Happy Holy Week!!
Tomorrow starts the “Easter Triduum.” This is a time for prayer & other devout practices, individually & in public. There are special intentions associated with attending all the Triduum services. What a great way to bring in the Easter Season, but as a community with God.
Today’s reflection is about a “YO, LISTEN TO ME” statement from Jesus Christ.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
“When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” — Indian Proverb
Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. (NAB Jn 12:23-26)
Powerful, powerful statements and prophesies made in these few verses. “The hour” is Jesus’ culmination of his mission on earth. He knows His time is coming to an end, and He is reflecting on His life till now; and His life to come.
Jesus is extolling to us one of those “YO, LISTEN TO ME” moments, when He said, “Amen, Amen.” He is comparing our need to die in Christ in order to obtain salvation, with a grain of wheat’s need to die in order to grow into a new life.
As a seed must die in order to bring a new life, Jesus’ death makes salvation and eternal life with Him in heaven possible for us. With His death, we will grow in unity with Him and with our Father in Heaven.
Jesus seems to suggest that only after the crucifixion could the gospel encompass both Jew and Gentile. This implies that through his death, Jesus will be accessible to all believes. Faith in God, through Jesus will be a universal faith, the Greek word “Kathlicos,” from which the word “Catholic” comes.
“His life” refers to a person’s natural life. It does not mean “soul.” Hebrew anthropology did not postulate body/soul dualism in the way that is familiar to us today. Our physical life is a temporary Temple for the Holy Spirit as we live our lives in exile from Heaven. Our soul dwells within us, and will live, with God’s mercy, in heaven eternally.
There is a strong hint of future suffering for the Catholic community addressed in Jesus’ statement. With hindsight of what happens later in history, it is well known that the Catholic Church has suffered through many persecutions, internally and externally. Scandals, wars, and abuses have happened, are happening now, and will happen in the future, for the Catholic Church. If Jesus had to personally deal with these obstacles during His lifetime on earth, why would we not also have to follow in His footsteps, and deal with these issues now?
Jesus, in this reading, states that He will deny before God, anyone who has denied Him. With present thoughts of abortion and euthanasia, priest abuse scandals, “Obamacare,” deceit in politics, and even in our own church by a small group of nuns wrongly claiming authority to approve the present healthcare bill; I wonder how He is going to react when He sees these individuals on judgment day!? I also wonder how He will react when He sees me!? I pray He is smiling!
“Jesus, I am that acorn that has fallen to the ground to die, in order to grow. Please allow me, this nut, to become a mighty oak of faith in you, my Lord! Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: St. Peter Regaldo
Saint Peter Regaldo, a Friar Minor and reformer, born at Valladolid, 1390; died at Aguilera, 30 March, 1456. His parents were of noble birth and conspicuous for their wealth and virtue. Having lost his father in his early youth, he was piously educated by his mother. At the age of ten years Peter begged to be admitted into the Seraphic Order, which favour was granted him three years afterwards in the convent of his native town. In 1404 he became one of the first disciples of Peter de Villacreces, who in 1397 had introduced into Spain the reform of the Observance of which he became one of the most zealous propagators. In the newly-founded convent at Aguilera Peter found the life of solitude, prayer, and eminent poverty, which had always been the greatest object of his desire. In 1415 he became superior of the convent at Aguilera and, on the death of Peter de Villacreces (1422), also of that at Tribulos or del Abroyo. He observed nine, fasting on bread and water, and was endowed with the gift of miracles and prophecy and of every virtue. When his body was exhumed thirty-six years after his death, at the instance of Isabella the Catholic, it was found incorrupt and placed in a more precious tomb. He was beatified by Innocent XI, 11 March, 1684, and canonized by Benedict XIV, 29 June, 1746. His feast is celebrated 13 May, the day of the translation of his body. In art he is represented with flames bursting from his heart.
(from Catholic Encyclopedia Online Edition © 2003 by K. Knight)
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
Prologue to Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule, Chapter 1:
… “Oh, holy Father, protect them with your name (cf. Jn 17:11) whom you gave me out of the world. I entrusted to them the message you entrusted to me and they received it. They have known that in truth I came from you; they have believed that it was you who sent me. For these I pray, not for the world (cf. Jn 17:9). Bless and consecrate them, and I consecrate myself for their sakes. I do not pray for them alone; I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word (cf. Jn 17:20) that they may be holy by being one, as we are (cf. Jn 17:11). And I desire, Father, to have them in my company where I am to see this glory of mine in your kingdom” (cf. Jn 17:6-24).