Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Passion of Christ - Mary's Own Words

St. Bridget of Sweden
The Revelations of Saint Birgitta, 
Chapter 10:15-33

(Words of Our Holy Mother Mary to St. Birgitta regarding Her Son's Most Bitter Agony & Death)

15 When the time of my Son's passion arrived, his enemies seized him. They struck him on his cheek and neck and spat at him as they made sport of him. When he was led to the pillar, he took off his clothes himself and placed his own hands on the pillar, and his enemies then mercilessly bound them. 16 Bound to the pillar, without any kind of covering, just as he had been born, he stood there and suffered the embarrassment of being naked. His friends had fled, but his enemies were ready for action. They stood there on all sides and scourged his body that was clean from every stain and sin. 17 I was standing nearby and, at the first lash, I fell down as if I were dead. When I revived, I could see his body whipped and scourged to the ribs. What was even more horrible was that when they pulled the whips back, the weighted thongs tore his flesh.

Sorrowful Mother Mary
18 As my Son was standing there all bloody and covered with wounds, so that no sound spot was left on him that could be whipped, then someone, aroused in spirit, asked: 'Are you going to kill him thus unsentenced?' And straightaway he cut his bonds. 19 Then my Son himself put his clothes back on. I saw that the place where my Son had been standing was covered with blood, and by his footprints I could tell which way he walked, for the ground seemed to be soaked with blood wherever he went. 20 They had no patience with him to let him get dressed, but pushed and dragged him to hurry him on. As my Son was being led off like a thief, he dried the blood from his eyes. Once he was sentenced, they placed the cross on him to carry. He did carry it for a while, but then someone came along and undertook to carry it for him. 

Instruments of crucifixion
21 As my Son was going to the place of his passion, same people struck him on the neck, while others hit him in the face. He was hit so hard and with so much force that, although I did not see who hit him, I heard the sound of the blow clearly. When I reached the place of the passion with him, I saw all the instruments of his death ready. When my Son got there, he took off his clothes himself, while the servants said to each other: 'These are our clothes and he will not get them back since he is condemned to death.' 

Add caption
22 My Son was standing there, naked as he had been born, when someone came running up and offered him a veil with which he joyfully covered his shame. Then his cruel executioners seized him and stretched him out on the cross, nailing first his right hand to the crossbeam that had a hole in it for the nail. They pierced his hand at the point where the bone was more solid. With a rope they pulled his other hand and attached it to the crossbeam in similar fashion. 

23 Then they crucified his right foot with the left on top of it using two nails so that all his sinews and veins became overstrained and burst. After that they put the crown of thorns on his head and it cut so deeply into my Son's venerable head that the blood filled his eyes as it flowed, blocked up his ears and stained his beard as it ran down.

As he stood on the cross wounded and bloody, he felt compassion for me who was standing by in tears and, looking with his bloodied eyes in the direction of John, my nephew, he commended me to him.

24 At the time I could hear some people saying that my Son was a thief, others that he was a liar, still others that no one was more deserving of death than my Son. My sorrow was renewed from hearing all this. But, as I said before, when the first nail was driven into him, that first blow shook me so much that I fell down as if dead, my eyes covered in darkness, my hands trembling, my feet unsteady. In the bitterness of my grief I was not able to watch until he had been fastened entirely to the cross. 

25 When I got up, I saw my Son hanging there in misery and, in my thorough dismay, I his most unhappy Mother, could hardly stand on my feet due to grief. Seeing me and his friends weeping inconsolably, my Son cried out in a loud and doleful voice to his Father, saying, 'Father, why have you abandoned me?' It was as if to say: 'There is no one who takes pity on me but you, Father.' 26 At that stage his eyes looked half-dead, his cheeks were sunken, his face mournful, his mouth open and his tongue bloody. His stomach was sucked in toward his back, all the liquid having been consumed, as if he had no vital organs. All his body was pale and languid due to the loss of blood. His hands and feet were rigidly extended, being pulled toward the cross and shaped like the shape of the cross. His beard and hair were completely covered with blood.

27 There he stood, bruised and livid, and only his heart was still fresh, since it was of the best and strongest constitution. From my flesh he had received a most pure and well-wrought body. 28 His skin was so thin and tender that if it was even slightly scourged the blood would flow out immediately. His blood was so fresh that it could be seen in his pure skin. Precisely because he had the very best constitution, life contended with death in his wounded body. 

29 At certain moments the pain in the limbs and sinews of his wounded body rose up to his still vigorous and unbroken heart and inflicted incredible pain and suffering on him. At other moments the pain went down from his heart into his wounded limbs and, in so doing, bitterly prolonged his death.

30 Surrounded by these sorrows, my Son looked at his friends who were weeping and who would rather have borne his pain themselves through his help or have burned in hell forever than to see him tortured so. His sorrow at his friends' sorrow exceeded all the bitterness and tribulations that he had endured in body and heart, due to the tender love he had for them. Then, out of the exceeding bodily anguish of his human nature, he cried out to the Father: 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.' 31 When I his most sorrowful Mother, heard those words, my whole body shook with the bitter pain of my heart. As often as I have thought on that cry since then, it has still remained present and fresh in my ears. As his death drew near and his heart burst from the violence of the pain, his whole body convulsed and his head raised itself a little and then drooped back down again, his mouth fell open and his tongue could be seen to be all bloody. 32 His hands pulled back a little from the place of perforation and his feet had to bear more of the weight of his body. His fingers and arms stretched themselves out somewhat and his back stiffened tightly against the cross.

