Wednesday of Holy Week
- Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations
- Today in Catholic History
- Quote of the Day
- Today’s Gospel Reading
- Reflection on Today’s Gospel
- New Translation of the Mass
- A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day
- Franciscan Formation Reflection
- Reflection on part of the SFO Rule
Dan’s Deliberations, Discoveries, & Declarations:
I want to thank you Lord for extending to us your graces. Please be with all of us in all our endeavors, thoughts, and dreams.
Today in Catholic History:
† 1303 – The University of Rome La Sapienza is instituted by Pope Boniface VIII.
† 1314 – Death of Clement V, [Bertrand Got], pope (1305-14) move papacy to Avignon
† 1317 – Death of Agnes van Montepulciano, Italian mystic/saint
† 1534 – Death of Elizabeth Barton, English nun (executed)
† 1586 – Birth of Saint Rose of Lima, Peruvian saint (d. 1617)
† 1884 – Pope Leo XIII published encyclical “On Freemasonry”
† 1884 – Pope Leo XIII publishes the encyclical, Humanum Genus.
† 1999 – Death of victims of the Columbine High School massacre
† 2007 – Death of Michael Fu Tieshan, Chinese bishop (b. 1931)
† Feasts/Memorials: Saint Agnes of Montepulciano; Saint Theotimus (d. 407); Blessed Oda (d. 1158)
(From the “On This Day” Blog Site
“Today in Catholic History”
Quote of the Day:
Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
Had no army, yet kings feared Him.
He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.
He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.
Today’s reflection is about the planning and provision for the “Last Supper” and pronouncement of Judas’ disloyalty, deceit, and betrayal.
(NAB Matthew 26:14-25) 14 Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, 16 and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. 17 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples pproached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 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.”‘” 19 The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover. 20 When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” 23 He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. 24 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.” 25 Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”
Have you ever wondered why Judas betrayed his “Master”, his “Rabbi”, his “dear” friend? I know I have! This specific question is towards
the top of my list of questions that I plan on asking some day (yet, hopefully not soon though).
“Judas Iscariot” is an Apostle that is not really made as factually well-known to us as some of the other major disciples of Jesus Christ. I believe he was a “zealot”, and possibly even a member of the same group of Jewish rebels who attempted the military overthrow of Roman rule in Palestine in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The name Iscariot, per NAB footnote) may mean “man from Kerioth”, a city of Judah.
What was his reason for his actions? Were Judas’ deceitfulness, disloyalty, and treasonous actions toward Jesus Christ provoked by greed?
Was he disappointed with Jesus because of an action or non-action? Or did he come be disillusioned in Jesus’ message, and way?
It could be that Judas never intended for Jesus Christ to die (though he should have known the consequence of his actions). Maybe he wanted to “push” Jesus into some type of action – – a stimulus plan of sorts. Did Judas think Jesus was proceeding too slowly and/or not acting forcefully and violently enough in His setting up of the “messianic” kingdom on earth? Perhaps Judas simply wanted to force Jesus’
hand by forcing and coercing Him to start an armed, substantially physical, act of some unknown type.
What we can surmise, however, is that Judas somehow could not accept Jesus Christ as He was, and in the plan of His humanly divine mission. But, aren’t we tempted to use God for our own purposes as well, at times? We have to remember, it is not God who must change to fit our needs. We must be changed by Him, so we can fulfill His needs.
The motive of greed is introduced by Judas’s question, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” in regards to the price for betrayal. Curiously, this sentence is absent in Mark’s Gospel:
“Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them. When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money. Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.” (Mark 14:10-11).
“Hand him over”, however, is in both accounts (Matthew’s and Mark’s). The same Greek verb is used to express the saving purpose of God the Father by which Jesus Christ is handed over to death, and the human malice that hands him over:
“As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” (Matthew 17:22);
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and
they will condemn him to death.” (Matthew 20:18);
“You know that in two days’ time it will be Passover, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” (Matthew 26:2).
