Fatima 100

Fatima 100
Easter Season: Christ has Risen! Alleluia Alleluia! Our Lady of Fatima 100th Anniversary: Saints Jacinta & Francisco, pray for us!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saints J23 and JPII!


It is official.  Popes John XXIII and John Paul II are officially recognized by the Catholic Church of Jesus Christ as saints.  They are listed now among the Communion of Saint!  This is a great moment for the Church.

The day is not only historic in that two Popes were canonized, but also because two living Popes were also present.  Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI arrived dressed in episcopal vestments and concelebrated as the current Pope Francis lead the celebration!  This is truly an awesome event!

Pope Emeritus says "present!" 

Four Popes, one mission - to proclaim Jesus Christ!



Friday, April 25, 2014

Atheists are not "Free Thinkers"

If you have read atheist propaganda then you probably have heard the expression, "free thinker." Atheists often like to wear on their sleeves the banner "free thinker."  They do this to claim that they are not attached to any ideology and can be free to question things and come to their own conclusions.

The term is meant to be an attack against theists who atheists see as being bound by religious rhetoric and not allowed to think freely by their ministers.  To atheists, religious people are "brainwashed" by pastors or ministers and are not allowed to think for themselves.  They are made to sit in the pews and listen without questioning.

Atheism is then presented as the "anti-dote" to this brainwashing by classifying it as a way of free thinking. The atheist logic here is that by rejecting God, religion and taking a position of skepticism, a person can be free to think and question without fearing the wrath of God, hell, or punishment from a religious body.  The question is: are atheists "free thinkers?"  My answer to this is no. Coming from an atheist background I can speak to the fact that atheists do not freely think.

The term "Free Thinker" comes from philosopher Anthony Collins who wrote the book, "A Discourse of Freethinking, occasioned by the Rise and Growth of a Sect called Freethinkers." The book attacks priests and promotes deism in the name of "free thinking."  Collins was a man of the so-called "enlightenment" period.  He along with John Locke and others wrote extensively on reason and questioned the events surrounding their time.  Eventually, Thomas Pain(e) would follow with his own works such as "Common Sense" and "Age of Reason."

Naturally, atheists hijacked this momentum and are adopting it as their own.  They call themselves the "Free Thinkers" or "Rationalists."  However, they are merely repeating the same rhetoric of men before them.  The atheists of today repeat the same refuted arguments as those from the past. Even on Twitter, atheists there repeat phrases from Hitchens and Dawkins only to them describe themselves as "Free thinkers."  How can one be a "Free thinker" if one is repeating a phrase or argument from another?

This is where atheists fail at "freely thinking."  To date, there has been no atheist who has formulated an original argument against the existence of God or strong critique of the "evils" of religion.  I have even started a contest and not one atheist has offered to participate.  As stated before, they just repeat what they heard before.  Take Blessed Mother Teresa for example. Christopher Hitchens wrote, "Missionary Position" in which he trashes Mother Teresa and her work with the poor.  He insults her as being a hypocrite and a psychopath enjoying the suffering of the sick and poor. The book is relatively short and an easy read.  In the book he describes the supposed conditions at the hospices run by Mother Teresa's order and claims Mother Teresa enjoyed to watch people suffer and die while having the best medical treatment for herself.

The book seems like a shocker - an expose of this great nun right?  Wrong!  There are no references, citations, or bibliography whatsoever in the book.  This is a mortal sin in academia! A professor will give an automatic F to any student who turns in a paper without sources.  Moreover, the book is written like a work of fiction that usually does not need citations. Hitchens just writes away all these accusations expecting the reader to take his word on good faith.  An academic or educated person would throw the book out as hogwash because it provides no sources or backup for his claims.  However, many atheists literally believe this book and trash Mother Teresa without ever seeing any evidence of what Hitchens accused Mother Teresa of!  There goes the "Free thinker" out the window along with skepticism...

Not once do they question Hitchens' accusations nor demand evidence like they do with theists regarding God.  They simply and blindly accept Hitchens' work as legitimate and accurate.  This is not free thinking!  This is gullibility. What happened to being skeptical?  How can the power of Hitchens' celebrity be enough to give credibility to his work without evidence?  Is this what a true atheist does - believe things on faith?  No way!  Atheists are supposed to question things and ask for evidence.  However, they are mute when it comes to Hitchens' work attacking Mother Teresa. Thankfully, not all atheists are naive like those found on the internet.  Atheist journalist Brendan O' Neill defended Mother Teresa against Hitchens' and "new atheists" who attack her without evidence.

Furthermore, if you go on youtube and look at debates with atheists and theists, particularly Lawrence Krauss, William L. Craig, Christopher Hitchens, "Aronra," etc, they all use the same arguments to defend atheism!  There is no originality in them.  They simply copy something and make it their own. From the "3000 gods" argument, to the "natural processes shows no need for God," these people use the same refuted arguments over and over.  It is obvious that they either read them beforehand and found it to be the "dogma" of atheism.  These fallacious arguments are common among internet atheists, but are not found in academia, usually.