Jesus's body is pierced with a lance
33 Then some people said to me: 'Mary, your Son is dead.' Others said: 'He has died but he will rise again.' As everyone was going away, a man came and drove a lance into his side with such force that it almost went out the other side. When the spear was withdrawn, its point appeared red with blood. And it seemed to me as if my own heart had been pierced when I saw my beloved Son's heart pierced.

34 Then he was taken down from the cross. I took his body on my lap; it was like a leper's, all livid. His eyes were lifeless and full of blood, his mouth as cold as ice, his beard like twine, his face grown stiff. His hands had become so rigid that they could not be bent farther down than to about his naval. I had him on my knee just as he had been on the cross, like a man stiff in all his limbs. 35 After that they laid him in a clean linen and with my linen cloth I dried his wounds and his limbs and then closed his eyes and mouth, which had been opened when he died. 

36 Then they placed him in the sepulcher. How I would rather have been placed in there alive with my Son, if it had been his will! 37 These things done, dear John came and brought me to his house. 

See, then, my daughter, [my son]
what my Son has endured for you!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Winning the Cultural War -- Political Correctness - Deception and Lies

NOT JUST THE NATION                                                                   BUT THE WHOLE WORLD!!!
"Political Correctness" is a blind for what is truly going on in The United States, Canada and the whole world -- people are being indoctrinated into a submissive crowd that follow whatever it is told by the government, the saying "See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no Evil" -- leading to the "New World Order" -- "the New Age". On television and in our schools people are taught the lies of depravity, abortion, adultery, human cloning, etc. -- are all "good". 
As Christians, we need to stand for the truth -- and we must be united in this fight... 

To stand up for one's religious beliefs labels you as a "extremist", "a cultist" as stated here by Ms. Janet Reno, Attorney General of the U.S.A.  . . .
  "Speaking in Smyrna of March 1995, she had the following to say:  
"A cultist is one who has a strong belief 
in the Bible and the second coming of Christ; 
who frequently attends Bible studies; 
who has a high level of financial giving to Christian causes; 
who home schools his children; 
who has accumulated survival foods 
and has a strong belief in the 2nd Amendment; 
 and who distrusts big government."
In 1976, one of the most influential leaders in the drive toward the New World Order, David Spangler, wrote a book entitled "Revelation: The Birth Of A New Age". After recounting the "many joys" which mankind will experience in the New World Order, Spangler then begins a chapter entitled "Two Worlds". 
He explains that the people now living are divided into two groups:

Those who have raised their consciousness sufficiently to where they can accept the New World Order, and those who have refused to do so. 

Spangler suddenly states, on page 160, that this second group "..have no place in the new world". 

Several pages later, Spangler asks the rhetorical question, "What will happen to those who cannot attune to the new? Where will they go?"...Spangler says, very euphemistically, that these people will be "withdrawn" from the world and sent to an "upstairs room" [internment {concentration} camps?] to be "retrained" in the principles of the New Age. 

Other New Age writers have expressed similar threats, and have identified those groups who can never accept the New World Order: Jews and Christians. 

All people from these two monotheistic religions 
are targeted for destruction. 
The parallels between Hitler's threats 
against the Jew and today's threats 
against Jew and Christian are strong"

Read the rest of this article at End Times prophesies of Fatima 

"...Catholics may feel helpless in the face of so much evil in the world, primarily indicated by the workings of the law and judicial departments, and especially with what is now vomited by the Mass Media and promoted in the schools. 
Let us recall to mind that we Catholics have a power at our fingertips that nobody can take from us. As long as we fulfill our personal obligations and remain in the state of grace, our prayers and sacrifices work to invisibly obtain graces for the Church and world to counteract the spread of evil. 

We must also have faith enough to persevere in this even though we do not see the results ourselves. The Lord is greatly pleased by this perseverance and faith. 

We all know how sinful the world has become, and how sorely the Church today needs prayers. The "errors" from Russia that Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima mentioned in 1917 were not limited merely to "communism". 

The godless errors of materialism, liberalism and humanism have continued throughout this century to infect the world to such an extent that the chastisement of God has now been placed upon us in a more subtle and serious manner: 

Whereas the usual wars are a grace of physical punishment and correction that work to convert men through a tangible suffering and fear, the more serious chastisements God gives take the form of spiritual catastrophes that infect the clergy and faithful with heresies -killing souls eternally- in such an intangible way that the very organ of man that should be able to recognize and reject them -the mind- is debilitated by the heresy such that it cannot often see clearly the poison that is harming them. 

The Church has always taught that heresy is worse than physical murder because it kills souls eternally in hell rather than only temporally. 

The world is calling down the vengeance of God by its sins, not only because of abortion and sodomy, but even more so because of the heresies, sacrileges and blasphemies that are being today promoted within the Church. 

It is the health of the Church that ultimately determines the health of the world. 

We must strengthen the Mystical Body of Christ. 

