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Pre-Lent through Easter Prayer and Reflections -- 2007
various ^ | 02-18-07 | various

Posted on 02/18/2007 8:47:01 PM PST by Salvation

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To: All
Friday – Second Week of Lent

And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear.
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into the sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father and he will not provide me at this moment with more than twelve legions of angels? But then how would the scriptures be fulfilled which say that it must come to pass in this way?” (Mt. 26:51:54)

The Twelve do not do well in the place call Gethsemane. While Jesus was praying, they slept. When the arresting party arrived, one of their own was leading the way. Now, one of them draws a sword and wounds the high priest’s servant. Finally, in just a few moments, they will all abandon him.

This was a bad night for the Twelve.

The story has a good ending, not only for Jesus, but for the disciples, whose memory of Gethsemane was a bad one. Tradition has it that most of the Twelve died martyrs’ deaths, which is quite a turnaround. God’s grace can do that.

We can all think of a “Gethsemane” or two in our own lives – a bad time that we didn’t handle well.

Has it been set right? God’s grace can do that.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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51 posted on 03/11/2007 9:31:04 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March10, 2007

Criterion of Embarrassment

The Gospels were written 40 to 60 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Prior to that, words and actions of Jesus were passed on verbally, and some were probably written down (although none of these earlier writing has been found.)

Each evangelist had access to some of these oral or written traditions, and used them to put together his Gospel

The details of those earlier traditions were sometimes changed as they were passed on. So, one can ask whether every detail in the Gospels is accurate. Did Jesus speak “those exact words?” Did this event happen “exactly this way?”

One of several tools by which scholars try to resolve this is the “criterion of embarrassment.” The natural tendency would not be to add embarrassing details, but rather to soften or suppress them. So, the more embarrassing a detail, the more it might be an indication that it happened that way.

The story of the betrayal by Judas is an example of this. Did it really happen? The “criterion of embarrassment” (plus the fact that it is told in all four Gospels) makes a very strong case for the fact that this story accurately describes a historical fact.

52 posted on 03/11/2007 9:34:26 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Saturday – Second Week of Lent

At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to seize me? Day after day I sat teaching in the Temple area, yet you did not arrest me. But all this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled.”

Then all the disciples left him and fled. (Mt. 26:55:56)

“Robber” is probably too soft a translation. The Greek word is the same one used of the “robbers” in the parable of the Good Samaritan – who stripped and beat the victim and went off leaving him half dead. It is also the same word used of Barabbas. Jesus is saying, “Have you come out as against a thug?”

Of course, these people hardly knew Jesus. He was from up north, and spent almost all his ministry up there. Their poor opinion of him was based only on hearsay.

The way we Christians sometimes act toward one another – whether in wars, or fights in families, in parishes – can make Jesus look bad. At times we need to hear a mother’s words to her children” “I don’t care who started it. Just stop it right now.” Anything come to mind?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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53 posted on 03/11/2007 9:36:29 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 11, 2007

”Servant of Slaves”

”I believe in God.
I hope in God.
I love God.
I want to live and die for God.
~Henriette Delille

Heniriette Delille was born in 1913 into one of the New Orleans’ oldest families of free people of color. The exact date of her birth is unknown, but March 11 is often celebrated as her birthday.

Henriette was educated, taught music and French literature, and attended balls. One day she met a French man who impressed the young girl with her dedication to God and her charitable work.

Henriette transformed her life. She taught religion to slaves, baptized them, and encouraged marriage, at a time when Louisiana law prohibited educating slaves and free people of color, under penalty of death or life imprisonment.

Unable to find a religious community that would accept a black woman, in 1835 she sold all her property in order to found a religious community of black sisters. In 1842, after several setbacks, she and friend, Juliette Charles, received permission from the diocese to establish the Sisters of the Holy Family.

Besides educating and evangelizing slaves and free people of color, Sr. Henriette also encouraged the order to build a home for the sick, aged and poor black residents of the city. She died Nov. 16, 1862.

In 1997, the U. S. bishops unanimously endorsed her cause for canonization.

54 posted on 03/14/2007 10:18:08 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Sunday – Third Week of Lent

The Fig Tree

We are all going to die.

It might happen through cruelty (like those Galileans killed by Pilate.) or by accident (like those people in Jerusalem killed when a tower fell upon them.) But inevitably, we’re all going to die one way or another, and in the perspective of the long sweep of history, we’re going to died relatively soon.

Lent is a good time to think through like that.

We are each created by God and put here on earth for a purpose. We may not know, this side of the grave, what our purpose is. But if we do our best, in the circumstances of our own life, to live as Jesus taught us to live, we still accomplish our purpose. In the eyes of the world, what we do may not seem all that important. It won’t make me famous. But there is no greater, more important accomplishment than simply to do what it is God put us here to do.

But we don’t always take this seriously. We don’t think we’re that important or that good. But the fact is each one of us is put here by God to accomplish something that no one else is given to accomplish. And we do that simply by doing our best to live the Gospel in the situations of our own life.

Am I doing it? Am I living the Gospel and thus having the effects that god wanted me to have on this earth?

If not, I’ve still got some time given to me by the gardener, Jesus.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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55 posted on 03/14/2007 10:20:27 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
March 12, 2007

St. Ignatius of Loyola

During Lent of 1539, a former soldier named Ignatius of Loyola was about to embark on a path that would change his life.

After many years of studying in Paris (one of his roommates was Francis Xavier) Ignatius and several of his fellow students had come to Rome to place themselves at the Pope’ disposal to do God’s will.

Now, they had to make some decisions about their future. After many weeks of prayer and discussion, they decided to form a religious community.

It became known as the Company of Jesus, or Societatis Jesu. Eventually they became known as the Jesuits.

* * * * * *

While a soldier, Ignatius was severely wounded. One day, during his long recovery, he was unable to find light reading. Instead, he picked up some books on the life of Christ and several saints. He noticed that after such reading, he felt at peace. The experience eventually led to his conversion and helped him develop what is today known as the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The Exercises, which acknowledges the action of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, have become the foundation for many retreats. They are a form of reflection and meditation that guides one in discerning God’s will.

* * * * * *

St. Ignatius was canonized on this day in 1622.

