Saturday, April 5, 2014

Passion Sunday 6th April 2014



Passion  Sunday


6  April 2014


 


“Amen, amen, I say to you before Abraham came to be, I am.” Jn. 8:58


 


This Sunday is called Passion Sunday because the Church begins on this day to make the sufferings of  Jesus, our Redeemer, the main object of our thought as we approach the Paschal Mysteries of our Redemption.  Dom Prosper Gueranger in The Liturgical Year, Vol. 5 reminds us: “Everything around us urges to mourn. The images of the saints, the very crucifix on our altar, are veiled from our sight. The Church is oppressed with grief. During the first four weeks of Lent, she compassionated her Jesus fasting  in the desert; His coming sufferings and crucifixion and death are what now fill her with anguish. We read in today’s Gospel, that the Jews threaten to stone the Son of God as a blasphemer; but His hour is not yet come.  He is obliged to flee and hide Himself. It is to express deep humiliation, that the Church veils the cross.  A God hiding Himself, that He may evade the anger of men –what a mystery!  Is it weakness? Is it, that He fears death?  No; we shall soon see Him going out to meet His enemies; but at present He hides Himself from them, because all that had been prophesied regarding Him has not been fulfilled.  Besides, His death is not to be by stoning:  He is to die upon a cross, the tree of malediction, which from  this time forward, is to be the tree of life.” Gueranger, p. 106  On this day, and all days, we need to see how much Jesus loves us and love Him in return. Let us open our hearts with a lively hope for our salvation is in the Passion of Christ.  In today’s Epistle to the Hebrews  (9:11-15) St. Paul “presents to us the majestic figure of Christ, the Eternal High Priest, who ‘by His Blood entered once into the holies (that is, heaven) having obtained eternal redemption.’ (Heb. 9:12)  The Passion of Jesus has redeemed us; it has opened once again our Father’s house to us; it is then the motive of our hope.”  Fr. Gabriel, OCD, Divine Intimacy, p. 371-2


 


“...how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the Holy Spirit offered himself unblemished unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Heb. 9: 14     In today’s Epistle St. Paul tells us why Christ’s sacrifice was so necessary.  All the ancient sacrifices of the Old Testament were of no avail to achieve man’s redemption.  Only Jesus Christ, “as the Lamb of God, took on Himself men’s sins and bore them away; the bond which stood against us He cancelled by fastening it to the cross: He broke by His death the power of sin, and rescuing men from its slavery, made them children of God and heirs of heaven.” Msgr. Patrick Boylan,  The Sunday Epistles and Gospels, p. 219  Christ redeemed us by His own blood: “nor again by virtue of blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of his own blood, into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption.”  Heb. 9:12  How grateful we should be for so great a sacrifice as Msgr. Boylan tells us:  “No adequate thanks can be offered by us for His sacrifice to our great High Priest. But we can please Him by joining with Him in His self-oblation to the Father. He has entered as a Victim into the most holy place of heaven, and He shows perpetually the marks of His wounds to the Father. Let us join with Him in asking the Father to accept for our sins the Blood of His Son. There is no other like offering that we can make to God to counterbalance our debt of sin.” Ibid, p. 218


 


“Which of you can convict me of sin? If I speak the  truth, why do you not believe me.”  Jn. 8:46