Our Lady gave us the remedy in 1917 by emphasizing devotion and reparation to Her Immaculate Heart, primarily through the daily recitation of the Rosary to obtain grace for the individual, Church, and the world. 
Our Lady of Fatima
Ultimately we must be satisfied with the promise of God's Mother Herself who promised that, 

"In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph, 
Russia will be converted, 
and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity." 

Let us not be tempted to take this promise as an excuse not to fulfill our obligations to help bring this about as soon as possible. Yes, the war is promised to be won in the end but... 

We must work to see to it that we have the least amount of casualties, and that the victories come as soon as possible. It is a matter of saving your soul, and that of others, before the war is won. 
Let us help diminish the amount of time in which Our Lord and Our Lady are greatly offended."

Prophetic words from Actor, Christian 
Charlton Heston... in 1999 

Winning The Cultural War
Speach given by Charlton Heston
February 16, 1999
Harvard Law School Forum

I remember my son, when he was five, explaining to his kindergarten class what his father did for a living. "My Daddy," he said, "pretends to be people." There have been quite a few of them: prophets from the Old and New Testaments, a couple of Christian saints, generals of various nationalities and different centuries, several kings, three American presidents, a French cardinal and two geniuses, including Michelangelo.

If you want the ceiling repainted I'll do my best. There always seem to be a lot of different fellows up here. I'm never sure which one of them gets to talk. Right now, I guess I'm the guy.

As I pondered our visit tonight, it struck me: If my Creator gave me the gift to connect you with the hearts and minds of those great men, then I want to use that same gift now to reconnect you with your own sense of liberty … your own freedom of thought ... your own compass for what is right.

Dedicating the memorial at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said of America, "We are now engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."

Those words are true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart. I fear you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of liberty inside you ... the stuff that made this country rise from wilderness into the miracle that it is.

Let me back up. About a year ago I became president of the National Rifle Association, which protects the right to keep and bear arms. I ran for office, I was elected, and now I serve ... I serve as a moving target for the media, who've called me everything from "ridiculous" and "duped" to a "brain-injured, senile, crazy old man." I know ... I'm pretty old ... but I sure, thank the Lord, ain't senile.

As I have stood in the crosshairs of those who target Second Amendment freedoms, I've realized that firearms are not the only issue. No, it's much, much bigger than that. I've come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our land in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated.

For example, I marched for civil rights with Dr. King in 1963 – long before Hollywood found it fashionable. But when I told an audience last year that white pride is just as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else's pride, they called me a racist.

I've worked with brilliantly talented homosexuals all my life. But when I told an audience that gay rights should extend no further than your rights or my rights, I was called a homophobe.

I served in World War II against the Axis powers. But during a speech, when I drew an analogy between singling out innocent Jews and singling out innocent gun owners, I was called an anti-Semite.

Everyone I know knows I would never raise a closed fist against my country. But when I asked an audience to oppose this cultural persecution, I was compared to Timothy McVeigh.

From Time magazine to friends and colleagues, they're essentially saying, "Chuck, how dare you speak your mind – you are using language not authorized for public consumption!"

But I am not afraid. If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys – subjects bound to the British crown.

In his book, "The End of Sanity," Martin Gross writes that "blatantly irrational behavior is rapidly being established as the norm in almost every area of human endeavor. There seem to be new customs, new rules, new anti-intellectual theories regularly foisted on us from every direction. Underneath, the nation is roiling. Americans know something without a name is undermining the nation, turning the mind mushy when it comes to separating truth from falsehood and right from wrong. And they don't like it."

Let me read a few examples. At Antioch College in Ohio, young men seeking intimacy with a coed must get verbal permission at each step of the process from kissing to petting to final copulation – all clearly spelled out in a printed college directive.

In New Jersey, despite the death of several patients nationwide who had been infected by dentists who had concealed their AIDS, the state commissioner announced that health providers who are HIV positive need not – need not – tell their patients that they are infected.

At William and Mary, students tried to change the name of the school team to "The Tribe" because it was supposedly insulting to local Indians, only to learn that authentic Virginia chiefs truly like the name.

In San Francisco, city fathers passed an ordinance protecting the rights of transvestites to cross-dress on the job and for transsexuals to have separate toilet facilities while undergoing sex-change surgery.

In New York City, kids who don't speak a word of Spanish have been placed in bilingual classes to learn their three R's in Spanish solely because their last names sound Hispanic.

At the University of Pennsylvania, in a state where thousands died at Gettysburg opposing slavery, the president of that college officially set up segregated dormitory space for black students.

Yeah, I know; that's out of bounds now. Dr. King said "Negroes." Jimmy Baldwin and most of us on the March said "black." But it's a no-no now.

For me, hyphenated identities are awkward – particularly 'Native American.' I'm a Native American, for God's sake. I also happen to be a blood-initiated brother of the Miniconjou Sioux. On my wife's side, my grandson is a thirteenth generation Native American ... with a capital letter on 'American.'

Finally, just last month David Howard, head of the Washington, D.C., Office of Public Advocate, used the word 'niggardly' while talking to colleagues about budgetary matters. Of course, 'niggardly' means stingy or scanty. But within days Howard was forced to publicly apologize and resign.