Moreover, even blogs from atheists such as "Rosa Rubicondior" who was banned from Twitter relies on the same arguments others have made. "Rubicondior" takes specific science news stories and adds an atheist twist to them that the science news never intended.  He then comes to the conclusion that atheism is rational and theism is not.  Most of the time, he gets the science wrong and the arguments do not flow well as he tries to make atheism into a branch of science which is not what science is about.  His entire blog is pure sophism.  It only caters to uneducated atheists. My former professor's blog is way better, academic and caters to the educated: rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com 

Lastly, even on Twitter, some atheists are quick to believe lies made against yours truly.  Ever since "Rosa Rubicondior" lost his debate with me and was permanently banned, he has hated me with much passion.  He has written many posts on his blog attempting to link me to many Twitter accounts and to a high school student.  His friends who still use Twitter, patrol trends on Twitter looking for "Sacerdotus."  They pick out random Twitter accounts and harass them claiming them to be me or a reincarnation of me.  It is hilarious and disturbing at the same time.  Just look at this: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=sacerdotus%20account&src=typd    

In this link, you will see the many caricature atheist accounts wondering which account on Twitter is "Sacerdotus" and identifying specific ones as belonging to me.  I can feel the love guys, thanks! :-) I feel like a celebrity now with my paparazzi waiting to catch a glimpse of me.  Anyhow, one or two atheists pinpoint an account and say it is "Sacerdotus" the rest jump on the boat and believe it! This is not "Free thinking" nor skepticism.  A true atheist or skeptic would ask for hard evidence and not take anyone's word for it.

In closing, Krauss, Aronra, Hitchens, Dawkins, Rubicondior et. al, are not free thinkers at all. They simply borrow old refuted ideas and add verbiage to them.  If these people and other atheists were "Free thinkers," they would not shut out any evidence for God, nor faith.  A free thinker is not afraid to assimilate any information presented to him or her.  These atheists are anchoring themselves to atheistic rhetoric and once they do that, they cease being free.  A free thinker is not afraid to explore everything, including God and faith.  Sitting behind a computer screen or pulpit during a debate saying God doesn't exist while not even considering the evidence for God is NOT "Free thinking."  It is "Free Complacency."

A free thinker begins at "tabula rasa" or on a blank slate.  He or she then builds upon that slate with logic and reason.  Atheists do not do this.  They start from old atheist arguments and refuse to move from there.  It is the equivalent of a kid covering his ears shouting "lalalala I can't hear you." Any atheist who claims to be a free thinker is only fooling him/herself.  An atheist who won't even bother to process any evidence or arguments for God is set in his/her ways just like a theist so therefore he/she cannot accuse a theist of being a "bounded thinker" for both are one and the same.

Atheists are often loquacious with religious hate and unfounded accusations, but mute on their own apologia.  Atheism is not a haven for free speech, but a haven for bigotry and ignorance.       

  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

MyNYPD

Recently, the NYPD had a twitter campaign asking people to post photos of themselves with the NYPD. The moves was meant to show how cops and the community interacts.  However, things backfired.

Thousands of people started to post photos all right... These photos were of cops beating up on civilians, misbehaving and a whole host of things.  The trend "MyNYPD" was trending second in the world and caught the attention of the media.

It is sad that the campaign turned into what it did, but the NYPD does have a bad reputation due to some cops who overstep their authority and forget that cops exists to keep peace, order and to serve the public.  However, in NYC they have become almost like Nazi soldiers.  They go about profiling minorities as automatic perpetrators and are quick to shoot people even if the situation does not warrant such a defense.  Moreover, they do not care who they hit and last year beat down an elderly man for merely jay walking.  (see: http://nypost.com/2014/01/19/cops-beat-elderly-man-after-he-jaywalked/)

In light of this, it is no surprise that the people will rebel and show their frustration in a way that won't get them in trouble: twitter.  Twitter is known for allowing all kinds of speech, minus religious one of course.  They allow porn, violence, vulgarity and all kinds of evil things.  Therefore, photos of cops beating people up will not go censored.  Nevertheless, this situation must force the NYPD powers that be to think about how they run their organization.  Policies must be scrutinized carefully and the NYPD must work harder to build better relations with the community they are supposed to serve, not lord over.




Source:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2014/04/mynypd-twitter-campaign-spawns-hashtags-across-the-country/

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/april-26-mynypd-nudity-jesus-article-1.1769338

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/04/23/why-mynypd-failed/

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Catholic Church Growth



Great news!  Many Catholic dioceses are reporting record converts to the Catholic faith!  As you may know, adults are received into the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil liturgy.  They receive the Sacraments of Initiation which are Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist.  These leave an indelible seal on the soul.  Some are attributing this to the "Francis effect" which is often mentioned in the media.

The news comes at a time where the Catholic Church is under attack for the infiltration of sexually disturbed men into the priesthood who have abused minors.  Moreover, the corruption on the part of clergy and religious had added to people being turned off from Catholicism.  In light of this, secularists and atheists have been claiming victory with cries that the Church is disappearing.  The news of these record conversions is a sign of hope that the Church is alive and well and will thrive on despite whatever attacks come, whether from within or without.

 


Source:

http://www.usccb.org/news/2014/14-064.cfm

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/04/washington-has-record-number-of-catholic-converts-on-easter-102323.html

https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/DailyTake/Article/TabId/736/artmid/13645/articleid/14535/Default.aspx

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Birthday Mother Angelica

On April 20th a woman would be born who would do much good for the Catholic Church in regards to media.

Born Rita Antoinette Rizzo in 1923, she would join the Franciscan order as a Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration in 1944 and would take the name Mary Angelica of the Annunciation.

In the 60's, she would move to Irondale, Alabama and found a community of sisters there.  Mother Angelica would tape programs for television networks in the 1970s.  However, when one of the networks refused to air a controversial program, Mother decided to stop producing her a program and founded her own network.

