Saturday, April 11, 2009

Gospel for Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of the Lord

From: John 20:1-9

The Empty Tomb

[1] Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. [2] So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." [3 ]Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. [4] They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; [5] and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. [6] Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, [7] and the napkin, which had been on His head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. [8] Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; [9] for as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead.

1-2. All four Gospels report the first testimonies of the holy women and the disciples regarding Christ's glorious resurrection, beginning with the fact of the empty tomb (cf. Matthew 28:1-15; Mark 16:1ff; Luke 24:1-12) and then telling of the various appearances of the risen Jesus.

Mary Magdalene was one of the women who provided for our Lord during His journeys (Luke 8:1-3); along with the Virgin Mary she bravely stayed with Him right up to His final moments (John 19:25), and she saw where His body was laid (Luke 23:55). Now, after the obligatory Sabbath rest, she goes to visit the tomb. The Gospel points out that she went "early, when it was still dark": her love and veneration led her to go without delay, to be with our Lord's body.

4. The Fourth Gospel makes it clear that, although the women, and specifically Mary Magdalene, were the first to reach the tomb, the Apostles were the first to enter it and see the evidence that Christ had risen (the empty tomb, the linen clothes "lying" and the napkin in a place by itself). Bearing witness to this will be an essential factor in the mission which Christ will entrust to them: "You shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem...and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8; cf. Acts 2:32).

John, who reached the tomb first (perhaps because he was the younger), did not go in, out of deference to Peter. This is an indication that Peter was already regarded as leader of the Apostles.

5-7. The words the Evangelist uses to describe what Peter and he saw in the empty tomb convey with vivid realism the impression it made on them, etching on their memory details which at first sight seem irrelevant. The whole scene inside the tomb in some way caused them to intuit that the Lord had risen. Some of the words contained in the account need further explanation, so terse is the translation.

"The linen clothes lying there": the Greek participle translated as "lying there" seems to indicate that the clothes were flattened, deflated, as if they were emptied when the body of Jesus rose and disappeared--as if it had come out of the clothes and bandages without their being unrolled, passing right through them (just as later He entered the Cenacle when the doors were shut). This would explain the clothes being "fallen", "flat" "lying", which is how the Greek literally translates, after Jesus' body--which had filled them--left them. One can readily understand how this would amaze a witness, how unforgettable the scene would be.

"The napkin...rolled up in a place by itself": the first point to note is that the napkin, which had been wrapped round the head, was not on top of the clothes, but placed on one side. The second, even more surprising thing is that, like the clothes, it was still rolled up but, unlike the clothes, it still had a certain volume, like a container, possibly due to the stiffness given it by the ointments: this is what the Greek participle, here translated as "rolled", seems to indicate.

From these details concerning the empty tomb one deduces that Jesus' body must have risen in a heavenly manner, that is, in a way which transcended the laws of nature. It was not only a matter of the body being reanimated as happened, for example, in the case of Lazarus, who had to be unbound before he could walk (cf. John 11:44).

8-10. As Mary Magdalene had told them, the Lord was not in the tomb; but the two Apostles realized that there was no question of any robbery, which was what she thought had happened, because they saw the special way the clothes and napkin were; they know began to understand what the Master had so often told them about His death and resurrection (cf. Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22; etc....)

The empty tomb and the other facts were perceptible to the senses; but the resurrection, even though it had effects that could be tested by experience, requires faith if it is to be accepted. Christ's resurrection is a real, historic fact: His body and soul were re-united. But since His was a glorious resurrection unlike Lazarus', far beyond our capacity in this life to understand what happened, and outside the scope of sense experience, a special gift of God is required--the gift of faith--to know and accept as a certainty this fact which, while it is historical, is also supernatural. Therefore, St. Thomas Aquinas can say that "the individual arguments taken alone are not sufficient proof of Christ's resurrection, but taken together, in a cumulative way, they manifest it perfectly. Particularly important in this regard are the spiritual proofs (cf. specially Luke 24:25-27), the angelic testimony (cf. Luke 24:4-7) and Christ's own post-resurrection word confirmed by miracles (cf. John 3:13; Matthew 16:21; 17:22; 20:18)" (St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa Theologiae", III, q. 55, a. 6 ad 1).

In addition to Christ's predictions about His passion, death and resurrection (cf. John 2:19; Matthew 16:21; Mark 9:31; Luke 9:22), the Old Testament also foretells the glorious victory of the Messiah and, in some way, His resurrection (cf. Psalm 16:9; Isaiah 52:13; Hosea 6:2). The Apostles begin to grasp the true meaning of Sacred Scripture after the resurrection, particularly once they receive the Holy Spirit, who fully enlightens their minds to understand the content of the Word of God. It is easy to imagine the surprise and elation they all feel when Peter and John tell them what they have seen in the tomb.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Principles and Practices - April 12

Meditate on Both

Go into Hell and Purgatory while you live, and you will be sure not to go there after your death, for it is not reasonable that you should have two Hells or two Purgatories.

-St. Bernard.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for April 12

LET us therefore say every day, and say it in sincerity of heart, and do what we say: Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-April 12

To be humble of heart, and not merely in word, it is not sufficient to say that we are deserving of all contempt, but we must be glad when we are despised. What has a Christian learnt to do, if he cannot suffer an affront for God's sake? When you are insulted, take it cheerfully.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

Friday, April 10, 2009

Principles and Practices - April 11

The Strength of the Afflicted

It is better when burdened to be with the strong, than unburdened with the weak. When you are loaded with afflictions you are with God, who is your strength, and His is with the affiicted. When you are unburdened you are by yourself, who are weakness itself, for the virtue and fortitude of the soul grow in tribulations.

-Fiona McKay.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for April 11

WHAT matter is it whether lead or sand overwhelm us? The lead is all one mass, the sand is small grains, but by their great number they overwhelm thee. So thy sins are small. Seest thou not how the rivers are filled and the lands are wasted by small drops? They are small but they are many.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-April 11

To the man who prays, and thus makes good use of the sufficient grace which enables him to do such an easy thing as prayer is, God does not refuse the efficacious grace to enable him to execute difficult things.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927.

Good Friday-Lessons from Christ's Death

"And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit." St. John, 19:30.

The Cross of the Legion of Honor, one of the highest decorations of the French government, was given, after death, to a French nun by the name of Mother Mary Elizabeth of the Eucharist, wno was Superior of the Convent of Our Lady of Mercy at Lyon.

She had been deported into Germany, to the concentration camp at Ravensbruck, when the German Gestapo, during the occupation of France, discovered in the basement of her convent, guns belonging to the under­ground. During the dreadful days in the concentration camp her encour­agement, her cheerfulness, and her fearless example kept many another prisoner from despair and even suicide.

The day came when the camp officials selected a group of women to be put to death in the gas chamber of the prison. Among those to whom this cruel lot fell was the mother of several children. It was then our heroine, Mother Elizabeth, stepped forward and volunteered to take the place of the anguished mother. Her offer was accepted, and on Good Friday of 1945, at the, age of 56, the heroic French nun marched calmly to death in the chamber. For this deed of heroism and charity her government later decorated her with highest honors.

That Good Friday of 1945 reminds us of the Good Friday of the year 33. It was then that the greatest Hero of all history, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, went willingly to death for every single one of us. On this Good Friday we recall His death. We gather in grief to give Him the honor of our gratitude and love. We gather to gaze with loving thought upon His tortured body, writhing on the cross. We watch with Him as He breathes His last. We adore Him as He hangs there. We thank Him. We beg His pardon for our sins which nailed Him there. And then we beg our Lord to teach us the lessons of His death.