As columnist Tony Snow wrote: "David Howard got fired because some people in public employ were morons who (a) didn't know the meaning of niggardly,' (b) didn't know how to use a dictionary to discover the meaning, and (c) actually demanded that he apologize for their ignorance."

What does all of this mean? It means that telling us what to think has evolved into telling us what to say, so telling us what to do can't be far behind. Before you claim to be a champion of free thought, tell me: Why did political correctness originate on America's campuses? And why do you continue to tolerate it? Why do you, who're supposed to debate ideas, surrender to their suppression?

Suppression -- political correctness
Let's be honest. Who here thinks your professors can say what they really believe? It scares me to death, and should scare you too, that the superstition of political correctness rules the halls of reason.

You are the best and the brightest. You, here in the fertile cradle of American academia, here in the castle of learning on the Charles River, you are the cream. But I submit that you, and your counterparts across the land, are the most socially conformed and politically silenced generation since Concord Bridge.

And as long as you validate that ... and abide it ... you are – by your grandfathers' standards – cowards. Here's another example. Right now at more than one major university, Second Amendment scholars and researchers are being told to shut up about their findings or they'll lose their jobs. Why? Because their research findings would undermine big-city mayors' pending lawsuits that seek to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from firearm manufacturers.

I don't care what you think about guns. But if you are not shocked at that, I am shocked at you. Who will guard the raw material of unfettered ideas if not you? Who will defend the core value of academia if you supposed soldiers of free thought and expression lay down your arms and plead, "Don't shoot me."

If you talk about race, it does not make you a racist. 
If you see distinctions between the genders, 
it does not make you a sexist. 
If you think critically about a denomination, 
it does not make you anti-religion. 
If you accept but don't celebrate homosexuality, 
it does not make you a homophobe. 

Don't let America's universities continue to serve as incubators for this rampant epidemic of new McCarthyism. But what can you do? How can anyone prevail against such pervasive social subjugation?

The answer's been here all along. I learned it 36 years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., standing with Dr. Martin Luther King and 200,000 people.

You simply ... disobey. Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely. But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don't. We disobey social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom.

I learned the awesome power of disobedience from Dr. King ... who learned it from Gandhi, and Thoreau, and Jesus, and every other great man who led those in the right against those with the might.

Disobedience is in our DNA. We feel innate kinship with that disobedient spirit that tossed tea into Boston Harbor, that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the back of the bus, that protested a war in Vietnam.

In that same spirit, I am asking you to disavow cultural correctness with massive disobedience of rogue authority, social directives and onerous law that weaken personal freedom.

But be careful ... it hurts. Disobedience demands that you put yourself at risk. Dr. King stood on lots of balconies. You must be willing to be humiliated ... to endure the modern-day equivalent of the police dogs at Montgomery and the water cannons at Selma. You must be willing to experience discomfort. I'm not complaining, but my own decades of social activism have taken their toll on me. Let me tell you a story.

A few years back I heard about a rapper named Ice-T who was selling a CD called "Cop Killer" celebrating ambushing and murdering police officers. It was being marketed by none other than Time/Warner, the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world. Police across the country were outraged. Rightfully so – at least one had been murdered. But Time/Warner was stonewalling because the CD was a cash cow for them, and the media were tiptoeing around it because the rapper was black. I heard Time/Warner had a stockholders meeting scheduled in Beverly Hills. I owned some shares at the time, so I decided to attend.

What I did there was against the advice of my family and colleagues. I asked for the floor. To a hushed room of a thousand average American stockholders, I simply read the full lyrics of "Cop Killer" – every vicious, vulgar, instructional word:


It got worse, a lot worse. I won't read the rest of it to you. But trust me, the room was a sea of shocked, frozen, blanched faces. The Time/Warner executives squirmed in their chairs and stared at their shoes. They hated me for that. Then I delivered another volley of sick lyrics brimming with racist filth, where Ice-T fantasizes about sodomizing two 12-year-old nieces Of Al and Tipper Gore: "SHE PUSHED HER BUTT AGAINST MY. ..."

Well, I won't do to you here what I did to them. Let's just say I left the room in echoing silence. When I read the lyrics to the waiting press corps, one of them said, "We can't print that."

"I know," I replied, "but Time/Warner ís selling it."

Two months later, Time/Warner terminated Ice-T's contract. I'll never be offered another film by Warner's or get a good review from Time magazine. But disobedience means you must be willing to act, not just talk.

When a mugger sues his elderly victim for defending herself ... jam the switchboard of the district attorney's office. When your university is pressured to lower standards until 80 percent of the students graduate with honors ... choke the halls of the board of regents. When an 8-year-old boy pecks a girl's cheek on the playground and gets hauled into court for sexual harassment ... march on that school and block its doorways. When someone you elected is seduced by political power and betrays you ... petition them, oust them, banish them. When Time magazine's cover portrays millennium nuts as deranged, crazy Christians holding a cross, as it did last month ... boycott their magazine and the products it advertises.

So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the great disobediences of history that freed exiles, founded religions, defeated tyrants, and yes, in the hands of an aroused rabble in arms and a few great men, by God's grace, built this country.

If Dr. King were here, I think he would agree. 