On August 15, 1981 EWTN or the Eternal Word Television Network was founded in a garage with the budget of only $200.  Many thought that this network would not last, but it did and grew in such a way that defies the normal growth of a television network.  By the late 80's, the network was broadcasting for 24 hours.  In the 90's, the network would go global and would have WEWN, its short-wave radio version.

As the internet became more accessible to the general public, EWTN went online with www.ewtn.com.  It began to broadcast on there as well and provided more resources for those interested in the Catholic faith.  Many people have joined or returned to the Catholic Church because of EWTN.  EWTN provided a channel where people can learn on the Catholic faith, call in to have questions answered and have a sense of connection with the global Church since secular media hardly covers Papal events.

EWTN and Mother Angelica did face some controversies due to fallen human nature in the Church.  Some bishops, in particular Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles took to heart Mother Angelica's blunt attitude.  They saw her as trying to overthrow the bishops.  Cardinal Mahony tried to get Mother Angelica off the air, but failed to do so.  Mother Angelica would then hand over authority and possession of the network to lay people after an attempt was made to take over the network because as a religious, Angelica falls under the authority of the Church.

Some have accused EWTN of being pre-Vatican II orientated and teaching errors; however, Pope Benedict XVI awarded the network and Mother Angelica the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Award.  Others claim Mother is rude, arrogant, uncharitable and condescending.  Mother Angelica has battled health issues since her days as a novice.  She had a back brace for a while until she was cured when a visionary visited EWTN.  Mother would then suffer a stroke which would take away her voice.  She eventually retired from the network and is recovering the best she can.

I want to wish Mother Angelica a happy birthday.  She is a blessing to the Catholic Church.  In my opinion, if more bishops and priests were more like her, we would not have the problems we have today in regards to the lack of faith and low Mass attendance.  Mother is a true evangelical in the sense of evangelizing the world, not denomination.  The fruit of many conversions and vocations is testament to this religious sister's faith, prayers and hard work.    

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil Reflection

Today is Holy Saturday and the Catholic Church has its Liturgy of Light.  You can read more about this here in my post last year.  The ceremony begins with a darken church building.  The celebrant meets the people outside with a fire.  He will bless this fire and prepare the Paschal or Easter candle.  The fire is then used to light the candles symbolizing the Light of Christ.

What is light?  Physics tells us that it is electromagnetic radiation made up of photons that is detectable by the
human eye as well as the eyes of other organisms.  It is composed of many wavelengths, not all of which are capable of being detected and processed by the human eye. The human eye can only detect the spectrum of wavelengths from about 650 nanometers where red is present and about 400 nanometers where violet is detected.

Light is the fastest substance in the universe traveling at 186,282 miles per second. Light presents to us spatial and temporal information of things around us. Matter in the universal absorbs and reflects light waves.  Depending on the charges of particles in an object, light is absorbed and some of it is reflected back allowing our eyes to see the object and its color(s) when the light enters the eye into the cones which process the information in the brain.  Nothing can travel faster or as fast as it. Despite this knowledge of light, we still do not truly understand it. However, light is extremely important for life to truly evolve and progress in nature.

In Scripture, light is mentioned many times.  As a matter of fact, it is first mentioned in the third verse of Genesis chapter 1. God says "let there be light." Prior to this, the author describes existence as dark and desolate. Darkness is something most of us do not like. When we are in the dark, we get moody, depressed and sleepy. Our energy drains from our bodies and we feel lethargic especially during winter time when there is less light.  Psychologists call this "Seasonal Affective Disorder" or "Winter Blues."  This goes to show how powerful light and darkness are.  They effect us in many ways. As the weather warms in spring and we see more daylight, we get cheerful and have a "bounce in our step." Light livens everything up.

Darkness may seem powerful.  It engulfs everything. However, it blinds and creates dangerous scenarios. Despite this, light is so powerful that it stands out even in the darkest area. The stars in the sky shine brightly against the darkness of the universe. These stars are light years away and despite this, their light reaches our eyes here on Earth. The light from our own sun takes 8 minutes to reach us, yet it is powerful enough to warm our planet and illuminate the material that composes it.

The Paschal candle reminds us of light.  Christ is the light.  We all walked in darkness as Isaiah 9:2 says. As I stated before, darkness is dangerous. Without light, we get disoriented and our brain has a difficult time processing spatial information by using stored memories of an environment and sounds. Psychologists call this "Sensory Deprivation" or "Spatial Disorientation."  Most of us have lived in our homes for many years and know it well.  However, this familiarity changes when we try to walk in the dark. We will stumble on things or crash into a wall most of the time.  Our souls when they are in darkness stumble as well (John 11:10).  We do not know where we are at and walk about until we fall in sin.

In today's world full of atheistic existentialism and relativism, we are getting lost in strange philosophies that push God away in favor of man's formulations of morality and his social constructions.  This is the "new god" that is blinding many societies today into rejecting the reality of life in the womb and setting aside the natural complementary union between a man and woman for counterfeit unions (2 Corinthians 4:4).  Jesus, the Light of the World (John 9:5) came into the world to illuminate humanity (John 1:4) and it still rejects this light in preference of the darkness (John 3:19).  The human being is stubborn in this way.  Evil and sin always seem to be "fun" while good and holiness is the pastime of boring people or prudes.  This is the Concupiscence in us driving us to incline towards the bad (CCC 405).

The Easter Vigil reminds us of this.  The church building is dark. We are in the dark without Christ. Despite this immense darkness, the small flame from the Paschal Candles is enough to light the way as we enter the church building.  This small flame allows us to enter without stumbling.  As the people light their candles from the Paschal Candle, the light grows more intense and we begin to see each other's faces more.  The light of Christ restores the image of God in us.  The light we receive must not be hidden, nor should we fall back into darkness for we are children of the light (1 Thessalonians 5:5). 

