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July 28, 1998
SECTION TWO   vol 9, no. 146
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION OBE
Rediscovering the full meaning and joy of Sunday will strengthen our faith
In the eleventh installment of the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter DIES DOMINI, Pope John Paul II begins Chapter Four on the meaning of Sunday as he continues to explain the importance of the Sabbath in our lives as we continue our daily installments of this entire important document. To read the entire document, you can go to Dies Domini. For Chapter Four: DIES HOMINIS Sunday: Day of Joy, Rest and Solidarity part one, click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS.
The "full joy" of Christ
55. "Blessed be he who has raised the great day of Sunday above all other days.
The heavens and the earth, angels and of men give themselves over to joy".(99)
This cry of the Maronite liturgy captures well the intense acclamations of joy which
have always characterized Sunday in the liturgy of both East and West. Moreover,
historically - even before it was seen as a day of rest, which in any case was not
provided for in the civil calendar - Christians celebrated the weekly day of the
Risen Lord primarily as a day of joy. "On the first day of the week, you shall all
rejoice", urges the Didascalia. (100) This was also emphasized by liturgical
practice, through the choice of appropriate gestures. (101) Voicing an awareness
widespread in the Church, Saint Augustine describes the joy of the weekly Easter:
"Fasting, is set aside and prayers are said standing, as a sign of the Resurrection,
which is also why the Alleluia is sung on every Sunday". (102)
56. Beyond particular ritual forms, which can vary in time depending upon Church
discipline, there remains the fact that Sunday, as a weekly echo of the first
encounter with the Risen Lord, is unfailingly marked by the joy with which the
disciples greeted the Master: "The disciples rejoiced to see the Lord" (Jn 20:20).
This was the confirmation of the words which Jesus spoke before the Passion and
which resound in every Christian generation: "You will be sorrowful, but your
sorrow will turn to joy" (Jn 16:20). Had not he himself prayed for this, that the
disciples would have "the fullness of His joy" (cf. Jn 17:13)? The festive character of
the Sunday Eucharist expresses the joy that Christ communicates to his Church
through the gift of the Spirit. Joy is precisely one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit(cf.
Rom 14:17; Gal 5:22).
57. Therefore, if we wish to rediscover the full meaning of Sunday, we must
rediscover this aspect of the life of faith. Certainly, Christian joy must mark the
whole of life, and not just one day of the week. But in virtue of its significance as the
day of the Risen Lord, celebrating God's work of creation and "new creation",
Sunday is the day of joy in a very special way, indeed the day most suitable for
learning how to rejoice and to rediscover the true nature and deep roots of joy. This
joy should never be confused with shallow feelings of satisfaction and pleasure,
which inebriate the senses and emotions for a brief moment, but then leave the
heart unfulfilled and perhaps even embittered. In the Christian view, joy is much
more enduring and consoling; as the saints attest, it can hold firm even in the dark
night of suffering. (103) It is, in a certain sense, a "virtue" to be nurtured.
58. Yet there is no conflict whatever between Christian joy and true human joys,
which in fact are exalted and find their ultimate foundation precisely in the joy of the
glorified Christ, the perfect image and revelation of man as God intended. As my
revered predecessor Paul VI wrote in his Exhortation on Christian joy: "In essence,
Christian joy is a sharing in the unfathomable joy, at once divine and human, found
in the heart of the glorified Christ". (104) Pope Paul concluded his Exhortation by
asking that, on the Lord's Day, the Church should witness powerfully to the joy
experienced by the Apostles when they saw the Lord on the evening of Easter. To
this end, he urged pastors to insist "upon the need for the baptized to celebrate the
Sunday Eucharist in joy. How could they neglect this encounter, this banquet which
Christ prepares for us in his love? May our sharing in it be most worthy and joyful! It
is Christ, crucified and glorified, who comes among his disciples, to lead them all
together into the newness of his Resurrection. This is the climax, here below, of
the covenant of love between God and his people: the sign and source of Christian
joy, a stage on the way to the eternal feast". (105) This vision of faith shows the
Christian Sunday to be a true "time for celebration", a day given by God to men and
women for their full human and spiritual growth.
TOMORROW: Part Twelve of Dies Domini: Chapter Four, DIES HOMINIS Sunday: Day of Joy, Rest and Solidarity part two.
- (99) This is the Deacon's proclamation in honour of the Lord's Day: cf. the Syriac
text in the Missal of the Church of Antioch of the Maronites (edition in Syriac and
Arabic), Jounieh (Lebanon) 1959, p. 38.