In today’s Gospel (Jn. 8:46-59),  St. John shows the continuing opposition of the Jewish leaders to Jesus. None of them can challenge Him on His holy life, but  yet none of them will believe Him when He tells them that truth: “Which of you can convict me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe me? Jn. 8:46 Jesus tells them the reason that  they do not believe in Him is because they are not of God:  He who is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear is that you are not of God.”  Jn. 8:47   The Jews cannot give any better argument than the “ad hominem” attack which is the poorest of arguments; they cannot say anything better that to call Jesus names: “Are we not right     in saying thou are a Samaritan, and hast a devil.” Jn. 8:48   The Jews hated the heretical Samaritans and would not even talk to them; to call Jesus a devil is blasphemous.  It was their way of retaliating for what Jesus said of them: “The father from whom you are is the devil.” Jn. 8:44  When Jesus tells them solemnly, “Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone keep my word, he will never see death,”(Jn. 8:51) they attack Him: “Art thou greater than our father Abraham who is dead?  And the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself?” Jn. 8:53.    Jesus then tells them that His Father will glorify Him and that Abraham rejoiced that he would see His day:  “Abraham your father rejoiced that he was to see my day. He saw it and was glad.” Jn. 8:55  The Jews again fail to understand Jesus as they see only the appearances and believe that Jesus is talking of the present life: “Thou are not yet fifty years old, and has thou seen Abraham?”  Jn. 8:57  It is here that Jesus, using the words of God to Moses, solemnly claims His eternal generation as God: “Amen, amen, I say to you before Abraham came to be I am.” Jn. 8:58  For them this is too much and they take up stones to kill him, but Jesus hides Himself as it is not His time to die. He will sacrifice Himself on His terms!


 


“Strange  blindness” and “hardness of heart”


Dom Gueranger comments on the obstinacy of the Jews to the truth that Jesus reveals to them:  “Their obstinacy in refusing to acknowledge Jesus as the Messias, has led these men to ignore the very God, whom they boast of honouring; for if they knew the Father,  they would not reject His Son. Moses, and all the Psalms, and the Prophets, are a dead letter to them; ...Strange blindness, that comes from pride and hardness of heart! The feast of the Pasch is at hand; these men are going to eat, and with much parade of religion the flesh of the figurative lamb; they know full well that this lamb is the symbol, or figure, which is to have fulfilment. The true Lamb is to be sacrificed by their hands, and they will not know Him. He will shed His Blood for them, and it will not save them. How this reminds us of those sinners, for whom this Easter promises to be as fruitless as those of the past years!” Gueranger, p. 114-5


 


“The Great Work of Christ”


In Mediator Dei, (1940)Ven. Pope Pius XII also speaks of our debt to Christ:  “The great work of Christ was to reconcile man with God.  This  he did all his life by means of  a complete offering of himself to the Father.  This sacrificial offering continued all his life, to be consummated on Calvary.  All his activity has no other purpose.... lifted up between heaven and earth, he offers the sacrifice of his life and, from his pierced heart burst forth, in some way, the sacraments, which distribute to souls treasures of the redemption. In doing all this he had as his main purpose the glory of his Father and the greater sanctification of men.”  Let not our eyes be blind and our hearts be hardened for all that Jesus Christ has done for us with His sacrifice on the Cross by which he has merited for us our redemption and our eternal salvation.


“Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle!


With completed victory rife:


And above the Cross’s trophy


Tell the triumph of the strife:


How the world’s Redeemer conquered


By offering of His life.”


(Hymn for Good Friday)


 


“Could you not, then, watch one hour with Me?” Mt. 26:40


We are now in our second year of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from after Mass until Benediction at 3:10 P. M. every day. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us how very special the Holy Eucharist is:  “O precious wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness......No other sacrament has greater healing power; through it, sins are purged away, virtues are increased and the soul is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual gift.”  “Could you not, then, watch one hour with


Me?”  Mt. 26:40


 


How to attend Holy Mass


 


“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the altar.  If you wish to hear Mass, as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him.  You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words, and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”  Pope St. Pius X


 


 


Why the Rosary is so Important.


 


“You must know that when you ‘hail’ Mary, she immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is one of those rude women of whom there are so many—on the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!”
Saint Bernardine of Siena




“Recite your Rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence, and with perseverance.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“The rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.”  Pope Saint Pius X

Rosary is the most beautiful and the most


“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil.”    Saint Louis de Montfort

“Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if—and mark well what I say—if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.” Saint Louis de Montfort

“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families…that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”
Sister Lucia dos Santos, Fatima seer. 