We must go out into the dark world and illumine it just like each star illumines the night sky despite being small in appearance in contrast of the immense darkness of the universe.  Our Christian lives must be witness to Christ Jesus.  This is why Pope Francis has been centering his Papacy on Christian witness.  The light that we receive from Christ must not be so bright that it blinds others.  Nor should it burn them to the point of scaring them away.  We must be humble and present the light of Christ with love.

Christ is indeed the light that continues to shine even in this dark world.  He is risen!  He is with us and will return at the end of time.  Let us spend our lives on Earth bringing the light of Christ to the world.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Reflection - Good Friday

 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16

Today billions of Christians throughout the world are commemorating the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross.  Christ Jesus, the prophesied Messiah came not as a warrior of politics, but of love.  As an atheist, Good Friday was a hard concept for me to understand.  As I get older, I grow in its meaning.  At first, it seems like a bunch of superstition.  Christians worship a man who died on a Cross - big deal right?  What is so important about this?

Many Catholic parishes and other Protestant sects have processions reenacting the Stations of the Cross or "Via Crucis" as it is called in Latin.  These are the events that took place as Jesus carried the Cross eventually meeting death at Golgotha.  Christians and Popes have described this act as an "act of love."  How is carrying a cross in a humiliating and painful way eventually leading to death be an "act of love?"  Why would God use this to redeem the world?  Is God crazy or a masochist?  Any true atheist or skeptic curious about the Christian faith would ask these and more.  Death entered the world due to the sin of Adam and Eve (Romans 5:14).  It is via death that Christ brings life and grace to all (Hebrews 2:5-18).

Love hurts most of the time.  How many times have we had a lover who we tried to impress with flowers, chocolates and what not only for it to go sour later on?  Love is so good but can be bad, we often think.  Love hurts.  We give so much to a person and that person may not give as much back, if anything at all.  John 3:16 is often quoted and is perhaps the most quoted passage from the Bible.  It says to the effect that God loves the world so much that He sent His only son.

God sent His son Jesus for all of humanity.  This is the greatest love of all (John 15:13).  This act makes no sense to those who are limited in reasoning. 
For Christ to lay down His life for all of us shows the extent to which God will go through in order to show that He seriously loves each one of us.  Jesus is willing to go through hell, so to speak, in order to show that we are loved and never abandoned.  This spoke volumes to me as an atheist.  Other gods or conceptions of gods that man has used to define the one reality of God present these beings as egoistic, limited and unconcerned of the affairs of men.  In many instances, people were sacrificed for these conceptual gods. With Jesus, He becomes the sacrifice for man recalling how Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac his son after getting the command from God (Genesis 22).  Even philosopher Kierkegaard regarded this command and act as a "suspension of the ethical."   

However, Abraham was about to do this act out of love and faith.  Naturally, God was not going to allow him to kill his only son.  He was merely testing him to show that Abraham was not tainted by the rituals of paganism in his time which called for human sacrifices.  This story is also a foreshadowing of God sending His own Son to be the sacrificial lamb.  It is a preparation for love personified in the person of Christ giving His life for all of us.

We know Jesus was betrayed by Judas with a kiss.  A kiss is most likely the universal symbol for love and affection.  We use this physical symbol to show love to our parents, other relatives, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands/wives, and even people we have just met.  It is a simple gesture that is quick and sends the message that we are close to the recipient.  The kiss of Judas has an interesting context here.  It is a kiss of betrayal and hypocrisy.  Here we see two kinds of love presented: genuine agape love, and selfish love.  Jesus is giving His life for all, including Judas.  Judas is giving "love" via a kiss but only for his own ulterior motives which are 30 pieces of silver.

In today's world, we see so many broken relationships.  Love is given conditions in order to function in society.  Many of us look for looks instead of hearts.  Our partners have to look a certain way, act a certain way, or have a certain amount in order for us to consider even meeting or dating.  It has gone even more bizarre with the promotion of same-sex unions which completely negates the psychological and biological function of courtship in the natural world.  Love is being twisted to serve the self instead of others.  This is what I call the "Judas effect."  Today we often love in order to get something in return.  Love becomes a stock bond which we gamble to see what we gain and what losses we cut.  Marriages dissolve because of financial reasons or changes in personal desires - again selfish motives.  Calls for "marriage equality" are pushed down our throats in the name of love that cannot give of itself via reproduction and that promotes unions only of the sake of seeking rights to a partner's assets - again selfish motives.  It is no wonder why so many couples break up and so many marriages go down the path of divorce and why love and marriage have become a circus for the egotistical.  Our society has lost the love Christ preached and presented today on Good Friday over 2,000 years ago.

Christ gave Himself for us without condition.  He died for each one of us as we are.  Jesus did not care how we looked, what we had, who we associate with or who we are deep down.  Jesus died on the Cross because we are part of God's family and He loves us.  He is our brother and God the Father is our Father.  Good Friday should remind us of this.  We should not go to Good Friday liturgies and just go through the routines of the rites without adsorbing their meanings.  The events of today have so much wisdom for us to grow as human beings, not only in grace and spiritually, but also psychologically and socially with one another.