The chief priest’s intent was to put Jesus to death. They plotted for a long time, yet delayed their thirst for His death out of fear of Jesus’ following in society and out of the fear of the crowds around Him nearly continuously.
There are many references to “thirty pieces of silver throughout Holy Scripture. “Thirty pieces of silver” (about 21 ounces) was the price Judas agreed upon with the Temple leaders in his contract of betrayal; in his being a traitor of Jesus. The amount of money paid to Judas
is found only in Matthew’s account. It is derived from the Old Testament Book of Zechariah, where it is the wages paid to the rejected shepherd:
“I said to them, ‘If it seems good to you, give me my wages; but if not, let it go.’ And they counted out my wages, thirty pieces of silver. But the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it in the treasury, the handsome price at which they valued me.’ So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the treasury in the house of the LORD.” (Zechariah 11:12-13).
The amount: “thirty pieces of silver” was also the compensation paid to one whose slave has been gored by an ox:
“But if it is a male or a female slave that it gores, he must pay the owner of the slave thirty shekels of silver, and the ox must be stoned.” (Exodus 21:32).
Interesting for me is that five shekels was the price Mary and Joseph had to pay at the Temple (by Mosaic Law) for Jesus’ redemption, at
the time He was “Presented” to the Temple at eight days of age (cf., Luke 2:22-40). It is now thirty shekels (about 21 ounces of pure silver) that officials of the same Temple are paying to condemn Jesus Christ to death – – and for OUR redemption.
Unleavened bread took the form of loaves which had to be eaten over a seven day period, in commemoration of the unleavened bread which the Israelites had to take with them in their hurry to leave Egypt:
“The people, therefore, took their dough before it was leavened, in their kneading bowls wrapped in their cloaks on their shoulders.” (Exodus 12:34).
In Jesus Christ’s time, the Passover supper was celebrated on the first day of the week of Unleavened Bread.
Most Catholics do not understand this Jewish festival. Both the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are two separate events, co-mingled. The two festivals are reflected in the following Old Testament verses:
“You shall keep the feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days at the prescribed time in the month of Abib you are to eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you; for in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt.” (Exodus 34:18);
“These, then, are the festivals of the LORD which you shall celebrate at their proper time with a sacred assembly. The Passover of the LORD falls on the fourteenth day of the first month, at the evening twilight. The fifteenth day of this month is the LORD’S feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first of these days you shall hold a sacred assembly and do no sort of work. On each of the seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD. Then on the seventh day you shall again hold a sacred assembly and do no sort of work.” (Leviticus 23:4-8);
“’Tell the Israelites to celebrate the Passover at the prescribed time. The evening twilight of the fourteenth day of this month is the prescribed time when you shall celebrate it, observing all its rules and regulations.’ Moses, therefore, told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover. And they did so, celebrating the Passover in the desert of Sinai during the evening twilight of the fourteenth day of the first month, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. There were some, however, who were unclean because of a human corpse and so could not keep the Passover that day. These men came up to Moses and Aaron that same day and said, ‘Although we are unclean because of a corpse, why should we be deprived of presenting the LORD’S offering at its proper time along with the other Israelites?’ Moses answered them, ‘Wait until I learn what the LORD will command in your regard.’ The LORD then said to Moses: ‘Speak to the Israelites and say: If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean because of a corpse, or if he is absent on a journey, he may still keep the LORD’S Passover. But he shall keep it in the second month, during the evening twilight of the fourteenth day of that month, eating it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, and not leaving any of it over till morning, nor breaking any of its bones, but observing all the rules of the Passover. However, anyone who is clean and not away on a journey, who yet fails to keep the Passover, shall be cut off from his people, because he did not present the LORD’S offering at the prescribed time. That man shall bear the consequences of his sin. ‘If an alien
who lives among you wishes to keep the LORD’S Passover, he too shall observe the rules and regulations for the Passover. You shall have the same law for the resident alien as for the native of the land.’ (Numbers 9:2-14);