Thank you. 
More reading on this subject see  
The Catholic Bible

Friday, 11 April 2014

HOLY WEEK - Beginining on Palm Sunday and Ending with Christ's Resurrection

EWTN Eternal Word Television Network (which is now Global) has great inspirational programming for this Holy Week and all throughout the year. If you do not have EWTN as part of your cable programs, call your local cable company (or satellite company) and ask for it.  EWTN is a non-profit television company, it charges nothing for you to watch, though as my cable company does -- charges $2.95/mo.  But it's well worth it!!
Prayers, Masses, Catechises, News from a Catholic Perspective, Movies and series, Lives of the Saints, and much more. It will greatly enrich your faith.

Holy Week

Palm Sunday

Jesus Triumphant  Entry into Jerusalem

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!

Hosanna in the highest!"

Mark Chapter 11

Pope Benedict's Palm Sunday Homily

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Palm Sunday is the great doorway leading into Holy Week, the week when the Lord Jesus makes his way towards the culmination of his earthly existence. He goes up to Jerusalem in order to fulfill the Scriptures and to be nailed to the wood of the Cross, the throne from which he will reign for ever, drawing to himself humanity of every age and offering to all the gift of redemption. We know from the Gospels that Jesus had set out towards Jerusalem in company with the Twelve, and that little by little a growing crowd of pilgrims had joined them. Saint Mark tells us that as they were leaving Jericho, there was a "great multitude" following Jesus (cf. 10:46).

On the final stage of the journey, a particular event stands out, one which heightens the sense of expectation of what is about to unfold and focuses attention even more sharply upon Jesus. Along the way, as they were leaving Jericho, a blind man was sitting begging, Bartimaeus by name. As soon as he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing, he began to cry out: "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" (Mk 10:47). People tried to silence him, but to no avail; until Jesus had them call him over and invited him to approach. "What do you want me to do for you?", he asked. And the reply: "Master, let me receive my sight" (v. 51). Jesus said: "Go your way, your faith has made you well." Bartimaeus regained his sight and began to follow Jesus along the way (cf. v. 52). And so it was that, after this miraculous sign, accompanied by the cry "Son of David", a tremor of Messianic hope spread through the crowd, causing many of them to ask: this Jesus, going ahead of us towards Jerusalem, could he be the Messiah, the new David? And as he was about to enter the Holy City, had the moment come when God would finally restore the Davidic kingdom?

The preparations made by Jesus, with the help of his disciples, serve to increase this hope. As we heard in today’s Gospel (cf. Mk 11:1-10), Jesus arrives in Jerusalem from Bethphage and the Mount of Olives, that is, the route by which the Messiah was supposed to come. From there, he sent two disciples ahead of him, telling them to bring him a young donkey that they would find along the way. They did indeed find the donkey, they untied it and brought it to Jesus. At this point, the spirits of the disciples and of the other pilgrims were swept up with excitement: they took their coats and placed them on the colt; others spread them out on the street in Jesus’ path as he approached, riding on the donkey. Then they cut branches from the trees and began to shout phrases from Psalm 118, ancient pilgrim blessings, which in that setting took on the character of messianic proclamation: "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!" (v. 9-10). This festive acclamation, reported by all four evangelists, is a cry of blessing, a hymn of exultation: it expresses the unanimous conviction that, in Jesus, God has visited his people and the longed-for Messiah has finally come. And everyone is there, growing in expectation of the work that Christ will accomplish once he has entered the city.

But what is the content, the inner resonance of this cry of jubilation? The answer is found throughout the Scripture, which reminds us that the Messiah fulfills the promise of God’s blessing, God’s original promise to Abraham, father of all believers: "I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you ... and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves" (Gen 12:2-3). It is the promise that Israel had always kept alive in prayer, especially the prayer of the Psalms. Hence he whom the crowd acclaims as the blessed one is also he in whom the whole of humanity will be blessed. Thus, in the light of Christ, humanity sees itself profoundly united and, as it were, enfolded within the cloak of divine blessing, a blessing that permeates, sustains, redeems and sanctifies all things...."

Pope Benedict's Homily Full Text

Monday of Holy Week

Mary Anointing Jesus’ Feet

Today's Readings -   

Mary of Bethany
The impulsive, loving gesture done for Jesus by his close friend Mary of Bethany, is so inspirational that it’s a wonder the Church has not made more of it in our liturgy. Mary may not yet have seen Jesus in the full light of prophecy, as “a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners who sit in darkness” (1st Reading), or indeed as the world’s only Saviour, but she knew and loved him as a man of God, a fearless preacher of truth, love and fairness, and an extraordinary, compassionate healer of many, including herself. For this reason, she honoured and loved him and dared to show her love by that extravagant gesture of anointing him with perfumed oil, to which Judas so coldly objected. Rising to her defence, Jesus interprets her action as a preliminary anointing for his burial. “She bought it for the day of my burial.” A little earlier, the Jewish high priest Caiaphas has declared that “One man must die for the nation,” and a few verses later Jesus will speak of the need for the seed to die, in order to bear much fruit (Jn 12:24), and of his imminent “Lifting Up” so that he can draw all people to himself (12:32). Mary’s impulsive act of loving generosity is thus given the status of a prophecy, preparing for his sacrificial death.