56 posted on 03/15/2007 6:21:57 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Monday – Third Week of Lent

Those who had arrested Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

Peter was following him at a distance as far as the high priest’s courtyard, and going inside he sat down with the servants to see the outcome. (Mt. 26:57:58)

It’s about a half-mile walk from Gethsemane to where the high priest’s house is thought to have been located.

Jesus is in the clutches of the arresting party. The disciples have run off – we don’t know where.

On the way to Gethsemane Jesus had said to his disciples, “This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken.” Peter confidently replied, “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.”

Well, Peter was wrong. His faith is shaken and he moves back a few hundred yards from Jesus.

What’s my yardage? During my day, am I close to the Lord? Or do I put the Lord in the background, a hundred yards away? Or is the Lord totally removed from the scene?

What’s my yardage?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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57 posted on 03/15/2007 6:24:22 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 13, 2007

The Sanhedrin

The word “Sanhedrin” comes from a Greek word that means “sitting together.” The term was used for the supreme council of the Jews which first appeared some 200 years before Christ.

As best one can tell, at the time of Chris this council had 71 members from three classes: The elders, the present and former high priests and the scribes.

In effect, the Sanhedrin was the “supreme court” of Jewish people, with competence in both religious and secular matters. It had the power of arrest and its own police.

After the Temple was destroyed in 70 A, D, the Sanhedrin moved from place to place in Israel, and finally went out of existence.

* * * * * *

In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin, and Gamaliel, one of its leaders, stood up and made a famous speech:
Have nothing to do with these men . . .
For it this endeavor or this activity is
of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if
it comes from God, you will not be able to
destroy it.

The rest is history.

58 posted on 03/17/2007 11:43:40 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Tuesday – Third Week of Lent

The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward who stated, “This man said, ‘I can destroy the Temple of God and within three days rebuild it.’” (Mt. 26:59:61)

Matthew emphasizes how unprincipled the Sanhedrin was – they were seeking false testimony. After several failed attempts, they finally hit on something they could use.

The religious leaders had probably heard rumors of what Jesus had said about the need to reform Temple worship. Five chapters earlier in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus had turned over the tables of some of the money changers – “cleansing” the Temple. All this made them nervous.

There is an old Latin saying about the Church – “semper reformanda” – which means “always in need of reform.” We never were a perfect Church, and never will be a perfect Church until this world ends. But it’s hard to let go of things that need to change. It was so from the beginning. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read of how hard it was for Peter to accept Gentiles into the community of disciples.

It’s easier to think about reform in “the Church” than reform in me. But all of us together are the Church. The reform most within reach is the reform of me. Which happens to be what Lent is about. Any thoughts about “the reform of me?”

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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59 posted on 03/17/2007 11:46:51 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 14, 2007

Jewish Authorities in the Passion Narrative

High Priest: There was only one high priest in office chosen from the descendants of Aaron, and he lived in Jerusalem. He was in office for life, but at the time of Jesus, the Roman Prefect deposed those not to his liking.

Chief Priests: This term refers to a Jerusalem priestly aristocracy in positions of power over the Temple and its treasury. They were active opponents of Jesus probably because of his criticism of Temple practices.

Scribes: These were scholars in the Law, sometimes referred to as “lawyers.” They treasured the traditions of Judaism, and dedicated themselves to copying and compiling them – thus the name “scribes.”

Elders: In Jesus’ time, these were wealthy nobles, respected for their wisdom. Two of them play a role in the Passion: Nicodemus (who in John’s Gospel, provided expensive spices for the burial of Jesus) and Joseph of Arimathea (whom Matthew describes as “a rich man.”)

Pharisees: These were people belonging to a movement, rather than in positions of power. They tried to reinterpret primitive prescriptions of the Law and adapt them to contemporary conditions. Strict Jews accused them of adding to the Law. (Before he became a Christian, Paul was a Pharisee.)

60 posted on 03/17/2007 9:01:34 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Wednesday – Third Week of Lent

The high priest rose and addressed him, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?” But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I order you to tell us under oath before the living God whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said in reply, “You have said so. But I tell you: From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.’”(Mt. 26:62:64)

One time Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter stepped forward and said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Now, ten chapters later, the high priest puts Jesus under oath and asks if he is “the Messiah, the Son of God.”

Jesus who stand bound and powerless before the highest authority of his people, knows that the cross is the path to fulfillment ("seated at the right hand of God”,) and that though now under judgment, he will come back as judge of all (“on the clouds of heaven.”)

This may well be the moment when Jesus, as a human being, fully realized that death was hours away. He didn’t blink. He trusted that God would bring life out of death.

If I just found out that tomorrow I would die, what would my thoughts be? My feelings? What would I say right now to the Lord?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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61 posted on 03/17/2007 9:04:02 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 15, 2007

Forgiveness

Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive. ~C. S. Lewis

Louis Smedes, author of several books on forgiveness, notes that we do not forgive simply because we are supposed to forgive. We forgive because we need to be healed.

Forgiveness is said to have three stages. I don’t deny what the person did not do nor do I pretend it wasn’t wrong. But . . .

1. Instead of identifying the person totally with whatever they did to hurt me, I begin to see them as a person like me – imperfect, but still someone God loves.

2. I give up my “right” to get even. Vengeful thoughts don’t make the other person suffer. They hurt me. So I just plain rinse my mind of those kinds of thoughts.

3. I stand next to the Lord and together with him look at the other person. For sure, Jesus wants good things to happen to them. So, with the Lord’s help (and some struggle,) I begin to look at the other person the way the Lord does.

Think of someone you find hard to forgive. Forgiveness can’t always be accomplished in one sitting . . . . . . or one day. But you might be able to do it by Easter. Today is the halfway mark between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

62 posted on 03/18/2007 7:48:52 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Thursday – Third Week of Lent

Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need have we of witnesses? You have now heard the blasphemy; what is your opinion?” They said in reply, “He deserves to die! Then they spat in his face and struck him, while some slapped him saying, “Prophesy for us, Messiah; who is it that struck you?”(Mt. 26:65:68)

During Jesus’ ministry, there were failed attempts by the religious leaders to trip him up in speech. Now they’ve got him. Jesus just incriminated himself by claiming prerogatives that belong only to God.

