A beautiful Friday. How many times have I said God has a sense of humor. Today, of all days, I am absolutely craving bacon, ham, steaks, and even hot dogs; and am not in the mood for any fish, cheese or peanut butter. The typical life of a Catholic – LOL!!!
At the end of this blog is a letter attached to an e-mail I received, about the healthcare bill, and forced funding of abortions. Please, please read.
Wine, murder, and mayhem is the subject of my reflection on this beautiful day.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“The truth is the truth even if no one believes it, and a lie is a lie even if everyone believes it.” — Archbishop Fulton Sheen
“Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce. But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” They answered him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.” (NAB Mt 21:33-41)
What were they thinking? Were they drinking the prophets of the land, or were they just impulsive idiots, thinking they could get away with a land grab. Almost reminds me of today’s politicians.
In this parable there is a close resemblance between the details in this story, and the dealings of God with his people. We just have to examine writings in both, the New and Old Testaments. Those that believe the Old Testament has nothing to do with the New Testament, have not read either diligently.
The sentence from today’s gospel, “Planted a vineyard . . . a tower” is also from the book of Isaiah. Jesus loved the Old Testament, and why wouldn’t Jesus: the New Testament will not be written for at least another 100 years. In Isaiah 5:1-2, it is written, “My friend had a vineyard: the Lord and his chosen people.” The vineyard in these verses is further defined in Isaiah 5:7. In the 5:7 verse, it states that the vineyard of the LORD is “the house of Israel,” and the men of Judah are his cherished plants.
The land owner sends two groups of “servants” (Mark’s gospel interestingly has three sets of single servants, plus many others). These servants stand for the prophets, sent by God, to Israel. The symbol of the produce in this verse, is the good works demanded by God.
In ancient Palestine, if a Jewish land owner died without an heir, the tenants of his land could have final claim on it, and “acquire his inheritance.”
The sentence that has a covert meaning for me is this one: “Threw him out . . . and killed him,” wherein the son is killed outside the vineyard. I believe it is indicative of Jesus’ dying outside the city walls of Jerusalem, where all condemned men were taken to be killed.
“They answered him.” In Mark 12:9, the question is answered by Jesus himself, when He says, “… He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others.” Here the leaders of this coup answer likewise, and condemn themselves. In Matthew 21:31, Jesus goes further and says, “… Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.” Matthew’s gospel adds that the new tenants of the vineyard will give the owner the produce at when ready.
Are we the “tax collectors and prostitutes,” or are we the “tenants of the vineyard,” that kills the servants of the Lord? In the former, you recognize the sinfulness of your life but ask for, and seek forgiveness. In the latter you dismiss God, and make an easy life for yourself now. I pray that I am the tax collector or prostitute!
“Lord, I choose to be a servant of Yours, and not just to serve You. A servant is at Your bidding at all times, wherein to “just serve You,” still puts a priority on me, instead of You. Please allow me to harvest Your vineyard, and to give my all to and for You. Amen”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: St. John Joseph of the Cross
Saint John Joseph of the Cross was born on the Island of Ischia, Southern Italy, 1654; d. 5 March, 1739. From his earliest years he was given to prayer and virtue. So great was his love of poverty that he would always wear the dress of the poor, though he was of noble birth. At the age of sixteen years he entered the Order of St. Francis at naples, amongst the Friars of the Alcantarine Reform, being the first Italian to join this reform which had been instituted in Spain by St. Peter of Alcantara. Throughout his life he was given to the greatest austerity: he fasted constantly, never drank wine, and slept but three hours each night. In 1674 he was sent to found a friary at Afila, in Piedmont; and he assisted with his own hands in the building. Much against his will, he was raised to the priesthood. As superior, he always insisted upon performing the lowliest offices in the community. In 1702 he was appointed Vicar Provincial of the Alcantarine Reform in Italy. He was favoured in a high degree with the gift of miracles, people of every condition being brought to him in sickness. His zeal for souls was such that even in sickness he would not spare any labour for them. His great devotion was to our Blessed Lady, and he was urgent with his penitents that they also should cultivate this. He was beatified in 1789, and canonized in 1839.
from Catholic Encyclopedia Online Edition
© 2003 by K. Knight)
From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #5:
Secular Franciscans, therefore, should seek to encounter the living and active person of Christ in their brothers and sisters, in Sacred Scripture, in the Church, and in liturgical activity. The faith of St. Francis, who often said, “I see nothing bodily of the Most High Son of God in this world except His most holy body and blood,” should be the inspiration and pattern of their Eucharistic life.
From: StopTheAbortionMandate.com <email@example.com>
Sent: Thu, March 4, 2010 8:12:00 AM
Subject: ALERT: Abortion mandate moves forward
Abortion industry lobbyists are rejoicing following yesterday’s announcement that their allies in the White
House and Congress plan to use the controversial reconciliation process as a last-ditch effort to ram through a health care reform bill that would mandate abortion coverage and government funding of abortion.
The reconciliation process is being used to circumvent the need to get a two-thirds majority in the Senate to pass the bill — following the upset Senate election in Massachusetts which broke the 60-vote stronghold.
Under this process, the House would be asked to pass the abortion-laden Senate health care bill (that does NOT include the widely supported Stupak language that bars government funding of abortion.)
Then, both the House and Senate would vote for a companion reconciliation measure that would make
changes in the first bill to gain the support of more Representatives and the White House.
Only 51 votes would be needed to pass the additional reconciliation measure in the Senate.
President Obama said yesterday, “this is where we’ve ended up,” and added that he looks forward “to signing this reform into law.” He indicated his desire to sign the abortion-laden health care bill by Easter — just a few weeks from now!
William, this is the BIG ONE. Everything we’ve been working for comes down to this moment.
The current health care reform proposal …
–> Includes government funding of abortion
–> Imposes a brand-new “abortion fee” on taxpayers
–> Directs $11 BILLION in new funding to groups like Planned Parenthood — the nation’s largest abortion chain that took in over $349,000,000 in tax funding last year while aborting 305,310 babies
–> Would result in the largest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade
The House of Representatives will vote on the bill first. If it passes there, it would then be signed by
President Obama. Finally, it would go to reconciliation for changes to be made — and where only 51 votes would be needed to pass it in the Senate.
Therefore, the fight right now lies in the House — where you can make the GREATEST impact today.
If ever there was a time for every pro-life American to let their voice be heard, that time is NOW.
Here’s what you — and everyone you know — needs to do IMMEDIATELY:
1.) Call and e-mail your Representative to clearly say: “NO Abortion in Health Care!” Get their contact
info online at: http://stoptheabortionmandate.com/representatives
2.) Write a letter to the editor. Your Representative and staff read the newspaper daily and a letter to
the editor is a great way to ensure that your message is heard. Get sample letters online at: http://stoptheabortionmandate.com/take-action/letters
3.) Use every social networking tool to get the message out — post status updates on Twitter, Facebook,
and MySpace, asking friends and family to also send a clear message to Congress. Be sure to link to:
4.) Pray, pray, PRAY! Let’s never forget the power of prayer. Pray that our leaders block government funding of abortion — and that our movement is successful in protecting the unborn.
This is the final lap, so let’s press forward to the finish line!
Abortion is NOT health care under any circumstance — and we should NEVER be forced to fund it.
Stop the Abortion Mandate Coalition