April 3-5, 

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vol. 9
no. 67

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GOSPEL Reading and Reflections for the Mass of the day

April 3, 1998

Friday, April 3:
Weekday in the Fifth Week of Lent

      First Reading: Jeremiah 20: 10-13
      Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 18: 2-7
      Gospel Reading: John 10: 31-42

April 4, 1998

Saturday, April 4:
Weekday in the Fifth Week of Lent and

Optional Feast of Saint Isidore of Seville, Bishop and Doctor

      First Reading: Ezekiel 37: 21-28
      Responsorial Psalm: Jeremiah 31: 10-13
      Gospel Reading: John 11: 45-56

Optional Feast of Saint Isidore of Seville, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
     Not to be confused with the other saint born in the twelfth century who is the patron saint of farmers, this Saint Isidore of Seville was born in 556 most probably through Roman parents. It was a holy family for three others among his immediate family became saints also: Saint Leander, Fulgentius, both brothers, and his sister Florentina. But he is the one most famous from this family. Though he was most interested in the monastic rule and its strict observance to which he composed his own rule that was observed faithfully throughout Spain, he was never a monk. He was, however a bishop and succeeded Leander as Bishop of Seville. There for forty years he governed the diocese, converting the pagan Visigoths who had embraced Arianism to the Catholic faith. He was loved by all and founded a famous seminary in Seville where he also headed the faculty. It was so successful that in 633 the Fourth Council of Toledo made it mandatory that the same curriculum be established in other schools which would become the benchmark and model for famous universities throughout Europe. Isidore was an etremely educated man who was also a great historian, having written the History of the Goths and the Book of Etymologies; the latter dealt with word origins helping all understand languages while the former was a compendium of mankind's journey to that time. He died in 636 at the ripe age of 80 and was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Innocent XIII in 1722.

April 5, 1998


      Procession Reading: Luke 19: 28-40
      Procession Psalm: Psalm 24: 1-10, 47: 2-10
      First Reading: Isaiah 50: 4-7
      Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 22: 8-9, 17-20, 23-24
      Second Reading: Philippians 2: 6-11
      Gospel Reading: Luke 23: 1-49

Christ makes His triumphant entry into Jerusalem to Hosannas
Will our Hosannas turn to hisses or hoorays?
      Palm Sunday signals the beginning of Holy Week when Jesus entered Jerusalem in glory. One week later He would rise in this city in even greater glory as He conquered death and redeemed us with His glorious Resurrection. The Passion, read at the gospel, signifies the mood for Passion Sunday and the tone set for Holy Week. We remember, in the Second Reading the words of St. Paul in Philippians 2: 8-11, "He [Christ] humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross. Therefore God also has exalted Him and has bestowed upon Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in Heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father." The words of the prophet Isaiah in the First Reading remind us there is no shame in following Christ and being loyal only to Him: "The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like fling, knowing that I shall not be put to shame" (Isaiah 50: 7). Only a few understood this and followed Him all the way to the foot of the Cross: His beloved Sorrowful Mother Mary, His beloved disciple and Apostle John and a chosen few, for "many are called. but few are chosen" (Matthew 20: 16).

      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?

April 6, 1998

Monday, April 6:

      First Reading: Isaiah 42: 1-7
      Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 27: 1-3, 13-14,
      Gospel Reading: John 12: 1-11

Christ brings Lazarus back to life
Worldly Riches are a mere drop in the Ocean of Heavenly Riches
      The three gospels leading up to Holy Thursday deal with Judas Iscariot and his path to damnation. In the first reading, Isaiah records in Isaiah 42:1 "...my chosen one with whom I am pleased." This Our Lord wanted so much to say about one of His Apostles, Judas. Yet, at every occasion, Jesus sadly saw the path Judas was on. No matter what He would say, Judas had his eyes on worldly treasures rather than Heavenly riches. This is made evident in the Gospel for Monday of Holy Week where John relates the account of Lazarus, whom Jesus commanded back to life. Lazarus was a rich man who used his riches for the good of others and serves as an ideal example for wealthy Christians today that they indeed can use worldly riches toward eternal treasures by following the Gospel of Christ and heeding the teachings of Holy Mother Church. Judas had his priorities confused when he protested over the waste of expensive perfume Mary Magdalene used to anoint her Lord's feet. To Jesus, it was a humble gesture of love and obedience to God's Will; to Judas, it was a waste of money for he protested that "It could have brought three hundred silver pieces, and the money have been given to the poor" (John 12: 5). We get a good indication how the others felt about Judas' greed in the next sentence when John, the gentlest and most loving of all the Apostles curtly says in verse 6: "Now he said this, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and holding the purse, used to take what was put in it."

      In the eighth verse Jesus hits the nail on the head, so to speak when He says in John 12: 8 after admonishing Judas to leave the Magdalene alone, "For the poor you have always with you, but you do not always have Me." The impact of this sentence hits home that the greatest Treasure is there among them in the flesh in the person of the Son of God, Who prophesizes His burial and the Magdalene's role by indicating in the verse before that she should keep the rest to anoint His body which she indeed did and was one of the faithful, along with John, to follow Jesus all the way to the Cross and beyond to the Sepulchre. It was only fitting she was rewarded for her loyalty by being the first to see Jesus after He had risen.

      This lesson should help us put things in perspective, to realize the greatest treasures are not here on earth, but only in Heaven will we attain unfathomable wealth when we behold the face of God. Our lifespan is but a drop of water compared to the ocean of Heavenly Eternity. That in itself should help us put our priorities in order. Do we put more importance on that tiny drop of water than the entire Infinite ocean? Judas did and we all know his fate. That should strongly remind us the path he sought was a dead-end. When we realize the insignificance of this lifespan in relationship with everlasting life with God it will better help us join Jesus on the path to Calvary. There on the Cross was the greatest ransom ever made and for it, Jesus released to us untold of treasures that are ours for the asking. All we need do is heed His Will and knock at the Door of His Sacred and Merciful Heart for the day's Responsorial Psalm says it all: "The Lord is my Light and my Salvation."

    April 3-6, 1998 volume 9, no. 67     LITURGY

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