Surely, that French mother for whom the heroic nun gave her own life, never forgot the love of the one who died for her. Neither must we ever forget the love of Him who died for us. No doubt, too, on every Good Friday, the anniversary of the day when that Sister gave her life that another might live, the one who was saved would think of that sacrifice. So, too, on this anniversary of the day when Christ died for me, I will think of Him with loving gratitude. As I look at my Lord bowing His head and giving up His spirit, four thoughts come to mind:

He died; I will not fear death. He died for me; I will die for Him. He died in pain; I will accept pain. He died for my sins; I will never sin again.

1. The death of Christ takes away most of the fear of death. Why should I fear death, since­ -
"He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross?" Philippians, 2:8.

A. Originally death was not the destiny of man. It came as a punish­ment of the first sin.

"By the envy of the devil, death came into the world." Wisdom, 2:24.

Even our Lord, as Man, experienced a horror and fear of death. Little wonder that mere men would fear the end of this life.

B. But that dread of death Jesus took away by dying Himself. He came into the world not only to redeem us, not only to die for us, but to show us by His death how we are to die, to take the sting out of death, to give us courage in the face of it.

C. It is normal and natural for man to fear death, but it is not normal to let that fear run to excess, especially for us who stand here beneath the cross today and watch our Lord passing away.

You may have heard the ancient legend of the three trees that stood in a dense forest. They often wondered what would become of them when the woodsman cut them down. One day they decided to pray for what they wished to be when they were turned into lumber.

The first tree asked to become part of a beautiful palace, where kings and queens might dwell, where the great would come to gaze with amazement.

The second tree asked to become part of a great ship that would sail the seven seas, and travel around the world.

The third tree preferred to stay in the forest where he might grow into the tallest of all, and forever point like a finger to God.

Sometime later came a woodsman with saw and axe, and down went the first tree. But instead of being made into a beautiful pal­ace, it was made part of a common stable. Yet, in that stable a Virgin Mother and her just husband took shelter on a certain night when a beautiful Baby was born. Ever since, kings and peasants, the great and the small, have honored that simple stable, and have echoed the song of the angels that night:
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will."

After thirty more years the second tree was chopped down, and its lumber was made, not into a mighty ship, but into a small boat that was launched on the Sea of Galilee. From that boat a tall, mag­nificent Man spoke to the multitudes on the snore, spoke a message that has sailed the seven seas, and reached all the shores of the world.

A few years later the third tree was felled. Its lumber was hewn into a cross, on which the Baby of our stable, who was later the Man in the boat, was devilishly nailed to die the most cruel death that beastly men could devise. The wood of that tree stands not in one woods, it stands on all the hills of the world - pointing upward, pointing to God and God's heaven.

In this way the prayers of all three trees were answered in a more glorious way than they had ever dreamed. Before that third tree we stand today - the tree of the cross, as it points to heaven, as it takes away the sting of death, and assures us of a happier home above.

2. Jesus not only died, He died for us. Who, then, will refuse to die for Him?

A. Millions - the martyrs - died for Christ because He had died for them. We may not be called upon to give our lives as the mar­tyrs did.

B. Nevertheless, if we are called upon to die the slow death of duty, we will gladly yield up our spirit for Him. Sometimes it would seem better to suffer the momentary agony of martyrdom, rather than the daily death of humdrum, drab, and wearisome duty. Die to self every day, as He died for you.

C. In any case we shall all have to die some time. Why not do so will­ingly, courageously? One of the best sacrifices, and at the same time one of the best prayers we can offer the Almighty is to accept death wherever, whenever, and however God decides. You might offer such a prayer to Christ on the cross, especially on Good Friday.

D. You might even ask for the spirit of the saints, those special heroes and heroines of God, who found the source of their spirit of sacri­fice at the foot of the cross. One often wonders how they did it - how they denied themselves even many of the lawful pleasures of life, how they labored day and night for the glory of God, how they eagerly and joyfully accepted suffering and humiliation, oppo­sition and defeat, and the darkness and discouragement that come frequently to those who serve the Lord. All this they learned at the foot of the cross. They reasoned: Christ died for me; I will die for Him.

3. Jesus not only died, and died for us; He died in extremest pain. Look closely at that cross today. Look at it as Jesus takes up the cruel wood to carry it to Calvary. Look at Him bend and fall beneath its weight. Watch Him as He greets His grief-stricken Mother. Reach out with your hands to Help Him as did Simon of Cyrene. With Veronica hurry to wipe away the blood and spittle from His sacred face, so that His countenance may be painted not merely upon a napkin, but upon your very heart. See Him fall again and again. Join the weeping women as they sympathize with His sufferings. Look, the soldiers tear His clothes from His sacred Body, fling Him upon the hard wood, and then, horror of horrors, drive nails through His hands and feet. Up, up they raise the cross and drop it roughly into the hole prepared for it.

There He hangs, His Body one mass of wounds from head to foot. What a cruel crown He wears, with its long sharp thorns piercing His temples. The weight of His Body drags down upon His riven hands and feet. The wounds grow wider and wider. Every nerve and muscle and bone is tor­tured beyond human endurance. How true the words of the prophet:

"Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted." Isaias, 53:4.

Added to His other tortures is a consuming, burning thirst. This is made greater by His cruel tormentors, who give Him vinegar and gall to drink. Blood and tears almost blind His eyes. But through that blood He beholds His Mother and He tells us to behold her. Broken-hearted she stands there with a few faithful followers. Yes, He is even abandoned by His friends. Instead, a crowd of enemies call out revilings and blasphemies, wounding His heart even more cruelly than His Body. And all this lasted for three long hours, three dark and bitter hours, three red and cruel hours, until the heart that was filled with love for men, burst with that love. Then, bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

A. Of all who have suffered, none have suffered more than Jesus - in mind and in body. We have read the stories of the martyrs - how they were thrown to lions, how their bodies were soaked in oil and were burned to light up the Roman nights, how they were tied to the tails of wild horses, to the wheels of chariots, how they were burned and maimed and stabbed and crushed and pierced with pointed sticks, how they were even nailed, like their Master, to cruel crosses. Yet, all their sufferings were small compared to His. And those witnesses willingly bore those tortures for the sake of Him who had suffered for them.

B. Since the fall of Adam and Eve it is the lot of all men to suffer. No one escapes. Read your daily paper with thought, and you find peo­ple of all classes and races, of all professions and trades, of all social levels and of all walks of life - all of them suffering either in mind or body or in both, at some time or other. Visit the rooms of our hospitals, and you will find all ages and all colors and creeds, even Christian Scientists, who maintain that there is no such thing as pain.

C. But the greatest variety you will find in the way people suffer. Many complain. Others groan and sigh. Still others deny that there is an All-good God. Some will demand every possible kind of pain-killer, while others, like the promoters of euthanasia - so-called mercy-killing, will bring on death to end the sufferings of a patient in pain.

How far they have wandered from the cross of Calvary. How ignorant they are of the lessons our Lord taught on Good Friday. How miserable must suffering be for those who have not studied in the school of the Savior. How blind they are to the meaning and value of pain.

The story is told of a father whose eight-year old son was run down by a hit-and-run driver. The little body was mangled and maimed into a mass of flesh and blood. The child died in torture and pain. Grief-stricken, the father rushed from the death-room of the hospital to the rectory of his pastor. There he shouted in bitter defiance:

"You and your God! How could He let my little boy die like that, if He is so merciful? Where was this merciful God of yours when my son was run over?"
Gently and sympathetically the pastor answered:
"He was right where He was when His own Son was killed."

Indeed, only in the light of the death of Christ can we under­stand all other death. Only in the light of Christ's sufferings can we understand all other suffering. Only beneath the cross, can we comprehend the crosses that come to all of us. Only in the spirit of our Savior can we bear those crosses.