“On the fourteenth day of the first month falls the Passover of the LORD, and the fifteenth day of this month is the pilgrimage feast. For seven days unleavened bread is to be eaten.” (Numbers 28:16-17);
“Observe the month of Abib by keeping the Passover of the LORD, your God, since it was in the month of Abib that he brought you by night out of Egypt. You shall offer the Passover sacrifice from your flock or your herd to the LORD, your God, in the place which he chooses as the dwelling place of his name. You shall not eat leavened bread with it. or seven days you shall eat with it only unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, that you may remember as long as you live the day of your departure from the land of Egypt; for in frightened haste you left the land of Egypt. Nothing leavened may be found in all your territory for seven days, and none of the meat which you sacrificed on the evening of the first day shall be kept overnight for the next day. ‘You may not sacrifice the Passover in any of the communities which the LORD, your God, gives you; only at the place which he chooses as the dwelling place of his name, and in the evening at sunset, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt, shall you sacrifice the Passover. You shall cook and eat it at the place the LORD, your God, chooses; then in the morning you may return to your tents. For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh there shall be a solemn meeting in honor of the LORD, your God; on that day you shall not do any sort of work.’” (Deuteronomy 16:1-8).;
Every male adult Jew was expected to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem at some time in their life. If possible, the Jewish people living near Jerusalem were to celebrate Passover every year in Jerusalem.
This annual feast commemorated the deliverance of the people of Israel from their slavery in Egypt (see Exodus 12). On that night the angel of death slew the first-born of the Egyptians; but he “passed over” the homes of the Israelites, because the wooden beam and jams of their doors were smeared with the blood of an unblemished lamb sacrificed for the occasion.
Jesus Christ was also an “unblemished” (sin-free), “lamb” (human offering) sacrificed at Passover, and His blood was smeared on the wooden beams of the Holy Cross.
The “Feast of the Unleavened Bread” was continued from Nisan 14, through Nisan 21 (7 days of the Hebrew Calendar), a reminder of the suffering and difficulty the Israelites experienced, and of the haste surrounding their departure from Egypt. Praise and thanks to God for His goodness in the past year were combined at this “dual festival”, along with the hope of future salvation in the coming years.
Matthew and Mark have parallel and similar versions of sending disciples into the Jerusalem for the acquisition of a room for the
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.”‘”(Matthew 26:18)
In comparison to,
“He sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him. Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, “The Teacher says, ‘Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’” Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.’” (Mark 14:13-15)
By Matthew leaving out much of Mark’s version, along with adding “My appointed time draws near”, plus, turning His question (in Marks Gospel) into a statement (in Matthew’s), the passage is presented in a formal, solemn, and majestic way, making his presentation far greater (for me) than is presented in Mark’s version.
The passage from today’s reading (verse 18) refers to an “unknown” person as the one to approach in order to acquire a place for the Passover meal. In reality, I believe Jesus gave this person’s real name. After all, Jesus was not unknown in Jerusalem, and had been there many, many times. He was “connected” in that city. From what the other Evangelists write, Jesus most certainly gave enough information to enable His Apostles to find a place.
“He sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the city and a man will meet you, carrying a jar of water. Follow him.’” (Mark 14:13);
“And he answered them, ‘When you go into the city, a man will meet you carrying a jar of water. Follow him into the house that he enters.’” (Luke 22:10);
What do you think? Did Jesus’ disciples go without any knowledge what-so-ever, are did they go with some sort of instructions?
Given Matthew’s interest in the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies, I wonder why he leaves out Mark’s words of the “betrayer” being present at the very table eating with them; of Jesus’ betrayer being an Apostle, as in Mark’s version:
“And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, ‘Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.’” (Mark 14:18),
However, they both do allude to Psalm 41 in their words. However, Mark’s words are closer in comparison:
“Even the friend who had my trust, who shared my table, has scorned me.” (Psalm 41:10).