How strange that this iconic story is so relatively little known, and that it never received sacramental stature in the Church. Vatican teaching has been adamant that whatever kind of quasi-ministry may be implied in this act of anointing by Mary of Bethany, or in Mary Magdalene’s later mission of announcing that Jesus was truly risen, does not constitute a basis for women to be ordained to priesthood. Perhaps that’s why the Lord’s apparently solemn and clear directive, in the parallel passage about Jesus being anointed by an unnamed woman in Bethany), that “Wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done shall be told, in memory of her” (Mt 26:13 is so little observed. Gospel texts such as these would seem to call us to reconsider what Jesus meant as ministry within his community, nothing to do with status and with power, and all to do with actual loving service.
Taken from:

Tuesday of Holy Week

Jesus warns of betrayals; but if they remain faithful, 
they will follow him “hereafter”.

 Today's Readings

Success out of failure

For the first followers of Jesus, his condemnation and brutal execution must surely have seemed like total failure. To those who stood at a distance watching him die on the cross (Mk 15:40) and the others who had fled for safety but who heard of the crucifixion later that evening, it seemed like the end of an inspiring movement that had first filled them with hope and enthusiasm but now seemed only a great delusion. With the death of Jesus, all their hopes based on him as their leader lay in ruins. Whatever predictions he had made about his suffering and subsequent rising had not been taken seriously, either by Peter or the others (Mk 8:32).

Only later, after their glimmering, stuttering visions of his risen presence, did they get to reflecting seriously on Our Lord’s predictions. In this they were greatly helped by some studious member of their group who first got the insight that all Jesus’ sufferings were foretold in prophecy; and most clearly in the Isaiah poems about God’s loving Servant. It suddenly dawned on the early Christians that words first spoken about the whole people of Israel now found their full meaning in Jesus. In him God’s message was fulfilled, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” Our Lord’s apparently futile attempt to renew and purify his Jewish people would not end with the crucifixion. Through this loving outpouring of his life, he achieved more than to “raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel.” It’s fruit was exactly what, in Saint John’s account, it was meant to be: for the sake of people everywhere (“I will draw all people to myself!”) The early church saw in Jesus the fulfilment of Isaiah 49:6, “I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

In his Last Supper story, John interweaves the two strands: apparent failure and ultimate triumph. Even among the Twelve, Jesus has to contend with one who will betray him, another who will deny him, and their general incomprehension of what he wishes to tell them on the eve of his Passion. And still the Evangelist is convinced that Jesus himself faced this supreme trial with a firm hope that through the willing acceptance of the Cross, “God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.” This is also our hope, as a Christian community gathered around his memory, in loving prayer, this Holy Week.
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Wednesday of Holy Week

“Spy Sunday”

Christ knows that Judas Iscariot will betray him, 
yet lets him share in the Passover Meal; 
at least in the first part of it

Today's Readings

Why “Spy Wednesday”? 

This is “Spy Wednesday”, so called from the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, one of his own chose inner circle of Twelve. Poor Judas was doubtless talented, probably very astute, and had in his youth some spark of idealism; and yet when it came to the test he proved treacherous, unreliable, profoundly untrustworthy. The Gospels offer a few clues that may suggest what led the misguided Apostle towards that ultimate act of treachery: selling Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. We might even feel a twinge of pity for Judas, about whom Jesus spoke those chilling words, “It would have been better for that man not to have been born!” But rather than spend time trying to explain or analyse the level Judas’ guilt, or trying to figure out his mixed motivations, it would be more fruitful to examine some ways in which we ourselves are untrustworthy and in need of the grace of repentance. The story of Judas is a sobering lesson for us all. “There but for the grace of God go I!” we may well say.

It is also a special day to pray for all those who have tragically taken their own lives, in the depths of their despair; and to pray for grace, compassion and friendship for any who are tempted to suicide. We could show some practical solidarity with the Samaritans who offer counselling to people in deep trouble, and even invest more of our time in being good listeners, where people can find help in time of trouble. On the example of Jesus, each of us could ask the Lord God to help us deepen our discipleship, and to grant us the gift of encouragement, “that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.”
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Holy Thursday - Good Friday - Holy Saturday
The Easter Triduum (sometimes also referred to as the Paschal Triduum) is the proper name for the liturgical season that concludes Lent and introduces us to the joy of the Easter season. Starting with the Mass of the Lord's Supper on the evening of Holy Thursday, continuing through the Good Friday service and Holy Saturday, and concluding with vespers (evening prayer) on Easter Sunday, the Easter Triduum marks the most significant events of Holy Week (also known as Passiontide).

The Easter Triduum is often commonly referred to simply as the Triduum (with a capital T). However, a triduum is simply any three-day period of prayer, recalling the three days that Christ spent in the tomb.

Encompassing the final three days of the discipline of Lent, the Easter Triduum has traditionally been observed with even stricter fasting and abstinence, as well as prayer and almsgiving. Since 1956, however, the Paschal Triduum has been regarded as its own liturgical season, and thus liturgically Lent ends before the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.
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Holy Thursday

The example of Jesus washing his followers’ feet 
shows us how Christians should live

 Today's Readings

How to join in the Last Supper

When Jesus says, “Do this in memory of me!” clearly he means us to understand what “This” was and is. What exactly had he in mind through the symbols of the broken bread and the shared cup of wine? We need to get behind the formal Catechism answer about the “holy sacrifice of the Mass”, and think anew about the meaning of that paschal meal. The Last Supper was celebrated in the context of the Jewish Passover meal and tonight’s first reading explains the meaning of this feast. In words and symbols it recalled the greatest saving act of God in the Old Testament, the exodus from Egypt, setting God’s people free from slavery. It opens us up to the idea that God enters our lives to save us and set us free from whatever oppresses us. So “opened up,” we are prepared for the good news that the definitive saving work of God is done in and by Jesus Christ.

