3/25/20 4th week of Lent
Daily Readings Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10 Psalms 40:7-8 A, 8B-9, 10, 11 Hebrews 10:4-10 John 1:14AB Luke 1:26-38 Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10 The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying: Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!” Then Isaiah said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us!
Psalms 40:7-8 A, 8B-9, 10, 11 R. (8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience you gave me. Holocausts or sin-offerings you sought not; then said I, “Behold I come.” R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. “In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!” R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know. R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. Your justice I kept not hid within my heart; your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of; I have made no secret of your kindness and your truth in the vast assembly. R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will. Hebrews 10:4-10 Brothers and sisters: It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats take away sins. For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight. Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, behold, I come to do your will, O God.’” First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings, you neither desired nor delighted in.” These are offered according to the law. Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.” He takes away the first to establish the second. By this “will,” we have been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all. Luke 1:26-38 The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Let thankfulness temper all your thoughts. A thankful mind-set keeps you in touch with Me. I hate it when My children grumble, casually despising My sovereignty. Thankfulness is a safeguard against this deadly sin. Furthermore, a grateful attitude becomes a grid through which you perceive life. Gratitude enables you to see the Light of My Presence shining on all your circumstances. Cultivate a thankful heart, for this glorifies Me and fills you with Joy.
1 Corinthians 10:10; Hebrews 12:28-29
Of the things you often grumble about, let’s consider how you can turn those grumblings into gratitude.
Saint of the Day |
Annunciation of the Lord (March 25)
The feast of the Annunciation, now recognized as a solemnity, was first celebrated in the fourth or fifth century. Its central focus is the Incarnation: God has become one of us. From all eternity God had decided that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity should become human. Now, as Luke 1:26-38 tells us, the decision is being realized. The God-Man embraces all humanity, indeed all creation, to bring it to God in one great act of love. Because human beings have rejected God, Jesus will accept a life of suffering and an agonizing death: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Mary has an important role to play in God’s plan. From all eternity, God destined her to be the mother of Jesus and closely related to him in the creation and redemption of the world. We could say that God’s decrees of creation and redemption are joined in the decree of Incarnation. Because Mary is God’s instrument in the Incarnation, she has a role to play with Jesus in creation and redemption. It is a God-given role. It is God’s grace from beginning to end. Mary becomes the eminent figure she is only by God’s grace. She is the empty space where God could act. Everything she is she owes to the Trinity.
Mary is the virgin-mother who fulfills Isaiah 7:14 in a way that Isaiah could not have imagined. She is united with her son in carrying out the will of God (Psalm 40:8-9; Hebrews 10:7-9; Luke 1:38).
Together with Jesus, the privileged and graced Mary is the link between heaven and earth. She is the human being who best, after Jesus, exemplifies the possibilities of human existence. She received into her lowliness the infinite love of God. She shows how an ordinary human being can reflect God in the ordinary circumstances of life. She exemplifies what the Church and every member of the Church is meant to become. She is the ultimate product of the creative and redemptive power of God. She manifests what the Incarnation is meant to accomplish for all of us.
Catholicism Around the World |
VATICAN – Vatican City, Mar 25, 2020 / 06:00 am (CNA). - Pope Francis said Wednesday that the Church’s pro-life message is more relevant than ever as the world faces the coronavirus pandemic.
“The attacks on the dignity and life of people unfortunately continue even in our era … We are faced with new threats and new slavery, and legislation is not always to protect the weakest and most vulnerable human life,” Pope Francis said March 25.
“The message of the encyclical Evangelium Vitae is therefore more relevant than ever,” the pope said in his livestreamed Wednesday audience.
This year’s Solemnity of the Annunciation marks the 25th anniversary of the encyclical Evangelium Vitae promulgated by St. John Paul II on the value and inviolability of human life.
Pope Francis said that the coronavirus pandemic makes the encyclical's message on the defense of all human life more urgent.
“Today, we find ourselves relaunching this teaching in the context of a pandemic that threatens human life and the world economy. A situation that makes the words with which the encyclical begins even more demanding,” the pope said.
Pope Francis then quoted the first line of the 1995 encyclical: “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus' message. Welcomed by the Church every day with love, it must be announced with courageous fidelity as good news to men of all ages and cultures."
Pope Francis said: “The life we are called to promote and defend is not an abstract concept, but always manifests itself in a person in flesh and blood: a newly conceived child, a poor marginalized person, a sick person alone and discouraged or in a terminal state, one who has lost his job or is unable to find it, a rejected or ghettoized migrant."
The pope explained that the Catholic Church has a particular responsibility to ensure the protection of every individual human life, which in itself is unrepeatable and of inestimable value.
“The defense of life for the Church is not an ideology,” he said. “Every human being is called by God to enjoy the fullness of life; and being entrusted to the maternal concern of the Church, every threat to dignity and human life cannot fail to affect its heart.”
“Beyond emergencies, such as the one we are experiencing, it is a question of acting on a cultural and educational level to transmit to future generations the attitude of solidarity,” he said.
In his televised Wednesday audience delivered from the library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis praised the “silent testimony” of many people who are witnesses to this “Gospel of Life” by serving the sick, the elderly, and those who are lonely and poor.
He said that their lives mirror the example given by the Blessed Virgin Mary, who went in haste to help her cousin Elizabeth after the Annunciation.
“Dear brothers and sisters, every human life, unique and unrepeatable, valid in itself, constitutes an inestimable value. This must always be announced again, with the courage of the word and the courage of actions,” the pope said.
“Therefore, with St. John Paul II, who wrote this encyclical, with him I reaffirm with renewed conviction the appeal he made to all twenty-five years ago: ‘Respect, defend, love and serve life, every life, every human life! Only on this path will you find justice, development, freedom, peace and happiness,’” Pope Francis said.
Educational Fact |
The first printed Bible was printed by the supervision of the Catholic Church. It was printed by Johannes Gutenberg, the Catholic inventor of the printing press. According to the Museum of the Bible, it is estimated that there were roughly 30,000 books produced spanning across all of Europe before the invention. After the production of Gutenberg’s press, within less than 50 years, there was over 12 million books produced in Europe. Many of these books being the Bible! His invention is often called “the invention that changed the world”.
Fun Fact |
The oldest institution in the Western world is the Catholic Church. It traces its history back almost 2,000 years.
Prayer for Healing – O God who are the only source of health and healing, the spirit of calm and the central peace of this universe, grant to me such a consciousness of your indwelling and surrounding presence that I may permit you to give me health and strength and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Have a blessed day!