D. Suffering can even become a blessing. Every priest who has the privilege of dealing with souls can tell of people who first began to think of their salvation, who first became serious about the saving of their souls, when some affliction struck them. Lying on their backs in a hospital, with their eyes toward heaven, many a soul has for the first time thought seriously about his salvation. Death and sickness and set-backs of all kinds have opened the eyes of many to the real meaning of life, the real purpose of their existence. Death has even reconciled those who had lost their love.

Years ago in one of the cities of the west a husband and wife became estranged and finally separated. The divorce decree gave cus­tody of their only child to the mother. The husband left to live in a distant city. Not long afterwards their little son died. It was only after the funeral that the father heard of it. He took time from his business to make a trip back home. As soon as he arrived he hur­ried out to the cemetery, to the grave of their little boy. With tears streaming down his cheeks, he stood by the little mound of earth. Suddenly he heard a step behind him. He turned. There was his estranged wife. At first they both were tempted to turn away, but the chain of their love was in that grave. Instead of turning away, they clasped hands and embraced over the grave of their son. They were reconciled, never to separate again.

Nothing less than death could have reconciled those two. It was a bitter remedy for their selfishness and lack of understanding, but it worked. So, nothing less than the death of Christ could reconcile us poor, sinful human beings to our heavenly Father. Only in the light of Christ's sufferings and death can we understand the suffer­ing and death in the world. It has a purpose, a purpose that is often hidden from our eyes, yet a purpose that is dear to the heart of our heavenly Father.

E. Without suffering it is impossible to be a disciple and follower of Christ. Either we accept the pain that comes to us, or we do some penance of our own choosing, or we perform the official penances­ - like fasting and abstinence - of Mother Church. Christ Himself has told us:

"If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For he who would save his life will lose it; but he who loses his life for my sake will save it." St. Luke, 9:23-24.

What a great difference there often is between our promises of penance and our performance. What a difference between our pro­fession of love for Christ, and the carrying out of our love in action.

Unwillingness to sacrifice for one we profess to love, proves the love is shallow and weak. How flabby and feeble the love so-called of one who refuses to sacrifice, to suffer for the God-man who died on a cross with nails through His hands, spikes through His feet, a spear through His heart, bitter gall on His lips, and a crown of thorns on His head.

4. Christ not only died in pain for us; He died for our sins. Sin is an offense against an all-good God. Sin is an infinite, unlimited insult. Man, on the contrary, is a finite, limited being. He cannot make amends of him­self for the infinite insult he has offered God by disobeying the Almighty. If we were to put all the penances and sufferings of the saints, all their prayers and fastings and watching, all their tortures and trials and virtues, on the one hand of a scale, they could not outweigh the crime of one sin­gle mortal sin. But, put into that scale the sufferings and death of Christ, and reparation is made to God, because Christ was the God-man, the true Son of the true God.

Look at that tortured Body of Christ and learn the malice of sin. Look at our Lord hanging there and learn how terrible it is to disobey the com­mandments of the Almighty. Look at Him long and lovingly, look at Him thoughtfully, look at Him with sorrow and repentance for all your sins and all the sins of the world. Sin nailed Him to that cross. By avoiding sin we can take Him down. May that be one of our deepest resolves on this Good Friday afternoon.

As we watch our Lord bow His head and breathe His last sigh, we will realize that His death takes away the sting of our death, that He died for us, and we will die for Him; that He died in pain so that we might accept pain for His sake; that He died for our sins that we might resolve to sin no more. Lord, Jesus crucified - have mercy on us. Amen.
Adapted from Lent and the Capital Sins
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1952)

News Updates, 4/10

Former Vatican Ambassador: Notre Dame Scandal Will "Wake Catholics Up"
Acton Institute founder returns ND gift statue in protest

Embassy Row: 3 Strikes at Vatican
Vatican rejecting Obama ambassador picks...

“None of the potential diplomats were considered fit”Newspaper says Vatican has spurned at least three ambassadors to Holy See proposed by President Obama

Official text of Pope Benedict XVI's Homily for the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass

“Most proficient killing machine in the United States”
Planned Parenthood committing more abortions than ever, brings in over $1 billion a year – a third from government funding

Bishops Bruskewitz, Aquila Issues Stinging Condemnations to "Formerly Catholic" Notre Dame
Two more bishops have written and made public strongly-worded letters to University president Fr. John Jenkins, bringing the number of U.S. bishops to 31 protesting the school's invitation to President Obama to speak at commencement and receive an honorary law degree May 17.

Pennsylvania Pie Fight: State Cracks Down on Baked Goods
On the first Friday of Lent, an elderly female parishioner of St. Cecilia Catholic Church began unwrapping pies at the church. That's when the trouble started. A state inspector, there for an annual checkup on the church's kitchen, spied the desserts. After it was determined that the pies were home-baked, the inspector decreed they couldn't be sold.
[Nanny state punks - Pie Nazis - How about giving slices of the pie away and accepting "donations"? Maybe Father should bless them first?]

Other News

Obamas fly St Louis chef 860 miles to DC - to make pizza!
When you're the pres__ent [No ID] of the United States, only the best pizza will do - even if that means flying a chef 860 miles. Chris Sommers, 33, jetted into Washington from St Louis, Missouri, on Thursday with a suitcase of dough, cheese and pans to to prepare food for the Obamas and their staff.
[The fraud is out of control]

Two Trillion Tons

B Hussein Obama:President Pantywaist - new surrender monkey on the block
Pres__ent [ID missing] Obama has recently completed the most successful foreign policy tour since Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. You name it, he blew it. What was his big deal economic programme that he was determined to drive through the G20 summit? Another massive stimulus package, globally funded and co-ordinated. Did he achieve it? Not so as you'd notice....

Boeing warns on first-qtr profit, to cut plane output

Chevron warns of 'sharply lower' earnings

Regulators tell Guaranty to improve its finances

Fed Said to Order Banks to Stay Mum on ‘Stress Test’ Results

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Principles and Practices - April 10

Holy Communion

There is an instinct in us all, no matter how unaccustomed we may be to pray, which seems to tell us that if ever our prayer should be real and from the depth of the soul, it should be at the moment of Holy Communion. If the Blessed Sacrament is that which, on the authority of Our Lord's own words, we believe it to be, His own true Body and His own true Blood, then there must be no imitation, there must be no mere playing at devotion, there must be a strong soul's genuine expression of itself, whenever we receive It into ourselves.

-Archbishop Goodier.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for April 10

WHEN thou sayest, Give us this day our daily bread, thou dost profess thyself to be God's beggar. Be not ashamed at this; how rich soever any may be on earth, he is still God's beggar.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-April 10

WHEN the eye is dimmed with passion, it no longer distinguishes between what is and what is not unjust. Anger is like a veil drawn over the eyes, so that we no longer discern between right and wrong.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

Dr Edward Peters: Fr. Jenkins discovers canon law. Not.

Dr Peters writes:
Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins continues to flail about for an adequate response (though short of resigning, there isn't an adequate response) to his monumental gaff of bestowing an honorary doctor of laws degree on a president who has spent his entire political career seeing to it that millions of human beings are excluded from the protection of law. Jenkin's latest lunge is for the life ring stamped "canon lawyers we consulted". Figures.
Read more about it here.

News Updates, 4/9

Priest a wartime legend (Most decorated chaplain in Canadian army history dies at 106)
He was a soldier to the end. His threadbare army tunic hung on the wall, and his room was filled with religious icons, rosaries and holy pictures. And when you spoke to him, his words were about the men he knew on the battlefields of France when he rigged up a makeshift altar on the hood of his jeep and said mass for them...