Jesus is the "just man" foreshadowed by Plato in his Republic (Book 2, 361e, 362a), "...the just man will have to endure the lash, the rack, chains, the branding-iron in his eyes, and finally, after every extremity of suffering, he will be crucified."  He is the model for all humanity to follow.  We all want love and want to love.  Jesus is the only one who can show us how through His Word and example.  God is indeed love (1 John 4:8).    

       

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Reflection - Holy Thursday


"When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 'You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.'"

John 13:12-16

Today is Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday.  On this day over 2,000 years ago, the priesthood and the Holy Eucharist were instituted.  Jesus being a Jew celebrated the Passover Seder meal to commemorate the events surrounding the Hebrews while under captivity in Egypt.  However, He added to the ceremony by washing the feet of the disciples. He does this to clean the disciples before they can be one with Him.  In those times, people wore sandals or walked barefoot.  In the dusty environment, their feet would get dirty.  It was customary at those times to wash one's feet prior to entering a home.  Some Asian cultures today have the custom of removing their footwear prior to entering the home.

The cleaning of the feet by Jesus is a symbol that Christ washes us from the external contaminants that touch our lives on a daily basis.  Like the dust from the Earth that adhered to the feet of the disciples, so too the dirt of sin, immoral environments attach themselves to us today.  The world today is filled with so much filth and corruption that eventually we will imitate it.  This is called Mirroring in psychology.  We often imitate the behavior around us, sometimes unconsciously.  With the promotion of moral relativism and the idea that things are socially constructed, our society is imploding.  They are removing the foundations that have kept society upright allowing us to progress as human beings.

It is no surprise that on the news we see shootings at schools, military bases, and on streets almost every other week.  It is no surprise that we hear of children being killed by their own parents or sexually abused by teachers and others in positions of authority.  Our society is losing its moral fabric and is imploding.  The poison of moral relativism is indoctrinated into our youth in colleges.  It is here where they learn the lies of social construction and the exaggerated views of human liberty which posits to trump the conscience as an invention of guilt promoting religions.  These views are presented as "Humanism."  The late Christopher Hitchens often claimed to be a champion of Humanism, yet never did a thing to serve others.  He wrote defamatory books and articles against Blessed Mother Teresa who cared for the poor and sick.  His works were found to be fabricated due to his lack of sources.  Unfortunately, some atheists believe his fabrications out of ignorance and fail to understand what real humanism is about.       

Holy Thursday reminds us what true humanism is about- service to others.  Christ washed the feet of His disciples and commanded them to do the same to others. The priesthood is about service to others.  Our Holy Father Pope Francis is making this message loud and clear by the way he is living his Papacy.  The priesthood is not a point on the ladder of success.  It is not a place for careerists looking to rise the ranks and obtain power.  It is not a place for men with mental problems to enters in order to "control" their issues.  The priesthood is about ministering to others.  It is about getting hands dirty by caring for others and not being ashamed to have the odor of their flock on them, as Pope Francis said in the last World Youth day in Brazil.

This call is not only for the ordained, but for those in the priesthood obtained in Baptism (CCC 783-786).  Each one of us must serve one another not only among the flock, but outside of it as well.  Christian charity is not exclusive towards other Christians only.  It must be conferred on those outside of the Church as well who refuse to enter her or may have been ostracized from her for whatever reason.  These are atheists, women, non-Christians, non-Catholics, those of the LGBT community and others.  It bothers me when I read blogs from priests or hear priests complain that the Pope washed the feet of women or non-Catholics.  They missed the point of the washing of the feet.  Jesus never specified who had to be washed.  He simply gave the disciples an example.  This legalistic approach to Catholicism is what scares people away from Christ.

Christ gave us an example indeed.  With a humble gesture of welcoming others, we can bring home those outside of the Church.  The Washing of Feet should remind us of this.  Just like the washing of the feet was necessary for the disciples to be part of Christ, so too does serving others make us one with Christ.  This is why Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and other saints always stated that we serve Christ in others.                   

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Happy 87th Birthday Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Today is April 16, 2014 and it is the 87th birthday of His Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Bishop of Rome Emeritus. I want to offer my congratulations and prayers to the Holy Father on his special day.

It has been a year since Pope Benedict XVI retired.  Pope Emeritus is an awesome man. He is an intellectual and I am a fan of his books. One can tell from his writings that he is indeed a professor and intellectual at heart. 
 He has a gift of presenting his thoughts, Church teachings and research so eloquently and rationally. He does not water anything down and I love that about him.

Pope Benedict XVI is the Missionary Pope - the Professor Pope; the Pope of Reason. He loves to write and teach. One can see this in his demeanor, tone and writing style. Moreover, he has done a lot to bring closer to Rome our separated brethren (Eastern, Protestant, Traditionalists). We have seen more fruits in Christian unity under Pope Benedict XVI than in prior centuries.

Not only has he engaged those Christians who separated themselves from Rome, but he has also engaged Atheists and Agnostics opening up dialog with them. While polemicists such as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens love to separate and spread hate; Pope Benedict did the opposite. He stretched out the Olive Branch to the "Gentiles." Reason and Faith are not enemies. He showed the religious world that Faith has nothing to fear from Science because Science merely makes the glory of God in nature demonstrable to us all.

Pope Benedict XVI has also engaged the Muslims truthfully and in charity. He is a man of courage and zeal. He has worked hard on the New Evangelization which is working to re-Christianize Europe and the rest of the world.

He has spoken strongly and taken action against pedophiles, homosexuals and dissidents in the Catholic Church who have been causing much scandal. He has restored dignity to the rich Liturgies of the Roman Rite which has been toyed with since Vatican II by progressives hoping to create some "kumbaya" atmosphere in our prayer.