For me, the shocking fact is that the “betrayer” was one of the twelve Apostles, chosen personally by Jesus Christ. The truth is that a “betrayer” who shared the same table and same fellowship with Jesus Christ and His followers, who listened to His teachings and was in His loving embrace – – daily, – – would purposely choose to knowingly hand Jesus over to a certain death.
His resurrection at “Easter” will teach the Apostles so much more about who Jesus Christ truly was. However, this glorious, magnificent, and miraculous event had not occurred as of this time in first century Palestine. Their faith was growing, strengthening. It was being fortified and deepened during the course of Jesus’ public ministry, and though their continual contact with Him and His divine graces which He had imparted on them.
“Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.” (John 2:11);
“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.’” (John 6:68-69);
“Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.’” (Matthew 16:17).
I could never even imagine giving up a friend as dear as Jesus Christ. The evilness, ruthlessness, and horror of Judas’ actions were such that it would be better for him not to exist than to do what he had done.
“It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” (Matthew 26:24).
Jesus in saying, “The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him …” is referring to the “truth” that He will offer Himself up freely to pain, suffering, and death. In so doing He was fulfilling the will of God, as prophesized, centuries before:
“Even the friend who had my trust, who shared my table, has scorned me.”(Psalm 41:10);
“Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers; he was silent and opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7).
Although our Lord Jesus Christ goes to His death willingly, and of His own free will, this does not reduce the seriousness of Judas’
The advance warning of Judas being the traitor was not noticed by the Apostles:
“Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.’ So he dipped the morsel and (took it and) handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After he took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ (Now) none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, ‘Buy what we need for the feast,’ or to give something to the poor.’” (John 13:26-29).
Distinctive to Matthew is the half-affirmatives, “You have said so” found several times in his Gospel, including verse 25 from today’s reading:
“Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, ‘You have said so.’” (Matthew 26:25),
along with two others:
“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.”'” (Matthew 26:64);
“Now Jesus stood before the governor, and he questioned him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ Jesus said, ‘You say so.’” (Matthew 27:11).
These “half-affirmative”, (sort of “Yes’s”), emphasize the pronoun “you”. Jesus’ answer implies that His statement – – His near “yes” – – would not have been made if the question had not been asked in the first place.
In Summary, It was at Passover time that Jesus came to Jerusalem knowing he would be betrayed and put to death as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus fulfilled the Passover prophesies. His new covenant – – fulfilled the old. His death and resurrection happened at the time of Passover solely in order to redeem US from our life of sin, death, Satan, and worldly needs.
His blood on the wood of the Holy tree, like the blood of the first Passover lamb just prior to the Exodus, protects God’s people from the angel of death and the oppressive power of Satan. “Easter” is the Catholic Christian Passover:
“Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor. 5:7-8).
Are you celebrating this Holy Week, this Catholic Passover, with sincerity, love, and truth in your heart?
Jesus knew before the earth existed what would transpire at this time. As Jesus ate the Passover meal with His twelve Apostles, and saying, “one of you will betray me”, He taught them (and us) to examine theirs, (and OURS), consciousness and actions. He taught US also to examine ourselves in the light of God’s truth and grace. We need to ask Him to strengthen our faith, hope, and love (the intentions of the first three “Hail Mary” beads on the rosary) DAILY, so we may not fail Him or abandon Him when tempted. Pray with confidence, love, hope, and trust the words Jesus gave us to pray for deliverance from evil.
“The Our Father”
“Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
New Translation of the Mass
In November of 2011, with the start of the new Liturgical year and Advent, there will be a few noticeable changes in the Mass. It will still be the same ritual for celebrating the Eucharist. The Mass will still have the same parts, the same patterns, and the same flow as it has had for the past several decades. It is only the translation of the Latin that is changing.