The rest of the Sanhedrin agrees, and a death sentence is rendered.

It’s done today in just about every sector, and not by extremists but by the regular folk. For example, studies show that “in your face” rudeness is rampant in the U. S. workplace.

But it’s also present in homes, and in parishes. When there is disagreement on a parish or school issue, righteous rudeness easily erupts.

To be on the receiving end of insulting taunts, to be heckled, is an awful thing. Yet, Jesus took it in silence.

To be on the giving end is worse. It is the deliberate torture of another human being, and it poisons our soul.

We’ve all got excuses to justify it. But they fly in the face of everything Jesus taught . . . . . . and everything Jesus did.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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63 posted on 03/18/2007 7:51:50 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 16, 2007

Meat on Friday?

In 1966 Pope Paul VI declared that abstinence from meat on Fridays was no longer universally binding. Each national conference of bishops could decide whether or not this was to be a Church law in their country.

Cardinal John Dearden was then president of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. A delegation from the fish industry came to see him, asking that the restriction not be lifted in the United States. It would they said, bring them to ruin. In the end, the U. S. bishops voted to lift the ban on meat on Friday (except Fridays in Lent.)

Little did anyone know that a number of converging factors would make this not a bane but a boon for the U. S. fish industry. Why? Because:

• Fish was no longer seen negatively as a penitential food, mostly restricted to Fridays.

• It was about that time that, because of cholesterol concerns, fish was recommended as part of a healthy diet.

• Airlines introduced daily delivery systems of fresh fish to all parts of the country. No longer was a meatless meal limited to macaroni and cheese, fish sticks, canned salmon. Fish was now a treat – red snapper, Dover sole, white fish, Alaskan king crab, and grilled or smoked salmon.

However, many Catholics still do adhere to the abstinence from meat on Friday. That practice, in fact, is still approved by the Vatican.

64 posted on 03/18/2007 8:41:36 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Friday – Third Week of Lent

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!”

As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.” Again he denied it with an oath. “I do not know the man!”

A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.” At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” (Mt. 26:69:74)

Peter is in the courtyard just outside the room where Jesus is being tried. While Jesus, placed under oath, is declaring that he is the Messiah, the Son of God, Peter, who made that very profession of faith ten chapters earlier, is volunteering an oath that he does not even know Jesus.

The third denial includes not only and oath, but a curse. It may be that Peter cursed Jesus (people sometimes had to curse their own "god” to prove their allegiance to the Roman gods.) It seems almost unthinkable. But no sin in unthinkable.

There but for the grace of God, go I. And sometimes there, despite the grace of God, go I.

When it comes to sin, there’s no sense wallowing in self-misery – which can be an excuse to keep on sinning. Realism needs to kick in. We’re sinners. We can’t achieve goodness wholly on our own, which means we can’t be holy on our own. Let go. Let God.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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65 posted on 03/18/2007 8:46:23 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 17, 2007

Irish Saints

Today is the Memorial of St. Patrick.

While Patrick is perhaps the most well-known Irish saint, he is not the only one. Among Ireland’s saints are:

St. Aidan: This seventh century missionary founded a monastery that became a learning center of Celtic Christianity for northern England. Memorial: August 31.

St. Brigid: The daughter of a slave and a chieftan, she founded the first convent in Ireland. She is the patron of Irish women. Memorial: February 1

St. Columban: supposedly Columban was so handsome that he was advised that if he truly wanted to live as an ascetic, he would have to go to a region where women were less seductive and attractive – someplace like Ireland. Memorial: November 23.

St. Columkille: This popular Irish saint is credited with bringing Catholicism to Scotland. Memorial: June 9.

St. Kieran: Called one of Ireland’s 12 apostles, Kieran founded an Irish monastery. Memorial: September 9.


66 posted on 03/20/2007 6:01:10 PM PDT by Salvation (?With God all things are possible.?)
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Saturday – Third Week of Lent

And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly. (Mt. 26:75)

Peter will not be mentioned again in Matthew’s Gospel. He is last seen weeping.

Earlier in the Gospel Jesus said, “Whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” But be careful not to isolate statements like that and stand them alone. Jesus also talked about God’s mercy toward sinners.

When the Pharisee complained that Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus responded: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick dol . . .I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

So it is with Peter. He had clearly “denied Jesus before others,” but when he realized what he had done, he repents, trusting in the Lord’s forgiveness.

The story of Peter’s denials reminds us that we are all vulnerable to sin – more than we may know. It also encourages us. Peter’s tears of repentance stand in sharp contrast to the despair of Judas, which Matthew will describe in a few verses.

Given the choice between repentance and despair, always choose repentance.

Forgiveness is there for the asking? Have you gone to the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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67 posted on 03/20/2007 6:04:40 PM PDT by Salvation (?With God all things are possible.?)
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March 18, 2007

Catholic Relief Services Collection

More than 60 years ago, the U. S. Bishops’ Overseas appeal was established. Each year on the fourth Sunday in Lent, this appeal is held to support agencies, such as Catholic Relief Services, that fund works of famine relief, development and peace. In 2005, the collections was renamed the Catholic Relief Services Collection.

* * * * * *

Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr., was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in civil rights.

A strong proponent of non-violence, the Baptist minister had been inspired by the life and teaching of Mahatma Gandhi in India, whose life he had studied while attending Crozier Theological Seminary from 1948-1951.

King was impressed with how Gandhi’s non-violent social protest through fasts and marches was able to life the oppressed India from under British domination. The young minister wondered to himself, “Could that also work in the United States?”

From February 2 through March 10, 1959, Dr. King and his wife Coretta went to India as guests of Prime Minister Nehri to study Gandhi’s philosophy and techniques of non-violence.

* * * * * *

On this day in 1922 Gandhi was sentenced to six years imprisonment for civil disobedience.


68 posted on 03/22/2007 5:37:00 PM PDT by Salvation (?With God all things are possible.?)
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Sunday – Fourth Week of Lent

The Prodigal Son

The Prodigal son is a parable of imperfection, a parable of which none of the pieces fit perfectly.

Look at the younger son. Why did he come home? Because he was out of money. He had no one to help him, and he could eat better in his father’s house. His motives were mixed – it isn’t a piece that perfectly falls into place.