Blair tells Pope: You're wrong on homosexuality
Former British PM challenges 'entrenched' attitudes

Parishioners protest plan to close churches
Group braves snow to gather on church steps for vigil

Hundreds of babies saved in pro-life campaign
40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion

Group wants ND removed from Catholic directory cut it off from Catholic foundation funding

Catholic leaders don't want priest list released
Judge to decide about making abuser names public

Presidential paternity suit roils Paraguay
Alleges a son was born to the former Catholic bishop

Gunman opens fire at Korean Catholic retreat center
One woman was killed and three others were injured

'Holy war' called for by followers of 'St. Death'
Mexico City archdiocese warns of threat's terrorist nature

Vatican says Pope plans to visit quake site the Abruzzo region east of Rome soon

Other News

AIG Shareholders Class Action Amended to Include Geithner, Paulson and Cox as Defendants
New Complaint Charges Cover-up by Government Officials...The inspiration for this amendment was information disclosed by University of Missouri professor, William K. Black, on the Bill Moyers’ PBS television show last Friday, where he implicated these government officials in a massive cover up of the banking scandal, mostly for the benefit of Goldman Sachs...

Fed admits no return to growth in 2009
The Federal Reserve no longer sees signs of recovery this year from a prolonged recession and only weak growth in 2010, minutes of a policy-setting meeting said.

Banks Pass Stress Test - But Still Need Taxpayer Donations!
Regulators say all 19 banks undergoing the exams will pass them....But the tests, which are expected to be completed by the end of this month, are being conducted out of public view...
[Outcome based stress tests---It worked so well for education...Liars and thieves...A government that's capable of this is capable of anything! ]

Pelosi: 'We Want Registration'; Holder: 2A Won't 'Stand In The Way'; SAF: 'Gloves Are Off'
Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on April 7 acknowledged that gun registration is on her agenda, days after Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters in Mexico that the Second Amendment would not "stand in the way" of administration plans to crack down on alleged gun trafficking to Mexico.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Gospel for Holy Thursday (Evening Mass of the Last Supper)

From: John 13:1-15

Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet

[1] Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. [2] And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, [3] Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, [4] rose from supper, laid aside His garments, and girded Himself with a towel. [5] Then He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. [6] He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to Him, "Lord, do You wash my feet?" [7] Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand." [8] Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part in Me." [9] Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" [10] Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not all of you." [11] For He knew who was to betray Him; that was why He said, "You are not all clean."

[12] When He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and resumed His place, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done for you? [13] You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. [14] If then your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. [15] For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done for you."

1. Jewish families sacrificed a lamb on the eve of the Passover, in keeping with God's command at the time of the exodus from Egypt when God liberated them from the slavery of Pharaoh (Exodus 12:3-14; Deuteronomy 16:1-8). This liberation prefigured that which Jesus Christ would bring about--the redemption of men from the slavery of sin by means of His sacrifice on the cross (cf. 1:29). This is why the celebration of the Jewish Passover was the ideal framework for the institution of the new Christian Passover.

Jesus knew everything that was going to happen; He knew His death and resurrection were imminent (cf. 18:4); this is why His words acquire a special tone of intimacy and love towards those whom He is leaving behind in the world. Surrounded by those whom He has chosen and who have believed in Him, He gives them His final teachings and institutes the Eucharist, the source and center of the life of the Church. "He Himself wished to give that encounter such a fullness of meaning, such a richness of memories, such a moving image of words and thoughts, such a newness of acts and precepts, that we can never exhaust our reflection and exploration of it. It was a testamentary supper, infinitely affectionate and immensely sad, and at the same time a mysterious revelation of divine promises, of supreme visions. Death was imminent, with silent omens of betrayal, of abandonment, of immolation; the conversation dies down but Jesus continues to speak in words that are new and beautifully reflective, in almost supreme intimacy, almost hovering between life and death" ([Pope] Paul VI, "Homily on Holy Thursday", 27 March 1975).

What Christ did for His own may be summed up in this sentence: "He loved them to the end." It shows the intensity of His love--which brings Him even to give up His life (cf. John 15:13); but this love does not stop with His death, for Christ lives on and after His resurrection He continues loving us infinitely: "It was not only thus far that He loved us, who always and forever loves us. Far be it from us to imagine that He made death the end of His loving, who did not make death the end of His living" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 55, 2).

2. The Gospel shows us the presence and activity of the devil running right through Jesus' life (cf. Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 22:3; John 8:44; 12:31; etc.). Satan is the enemy (Matthew 13:39), the evil one (1 John 2:13). St. Thomas Aquinas (cf. "Commentary on St. John, in loc.") points out that, in this passage, on the one hand, we clearly see the malice of Judas, who fails to respond to this demonstration of love, and on the other hand great emphasis is laid on the goodness of Christ, which reaches out beyond Judas' malice by washing his feet also and by treating him as a friend right up to the moment when he betrays Him (Luke 22:48).

3-6. Aware that He is the Son of God, Jesus voluntarily humbles Himself to the point of performing a service appropriate to household servants. This passage recalls the Christological hymn in St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians: "Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant..." (Philippians 2:6-7).

Christ had said that He came to the world not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45). In this scene He teaches us the same thing, through specific example, thereby exhorting us to serve each other in all humility and simplicity (cf. Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:3). "Once again He preaches by example, by His deeds. In the presence of His disciples, who are arguing out of pride and vanity, Jesus bows down and gladly carries out the task of a servant.[...] This tactfulness of our Lord moves me deeply. He does not say: `If I do this, how much more ought you to do?' He puts Himself at their level, and He lovingly chides those men for their lack of generosity.

"As He did with the first twelve, so also, with us, our Lord can and does whisper in our ear, time and again: `exemplum dedi vobis' (John 13:15), I have given you an example of humility. I have become a slave, so that you too may learn to serve all men with a meek and humble heart" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 103).

Peter understands particularly well how thoroughly our Lord has humbled Himself, and he protests, in the same kind of way as he did on other occasions, that he will not hear of Christ suffering (cf. Matthew 8:32 and par.). St. Augustine comments: "Who would not shrink back in dismay from having his feet washed by the Son of God....You? Me? Words to be pondered on rather than spoken about, lest words fail to express their true meaning" (St. Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 56, 1).

7-14. Our Lord's gesture had a deeper significance than St. Peter was able to grasp at this point; nor could he have suspected that God planned to save men through the sacrificing of Christ (cf. Matthew 16:22 ff). After the Resurrection the Apostles understood the mystery of this service rendered by the Redeemer: by washing their feet, Jesus was stating in a simple and symbolic way that He had not come "to be served but to serve". His service, as He already told them, consists in giving "His life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).

Our Lord tells the Apostles that they are now clean, for they have accepted His words and have followed Him (cf. 15:3)--all but Judas, who plans to betray Him. St. John Chrysostom comments as follows: "You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. That is: You are clean only to that extent. You have already received the Light; you have already got rid of the Jewish error. The Prophet asserted: `Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil from your souls' (Isaiah 1:16).... Therefore, since they had rooted evil from their souls and were following Him with complete sincerity, He declared, in accordance with the Prophet's words: `He who has bathed is clean all over'" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. John", 70, 3).

15-17. Jesus' whole life was an example of service towards men, fulfilling His Father's will to the point of dying on the Cross. Here our Lord promises us that if we imitate Him, our Teacher, in disinterested service (which always implies sacrifice), we will find true happiness which no one can wrest from us (cf. 16:22; 17:13). "`I have given you an example', He tells His disciples after washing their feet, on the night of the Last Supper. Let us reject from our hearts any pride, any ambition, any desire to dominate; and peace and joy will reign around us and within us, as a consequence of our personal sacrifice" ([St] J. Escriva, "Christ Is Passing By", 94).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Principles and Practices - April 9

Strength in Suffering

To have courage and strength in suffering does not mean to rejoice ecstatically in suffer­ing, or to toy with the burden as an athlete with a heavy club. The important thing is that man, in battling with his feelings, does not permit himself to rebel against God, to renounce his duty and his calling, but that, even though the act calls for a tremendous sacrifice, he utters a heroic 'Fiat voluntas tua!'