Pope Benedict XVI was the right Pope for the time when he was elected, in my opinion. I miss him a lot and wish him the best during his retirement.

Pope Benedict XVI's resignation shows that he was never in it for the power, fame, or papal perks.
Despite receiving criticism for restoring the regal presence of the Papacy, he did the right thing in reminding us all about the Primacy of Peter. In my opinion, while praying at a monastery he is more powerful there than going about in a "Popemobile." I hope Pope Emeritus will continue writing books. Reading his books, you can tell he knows a lot, not only about theology.  He made a public appearance at Pope Francis' first consistory.

I made a video as a tribute to this great Pope and as a thank you for his contribution to the Church. May God continue to bless us with his presence, thoughts, words, wisdom and prayers.

Happy Birthday Holy Father, thank you and May Our Lord guard over you and Our Lady keep you as you enjoy your retirement in their presence!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday Reflection

Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday is the last Sunday of Lent and the beginning of Holy Week. Today we remember the Passion of Christ. Jesus entered Jerusalem while the people shouted Hosanna and threw Palm branches in his path.

Hosanna is an exclamation of supplication in a moment of emotion. The Palms are a sign of victory and joy.  The people celebrated the Triumphant entry of the King of Kings into Jerusalem. Ironically just a few days later these same people will call upon Pilate to crucify Him.

Zechariah 9:9 prophesied this day. The account of the story is read prior to the procession with the Psalms and comes from Matthew 21: 1-11.   In the Catholic Church, red vestments are used to symbolize the blood Jesus would shed as a result of His entry into Jerusalem.

The first reading during Mass is from Isaiah which is connected to Jesus.  It reflects on how Jesus' is a gifted speaker who spreads the Good News, yet offends many.  Because of this, He is beaten, his beard is plucked and He is mocked.  This reading is a foreshadowing of the Passion of Christ. Despite being abused by the people, Jesus returned no insult or attack.  He braved it all for the sake of all.  Today we live in a world where Christ's message is not popular.  Priests, religious, laity and even our separated Christian brethren face all kinds of hardships just for speaking the name of Christ and what He stands for.  We must be strong and not give in to the pressures of the world and preach Christ in season and out of season (2 timothy 4:2). Like Christ, we must bear it all for the sake of salvation.  It may seem like God has abandoned us and this is why the responsorial Psalm begins with this phrase.  This Psalm is another foreshadowing of Christ's passion.  Christ Himself felt abandoned by the Father.  However, this is not so.  God is there present comforting Him and us as well who struggle today.

Finally, the Gospel tells the account of Jesus' last supper where He instituted the Holy Eucharist.

Christ defined for all the true meaning of the Passover meal by breaking bread and sharing wine which are His body, blood, soul and divinity.  We read how Judas is there present during the meal. He sells out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.  Judas is the first to leave the first Mass.

How many times do we see people leave Mass early?  Perhaps we may have done it ourselves?  We are imitating Judas the betrayer when we leave Mass early.  In doing so, we make whatever we are leaving Mass for more important than Christ.  Granted, there may be emergencies we may have to attend to, but this is where faith comes in.  God will take care of any emergencies for us. Moreover, we continue reading how Christ tells the disciples how they will flee when He is arrested.  Each boldly claims that he will not leave Christ.  How many times have we been vain in thinking that we have total control of faith?  How many times have we thought that we control grace in us?  It is God who sustains our faith and nourishes us with His grace.  We only cooperate by the suspension of our free will to submit to God's will.

Christ then goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.  He cries tears of blood showing the pain and anguish He was going through.  Like in last week's Gospel with Lazarus, we again see Christ's humanity.  He is one of us!  He is the perfect Adam we must imitate.

However, like the disciples, we often fall asleep when we are in His presence.  Instead of praying, we slack off and get distracted to the point of dosing off.  We must avoid this by asking God to teach us how to pray and give us the strength and demeanor to be in His presence to pray even when our human frailness gets in the way.

Lastly, we continue reading how Christ is taken to trial.  The Son of God, God Himself is treated like a criminal.  He is sentenced to be killed by way of Crucifixion.  His crime is love.  Christ came to save all, first to His own people the Jews.  Ironically, it is sometimes our own that betray us.  We must avoid being like the Jews of Christ's time who were with Him, saw His works and still wanted no part of Christ.  Like the Jews in the desert, they saw His works and still did not want to believe as the first reading of the third week of Lent told us.  Christ is then made to go through a horrible death.  First He is made to carry a heavy cross.  Throughout the way, He is mocked, spat on, hit and falls down three times for the sins of the past, present and future.  He dies on the cross and is buried.  God is dead!

Today, this phrase still echoes among societies throughout the world, especially in universities teaching our youth.  Some believe philosopher Nietzsche to have coined the phrase "God is dead," but this has existed way before his own birth. Christ is nailed to the cross and dies.  The people of His time said, "God is dead."  

The Son of God who performed miracles, preached the good news dies.  We know that in reality He is still alive.  Man can kill God because God allows it out of love.  Today's age or secularism, atheism and relativism shout, "God is dead, we have killed Him!" However, God is alive and well.  He rose from the dead showing He is the God of the living and dead.  He is the one who IS; who is dependent on no one for existence.

We must not be like the Jews of the old covenant who saw and still did not believe, nor do we want to be like the Jews in Jesus' times who like their ancestors saw Christ's works yet did not believe as well. They even proclaimed Him as their king by throwing palms onto His path only to reject Him and call for His execution days later.  We should not be like them.  We must never lose faith nor let the world silence it.  Today we lift up our palms not like those hypocrites in the Gospel reading before Mass, but like those in Revelation 7:9 who see the Lamb of God, hold their palms out to Him in joy and wear clean white robes showing they are made spotless by the blood of Christ shed for all during His Passion.