Then there’s the elder son. He pouts outside, angry and hurt because his father didn’t appreciate him. It doesn’t quite fit perfectly in the story of reconciliation.

Then there is the father. He should have shown appreciation to his older son. It’s too bad that it took a crisis for him to tell the elder son how much he appreciated him. Those words should have been spoken much sooner and many times. The father was not perfect.

Jesus is telling us a great deal about real life. In real life, the pieces never fit together perfectly. We are more than willing to forgive other people if and when everything falls together smoothly . . . if they fully realize what the problem was and accept it . . . if the others around me could accept it all without misunderstanding. Then there could be reconciliation. But things don’t fit together that way. They are like this parable.

Jesus tells us that things will never be all together until the kingdom. Meanwhile, we have to put up with a lot of things that are not as they should be.

What this parable says is that God loves us and forgives us even when things are not all together – our motives are mixed, we overlook many things, we are unappreciative. Yet God accepts us and can deal with that for now.

What God asks is that we, in our turn, be willing to deal with people in the same way.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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69 posted on 03/22/2007 5:40:52 PM PDT by Salvation (?With God all things are possible.?)
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March 19, 2007

Feast of St. Joseph

Since we all must die, we should cherish a special devotion to St. Joseph, that he may obtain for us a happy death.
~St. Aphonsus Liguori

St. Joseph is known as the patron of a happy death because artists frequently depicted Mary and Jesus as being by Joseph’s side when he died. But nowhere in the Bible is his death ever described.

In the 17th century, a European plague led to the popularization of the image of Joseph as someone who died a “good death” because of his closeness to Jesus. To further encourage the importance of closeness to Jesus, theologians such as St. Robert Bellarmine wrote books on “dying well.” St. Alphonsus Liguori also wrote on Joseph as a patron of a happy death.


70 posted on 03/22/2007 8:00:22 PM PDT by Salvation (?With God all things are possible.?)
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Monday – Fourth Week of Lent

When it was morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor. (Mt. 27:1-2)

It is now early morning on Friday.

We can note two “firsts” here:
1. For the first time in Matthew’s account, Jesus is bound. He is now treated as a convicted criminal and led away to Pilate.
2. This is the first mention of Pilate’s name in Matthew’s Gospel.

The phrase, “They . . . handed him over to Pilate” is an ominous one. The prediction Jesus made earlier in Matthew’s Gospel has come true: “The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles. . . ”

Judas started the “handing overs.” They will end when Pilate hands Jesus over to be crucified.

“To hand over” is the root meaning of “tradition.” It is also the root meaning of “traitor.” What I “hand on” – consciously or unconsciously – to my friends, my children, to anyone who might be influenced by what I do, can be good . . . or it can be not so good.

Whether I know it or not, I “hand on” light or darkness to anyone who is part of my life on a given day.

How have I done lately?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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71 posted on 03/22/2007 8:05:17 PM PDT by Salvation (?With God all things are possible.?)
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March 20, 2007

Gospel of Judas

The apocryphal Gospel of Judas suggests that Judas was Jesus’ truest disciple. His betrayal, the document suggests, was part of an elaborate scheme in which Jesus asked Judas to betray him.

Its timeline begins a few days before Passover and ends with Judas handing Jesus over to the scribes.

The 26-page document was discovered in Egypt in the late 1970s.

* * * * * *

About 180 A.D., Irenaeus (who was one of the fathers of the early Church) called the Gospel of Judas “fictitious history." It was never considered to be a canonical Gospel on the par with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

* * * * * *

Apocryphal gospels are the more than 100 ancient writing about Jesus which the Catholic Church does not include in the New Testament.

Besides the Gospel of Judas, these include the Lost Letter of St. Paul, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, the Gospel of Peter, the Gospel of Truth and the Acts of Pilate.


72 posted on 03/26/2007 8:20:17 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Tuesday – Fourth Week of Lent

Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, deeply regretted what he had done. He returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? Look to it yourself.” Flinging the money into the Temple he departed and went off and hanged himself. (Mt. 27:3-5)

The story of Judas going back to the chief priests and flinging the 30 pieces of silver into the Temple is told in three verses, and only by Matthew, but it is one of the best known stories in all the Gospels.

It is a sad story. Judas wants to undo his crime. But his co-conspirators are interested in getting Jesus, not getting justice.

The truth is, no sin can be undone/. It can only be forgiven. And getting it forgiven is not difficult. “The Lord is kind and merciful.”

Sometimes we break our necks trying to undo sin. We try denying it, erasing it from our minds, finding others who will tell us there was nothing wrong with what we did, blaming it on someone else, rationalizing it, and running away from it. But sin cannot be undone. It can only be forgiven.

We have to look sin squarely in the eye. We have to bring it to the Lord and ask forgiveness. And if we have wronged someone else we have to try to set things right. God’s grace from the Sacrament of Reconciliation can take us through it all.

Peter faced his sin squarely, cried, was forgiven, and became one of the greatest saints. Judas tried to undo his sin, was unsuccessful, and killed himself.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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73 posted on 03/26/2007 8:23:10 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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March 21, 2007

St. Matthew Passion

What many music critics have called “the great Passion” refers to the St. Matthew Passion written by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was first performed either on Good Friday, April 11, 1727 or Good Friday in 1729. Bach later revised it in 1736. Felix Mendelssohn introduced the Passion to a larger audience when he performed the composition in 1829.

Its timeline begins a few days before Passover and ends with Judas handing Jesus over to the scribes.

* * * * * *

Bach also wrote St. John Passion in 1724 and St. Mark Passion in 1731.

* * * * * *

In 1995, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion was featured as the opening and closing music for the Robert DeNiro film, Casino.

* * * * * *

Bach’s youngest son, Johann Christian Bach converted to Catholicism from the Lutheran Church.

* * * * * *

Bach was born on this date in 1685.


74 posted on 03/26/2007 8:57:36 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Wednesday – Fourth Week of Lent

The chief priest gathered up the money, but said, “it is not lawful to deposit this in the Temple treasury, for it is the price of blood.” After consultation, they used it to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why that field even today is calling the Field of Blood.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of a man with a price on his head, a price set by some of the Israelites, and they paid it out for the potter’s field just as the Lord had commanded me.” (Mt. 27:6-10)

Here begins the haunting trail of innocent blood.