 


When you say your Rosary, the angels rejoice, the Blessed Trinity delights in it, my Son finds joy in it too, and I myself am happier than you can possibly guess. After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there is nothing in the Church that I love as much as the Rosary.”
Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche

“‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!’ No creature has ever said anything that was more pleasing to me, nor will anyone ever be able to find or say to me anything that pleases me more.”    Our Lady to Saint Mechtilde


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Laetare Sunday 30th March 2014


The Fourth Sunday of Lent

30 March 2014

 

“Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow:”  Is. 66:10-11 (The  Introit )

Today is called Laetare Sunday after the first word of the Introit. It is  the midpoint of  Lent and the Church wants us to consider the joy that will be ours with the  Easter Mysteries.  This can be seen in the readings the Church has selected for the Epistle (Galatians 4:22-31) and the  Gospel (John 6:1-15).  In the Epistle to the Galatians, St. Paul reminds the Jewish converts in Galatia that they have been freed from the bondage of the Old Law by Jesus Christ in the New Covenant made with the sacrifice of  His own Body and Blood on Mt. Calvary.  This New Covenant of God’s love is foreshadowed in today’s gospel about Jesus’ miracle of The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.  As Jesus feeds five thousand men not counting the women and children,” (Mt. 14:21) so He will feed all His followers in the Holy Eucharist with His Body and Blood: the Sacrament “of the New and Eternal Testament: the mystery of faith which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of  sins.” (Consecration of the Blood at Mass)   While we rejoice at this midpoint of our Lenten time of penance, we should rejoice even more because  we are children of God who have been called to eternal life in the New Jerusalem of heaven.

 

Children of Slavery or Children of Promise

In today’s Epistle to the Galatians, St. Paul resolves the controversy raging among the Jews about the need for circumcision in obedience to the Mosaic Law before becoming Christians.  St. Paul shows the Jews their error by using an example from Hebrew history, specifically the story of  Abraham’s two sons, Ishmael by the slave girl Agar, and  the other son, Isaac, by his wife Sara: “And the son of the slave-girl was born according to the flesh, but the son of free woman in virtue of the promise. This is said by way of allegory. For these are two covenants; one indeed from Mount Sinai, bringing forth children unto bondage, which is  Agar... But that Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother...Now we brethren, are the children of promise as Isaac was.” Gal. 4:23-28   Dom Prosper Gueranger summarizes St. Paul’s allegorical interpretation in The Liturgical Year, Vol. 5:  “Let us rejoice! We are children, not of Sinai, but of Jerusalem. Our mother, the holy Church, is not a bond-woman, but free; and it is unto freedom that she has brought us up.  Israel served God in fear; his heart was ever tending to idolatry, and could be kept to duty only by the heavy yoke of chastisement. More happy than he, we serve God through love; our yoke is sweet, and our burden is light! (cf. Mt. 11:30)  We are not citizens of the earth; we are but pilgrims passing through it to our true country, the Jerusalem which is above. We leave the earthly Jerusalem to the Jew, who mind only terrestrial things, is disappointed  with Jesus, and is plotting how to crucify Him.  We also have too long been grovelling in the goods of this world; we have been slaves of sin; and the more the chains of our bondage weighed upon us, the more we talked of our being free.  Now is the favourable time; now are the days of salvation: we have obeyed the Church’s call, and have entered into the practice and spirit of Lent. Sin seems to us, now, to be  the heaviest of yokes; the flesh, a dangerous burden; the world, a merciless tyrant.  We begin to breathe the fresh air of holy liberty, and the hope of our speedy deliverance fills us with transports of joy. Let us, with all possible affection, thank our divine Liberator, who delivers us from the bondage of Agar, emancipated us from the law of fear, and making us His new people, opens to us the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, at the price of His Blood.”  p. 320-21.