That is the victory of strength over weak­ness. In this fact lies consolation and hope for us, that He, too, had to wrestle with weakness, and, realizing this weakness, cried out to the Father: 'Let this chalice pass from Me'!

-Rev. A. Huounder, S.J.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for April 9

THY will be done in heaven and in earth. We wish for perfection when we pray for this.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-April 9

IN that day there shall be a fountain open...for the washing of the sinner. Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the fountain foretold by the prophet as open to all, and to which we can go whenever we please, to wash our souls from all the stains which are daily contracted.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

News Updates, 4/8

[Apostate Putz] Blair urges Catholic Church homosexuality rethink
Former premier Tony Blair said the Catholic Church needed to rethink its attitude towards homosexuality, as it is out of step with ordinary church-goers', in an interview published Wednesday...
[It appears that "Ordinary church-goers' are out of step with the natural moral law and basic understanding of biology since, as Mark Levin reminds us, one cannot inseminate fecal matter.]

Liturgical hazards
Sacramento diocese issues guidelines to prevent Holy Week accidents that could “expose the church to extraordinary liability losses”

Obama’s Christian Appointee to Faith-Based Program Says Bible on Homosexuality Is ‘Not True’
President Obama has named to his faith-based advisory council a self-professed Christian who holds that the New Testament's teaching that homosexual behavior is unnatural and wrong--which is found in St. Paul's letter to the Romans--“is not true."
[A "Self-Professed Christian" who prefers to worship and justify his own sinfulness and pride...he's as "Christian" as Obama]

Parishes ask Vatican for mediation over closings
Worshippers in eight U.S. dioceses have banded together

Vermont Legislature legalizes same-sex marriage
Follows gay rights' victory in Iowa Legislature

Chavez condemns Catholic bishops in Venezuela
'They side with all those who attack the government'

Penn. Catholic college leaders reassure bishop
Say they don't provide condoms or other contraceptives

Michigan diocese gets new bishop from Pittsburgh
63-year-old Paul Bradley replaces Bishop James A. Murray

Wyoming Catholic Register to cease publication
Another diocesan newspaper bites the dust

Nazareth prepares for papal pilgrimage
Pope Benedict XVI will say Mass there on May 14

Cardinal George maintains pressure on Notre Dame
Says Obama invitation has brought 'extreme embarrassment'

Bleak stories behind failed condom campaigns
Blanketing Africa with condoms to stop AIDS ill-advised

Other News

Obama team readying for confrontation with Netanyahu
In an unprecedented move, the Obama administration is readying for a possible confrontation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by briefing Democratic congressmen on the peace process and the positions of the new government in Israel regarding a two-state solution.

Al-Jazeera reports that Obama said he is a Muslim
Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from Istanbul, said: "This was the address we had all been waiting for, it hit all the right notes. "He talked about the contribution of the Islamic faith in the life of American Muslims and then he personalised that message by saying 'I know because I am one of them'. It was a message that reached out to many today...."

Treasury to delay bank test results for earnings
The U.S. Treasury Department is planning to delay the release of any completed bank stress test results until after the first-quarter earnings season to avoid complicating stock market reaction, a source familiar with Treasury's discussions said on Tuesday....
[Transparency? Riiight! The Treasury will manipulate the stock market, even if it's illegal. Treasury is now the banks' hired PR firm.]

Ship carrying 21 Americans Hijacked

Treasury Plans to Extend TARP to Life Insurers
The Treasury Department plans to extend the Troubled Asset Relief Program to certain eligible life insurers, according to people familiar with the matter. Several life insurers have been burdened lately by capital constraints amid ailing markets...
[This must be a sign that things are turning around and there will be a recovery later this year - Right!]

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Gospel for Wednesday of Holy Week

From: Matthew 26:14-25

Judas Betrays Jesus

[14] Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests [15] and said, "What will you give me if I deliver Him (Jesus) to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. [16] And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray Him.

Preparations for the Last Supper

[17] Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will You have us prepare for You to eat the Passover?" [18] He said, "Go into the city to such a one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.'" [19] And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared for the Passover.

[20] When it was evening, He sat at table with the twelve disciples; [21] and as they were eating, He said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me." [22] And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to Him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?" [23] He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with Me, will betray Me. [24] The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." [25] Judas, who betrayed Him, said, "Is it I, Master?" He said to him, "You have said so."

15. It is disconcerting and sobering to realize that Judas Iscariot actually went as far as to sell the man whom he had believed to be the Messiah and who had called him to be one of the Apostles. Thirty shekels or pieces of silver were the price of a slave (cf. Exodus 21:32), the same value as Judas put on his Master.

17. This unleavened bread, azymes, took the form of loaves which had to be eaten over a seven-day period, in commemoration of the unleavened bread which the Israelites had to take with them in their hurry to leave Egypt (cf. Exodus 12:34). In Jesus' time the Passover supper was celebrated on the first day of the week of the Unleavened Bread.

18. Although the reference is to an unnamed person, probably our Lord gave the person's actual name. In any event, from what other evangelists tell us (Mark 14:13; Luke 22:10), Jesus gave the disciples enough information to enable them to find the house.

22. Although the glorious events of Easter have yet to occur (which will teach the Apostles much more about Jesus), their faith has been steadily fortified and deepened in the course of Jesus' public ministry (cf. John 2:11; 6:68-69) through their contact with Him and the divine grace they have been given (cf. Matthew 16:17). At this point they are quite convinced that our Lord knows their internal attitudes and how they are going to act: each asks in a concerned way whether he will prove to be loyal in the time ahead.

24. Jesus is referring to the fact that He will give Himself up freely to suffering and death. In so doing He would fulfill the Will of God, as proclaimed centuries before (cf. Psalm 41:10; Isaiah 53:7). Although our Lord goes to His death voluntarily, this does not reduce the seriousness of Judas' treachery.

25. This advance indication that Judas is the traitor is not noticed by the other Apostles (cf. John 13:26-29).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Principles and Practices - April 8

The Demand of Life

God puts Himself at our beck and call. "Ask and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." He is ready and anxious to comply with our slightest wish, and it is only when we ask for foolish things that God wisely turns aside. God is infinitely rich and can bestow every good. We are not and our means are limited. But we have plenty to give, and if we can say to our fellow creatures what God has said to us - "Ask and you shall receive," and heed the calls which come to us in various ways, we shall see God in every demand which is made upon us. Time will be spared and work will be done - even com­forts will be sacrificed and necessities shared. The importunities of others will remind us of God.

-J. Hogan.
From Principles and Practices
Compiled by Rev. J. Hogan of The Catholic Missionary Society
Published by Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd., Publishers To The Holy See
Nihil Obstat; Eduardus J. Mahoney, S.T.D. Censor deputatus.
Imprimatur; Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis.
First printed in 1930

Thoughts of St Augustine for April 8

YES, but it is his will that thou shouldst pray, that he may give to thy longings, that his gifts may not be lightly esteemed; seeing he hath himself formed this longing desire in us.
Click here for more information.