May Christ teach us how to live and suffering in faith.  Let us shout Hosanna to the King with sincerity and remain with Him through good times and bad times until the end of time comes.    









Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/041314.cfm

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
Lectionary: 35 and 38

At The Procession With Palms - GospelMT 21:1-11

When Jesus and the disciples drew near Jerusalem
and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, 
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, 
“Go into the village opposite you, 
and immediately you will find an ass tethered,
and a colt with her.
Untie them and bring them here to me.
And if anyone should say anything to you, reply, 
‘The master has need of them.’
Then he will send them at once.”
This happened so that what had been spoken through the prophet 
might be fulfilled:
Say to daughter Zion,
“Behold, your king comes to you,
meek and riding on an ass,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had ordered them.
They brought the ass and the colt and laid their cloaks over them, 
and he sat upon them.
The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, 
while others cut branches from the trees 
and strewed them on the road.
The crowds preceding him and those following
kept crying out and saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
blessed is the he who comes in the name of the Lord;
hosanna in the highest.”
And when he entered Jerusalem 
the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?”
And the crowds replied, 
“This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

At The Mass - Reading 1 IS 50:4-7

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Responsorial Psalm PS 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24

R/ (2a) My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
All who see me scoff at me;
they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
“He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, if he loves him.”
R/ My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Indeed, many dogs surround me,
a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.
R/ My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
They divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.
R/ My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
“You who fear the LORD, praise him;
all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;
revere him, all you descendants of Israel!”
R/ My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Reading 2 PHIL 2:6-11

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel MT 26:14-27:66

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, 
went to the chief priests and said, 
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity
to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
the disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Where do you want us to prepare
for you to eat the Passover?”
He said,
“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him,
‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near; 
in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”’”
The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered,
and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening,
he reclined at table with the Twelve.
And while they were eating, he said, 
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Deeply distressed at this,
they began to say to him one after another,
“Surely it is not I, Lord?”
He said in reply,
“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me
is the one who will betray me.
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,
“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”
He answered, “You have said so.”

While they were eating,
Jesus took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and giving it to his disciples said,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink from it, all of you, 
for this is my blood of the covenant, 
which will be shed on behalf of many
for the forgiveness of sins.
I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine 
until the day when I drink it with you new
in the kingdom of my Father.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them, 
“This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, 
for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed
;
but after I have been raised up,
I shall go before you to Galilee.”
Peter said to him in reply, 
“Though all may have their faith in you shaken,
mine will never be.”
Jesus said to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
this very night before the cock crows,
you will deny me three times.”
Peter said to him, 
“Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you.”
And all the disciples spoke likewise.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, 
and he said to his disciples, 
“Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, 
and began to feel sorrow and distress.
Then he said to them,
“My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch with me.”
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, 
“My Father, if it is possible,
let this cup pass from me;
yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep.
He said to Peter, 
“So you could not keep watch with me for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, 
“My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass 
without my drinking it, your will be done!”
Then he returned once more and found them asleep, 
for they could not keep their eyes open.
He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, 
saying the same thing again.
Then he returned to his disciples and said to them,
“Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
Behold, the hour is at hand 
when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.
Look, my betrayer is at hand.”

While he was still speaking,
Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived,
accompanied by a large crowd, with swords and clubs, 
who had come from the chief priests and the elders
of the people.
His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, 
“The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.”
Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, 
“Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him.
Jesus answered him,
“Friend, do what you have come for.”
Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.
And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus 
put his hand to his sword, drew it, 
and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear.
Then Jesus said to him,
“Put your sword back into its sheath, 
for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Do you think that I cannot call upon my Father 
and he will not provide me at this moment 
with more than twelve legions of angels?
But then how would the Scriptures be fulfilled 
which say that it must come to pass in this way?”
At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, 
“Have you come out as against a robber, 
with swords and clubs to seize me?
Day after day I sat teaching in the temple area, 
yet you did not arrest me.
But all this has come to pass 
that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled.”
Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Those who had arrested Jesus led him away 
to Caiaphas the high priest,
where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
Peter was following him at a distance 
as far as the high priest’s courtyard, 
and going inside he sat down with the servants
to see the outcome.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin
kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus 
in order to put him to death,
but they found none,
though many false witnesses came forward.
Finally two came forward who stated, 
“This man said, ‘I can destroy the temple of God 
and within three days rebuild it.’”
The high priest rose and addressed him,
“Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?”
But Jesus was silent.
Then the high priest said to him, 
“I order you to tell us under oath before the living God 
whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“You have said so.
But I tell you:
From now on you will see ‘the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power’
and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven.’”
Then the high priest tore his robes and said,
“He has blasphemed!
What further need have we of witnesses?
You have now heard the blasphemy;
what is your opinion?”
They said in reply,
“He deserves to die!”
Then they spat in his face and struck him,
while some slapped him, saying, 
“Prophesy for us, Christ: who is it that struck you?”
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard.
One of the maids came over to him and said, 
“You too were with Jesus the Galilean.”
But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, 
“I do not know what you are talking about!”
As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him
and said to those who were there, 
“This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.”
Again he denied it with an oath,
“I do not know the man!”
A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, 
“Surely you too are one of them;
even your speech gives you away.”
At that he began to curse and to swear,
“I do not know the man.”
And immediately a cock crowed.
Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: 
“Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.”
He went out and began to weep bitterly.