- (100) V, 20, 11: ed. F. X. Funk, 1905, p. 298; cf. Didache 14, 1: ed. F. X. Funk, 1901,
p. 32; Tertullian, Apologeticum 16, 11: CCL 1, 116. See in particular the Epistle of
Barnabas, 15, 9: SC 172, 188-189: "This is why we celebrate as a joyous feast the
eighth day on which Jesus was raised from the dead and, after having appeared,
ascended into Heaven".
- (101) Tertullian for example tells us that on Sunday it was forbidden to kneel, since
kneeling, which was then seen as an essentially penitential gesture, seemed
unsuited to the day of joy. Cf. De Corona 3, 4: CCL 2, 1043.
- (102) Ep. 55, 28: CSEL 342, 202.
- (103) Cf. Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, Derniers entretiens,
5-6 July 1897, in: Oeuvres complètes, Cerf - Desclée de Brouwer, Paris, 1992, pp.
- (104) Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete in Domino (9 May 1975), II: AAS 67 (1975), 295.
- (105) Ibid. VII, l.c., 322.
NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
Erection of 50 crosses as tribute to fallen martyrs stirs controversy at Auschwitz
The on-going controversy between Jewish and Catholic concerns at the horrific death camp of Auschwitz in Poland was resurrected again this weekend when Catholics planted 50 crosses in tribute to their fallen Catholic comrades. For some reason this has greatly disturbed Jewish authorities who believe they have a monopoly on these horrible atrocities committed by the Nazis. For more, click on Auschwitz
CROSSES ERECTED IN PROTEST AT AUSCHWITZ
WARSAW (CWNews.com) - Members of a Catholic workers' group
erected more than 50 crosses at the former Nazi death camp
Auschwitz on Saturday, despite opposition from Jewish
"We want the entire escarpment to teem with crosses,"
Kazimierz Switon, a group member who had just ended a
42-day protest fast, told PAP news agency. Poland's chief
rabbi, Menachem Pinkas Joskowicz, says the presence of a
Christian cross makes it impossible for Jews to pray at
Auschwitz, 90 percent of whose victims were Jewish.
Catholic groups said they also have a right to mourn their
dead, including Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Blessed Edith
Stein who both died at the camp.
The new crosses were placed near a 22-foot crucifix,
commemorating a 1988 visit by Pope John Paul II, which some
Jewish groups see as an attempt to "Christianize the
Holocaust -- the Nazis attempt to eradicate Europe's Jews."
Holy Father uses Sunday to reiterate importance of Sunday at first audience at Castel Gondolfo
Taking advantage of a warm, sunny Italian summer Sunday, Pope John Paul II returned to the theme of Sundays which he had emphasized so much in his Apostolic Letter in early July - Dies Domini which is available in daily installments on these pages. In his weekly Angelus audience, the Holy Father reasserted the importance of Sunday as a defense against the modern banalties of life. For more, click on Angelus Audience.
POPE RETURNS TO THEME OF SABBATH REST
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In the first Angelus audience of the year
from his summer residence at Castel Gandalfo, Pope John Paul II
yesterday emphasized the importance of the Sabbath-- a theme he
had explored in his recent apostolic letter Dies Domini.
Sunday is not the last day of the week, but the first, the Holy Father
said. And it is "the day of faith par excellence"-- a day that should be
given over the God.
Observing the Sunday rest has human benefits as well, the Pope said,
and the Sabbath can be a defense for contemporary Christians
against the influence of "a hedonistic and frenetic approach to life."
Tragedy fells three of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Yemen
Gunshots rang out in Hodeida, Yemen yesterday outside a medical clinic operated by the Missionary Sisters of Charity, the order founded by Mother Teresa and now headed by her successor Sister Nirmala. Three of the nuns were killed instantly as they left the clinic. One suspect was apprehended but the others are still on the lam. The Yemen Government offered its condolences and pledge that they will find the killers. For more, click on Nuns murdered.
THREE OF MOTHER TERESA'S NUNS KILLED IN YEMEN
HODEIDA, Yemen (CWNews.com) - Three nuns of the
Missionaries of Charity religious order were killed as they
left their medical clinic in Hodeida on Monday by gunmen
wielding automatic weapons, Yemeni officials said.