Judas tried to get rid of his guilt by throwing the “blood money” into the Temple. But the blood was still on his hands.

The chief priests and elders try to get ride of it by using it to buy a burial ground for the poor. But the blood was still on their hands.

Pilate will try to get rid of it by taking water, washing his hands, and saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.” But the blood will still be on his hands.

Trying to get rid of the blood of Jesus is futile. His blood is on all of us, for we are all sinners. What we need to do is acknowledge our sinfulness and let this blood do what it is meant to do. Wash away our sins.

It was for all of us that Jesus died. It was for Judas, for the chief priests and elders, for Pilate, for the people who said, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.”

It was for me that he died.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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75 posted on 03/26/2007 9:00:46 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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March 22, 2007

Passion Plays

From early times, Mystery Plays or Miracle Plays re-enacted scriptural events (and events in a saint’s life) as a way of teaching the truths of the faith. Some of these were elaborate productions, requiring three days’ performance.

The form best known today is the Passion Play which depicts the death and resurrection of Jesus. The most famous is performed at Oberammergau, a Bavarian village about 60 miles southwest of Munich.

Because of an outbreak of the bubonic plague in the 17th century, the people of Oberammergau prayed to be spared and vowed that the whole community would every ten years, stage a massive production that would present the story of Christ’s death and resurrection to the world. The town was spared from the plague, and the tradition of the Oberammergau Passion Play was born. It first performance was in 1634,

The play is performed on an open stage with seating for nearly 5,000 spectators. Members of the huge cast (there are 1,700 parts) must be Oberammergau natives, or have lived there for ten years.

The play lasts a whole day, with a three-hour break for lunch. The play is performed five times a week, running for several months. The most recent production took place May 22 to October 8, 2000.

* * * * * *

Josef Meier first performed the Passion Play in the United States in 1932. In 1939, his company settled in South Dakota’s Black Hills where the play is performed each summer.


76 posted on 03/27/2007 8:27:12 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Thursday – Fourth Week of Lent

Now Jesus stood before the governor, and he questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?” But he did not answer him one word, so that the governor was greatly amazed. (Mt. 27:11-14)

Pilate asks, “Are you the king of the Jews?” The last time we heard this phrase was when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?” Then Herod tried unsuccessfully to hill him. Now Pilate will try unsuccessfully not to kill him.

Jesus responds, “You say so.” His answer is affirmative, but he does not take responsibility for everything Pilate has in mind. For Jesus, “king” has religious connotations – “Messiah.” For Pilate it is political.

The chief priests bring accusations against Jesus. Recall that in the previous scene they heard Judas confess that he had betrayed innocent blood – which makes their accusations all the more hypocritical.

Then Jesus is silent. In Matthew, except for his cry to God on the cross, the last words Jesus speaks before he dies are: “You say so.”

Sometimes we think that before we die we’ll straighten out every misunderstanding about us. As though that mattered. What really matters is the truth about ourselves that each of us will see after we die. All will be clear. And that’s all that really matters.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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77 posted on 03/27/2007 8:30:28 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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March 23, 2007

’Jesus’ Barabbas

In some of the early manuscripts of Matthew’s Gospel the name of this criminal is Jesus Barabbas. Most other manuscripts do not have this, which is why, some editors of the New Testament omit it and others put it in brackets.

It is hard to say whether this name was added by a copyist to the early manuscripts, or whether it was originally there and subsequently deleted by a copyist. Scripture scholars are divided on this, but some note that, because giving the name “Jesus” to a notorious sinner seems blasphemous, it would be more likely that a copyist deleted it rather than a copyist added it.

* * * * * *

All four gospels agree that at the time of Jesus’ trial the Romans had in custody a prisoner named Barabbas. Luke says he was imprisoned for rioting and murder.

Barabbas makes a brief appearance during the trial of Jesus, and other than that nothing is known about him.

One gets the impression from the Gospel accounts that he was popular. Perhaps people identified with him as someone who stood against the Romans who occupied their land.

Barabbas serves to illustrate the truth of what is taking place. Jesus is innocent. Barabbas is guilty. What is taking place is the clear choice of evil over good.


78 posted on 03/27/2007 8:33:47 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Friday – Fourth Week of Lent

Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called [Jesus] Barabbas. So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Which one do you want me to release to you, [Jesus} Barabbas or Jesus called Messiah?” For he knew that it was out of envy that they had handed him over. (Mt. 27:15-18)

The name “Barabbas” is an Aramaic word that literally means “son of the father.” Pilate will face him off against Jesus and unwittingly set up the question: Which one is the true “son of the father?”

Jesus responds, “You say so.” His answer is affirmative, but he does not take responsibility for everything Pilate has in mind. For Jesus, “king” has religious connotations – “Messiah.” For Pilate it is political.

Which one do you want? Jesus Barabbas, who is famous here in the big city? Or Jesus the Christ, who is from somewhere up north? The people will choose Barabbas.

This raises a question. I am a Christian, a disciple of the Lord. How seriously have I chosen Jesus? Is it more or less implicit, sort of an understanding, a not-so-thoroughly examined assumption that I was born into? Or is it an explicit, determined, resolute decision that anchors my day-to-day life?

Lent is meant to be decisions time – to make one, if I haven’t, and renew one if I have.

How clear is my choice to follow the Lord? How clear is it to me? How clear is it to Him?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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79 posted on 03/27/2007 8:38:00 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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March 24, 2007

Archbishop Romero

A bishop will die, but the Church of God, which is the people, will never die. ~ Archbishop Romero

On this date 27 years ago, Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, was shot and killed while saying Mass.

Archbishop Romero had incurred the wrath of the military because of his outspokenness about how his people, especially the poor, were being victimized and killed by government death squads.

No one was ever tried or convicted of his murder.


80 posted on 03/27/2007 8:43:13 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Saturday – Fourth Week of Lent

While Pilate was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man. I suffered much in a dream today because of him. (Mt. 27:19)

Now, toward the end of the Gospel, comes another dream. Pilate is seated on the judge’s bench, and is about to render a life or death verdict. His wife sends a message to him reporting a dream about Jesus, and tells him to have nothing to do with this “righteous man.”