When it was morning,
all the chief priests and the elders of the people
took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.
They bound him, led him away,
and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.

Then Judas, his betrayer, seeing that Jesus had been condemned,
deeply regretted what he had done.
He returned the thirty pieces of silver
to the chief priests and elders, saying, 
“I have sinned in betraying innocent blood.”
They said,
“What is that to us?
Look to it yourself.”
Flinging the money into the temple, 
he departed and went off and hanged himself.
The chief priests gathered up the money, but said,
“It is not lawful to deposit this in the temple treasury,
for it is the price of blood.”
After consultation, they used it to buy the potter’s field
as a burial place for foreigners.
That is why that field even today is called the Field of Blood.
Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah
the prophet,
And they took the thirty pieces of silver, 
the value of a man with a price on his head, 
a price set by some of the Israelites, 
and they paid it out for the potter’s field 
just as the Lord had commanded me.


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

Now on the occasion of the feast
the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd 
one prisoner whom they wished.
And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, 
“Which one do you want me to release to you, 
Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?”
For he knew that it was out of envy
that they had handed him over.
While he was still seated on the bench,
his wife sent him a message, 
“Have nothing to do with that righteous man.
I suffered much in a dream today because of him.”
The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds 
to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus.
The governor said to them in reply, 
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”
They answered, “Barabbas!”
Pilate said to them,
“Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?”
They all said,
“Let him be crucified!”
But he said,
“Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder,
“Let him be crucified!”
When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, 
but that a riot was breaking out instead, 
he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd,
saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.
Look to it yourselves.”
And the whole people said in reply, 
“His blood be upon us and upon our children.”
Then he released Barabbas to them, 
but after he had Jesus scourged,
he handed him over to be crucified.

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

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

And when they came to a place called Golgotha 
¬—which means Place of the Skull —, 
they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall.
But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink.
After they had crucified him,
they divided his garments by casting lots; 
then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
And they placed over his head the written charge against him: 
This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.
Two revolutionaries were crucified with him,
one on his right and the other on his left.
Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying,
“You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself, if you are the Son of God, 
and come down from the cross!”
Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
So he is the king of Israel!
Let him come down from the cross now,
and we will believe in him.
He trusted in God;
let him deliver him now if he wants him.
For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
The revolutionaries who were crucified with him
also kept abusing him in the same way.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land 
until three in the afternoon.
And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 
Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said, 
“This one is calling for Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; 
he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed, 
gave it to him to drink.
But the rest said,
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.”
But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice,
and gave up his spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary
was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, 
and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, 
they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus
feared greatly when they saw the earthquake 
and all that was happening, and they said,
“Truly, this was the Son of God!”
There were many women there, looking on from a distance, 
who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him.
Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph,
and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

When it was evening,
there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph,
who was himself a disciple of Jesus.
He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; 
then Pilate ordered it to be handed over.
Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen 
and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock.
Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb
and departed.
But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
remained sitting there, facing the tomb.

The next day, the one following the day of preparation, 
the chief priests and the Pharisees 
gathered before Pilate and said, 
“Sir, we remember that this impostor while still alive said,
‘After three days I will be raised up.’
Give orders, then, that the grave be secured until the third day,
lest his disciples come and steal him and say to the people,
‘He has been raised from the dead.’
This last imposture would be worse than the first.”
Pilate said to them,
“The guard is yours;
go, secure it as best you can.”
So they went and secured the tomb 
by fixing a seal to the stone and setting the guard.

Or MT 27:11-54

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

Now on the occasion of the feast
the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd 
one prisoner whom they wished.
And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.
So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, 
“Which one do you want me to release to you, 
Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?”
For he knew that it was out of envy
that they had handed him over.
While he was still seated on the bench,
his wife sent him a message, 
“Have nothing to do with that righteous man.
I suffered much in a dream today because of him.”
The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds 
to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus.
The governor said to them in reply, 
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”
They answered, “Barabbas!”
Pilate said to them,
“Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?”
They all said,
“Let him be crucified!”
But he said,
“Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder,
“Let him be crucified!”
When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, 
but that a riot was breaking out instead, 
he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd,
saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.
Look to it yourselves.”
And the whole people said in reply, 
“His blood be upon us and upon our children.”
Then he released Barabbas to them, 
but after he had Jesus scourged,
he handed him over to be crucified.

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

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

And when they came to a place called Golgotha 
— which means Place of the Skull —, 
they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall.
But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink.
After they had crucified him,
they divided his garments by casting lots; 
then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
And they placed over his head the written charge against him: 
This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.
Two revolutionaries were crucified with him,
one on his right and the other on his left.
Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying,
“You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself, if you are the Son of God, 
and come down from the cross!”
Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
So he is the king of Israel!
Let him come down from the cross now,
and we will believe in him.
He trusted in God;
let him deliver him now if he wants him.
For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
The revolutionaries who were crucified with him
also kept abusing him in the same way.

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land 
until three in the afternoon.
And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 
Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”
which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said, 
“This one is calling for Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; 
he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed, 
gave it to him to drink.
But the rest said,
‘Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.”
But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice,
and gave up his spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

And behold, the veil of the sanctuary
was torn in two from top to bottom.
The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, 
and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised.
And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, 
they entered the holy city and appeared to many.
The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus
feared greatly when they saw the earthquake 
and all that was happening, and they said,
“Truly, this was the Son of God!”
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.  

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