are sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Though the origins of Trinity Sunday go back to the time of the Arian heresy, the feast actually didn't become a reality until Saint Thomas Becket received from Rome permission for England to celebrate this special feast on the Sunday after Pentecost to honor the Trinity in the twelfth century. Two centuries later Pope John XXII extended this feast to the entire Church.

Monday, May 31 , 1998

    Monday May 31:

    White vestments

      First Reading: Zephanaiah 3: 14-18 or Romans 12: 9-16
      Psalms: Isaiah 12: 2-6
      Gospel Reading: Luke 1: 39-56


          The Visitation of Mary, the Second Joyful Mystery, commemorates the account in Luke 1: 39-45, in which the Blessed Virgin Mary travels to meet and assist her pregnant cousin Elizabeth who is carrying her son John the Baptist in her womb. Both women, with child greet one another in a spirit of genuine love and caring. We get the significance of this union when we read that "the baby [John] leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!'" This last phrase means, in the Hebrew idiom: "More blessed art thou than any other woman on earth." Elizabeth's joyous greeting and faith in the Lord though she did not physically see the Christ child sets a precedence for Christ's words later in John 6: 40 and John 20: 29 - "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." The meeting of the two also prompted the renowned words in which Our Lady proclaims the glories of God while asserting her humble fiat before the Almighty One in the Magnificat.

Tuesday, June 1, 1998

      First Reading: Tobit 2: 9-14
      Psalms: Psalm 112: 1-2, 7-9
      Gospel Reading: Mark 12:13-17


          Born of pagan parents in 103 AD in the village of Neapolis in Samaria (today Sichem in Palestine), Saint Justin was afforded a good education and devoted his life to the study of philosophy with a growing hunger to know of this God these upstart Christians preached. Unsatisfied with the contending schools of philosophy, he relentlessly continued his search until God Himself quenched that thirst for knowledge which was Divinely inspired through an old Christian man who explained in the simplest, but most profound terms what Christianity was about. Convinced he had found what he had long been looking for, Justin enthusiastically embraced Christianity, realizing that Sacred Scripture and the zeal of the martyrs led to faith and it was in faith that one could come to know God. Once he was converted he threw himself into spreading this faith with the same zeal he had during his search for this faith. Justin carried the Gospel to Egypt, Greece and Italy, distributing his writings far and wide, eventually arriving in Rome where he established a school of Christian philosophy. In his efforts to defend the Jews against the Romans, Justin wrote the Dialogue of Trypho and, armed with the strength of the Spirit wrote two special Apologies to the Roman Senate and Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The second Apology was more than Aurelius could stand. His pride and lack of control raging out of control, Aurelius ordered Justin be put to death. Brought before the Prefect of Rome to be sentenced, Justin and the disciples with him feared no earthly death. When the Prefect provoked Justin by mocking him with the question "Do you think that by dying you will enter this heaven you talk about and be rewarded by this God of yours?" Justin replied, "I do not think; I know!" As Justin was so certain, so also the faith he embraced is a certainty - that by striving to do God's Will through all that Jesus asks within the framework of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church we can be assured of joining Justin someday in our everlasting reward.

May 28-31, 1999       volume 10, no. 104


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