We reflect this evening on what St John calls the “hour” of Jesus, the high point of his saving work, the new exodus, his passing from this world to the Father through which he brought into being a new relationship between God and us human beings. Sharing in this new exodus is our ultimate liberation, freeing us from enslavement to material things and petty self-interest and setting us free to love generously — the very purpose for which we were originally created in the image of God.

Through his love-without-limit, in his own utterly unselfish heart Jesus overcame all human selfishness and with it, human sin. Precisely this love, which the Father wants us all to have and to share, is the very heart of Jesus’ exodus. It is just this self-giving kind of love which Jesus wishes to be kept alive among us. With his disciples in the Last Supper he anticipated his death for us on the cross, giving himself in the sacramental symbols of bread and wine. From then on the celebration of our Eucharist is the living memorial through which we are joined to Our Lord’s saving act of love. It is our way to share in the new exodus, to be freed from the isolation of self-concern so that they become fully human as God wants us to be.

St John teaches this in his own unique way. We are united with Jesus by letting him wash our feet, doing for us his great act of loving service. Having accepted the gift we must embrace it as a value to be effective in our lives. What Jesus does for us is an example of how we are to live: in some real sense, like Jesus, we must live “for” service of God and others. Jesus sees a close link between him washing their feet and them going on to wash the feet of others in the future. If the Eucharist is the place where the Lord washes our feet, daily life is the place where we ought to wash the feet of others. Eucharist leads to life leads to Eucharist. True Eucharist piety must lead to service of others. Jesus who broke the bread of the Eucharist also washed the feet of his disciples. We must follow his example both at the altar of the Eucharist and at the altar of life.

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With dignity and strength, 
Jesus walks along the royal road to Calvary.
 St John shows how everything happened to 
fulfill God’s saving plan for our redemption

Today's Readings

All Done, Completed, Fulfilled

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? .. In the words of that haunting song, sometimes it does indeed cause me to tremble… when I hear those words from the cross, “It is Consummated!” Consummated — completed — achieved to the last degree — engraved forever on the memory of mankind. “I have come to seek and to save what was lost… The Son of Man came, not to be served but to serve.” His life was one long act of loving service, and now it ends on a rocky hill outside Jerusalem’s walls, with a final act of total self-surrender to the Father, on our behalf. Nothing like it was ever accomplished before, and its fruits go on forever.

The marvel is that, in another sense, this hour of his death remains powerfully alive in the hearts of all who trust in him — this point of total, utter contact between us and almighty God. The utterly self-giving, loving, loyal spirit of Jesus at the point of leaving this world is shared and handed on. This is seen most clearly in the fervour of the saints, in men like Francis of Assisi, who bore on his body the stigmata of Jesus, or Paul of the Cross, who found in Christ crucified a vast sea of divine love, or Charles of Mount Argus, devoted to serving all who were troubled and sick, to share with them the love of Christ, or Mother Teresa, whose heart was so imprinted by the love of Jesus that she inspired many others to serve him in the poorest of the poor.

It is consummated — because by his cross, He draws us all into contemplation of the grace and mercy of God in our lives in so many circumstances. As Joseph Mary Plunkett put it in a poem written in 1916,

    I see His Blood Upon the Rose

    I see his blood upon the rose

    And in the stars the glory of his eyes,

    His body gleams amid eternal snows,

    His tears fall from the skies.

He shows us a new way to look at our lives, to appreciate God’s presence with us every step of the way, to see in all of nature the signs of a loving providence that is taking care of us:

    I see his face in every flower;

    The thunder and the singing of the birds

    Are but his voice-and carven by his power

    Rocks are his written words.

Above all, his arms are forever reaching out to save and bless those who turn to him, wherever we are on life’s journey. Young or old, married or single, rich or poor, woman or man, Irish, Polish, Chinese or South African — all of us are there beneath his saving cross, and for us a stream of blessing flows out, to lead us to eternal life.

    All pathways by his feet are worn,

    His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,

    His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,

    His cross is every tree.

Yet in another sense the wonderful saving work of Jesus is not completed until it is recognised, welcomed and absorbed by each of his faithful followers… and until we in turn bring the spirit of his boundless compassion to bear in our world, reaching out as he did to bring our fellow human beings – and especially those most in need – into the warmth of God’s family circle.

Taken from

Today's Readings

From an Easter homily by Melito of Sardis, bishop (Easter praise of Christ, for use on Holy Saturday)

We should understand, beloved, that the paschal mystery is at once old and new, transitory and eternal, corruptible and incorruptible, mortal and immortal. In terms of the Law it is old, in terms of the Word it is new. In its figure it is passing, in its grace it is eternal. It is corruptible in the sacrifice of the lamb, incorruptible in the eternal life of the Lord. It is mortal in his burial in the earth, immortal in his resurrection from the dead.

