Sunday, March 29, 2020

Holy Mass Online : Readings and Video : Monday, March 30, 2020 - #Eucharist in Lent


Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Lectionary: 251
Reading 1DN 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 OR 13:41C-62
In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim,
who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna,
the daughter of Hilkiah;
her pious parents had trained their daughter
according to the law of Moses.
Joakim was very rich;
he had a garden near his house,
and the Jews had recourse to him often
because he was the most respected of them all.
That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges,
of whom the Lord said, “Wickedness has come out of Babylon:
from the elders who were to govern the people as judges.”
These men, to whom all brought their cases,
frequented the house of Joakim.
When the people left at noon,
Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk.
When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk,
they began to lust for her.
They suppressed their consciences;
they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven,
and did not keep in mind just judgments.
One day, while they were waiting for the right moment,
she entered the garden as usual, with two maids only.
She decided to bathe, for the weather was warm.
Nobody else was there except the two elders,
who had hidden themselves and were watching her.
“Bring me oil and soap,” she said to the maids,
“and shut the garden doors while I bathe.”
As soon as the maids had left,
the two old men got up and hurried to her.
“Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, and no one can see us;
give in to our desire, and lie with us.
If you refuse, we will testify against you
that you dismissed your maids because a young man was here with you.”
“I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned.
“If I yield, it will be my death;
if I refuse, I cannot escape your power.
Yet it is better for me to fall into your power without guilt
than to sin before the Lord.”
Then Susanna shrieked, and the old men also shouted at her,
as one of them ran to open the garden doors.
When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden,
they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her.
At the accusations by the old men,
the servants felt very much ashamed,
for never had any such thing been said about Susanna.
When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day,
the two wicked elders also came,
fully determined to put Susanna to death.
Before all the people they ordered:
“Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah,
the wife of Joakim.”
When she was sent for,
she came with her parents, children and all her relatives.
All her relatives and the onlookers were weeping.
In the midst of the people the two elders rose up
and laid their hands on her head.
Through tears she looked up to heaven,
for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly.
The elders made this accusation:
“As we were walking in the garden alone,
this woman entered with two girls
and shut the doors of the garden, dismissing the girls.
A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her.
When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this crime,
we ran toward them.
We saw them lying together,
but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we;
he opened the doors and ran off.
Then we seized her and asked who the young man was,
but she refused to tell us.
We testify to this.”
The assembly believed them,
since they were elders and judges of the people,
and they condemned her to death.
But Susanna cried aloud:
“O eternal God, you know what is hidden
and are aware of all things before they come to be:
you know that they have testified falsely against me.
Here I am about to die,
though I have done none of the things
with which these wicked men have charged me.”
The Lord heard her prayer.
As she was being led to execution,
God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel,
and he cried aloud:
“I will have no part in the death of this woman.”
All the people turned and asked him, “What is this you are saying?”
He stood in their midst and continued,
“Are you such fools, O children of Israel!
To condemn a woman of Israel without examination
and without clear evidence?
Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.”
Then all the people returned in haste.
To Daniel the elders said,
“Come, sit with us and inform us,
since God has given you the prestige of old age.”
But he replied,
“Separate these two far from each other that I may examine them.”
After they were separated one from the other,
he called one of them and said:
“How you have grown evil with age!
Now have your past sins come to term:
passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent,
and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says,
‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’
Now, then, if you were a witness,
tell me under what tree you saw them together.”
“Under a mastic tree,” he answered.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you your head,
for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him
and split you in two.”
Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought.
Daniel said to him,
“Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah, beauty has seduced you,
lust has subverted your conscience.
This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel,
and in their fear they yielded to you;
but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness.
Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.”
“Under an oak,” he said.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,
for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two
so as to make an end of you both.”
The whole assembly cried aloud,
blessing God who saves those who hope in him.
They rose up against the two elders,
for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury.
According to the law of Moses,
they inflicted on them
the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor:
they put them to death.
Thus was innocent blood spared that day.
or
The assembly condemned Susanna to death.
But Susanna cried aloud:
“O eternal God, you know what is hidden
and are aware of all things before they come to be:
you know that they have testified falsely against me.
Here I am about to die,
though I have done none of the things
with which these wicked men have charged me.”
The Lord heard her prayer.
As she was being led to execution,
God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel,
and he cried aloud:
“I will have no part in the death of this woman.”
All the people turned and asked him,
“What is this you are saying?”
He stood in their midst and continued,
“Are you such fools, O children of Israel!
To condemn a woman of Israel without examination
and without clear evidence?
Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.”
Then all the people returned in haste.
To Daniel the elders said,
“Come, sit with us and inform us,
since God has given you the prestige of old age.”
But he replied,
“Separate these two far from each other that I may examine them.”
After they were separated one from the other,
he called one of them and said:
“How you have grown evil with age!
Now have your past sins come to term:
passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent,
and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says,
‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’
Now, then, if you were a witness,
tell me under what tree you saw them together.”
“Under a mastic tree,” he answered.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you your head,
for the angel of God shall receive the sentence from him
and split you in two.”
Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought.
Daniel said to him, “Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah,
beauty has seduced you, lust has subverted your conscience.
This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel,
and in their fear they yielded to you;
but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your wickedness.
Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.”
“Under an oak,” he said.
Daniel replied, “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,”
for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two
so as to make an end of you both.”
The whole assembly cried aloud,
blessing God who saves those who hope in him.
They rose up against the two elders,
for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of perjury.
According to the law of Moses,
they inflicted on them
the penalty they had plotted to impose on their neighbor:
they put them to death.
Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