From Thoughts of St Augustine for Every Day
by Kathleen Mary Balfe (© 1926)
Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont

Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day-April 8

WHEN St Augustine beheld the heavens, the stars, the fields, the mountains, he seemed to hear them say: Augustine, love God, for he has created you for no other end than that you might love him.
From Thoughts from St Alphonsus for Every Day
Compiled by Rev. C. McNeiry, C.SS.R.
Imprimatur: Joseph Hull, C.SS.R., Prov. Angl. Sup.
Nihil Obstat: Innocentlus Apap, O.P., S.T.M., Censor Deptutatus.
Imprimatur: Edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius Generalis.
Westmonasterii, Die 9a Junii, 1927.
First published 1927

News Updates, 4/7

Sebelius Confirmation Delayed: Time for Catholic Action

Revealed: Obama Commencement Talking Points for University of Notre Dame Trustees has obtained a copy of the talking points distributed by the University of Notre Dame to its Board of Trustees to respond to the rash of criticism the school faces...

Bishop Lori bows out of Catholic university dinner honoring pro-abortion Kennedy
Bishop of Bridgeport William Lori has said he will not attend a Sacred Heart University dinner which will honor pro-abortion Catholic Kerry Kennedy, a daughter of Robert F. Kennedy. He also commented on the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Barack Obama, saying it was contrary to efforts to resist the president’s “anti-life” policies...

Iowa bishops' statement on marriage decision
Marriage is a basic human and social institution. Though it is regulated by civil laws and church laws, it did not originate from either the church or state, but from God. Therefore, neither church nor state can alter the basic meaning and structure of marriage.....

Obama Names Pope-Basher to Faith-Based Initiative Board
[Usurper] B. Hussein Obama/Soetoro has named to the federal government’s faith-based initiative a gay-rights activist who, last month, described Pope Benedict XVI and certain Catholic bishops as “discredited leaders” because of their opposition to same-sex marriage.

Former Vatican ambassador: Notre Dame is wrong
Jim Nicholson supports those protesting Obama invitation

Cardinal Egan in hospital with stomach pains
Operation to implant pacemaker postponed

Diocese confirms body is missing Austin priest
Murdered at retirement home in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico

Lap dancer-turned-nun to perform for bishops
Now performs 'mystical' choreography called 'holy dance'

Okla. bill lets moms-to-be kill to save baby
Allows women to use 'lethal force' to protect unborn

Catholic senators vote against 'conscience law'
Bill would allow health care workers to avoid abortion

Vatican: Knights Templar hid Shroud of Turin
...for more than a hundred years after the Crusades

Catholic wellness centers stop offering Reiki
Bishops calling therapy 'unscientific and inappropriate'

Former sex club becomes evangelical church
NZ 'gentlemen's club' held city's only brothel license

Other News

U.S. Consumer Credit Decreased by $7.48 Billion
The pace of borrowing by U.S. consumers fell in February as fewer Americans sought credit to make purchases amid what may become the worst recession in seven decades.

Default Rate Surges to Highest Since Depression, Moodys Says
Thirty-five companies defaulted in March, the highest number in a single month since the Great Depression, according to Moody’s Investors Service....

IRA Commentary - Apples and Truffles, PPIP is Financially Flawed, Intellectually Dishonest
...The plan as presented simply replaces the current problem with a more complex, subsidized shell game meant to hide the same problem....

1800+ Institutions Believed to Be at Risk of Failure
Several of the nation’s largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Wells Fargo, Sun Trust Bank, HSBC Bank USA, plus more than 1,800 regional and smaller institutions are at risk of failure despite government bailouts, according to Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D., president of Weiss Research, Inc., an independent research firm.

House Preparing to Legalize Payday Loans With 391% APR
A House subcommittee wants to legalize payday loans with interest rates of up to 391%. Lobbyists from the payday industry bought Congress' support by showering influential members, including Chairman Luiz Gutierrez, with campaign cash. The Congressman is now playing good cop, bad cop with the payday industry, which is pretending to oppose his generous gift of a bill.
[The DemonRat party again setting out to help the little people.]

US Navy Physicist warns of crushing cold temperatures and global famine
The sun has gone very quiet as it transitions to Solar Cycle 24...Two paths lie before us. Both are marked with a signpost that reads “Danger”! Down one path lies monstrous solar storms. Down the other path lies several decades of crushing cold temperatures and global famine...
[Obama can fix it - Yes he can! (sarcasm)]

Monday, April 06, 2009

Lenten Reflection-The Presence of Christ

"This is my body...this is my blood." St. Matthew, 26:27,28.

In the not so distant days of persecution in old Mexico, it was against the law to meet and conduct any kind of religious service without permission. Despite this devilish regulation, many groups of Catholics met se­cretly to hear Mass and receive Holy Communion. A spy betrayed one of these groups to the police. An officer with several soldiers surprised them one night at their place of prayer. The officer was angry; he was deter­mined to punish everyone present. He ordered a soldier to count all present and write down their names.

"Thirty men and women, sir," reported the officer.

At that an old man held up his hand and declared:
"Officer, there is One whom you have missed. There is One more here."

"What do you mean?" shouted the officer. "We counted all carefully. There are only thirty."

"No," insisted the old man, "there is One you have missed."

"Very well," growled the officer, "we will count them again."

Again the count was made and again the count was thirty. The officer sneered at the old gentleman: "There you are. Just as I told you. Thirty-thirty miserable breakers of the law."

"Yes," the venerable old fellow said slowly, "but there is One more here, One whom you missed - and that is our Lord Jesus Christ on the altar."

What that old man stated about this secret meeting, that there was Another present whom they could not see, can be stated of the Eucharistic presence of Christ in the Catholic Church. Our Lord is ever present with those who love Him. He is present in the Eucharist - body and blood, soul and divinity - just as really and truly present in every Catholic tabernacle as He was when He walked about His native Palestine. Christ wanted to be with us - everywhere and at all times. He is with us in the Blessed Sacrament.

The passion and death of our Lord have brought to us many fruits and blessings. The sweetest and greatest and most precious fruit of His suffering is His presence in the Eucharist, a legacy He left us on the night He was betrayed.

At the very moment when wicked men were reaching out to seize and crush Christ's innocent body in the winepress of suffering, our Lord was generously planning how He would stay with men forever. At the very moment when their hate was getting rid of His presence, Christ's love was finding a way to be present for all time to come. He saw the sadness of His mother and His apostles and His followers of all time, at the thought of His departure. In merciful sympathy He would give them Himself for all time. The same generous love that prompted Christ to undergo the bitter tor­ments and degrading humiliations of His passion and death, prompted Him also to give us Himself in the Eucharist forever.

Read again the Gospel story of the Last Supper and the touching, tender farewell of our Lord. Doesn't your heart throb deeply at its notes of over­flowing love? Christ was about to give Himself to His apostles, as He had promised. But love could not be content with that. Not just once would He work this miracle of changing bread and wine into His very own Body and Blood. Christ saw not only those in the supper room; He also saw the millions through the centuries who would want to have Him present.

Close on the heels of the one miracle of giving His Body and His Blood to His apostles, Christ worked another wonder which would continue that loving sacrament to the end of time. To the apostles and their successors, the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church, Christ gave the power of multiplying His presence throughout the earth and throughout all time, when He commanded them:
"Do this in remembrance of me." St. Luke, 22:19.

Love was not satisfied with giving Himself once long ago in faroff Pal­estine. Love wanted to give Himself everywhere for all time to all men. He wanted us always to remember that Thursday and that Friday. He wanted the merits of His death to be shared by all. Dying for one we love is the greatest proof of love. The sacrament of the altar, instituted the night before He died, is not merely a remembrance of His sacrifice, it is the bring­ing to us of the fruits of that sacrifice.

The Holy Eucharist is the most fitting memorial of the passion of Christ. In and through the Sacrifice of the Mass especially, Christ recalls for all men of all times His sufferings and death for them. On this altar, by the wonder-working words of consecration the priest calls down from the heights of heaven the true and living Christ, calls Him down to live in the apparently lifeless form of the sacred species of bread and wine. Though alive, Christ is present as if He were dead - as if without the power to move, as if without the power to speak.