This dream fails. Jesus will die a terrible death.

Sooner of later we will die. Just as a child cannot stay in the womb forever, we cannot stay within the universe forever. It’s only one stage of our existence, and a comparatively short one at that.

Natural disasters and terrorist attacks jolt us into a deep and eerie awareness of how fragile this passing stage of human life really is. Yet we believe that human life – not only “spirit-life” but human life—has a God-given destiny beyond death. We also believe that creation has a God-given destiny beyond history.

How can we hold on to such hope when we are surrounded by so much violence and death?

Only by faith – not faith in an abstract God, but faith in Jesus Christ, who said so many times in the gospels, “Do not be afraid,” and whose last words in Matthew’s Gospel were, “I am with you all days, even to the end of the age.”

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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81 posted on 03/27/2007 8:47:11 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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March 25, 2007

The Missing Gospel

A strange thing happened to this story of Jesus and the adulteress on its way to becoming part of John’s Gospel.

For nearly a thousand years, there are no comments on It by Greek writers – because it was missing from the early manuscripts in the East. In the West, it was missing from some early manuscripts, but was included in others.

Because it was taken out of the Gospel (and then reinserted as a later date, (it’s not certain where it belongs in the Gospel.) Some scholars feel that it should be at a different place in John’s account. Others say that it doesn’t even belong in John’s Gospel, but was originally part of Luke’s, and should be placed just before his account of the treachery of Judas. Some of the early manuscripts actually have it there.

Wherever it belongs, this much is clear.” The story is part of the early tradition about Jesus.


82 posted on 03/29/2007 7:18:10 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Sunday – Fifth Week of Lent

There is something in the Church that makes us drift toward severity, away from softness. When dealing one to one with people, individuals in the Church tend to be very compassionate. But when the Church acts as a body, the results tend to be severe.

It is a “corporate severity.” The posture we take as a Church toward the world, toward our own people – the image we present – it seems to tend toward corporate severity rather than softness. It’s like a prevailing wind always moving us in that direction.

This is not unique to the Church, but seems true of any organization. Think about our country’s immigration laws. Which way has the drift been? Away from softness (“Give me your tied, your poor, your huddled masses yeaning to breathe free.") and toward severity. On a smaller scale, think of neighborhood organizations or block clubs. They start out with the intention of joining together in a common effort to build a pleasant and happy community – and then they become stricter and stricter.

John XXIII brought a fresh wind to the Church that moved us in the other direction. Ask anyone what they think of “Good Pope John” and the image clearly comes through. It was a fresh emphasis on mercy and love. But sometimes we’re not sure how to handle this new breeze, and our tendency is to stifle it.

In the closing scene of today’s Gospel passage, everyone had departed and Jesus was left standing alone with the adulterous woman. It is a magnificent scene, described beautifully by St. Augustine with the words: “And two were left . . . . one filled with misery, and the one filled with mercy.”

There is a lot of misery out there, and it desperately needs a merciful Church.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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83 posted on 03/29/2007 7:21:27 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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March 26, 2007

Feast of the Annunciation – The Conception of Jesus

If asked to give the date of the feast of the conception of Jesus, most people would probably say that they didn’t know there was such a feast. (Actually, it’s a Solemnity!) If told that it was on March 25, they might say that this is the feast of Mary’s Annunciation . . . and then realize that what is being announced is the conception of Jesus.

Actually, the official name of the March 25 feast is “The Annunciation of the Lord.” It is primarily a feast of Jesus, but, obviously, Mary is very much part of it. This illustrates the principle that true devotion to Mary always focuses her relationship to the Lord.

There is evidence that the feast was celebrated as far back as the seventh century. Since December 25 had become the date of the celebration of Christ’s birth in most parts of the world, the feast of his conception was placed exactly nine months earlier.

* * * * * * *

Since the feast of the Annunciation can’t replace a Sunday of Lent, this year it is celebrated on Monday, March 26.

84 posted on 03/31/2007 10:19:30 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Monday – Fifth Week of Lent

The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus. The governor said to them in reply, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They answered, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus called Messiah?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” But he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted the loud, “Let him be crucified!” Mt. 27:20-23

We have here another echo of the Infancy Narrative. There the angel told Joseph to take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt because “Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Now the religious leaders persuade the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to destroy Jesus.

Matthew dramatized the choice Jesus and Barabbas both stand before the crowd and Pilate asks a clear and direct question: “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”

As the chosen people were about to enter the promised land, Moses, who was about to die, gave a long farewell address. He ended by placing before the people a stark choice: “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life . . . by loving the Lord your God.”

The people in the crowd in today’s passage face the same choice. Pilate sets Jesus and Barabbas before them and asks: “Which of the two do you want?” They chose Barabbas.

Each day there are situations large and small when this same choice is placed before me: Shall I do what is life – giving or death – dealing? Shall I build up or tear down?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

85 posted on 03/31/2007 10:22:49 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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March 27, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI, Ash Wednesday, 2007

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May Lent be for every Christian a renewed experience of God’s love given to us in Christ, a love that each day we, in turn, must “regive” to our neighbour, especially to the one who suffers most and is in need.

Only in this way will we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter. May Mary, Mother of Beautiful Love, guide us in this Lenten journey, a journey of authentic conversion to the love of Christ. I wish you, dear brothers and sisters, a fruitful Lenten journey, imparting with affection to all of you, a special Apostolic Blessing.

86 posted on 04/08/2007 5:31:27 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Tuesday – Fifth Week of Lent

When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. Look to it yourselves.” And the whole people said in reply, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Then he released Barabbas to the them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified. Mt. 27:24-26

Pilate washes his hands. Once again we have the haunting trail of innocent blood. Pilate is trying to wash away his own responsibility.

Pilate’s words to the crowd – “Look to it yourselves.” – echoes what the chief priests and elders said to Judas, “Look to it yourself.” It’s the old story of trying to avoid personal responsibility for something we know down deep isn’t right.

Trying to rationalize guilt away is useless. We go nowhere, and this guilt still haunts us.

Some of the wrong things we do are not entirely our own fault. But they are partly our fault. There’s no point in identifying the guilt of others if we do not flat out acknowledge our own.