The Law indeed is old, but the Word is new. The type is transitory, but grace is eternal. The lamb was corruptible, but the Lord is incorruptible. He was slain as a lamb; he rose again as God. He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, yet he was not a sheep. He was silent as a lamb, yet he was not a lamb. The type has passed away; the reality has come. The lamb gives place to God, the sheep gives place to a man, and the man is Christ, who fills the whole of creation. The sacrifice of the lamb, the celebration of the Passover, and the prescriptions of the Law have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Under the old Law, and still more under the new dispensation, everything pointed toward him.

Both the Law and the Word came forth from Zion and Jerusalem, but now the Law has given place to the Word, the old to the new. The commandment has become grace, the type a reality. The lamb has become a Son, the sheep a man, and man, God.

The Lord, though he was God, became man. He suffered for the sake of those who suffer, he was bound for those in bonds, condemned for the guilty, buried for those who lie in the grave; but he rose from the dead, and cried aloud: Who will contend with me? Let him confront me. I have freed the condemned, brought the dead back to life, raised men from their graves. Who has anything to say against me? I, he said, am the Christ; I have destroyed death, triumphed over the enemy, trampled hell underfoot, bound the strong one, and taken men up to the heights of heaven: I am the Christ.

Come, then, all you nations, receive forgiveness for the sins that defile you. I am your forgiveness. I am the Passover that brings salvation. I am the lamb who was immolated for you. I am your ransom, your life, your resurrection, your light, I am your salvation and your king. I will bring you to the heights of heaven. With my own right hand I will raise you up, and I will show you the eternal Father.

Taken from

Easter Sunday

He is Risen! Alleluia!!

Today's Readings


Easter Joy
 My brothers and sisters in Christ, may the joy and peace of the Lord Jesus fill all your hearts on this beautiful Easter Sunday that commemorates the glorious Ressurection of the Lord Jesus.

    As many of you are aware, Easter is the principal feast of the liturgical year. Pope Leo I called it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and said that Christmas was celebrated only in preparation for Easter.

    You may wonder why Easter is the greatest of all feasts celebrated during the liturgical year? It is because it commemorates the marvellous Resurrection of the Lord Jesus on the first day of the week. Based on the testimonies of "over five hundreds" [1 Cor. 15:5-8] believers who have witnessed the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, it cannot be denied that "the Lord has risen indeed." [Lk. 24:34]

    On the Feast of Easter, we commemorate the most important turning point in the history of mankind. We honour the fulfillment of the "blessed hope" of every living being, "the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ." [Tit. 2:13] At that moment, when the fullness of time had arrived, all the faithful believers of the past, present, and future, received the free gift of salvation through the grace of God.

    In order to appreciate the glorious Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we have to consider what the outcome would have been if there had been no resurrection. Saint Paul summarizes this subject in the following words:

        "Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ - whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." [1 Cor. 12-9]

        "But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ." [1 Cor. 20-2]

    In fact, Christ has been raised from the dead! He was not only raised from the dead to prove to us that He is God; He was raised to prove to us that "we will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?'" [1 Cor. 15:52-5; Is. 25:8]

    My brothers and sisters, as we have heard from the Second Reading of the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians, because we have been raised with Christ, we should seek the things that are from above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. We should set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For we have died in Christ, and our new life is hidden with Christ in God.

    For us Christians, Easter Sunday is a day of joy. It is a day of joy because of the new life that we have received in Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism. It is a day of joy because we have new brothers and sisters in Christ who have come home by receiving the Sacrament of Baptism. It is a day of joy because it is the time of the year when many, after having been absent for some time, return to Jesus through the Sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist. It is a day of joy when in the perfect unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, all the saints and angels of Heaven rejoice with us because "The Lord has risen indeed." [Lk. 24:34]

    On this beautiful Easter Sunday, our joy in Christ is manifested many ways. It is manifested through our presence at the celebration of the Holy Mass during which time, with all our hearts, we praise our Lord Jesus Christ in thanksgiving. It is manifested in the warmth of the homes where family members and friends have been invited to a great feast of excellent foods. It is manifested in the laughter of the little children who will be provided with the opportunity to play games with their parents, be it searching for coloured eggs or other games. For some children, this special relationship with their parents is a rare opportunity because sometimes during the year, we forget to make ourselves little so we can share in the joy of our little ones.

    In the midst of all this outward joy that we are celebrating, let us not forget those who's joy is inward. There are those who are sick in the hospital, the prisoners who have been forgotten, those who's countries have been torn apart by warfare, the seniors who live in solitude, all those who share in our joy in their own way. Our Lord is also their Lord. Inwardly, they also share in the joy of knowing that the Lord has indeed risen.

    My brothers and sisters in Christ, the glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, witnessed by hundreds in the early days of the Church, is our proof that one day we will all be united as one eternal family. This life is temporary. What awaits us is so much better and greater. Until we reach that day, let us live the joy of Easter with all our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us make a special effort to reach out to those who do not share in our joy and especially those who have been forgotten so they may manifest their joy outwardly as we are doing today. As of today, may you all go forth in the Spirit of Christ and bring the joy of the Lord to all those who touch your lives!
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