Our faith tells us that since the resur­rection our Lord can die no more, yet here in the Eucharist Jesus chooses to live a hidden and helpless life. To have life and not to use it, not to per­form any visible act, not to give any proof of life - is not such a life very much like death? In this way the Eucharist is a constant reminder of the death of Christ.

Living under the veils of the Blessed Sacrament Christ gives no sign of life. He allows Himself no freedom to move from place to place, no power to flee from His enemies, no speech to talk with His friends, or to call for help when He is insulted or attacked. He even takes a form that in no way reminds us of a human being. How like His passion is this life on our altar!

Christ could have wiped out His enemies with a word; He chose to suffer in silence. The same takes place on the altar. He could do away with everyone who insults or attacks Him, but He chooses to live a silent life, that we might be constantly reminded of His sufferings and death.

In recalling the pains of Christ's passion, the Holy Eucharist also re­minds us of the limitless love that led Him to undergo such sufferings for us. It recalls the heroic patience with which He bore those pains, and the divine pardon He granted to those who crucified Him, the priceless pardon He grants to all sinners of all time.

The love that drove Christ to submit to suffering for us stands out more beautifully when we realize that He could have chosen anyone of a thousand other ways of satisfying the justice of His Father. That love shines out in the Eucharist.

Christ did not have to give Himself to us, but in the generosity of His love He gave us Himself completely, forever, and everywhere. Day and night His sacramental presence reminds us of His love, reminds us how He healed hearts and inspired minds. In the Eucharist Christ again pardons those who betray Him. Judas and Peter and Pilate and the heartless soldiers and the crowd, all live today in the persons of Catholics who betray and neglect and deny their Eucharistic Savior. But Christ still forgives, Christ still speaks:
"Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."

In the Blessed Sacrament Christ suffers the same treacherous betrayals, the same cruel violence, the same bitter humiliations as He endured during His passion. On the first Good Friday He wanted to win the compassion­ating love of men. Today in the Eucharist He is looking for the same love, the same sympathy. We scorn the traitor Judas. Yet, how much worse than Judas is the Catholic who receives his Eucharistic Master into a soul stained with mortal sin?

The cowardly denial of St. Peter strikes us as very sinful. Yet, Catholics deny their Savior by putting off Holy Communion, by misbehavior in church, by coming late to Mass, by passing a church without a thought or greeting for the loved One who lives there.

Think of the insults inflicted by those who know and love Him not. Tabernacles are torn down, Hosts are stepped on and fed to animals, Hosts are pierced and cut and covered with filth, by those who in their devilish hatred give unwitting testimony that they think this Host might really be Christ.

Christ was humiliated during Holy Week. He is humiliated today by the sneers of the godless, the blameworthy ignorance and unpardonable negligence of so many of His followers. Carelessness and discourtesy are shown Him constantly, perfect imitations of Caiphas, Herod and Pilate. Every one of Christ's sufferings is repeated in the Eucharist. The suffering Savior is present with us today.

But the picture is not entirely dark. There were bright spots even in the black story of the passion. There are bright spots in our Lord's life in the Eucharist. Pious women wept for the suffering Savior; you and I can weep in reparation for the insults and neglect shown Him on the altar. Veronica offered her veil to wipe His bloody face; we can offer words of worship. Simon of Cyrene helped Him carry His cross; you and I can promote devo­tion to Him in the Eucharist. Like St. John we will stand faithfully at the foot of the altar. With the heart of our Blessed Mother, our hearts will go out to Jesus hidden here in the Host.

Thoughtful - and punctual - attendance at Mass, devout and frequent receiving of Holy Communion, loving visits to Him here in His home, support and service of His Church are means we have of showing our love for Him. Are you doing these things during Lent?

Before the Last Supper Christ, as Man, was but in one place in all the earth. After that Supper Jesus began to dwell in the Eucharist in every town and city and hamlet. The tabernacles of Christ dot the globe. Whereever men will have Him, He is present. Christ is present right here upon the altar of our church. He wants to be here for your sake. He is here. He is keeping His promise:
"I will not leave you orphans." St. John, 14:18.

"Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consum­mation of the world." St. Matthew, 28:20.

For months before the grand Eucharistic Congress held in New Orleans in 1938 the faithful prayed for the success of this gathering in. honor of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. In that prayer were the words:

"O Jesus, Thou art truly, really, and substantially present."

That is official language taken from the Council of Trent. Even though the three words seem to mean practically the same thing, each word has some definite meaning, and was chosen to answer and correct some mistake regarding the Eucharist.

The word "truly" is directed against the heretic Zwingli who falsely maintained that our Lord did not mean to actually give us His Body at the Last Supper. Zwingli said Christ meant something like this:

"When the father of a family is about to leave on a long journey, he gives to his wife, the mother of the family, his most precious ring. On the ring the father's face has been painted. As he gives the ring to his wife he says: "Behold, your husband, whom you can love though he is absent, and who loves you though he is far away."

"Our Lord, Jesus Christ is like that father. As Christ was about to leave the earth, He gave to His bride, the Church, His image painted on the sacrament of the altar."

This false idea of the Eucharist would not be worthy of our attention, were it not the idea of many mistaken people today. The Catholic Church, divinely guided, teaches that when we say Christ is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, He is not present as a father in the picture on the ring he leaves to his family. Christ is present here on our altar just as truly as the father is present when he hands the ring to his wife.

When we say that Christ is "really" present we are answering a fellow named Oecolampadius, whose false idea is as strange as his name. He said Christ was present in the Eucharist in a figure or comparison. The Blessed Sacrament is not really Christ but something like Christ. For example, the paschal lamb of the Old Testament was a figure of the true Lamb of God, namely, Christ. This heretic mistakenly insisted that the Eucharist is still just the Old Testament paschal lamb, it is still just a figure of Christ. The Catholic Church, God's Church, teaches that the presence of Christ is real. It is not a mere figure.

Another heretic, John Calvin, thought the Body and Blood of Christ are present on the altar, just as the sun is present on the earth by its power or by its heat. He said that Christ is present only by His virtue or power, but not as He is in Himself.

But we Catholics know that Christ is present Himself, that it is not only the rays of His love which we have here on the altar, that it is not only the warmth of His love we have here, while He Himself, like the sun, is millions of miles away. No, here we have the Sun Himself, Christ in His very substance, just as substantially as if we had the sun itself locked up in our tabernacle.

A nun one day explained to her fifth grade class the reason for our belief in the Eucharist. She mentioned the words of Jesus - His promise, His last Supper - carrying out of that promise, and the belief of the Catholic Church through all the centuries since. She emphasized the words of Christ, "This is my body." Hoping that one of her charges would give a reason or two of those she had mentioned, she asked the class:

"And now-how do we know that Jesus is present on the altar?"

One little fellow put up his hand. When called, he gave this answer: "We know that Jesus is present, because Jesus said so."

No answer could be more simple and more to the point. It was the belief of all Christians for fifteen hundred years, until Luther decided that we can explain and understand the Bible as each man wishes. What was the result? About seventy years after Luther's revolt a book, was published with the title: TWO HUNDRED INTERPRETATIONS OF THE WORDS: THIS IS MY BODY. It was written in 1577 by a fellow named Rasberger. Since his time there are about two hundred more attempts to explain away the simple, clear and definite words of Jesus, "This is my body." We Catholics take Christ at His word. We believe in the Blessed Sacrament because Jesus said so.

That Jesus said so is clear from the Bible which tells us three things about the Holy Eucharist:

1. Christ promised to give us His flesh and blood.
2. Christ kept that promise at the Last Supper.
3. St. Paul and the early Christians understood Christ to mean that He would actually give Himself.