 

Eucharistic Banquet in Heaven

In today’s gospel, Jesus anticipates the heavenly banquet by providing an earthly one with His miracle of  “The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes.” Jesus has compassion on the many people who had been following Him for days and were hungry.  He performs one of his greatest miracles in feeding this multitude, five thousand men not counting the women and children,” Mt. 14:21   St. John in his gospel account of this miracle places it and The Miracle of Walking on the Sea just before His promise of the Eucharist by which He will give His own flesh  to eat:  “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.” Jn. 6:51-52   By the miracle of  “The Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes,” Jesus shows that He has the power over nature to make bread into His own body.  Those who partake of His Body and Blood will be guaranteed eternal life in the Heavenly Jerusalem.  This is His New Covenant with His people. Sadly, many who heard Jesus did not believe Him.  The day before when he had multiplied the loaves and fishes they had wanted to make Him their King: “This indeed is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jn. 6:14  St.  John Chrysostom commenting on this scene said:  When He gave them bread and satisfied their hunger,  they called Him a prophet and tried to make Him their king; but when He instructed them concerning the spiritual food, about eternal life; when He spoke to them of the resurrection and lifted up their hopes, when more than ever they should have admired Him, then they murmured against Him and left Him.” (The Preacher’s Encyclopaedia: Lent and Eastertide, p. 183)

 

Eternal Life in Christ

            Today’s Liturgy reminds us that we should be filled with joy as we have reached the midpoint of our Lenten journey to the Easter Mysteries.  We are the children of the promise from Christ, our Saviour; we are not the children of the bond woman and the old law which kept the children in slavery because it could not free them from sin.  We have been freed by Christ and have been fed with His own Body and Blood which has been wonderfully multiplied and is our pledge of eternal life.  As Jesus fed the multitude, so  He will reward all with eternal life who follow Him and eat His Body and drink His Blood: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day.”  Jn. 6:55

 

The Church Fills us with joy today.

          In the Allocution on the first anniversary of his pontificate (at the beginning of World War II), Pope Pius XII said: “In the midst of penance and fasting the Church becomes a herald of Joy.  In spite of present worries and preoccupations and the threats of even worse  things to come we must seek the joy of the soul.  ‘Beloved sons; if the Church whose wise teaching joins both austerity and sweetness in one perfect harmony, today bids us rejoice, we who are sunk in sadness, and if We, in a moment of intimate contact with you, do not hesitate to repeat that counsel, it is not that we have forgotten your worries. This ‘rejoice’ which comes from the mouth of the Church, our Mother, teaches us to find the serene joy of the soul even in the sufferings of nature and bitterness of heart.’”

First Friday: 4 March 2014

Now is a good time to continue (or begin) the  devotion to the “Nine  First Fridays” of the Month.   The Sacred Heart of Jesus promised to St. Margaret Mary:  "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My Heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments; My Divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment." 

 

Mission of the Immaculate Mediatrix

(MIM)    5 April 2014

 

On the First Saturday of every month, we will have our monthly formation program for those who interested in affiliating themselves with the Marian Spirituality of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. The day begins at 9:30 AM and goes until 4 PM and includes two conferences, Holy Mass, adoration and the rosary. (see flyer on door)

  This spirituality is Marian and Franciscan and includes the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi,   St. Maximilian Kolbe and other Franciscan saints. “The fundamental aim of the MIM is the fulfilment of God’s plan for the salvation and sanctification of all souls through the maternal mediation of the Immaculate to the supreme glory of the Most Holy Trinity.”  (Article 2: Statute)

It is most important at this time in our world to come together and learn about Our Lady and her messages especially Fatima.  Pope John Paul II:  On November 9, 1976 said in the USA as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla:  “We are now standing in face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through.  I do not think that the wide circles of American society or the wide circles of  the Christian community realize this fully.  We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the Anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.”

We hope that all of you will consider joining the MIM and work for your own sanctification and the sanctification of  so many souls who are in danger of being lost for all eternity in hell as Our Lady said at Fatima. 

 

 

The First Saturday: 5 April 2014

Our Lady told Sr. Lucia in 1925 “…I promise to assist at the hour of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months go to confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me."  If only we would do what Our Lady asks, we would be assured of eternal salvation.  Our Lady promises us all the graces necessary for our salvation if we keep The Five First Saturdays!