The gunmen fired on the nuns, who were wearing nurse's
uniforms, from a passing car. One of the women was
Filipino, while the other two were Indian. Security forces
have already arrested one man in connection with the
attack, and no group has yet claimed responsibility. Yemeni
Health Minister Abdullah Abdul-Wali Nasher visited the
Hodeida chapter house of the Missionaries of Charity to
express the government's concern.
Sister Nirmala, the successor to the order's founder,
Mother Teresa, left Calcutta, India for Yemen where she
will meet with the remaining sisters. The order has had a
presence in Yemen since 1970 and has four chapter houses in
the country with a total of 25 religious workers. The
Hodeida clinic serves an estimated 450 physically and
mentally disabled people.
Pro-lifers in Mexico provide proof positive of life in the womb in an unusual presentation
In an unprecedented move, pro-lifers composing the National Pro-Life Committee of Mexico held a press conference that gave journalists more than they had bargained for. Setting up a sonagram ultrasound to a pregnant mother three months along, all in the room were able to hear and see a fetus and the beating heart, proving without a shadow of doubt that life does exist in the womb and that abortion is wrong. The move is intended to sway public opinion away from the abortion mentality in showing it is murder and convincing Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo to enact a law that would honor the sacredness of life beginning with conception. For more, click on Pro-Life.
MEXICAN PRO-LIFERS GRAPHICALLY DISPLAY LIFE IN WOMB
MEXICO CITY (CWNews.com) - The National Pro-Life Committee
of Mexico shocked journalists on Sunday during a press
conference by transmitting the motions and sounds of a baby
in his mother's womb.
The Pro-Life Committee called the press conference as a
response to pressure to legalize abortion by health
authorities and organizations such as the Mexican branch of
"Catholics for a Free Choice." Before making a statement,
presenters introduced a three-month pregnant woman to the
audience and connected her to an ultrasound machine. The
monitor was connected to video and audio equipment, so both
the images and the baby's heartbeat could be easily followed
by cameras and microphones.
"Our goal is to show that, no matter the euphemisms used to
hide the truth, abortion kills a living human being," said
group said in a statement. "The simple idea of proposing
the legalization of abortion shows that terms like 'free
choice,' 'product of pregnancy,' and others are taking
people away from the clear idea that abortion is murder and
that the victim is an innocent, fragile human being."
The committee, a lay organization, has launched a campaign
of collecting signatures in order to force President
Ernesto Zedillo to request a constitutional amendment that
would change in the Constitution to include the sanctity of
human life from the moment of conception. The eventual
modification of the Mexican constitution, which at present
does not explicitly recognize the right to life of the
unborn, would definitively close any further discussion on
the possibility of legalizing abortion.
For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site. CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.
Today is the Seventeenth Tuesday in Ordinary Time while tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Saint Martha, Disciple of the Lord. For the readings, liturgy and meditations for both days, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.
Tuesday, July 28, 1998
First Reading: Jeremiah 14: 17-22
Psalms: Psalm 79: 8,9,11,13
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13: 36-43
Wednesday, July 29, 1998
First Reading: Jeremiah 15: 10, 16-21
Psalms: Psalm 59: 2-4, 10-12, 17-18
Gospel Reading: John 11: 19-27 or Luke 10: 38-42
FEAST OF SAINT MARTHA, DISCIPLE OF THE LORD
Though there has been much confusion, Saint Martha was the sister of Mary of Bethany and not to be confused with Mary Magdalene, whose feast we recently celebrated. While Mary of Bethany is said to have been a "dreamer" sitting by Our Lord for hours at a time just drinking everything in, Martha was the "doer" and at times resented it such as the account in Luke 10: 38-42 in which Jesus lovingly rebuked her "Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things; and yet only one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the best part and it will not be taken away from her." Sacred Scripture records that Martha and Mary's brother was Lazarus and in John 11: 40, Jesus again tests Martha's faith just before resurrecting Lazarus when He says, "Have I not told thee that if thou believe thou shalt behold the glory of God?" Yet through it all Martha rolled with the punches, so to speak, and was always there to cook for Our Lord and clean for she truly believed. Martha, like Mary Magdalene, was there at the foot of the Cross with the Blessed Mother and Saint John and was privileged to see Jesus after His Resurrection. Some accounts have Martha traveling to Gaul (France) after Pentecost with Lazarus and Mary of Bethany to preach the Gospel though this is not substantiated.
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July 28, 1998 volume 9, no. 146 DAILY CATHOLIC