On the occasion when our Lord miraculously fed five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, He gave the promise of His flesh and blood in these certain words:

"I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. If anyone eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

When the Jews wondered how a man could give his flesh to eat, Jesus emphasized His statement:

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you." St. John, 6:52-55.

Then the night before He died, when men do not ordinarily use double­ meaning words or speak in jest, our Lord took bread and said, "This is my body." He took the chalice of wine and said: "This is my blood."

We would expect St. Paul to know what Christ really meant. St. Paul tells us:

"For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." I Cor., 11 :26-27.

What does the early Christian Church say about Christ's words at the Last Supper? For fifteen hundred years those words were taken literally, that is, for what they actually said. The early Christian writers, the pic­tures and inscriptions in the catacombs, the discipline of the early Church, all make it unmistakably clear that Christ meant exactly what He said.

We Catholics believe that Christ is here present. We believe He is pres­ent in every tabernacle of the world. Just how that can be, we do not know, just as there are many things we cannot understand. But that He is here we know - on His own words. Yes, Christ is with us. Only the goodness and love of a God could have thought of that, and could have arranged to be with us right here in our church. Amen.
Adapted from With Christ Through Lent
by Fr. Arthur Tonne, OFM (©1951)

Gospel for Tuesday of Holy Week

From: John 13:21-33, 36-38

The Treachery of Judas Foretold

[21] When Jesus had thus spoken, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me." [22] The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom He spoke. [23] One of His disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; [24] so Simon Peter beckoned to Him and said, "Tell us who it is of whom He speaks." [25] So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to Him, "Lord, who is it?" [26] Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when He had dipped the morsel, He gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. [27] Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly." [28] Now no one at the table knew why He said this to him. [29] Some thought that, because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what you need for the feast"; or, that he should give something to the poor. [30] So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out; and it was night.

[31] When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in Him God is glorified; [32] if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him at once. [33] Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek Me, and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going you cannot come.' [36] Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now; but you shall follow Me afterward." [37] Peter said to Him, "Lord, why cannot I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You." [38] Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied Me three times."

21. Christ's sadness is proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Judas was one of those whom Jesus chose to be an Apostle: he had been on intimate terms with Him for three years, he had followed Him everywhere, had seen His miracles, had heard His divine teaching, and experienced the tenderness of His affection. And despite all that, when the moment of truth comes, Judas not only abandons the Master but betrays Him and sells Him. Betrayal by an intimate friend is something much more painful and cruel than betrayal by a stranger, for it involves a lack of loyalty. The spiritual life of the Christian is also true friendship with Jesus; this means it is based on loyalty and uprightness, and on being true to one's word.

Judas had already decided to hand Jesus over and had made arrangements with the chief priests (cf. Matthew 26:14; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6). Temptation had been burrowing its way into Judas' heart for some time back, as we saw at the anointing at Bethany when he protested Mary's loving gesture; St. John commented in that connection that he did it not out of love for the poor but because he was a thief (cf. John 12:6).

23. In that period, on important occasions the customary thing was to eat reclining on a kind of divan called a "triclinium". The diner rested on his left elbow and ate with his right hand. This meant it was easy to lean on the person on one's left and talk to him without people hearing. In this verse we can see the intimacy and trust which obtained between the Master and the beloved disciple (cf. John 19:27; 20-2; 21:23), a model of Jesus' love for all His true disciples and of theirs for their Master.

26-27. The morsel which Jesus offers him is a sign of friendship and, therefore, an invitation to him to give up his evil plotting. But Judas rejects the chance he is offered. "What he received is good", St. Augustine comments, "but he received it to his own perdition, because he, being evil, received in an evil manner what is good" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 61, 6). Satan entering into him means that from that moment Judas gave in completely to the devil's temptation.

29. "These details have been recorded that we may not bear ill will against those who wrong us, but may reproach them and weep over them. Indeed, not those who are wronged, but those who do wrong deserve our tears. For the covetous man and the slanderer, and the man guilty of any other wrongdoing injure themselves most of all....] Christ repaid the man who was going to betray Him with just the opposite. For example, He washed his feet, reproved him without bitterness, censured him in private, ministered to him, allowed him to share in His table and His kiss. Yet, though Judas did not become better because of these things, Jesus Himself persevered in His course of action" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom. on St. John", 71, 4).

30. The indication that "it was night" is not just a reference to the time of day but to darkness as an image of sin, an image of the power of darkness whose hour was beginning at that very moment (cf. Luke 22:53). The contrast between light and darkness, the opposition of good and evil, is frequently met with in the Bible, especially in the Fourth Gospel: even in the prologue we are told that Christ is the true Light which the darkness has not overcome (cf. John 1:5).

31-32. This glorification refers above all to the glory which Christ will receive once He is raised up on the cross (John 3:14; 12:32). St. John stresses that Christ's death is the beginning of His victory: His very crucifixion can be considered the first step in His ascension to His Father. At the same time it is glorification of the Father, because Christ, by voluntarily accepting death out of love, as a supreme act of obedience to the Will of God, performs the greatest sacrifice man can offer for the glorification of God. The Father will respond to this glorification which Christ offers Him by glorifying Christ as Son of Man, that is, in His holy human nature, through His resurrection and ascension to God's right hand. Thus the glory which the Son gives the Father is at the same time glory for the Son.

Christ's disciple will also find His highest motivation by identifying himself with Christ's obedience. St. Paul teaches this very clearly when he says: "Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14).

33. From this verse onwards the evangelist recounts what is usually called the discourse of the Last Supper; in it we can distinguish three parts. In the first, our Lord begins by proclaiming the New Commandment (verses 33-35) and predicts Peter's denials (verses 36-38); He tells them that His death means His going to His Father (Chapter 14), with Whom He is one because He is God (verses 1-14); and He announces that after His resurrection He will send them the Holy Spirit, who will guide them by teaching them and reminding them of everything He told them (verses 15-31).

The second part of the discourse is contained in Chapters 15 and 16. Jesus promises to those who believe in Him a new life of union with Him, as intimate as that of a vine and its branches (15:1-18). To attain this union one must keep His New Commandment (verses 9-18). He forewarns them about the contradictions they will suffer, and He encourages them by promising the Holy Spirit who will protect them and console them (verses 18-27). The action of the Paraclete or Consoler will lead them to fulfill the mission Jesus has entrusted to them (16:1-15). The fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit will be fullness of joy (verses 16-33).

The third part (Chapter 7) gives Jesus' priestly prayer, in which He asks the Father to glorify Him through the cross (verses 1-5). He prays also for His disciples (verses 6-19) and for all those who through them will believe in Him, so that, staying in the world without being of the world, the love of God should be in them and they should bear witness to Christ being the envoy of the Father (verses 20-26).

36-38. Once again Peter in his simplicity and sincerity tells his Master that he is ready to follow Him even to the point of dying for Him. But he is not yet ready for that. Our Lord, St. Augustine comments, "establishes here a delay; He does not destroy the hope, indeed He confirms it by saying, `You shall follow afterwards! Why are you in haste, Peter? As yet the rock has not made you strong inwardly: do not be brought down by your presumption. Now you cannot follow Me, but do not despair: later you will'" ("In Ioann. Evang.", 66, 1). Peter had certainly meant what he said, but his resolution was not very solid. Later on he would develop a fortitude based on humility; then, not considering himself worthy to die in the way his Master did, he will die on a cross, head downwards, rooting in the soil of Rome that solid stone which endures in those who succeed him and forming the basis on which the Church, which is indefectible, is built. Peter's denials, which are signs of his weakness, were amply compensated for by his profound repentance. "Let everyone draw from this example of contrition, and if he has fallen let him not despair, but always remember that he can become worthy of forgiveness" (St. Bede, "In Ioann. Evang. Expositio, in loc".).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.