Remember the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector? The tax collector “stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast and prayed: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’”

There’s not a one of us who can’t say that sentence with utter honesty. So say it. Then, sit in silence, and listen to the Lord’s response.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

87 posted on 04/08/2007 5:35:56 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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March 28, 2007

Jesus as King

Jesus came to establish the reign of God, but he was not a king in the way people popularly expected:

• As part of their coronation, kings were anointed with precious oil. Just before Jesus was greeted in Jerusalem with the palm branches, he was anointed by Mary, Martha’s sister, at a banquet. When Judas objected that it was a waste of expensive oil, Jesus said that it was an anointing in preparation for his imminent burial.

• Instead of entering Jerusalem among much regalia and trumpet blowing, Jesus entered riding a lowly ass.

• The only crown Jesus would have on his head would be a crown of thorns.

• Instead of being seated on a throne, Jesus was nailed to a cross.

• Instead of a royal robe, Jesus would be cloaked in mockeries.

• Instead of a crowd shouting “Long live the king!” Jesus would hear the crowd shout, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

88 posted on 04/08/2007 9:59:42 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Wednesday – Fifth Week of Lent

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gather the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they place it on his head and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews” They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head.

And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him. . Mt. 27:27-31

Between Pilate’s death sentence and the soldiers’ mockery, something else happened that only gets passing reference in all four Gospels. The scouring. The evangelist all mention the scourging, but not a one of them describes it. Too awful for words.

A scourging was much different from a whipping, which was a disciplinary punishment. Scourging was a barbaric first step in executing a criminal. It was done with a metal barbed whip, designed to rip the victim’s flesh and bones, and inflict wounds from which they would never recover.

It was after the scourging that the whole cohort (i.e.600 soldiers) gathered round Jesus and made fun of him. No need to tie him up. There wasn’t a thing he could do. He was helpless. And they taunted him, spat on him, hit him.

Our meditation on the Passion of Jesus isn’t meant to be repulsive. Just realistic.

He loved us that much. He loves me that much. He’d do anything for me.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

89 posted on 04/08/2007 10:01:10 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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March 29, 2007

The Knights of Columbus

At a time of much anti-Catholic sentiment in the United States they were a small group of men who wanted to defend their family, country and faith.

On October 2, 1881, a 29 year old priest named Michael McGivney brought them together in the basement of St. Mary Parish in New Haven, Connecticut.

The group became the Knights of Columbus, named in honor of Christopher Columbus who brought the Catholic faith to the New World and who was a national hero at that time.

Among its charitable endeavors was a life insurance program for widows and orphans of deceased members.

* * * * * *

On this day in 1882, the Knights of Columbus were chartered as a Catholic organization for men.

90 posted on 04/09/2007 8:30:02 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Thursday – Fifth Week of Lent

As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they pressed into service to carry the cross.

And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of the Skill,) they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall. But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink. Mt. 27:32-34

If we had only the Gospels, we would know very little about crucifixion. The Gospel writers don’t talk about it. For example, Matthew describes the tortuous walk to Calvary in just one sentence.

Other sources, however, give us descriptions. From these we conclude that the soldiers led Jesus on a sig-zagged route through the city streets to make an example of him. They also used the whip along the way.

Carrying the cross was not part of Simon of Cyrene’s plans that day. He was just a passer-by, on his way to something else. He was forced to carry the cross of Jesus, who was apparently too week from the scourging to carry it himself.

We’ve all had to do that more than once. Carry a cross we weren’t planning to carry.

Looking bach on this, say five years later, how did Simon feel about carrying the cross? What would he say about it? Put yourself in Simon’s shoes. Maybe this will help me with my crosses.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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91 posted on 04/09/2007 8:36:02 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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March 30, 2007

The Stigmata

“Stigmata” refers to the wounds of the Passion of Christ which are reproduced on a person’s body.

“Stigma” is a Greek word meaning “mark” – particularly the mark of a branding iron on an animal or slave. The plural is “stigmata.”

In early Christianity, devotions surrounding the Passion of Christ emphasized his triumph over evil. In medieval times, devotions began to focus more and more on his sufferings. And it was in medieval times that cases of the stigmata began to appear with some regularity.

The stigmata appear in various forms. Sometimes they are blood blisters, other times some form of wound. There are even “invisible stigmata’ – intense pains localized in the places where Jesus suffered wounds. Sometimes these gradually develop into visible stigmata.

The location of the wounds on the body varies too. – hands. Feet. Head, side, shoulder or back.

Are stigmata miraculous, or are they the result of purely natural cause – induced by intense concentration on the Passion? The Church has been cautious in attributing stigmata to supernatural cause, and never passes judgment on their authenticity.

* * * * * *

The first saint known to have the stigmata was St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). Other saints who are said to have had the stigmata are Gemma Galgani, Catherine of Siena, John of the God and St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio).

We’re a week away from Good Friday.

92 posted on 04/09/2007 9:04:24 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Friday – Fifth Week of Lent

After the soldiers had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. Mt. 27:35-36

Crucifixion was the most shameful and painful forms of execution. None of the Gospel writers describe it. Matthew, for example, looks the other way and then says, “After they had crucified him.”

That’s it. Five words. Nothing about throwing him on the ground, stretching his arms on the cross-beam and holding his down as they drove in the nails. Nothing about hoisting the cross-beam, to the stake already fixed in the ground, his body writhing as they did it. Nothing about wrestling his feet in place and then nailing them to the bottom of the stake. Nothing about the screams of pain.

It is too awful to tell, which is why not one of the four evangelists tells it.

In a way, we’ve gotten used to the crucifixion. Gotten over it. It ‘s been nearly 2000 years. It’s like a terrible famine in some far off place in the world. We get used to seeing the pictures of children with distended stomachs, and before long it loses its impact.

That is why we have Lent. To “keep watch” over this nearly incomprehensible act of love.

What did the soldiers think about as they “sat down and kept watch over him there”? Today’s quiet time with the Lord could be spent sitting next to them and keeping watch for a few minutes.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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93 posted on 04/09/2007 9:07:06 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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March 31, 2007

Knute Rockne

Born March 4, 1888, in Norway, Knute Rockne came to the United States at age five.