The new translation seeks to correspond much more closely to the exact words and sentence structure of the Latin text. At times, this results in a good and faithful rendering of the original meaning. At other times it produces a rather awkward text in English which is difficult to proclaim and difficult to understand. Most of those problems affect the texts which priests will proclaim rather than the texts that belong to the congregation as a whole. It is to the congregation’s texts that I will address with each blog, in a repetitive basis until the start of Advent.
In the words of Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium, #11, the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of Christian life. Anything we can do to understand our liturgy more deeply will draw us closer to God.
The third form of the penitential rite, with the various invocations of Christ (e.g., “You came to call sinners”) will be much the same (not much of a change), though an option is added to conclude each invocation in Greek:
“Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison,”
Which may be used instead of the English: “Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy”, as it is presently. The first two forms (found in the past two previous blogs) may conclude with this threefold litany too, either in English or in Greek.
Material from “Changing How We Pray”,
by Rev. Lawrence E. Mick
A Franciscan’s Saint of the Day: St. Conrad of Parzham (1818-1894)
His parents, Bartholomew and Gertrude Birndorfer, lived near Parzham, Bavaria. In those days this region was recovering from the Napoleonic wars. A lover of solitary prayer and a peacemaker as a young man,
Conrad joined the Capuchins as a brother. He made his profession in 1852 and was assigned to the friary in Altoetting. That city’s shrine to Mary was very popular; at the nearby Capuchin friary there was a lot of work for the porter, a job Conrad held for 41 years.
At first some of the other friars were jealous that such a young friar held this important job. Conrad’s patience and holy life overcame their doubts. As porter he dealt with many people, obtaining many of the friary supplies and generously providing for the poor who came to the door. He treated them all with the courtesy Francis expected of his followers.
Conrad’s helpfulness was sometimes unnerving. Once Father Vincent, seeking quiet to prepare a sermon, went up the bell tower of the church. Conrad tracked him down when someone wanting to go to confession specifically requested Father Vincent.
Conrad also developed a special rapport with the children of the area. He enthusiastically promoted the Seraphic Work of Charity, which aided neglected children.
Conrad spent hours in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. He regularly asked the Blessed Mother to intercede for him and for the many people he included in his prayers. The ever-patient Conrad was canonized in 1934.
As we can see from his life as well as his words, Conrad of Parzham lived a life that attracted others because of a special quality, something Chesterton alluded to when he wrote, “The moment we have a fixed heart we have a free hand” (Orthodoxy, p. 71). If we want to understand Conrad, we have to know where he fixed his heart. Because he was united to God in prayer, everyone felt at ease in Conrad’s presence.
“It was God’s will that I should leave everything that was near and dear to me. I thank him for having called me to religious life where I have found such peace and joy as I could never have found in the world. My plan of life is chiefly this: to love and suffer, always meditating upon, adoring and admiring God’s unspeakable love for his lowliest creatures” (Letter of Saint Conrad).
Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.;
revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
(From http://www.americancatholic.org website)
Franciscan Formation Reflection:
What virtues were given to us with the Sacrament of Confirmation? How often are we aware of trying to use them?
In our spiritual life, is it better (more wholesome) to concentrate on practicing virtues, rather than trying to eradicate vices? What is the practical difference?
Discuss one or two outstanding virtues that impress you about your favorite Saint…
How do these individual virtues compare to societal values today?
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO)
Rule #’s 20 & 21 of 26:
20. The Secular Franciscan Order is divided into fraternities of various levels — local, regional, national, and international. Each one has its own moral personality in the Church. These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the norm of this rule and of the constitutions.
21. On various levels, each fraternity is animated and guided by a council and minister who are elected by the professed according to the constitutions. Their service, which lasts for a definite period, is marked by a ready and willing spirit and is a duty of responsibility to each member and to the community.
Within themselves the fraternities are structured in different ways according to the norm of the constitutions, according to the various needs of their members and their regions, and under the guidance of their respective council.