In high school he ran track and played football for a brief time, but didn’t graduate. After working for several years, he decided at age 22 to take the entrance exam for the University of Notre Dame and was accepted.

In 1819, he entered Notre Dame and by his sophomore year was a starter for the football team.

Upon his graduation in 1914, Rockne had considered going to medical school until Notre Dame offered him a job as graduate assistant in chemistry. Rockne accepted, but only on the condition that he could help coach the football team. He became head coach in 1918.

As coach, Rockne led the Fighting Irish to six national championships. His lifetime winning percentage was .881.

The 43 year old Rockne died in a plane crash on this day in 1933. He was en route to Los Angeles to help with the production of the movie, “The Spirit of Notre Dame.”

* * * * *

On this day in 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinkley. Reagan had played George Gipp, “the Gipper” in the 1940 movie, “Knute Rockne” was actually at Gipps’s bedside to hear the famous, “Win one for the Gipper.”

94 posted on 04/10/2007 8:22:10 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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Saturday – Fifth Week of Lent

And they placed over his head the written charge against him: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.

Two criminals were crucified with him, one on his right and the other on his left. Mt. 27:37-38

All four Gospels agree that the official charge posted against Jesus was this supposed claim to be “King of the Jews” – which made him a potential threat.

There are many ironies here. First, “king” is a title Jesus refused, probably because it was so open to misunderstanding.

Second, from a Christian perspective, the charge is correct. We honor “Christ the King,” though he is not the kind of king Pilate had in mind.

Third, they are executing Jesus to put an end to his supposed kingship . . . . . and Jesus becomes a king precisely through his death.

Now, that’s my kind of king!

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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95 posted on 04/10/2007 8:24:14 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: All
April 1, 2007

The Sailor’s Reward

In 38 A.D., Emperor Caligula brought to Rome a red granite obelisk from Egypt, which was place in a piazza inside what is now Vatican City.

When St. Peter’s Basilica was built, the 85 foot obelisk was moved about 825 feet to its present location in St. Peter’s Square in 1586. IUt took nearly 900 men and more than 50 horses to make the move.

To ensure everyone’s concentration during this dangerous endeavor, Pope Sixtus V ordered complete silence, under penalty of death. But a sailor, observing the operation, suddenly noticed the cables heating up under the enormous strain. : Water on the ropes,” he called in warning, and the workers quickly dampened down the cables.

By daring to break the pope’s orders, the sailor saved the obelisk. The grateful Sixtus gave him his choice of rewards. The sailor asked that from then on the palm leaves used in the basilica on Palm Sunday be supplied from his hometown of Bordighera (some say specifically from his family farm as long as his family owned it.)

The holiest week of the year begins today. But the world doesn’t stop. Everything goes on – the regular TV programs, the regular work schedule. So, if I want this to be a “Holy Week” what do I do? I decide.

96 posted on 04/12/2007 7:13:55 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: Salvation
Palm Sunday

Arriving in Jerusalem

In today’s Gospel passage from John, Jesus arrives is Jerusalem just after he had raised Lazarus from the dead in Bethany, about two miles away.

Word soon spread. At long last, here was someone with the kind of power the people needed to lead their country to its glory days once again – a king who could re-establish the kingdom of Israel.

But the people misunderstood the Lazarus miracle. It was a sign of Jesus’ power over death. Jesus didn’t come to keep bringing people back to life on this side of death. Jesus came to take us through death to the other side to a glorious, transformed human life.

And notice; as the people began saluting Jesus as king, he deliberately finds a donkey and sits upon it. Jesus makes it clear that he will be a different kind of king.

Shortly after his entry into Jerusalem, the crowning work of Jesus would take place: The Last Supper, the Washing of Feet, the arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, the condemnation, Crucifixion, Death . . . . . and His Glorious Resurrection and Ascension.

I enter Holy Week, saying that I will follow this king. I know what kind of a king he is – a king who will lead me if necessary through suffering, and one day certainly through death. I know that following this king is the path to life.

When I hold my palm branches, I say that I’m willing to follow this king. I’m willing to be loving, forgiving . . . . . to respond to evil with goodness. I’m willing to take the cross as my logo because Jesus showed us in his living, dying, and rising, that he is the way, the truth and the life.

We don’t casually pick up these palms. We don’t lightly place them in our hands. We do so knowing to what we are committing ourselves.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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97 posted on 04/12/2007 7:19:33 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: All
April 2, 2007

”If growing old, with its inevitable conditions is accepted serenely in the light of faith, it can become an invaluable opportunity for better comprehending the Mystery of the Cross, which gives full sense to human existence.”

~Message of John Paul II for Lent 2005
He died on this date in 2005.

* * * * *

Good Friday is four days away.

98 posted on 04/12/2007 7:20:36 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: All
Monday of Holy Week

Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, and come down from the cross!

Likewise the chief priest with the scribes and elders mocked him and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

The criminals who were crucified with him also kept abusing him in the same way. Mt. 27:39-44

The taunts of the passers-by. (If you are the Son of God . . .come down from the cross”) echo the words of the devil tempting Jesus in the desert (“if you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”)

Demanding that God meet our criteria of what God should be like takes us nowhere. For example, “If you are a good God, how come innocent people suffer so much?”

The problem of evil will never be solved this side of death. Humans have tried since the beginning of time and we’re no closer to a solution than when we started. Jesus did it right. He trusted in God in spite of evil.

So, we do the only thing that makes sense. We look at the cross. Then we do what Jesus did on the cross. We place ourselves entirely in God’s hands.

Now, that’s my kind of king!

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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99 posted on 04/12/2007 7:23:18 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: All
April 3, 2007

Passover

One of the most popular songs of Seder during the Jewish Passover is Dayenu: “That would have been enough.”

Its 15 stanzas list 15 samples of God’s goodness in leading the Chosen People out of slavery in Egypt, in the miracles which allowed them to reach the Promised Land, and the five moments in which God continues to shower goodness on the Jewish people today.

In each case, each stanza is followed by the chorus of Dayenu, reminding all that if God had stopped at that one goodness alone, “that would have been enough.”

Passover begins today

100 posted on 04/13/2007 10:41:48 PM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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