Responsorial Psalm23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (4ab) Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

Verse Before The GospelEZ 33:11

I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion, that he may live.

GospelJN 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area,
and all the people started coming to him,
and he sat down and taught them.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman
who had been caught in adultery
and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him,
“Teacher, this woman was caught
in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.
So what do you say?”
They said this to test him,
so that they could have some charge to bring against him.
Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him,
he straightened up and said to them,
“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one,
beginning with the elders.
So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her,
“Woman, where are they?
Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

Saint March 30 : St. John Climacus : Abbott of Sinai


 



Born:
525, Syria
Died:
30 March 606, Mount Sinai
St John, generally distinguished by the appellation of Climacus, from his excellent book entitled Climax, or the Ladder to Perfection, was born about the year 525, probably in Palestine.
By his extraordinary progress in the arts and sciences he obtained very young the surname of the Scholastic. But at sixteen years of age he renounced all the advantages which the world promised him to dedicate himself to God in a religious state, in 547. He retired to Mount Sinai, which, from the time of the disciples of St. Anthony and St. Hilarion, had been always peopled by holy men, who, in imitation of Moses, when he received the law on that mountain, lived in the perpetual contemplation of heavenly things. Our novice, fearing the danger of dissipation and relaxation to which numerous communities are generally more exposed than others, chose not to live in the great monastery on the summit, but in an hermitage on the descent of the mountain, under the discipline of Martyrius, an holy ancient anchoret. By silence he curbed the insolent itch of talking about everything, an ordinary vice in learned men, but usually a mark of pride and self-sufficiency. By perfect humility and obedience he banished the dangerous desire of self-complacency in his actions. He never contradicted, never disputed with anyone. So perfect was his submission that he seemed to have no self-will. He undertook to sail through the deep sea of this mortal life securely, under the direction of a prudent guide, and shunned those rocks which he could not have escaped, had he presumed to steer alone, as he tells us. From the visible mountain he raised his heart, without interruption, in all his actions, to God, who is invisible; and, attentive to all the motions of his grace, studied only to do his will. Four years he spent in the trial of his own strength, and in learning the obligations of his state, before he made his religious profession, which was in the twentieth year of his age. In his writings he severely condemns engagements made by persons too young, or before a sufficient probation. By fervent prayer and fasting he prepared himself for the solemn consecration of himself to God, that the most intense fervour might make his holocaust the more perfect; and from that moment he seemed to be renewed in spirit; and his master admired the strides with which, like a mighty giant, the young disciple advanced daily more and more towards God, by self-denial, obedience, humility, and the uninterrupted exercises of divine love and prayer.

In the year 560, and the thirty-fifth of his age, he lost Martyrius by death; having then spent nineteen years in that place in penance and holy contemplation. By the advice of a prudent director, he then embraced an eremitical life in a plain called Thole, near the foot of Mount Sinai. His cell was five miles from the church, probably the same which had been built a little before, by order of the Emperor Justinian, for the use of the monks at the bottom of this mountain, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, as Procopius mentions. Thither he went every Saturday and Sunday to assist, with all the other anchorets and monks of that desert, at the holy office and at the celebration of the divine mysteries, when they all communicated. His diet was very sparing, though, to shun ostentation and the danger of vainglory, he ate of everything that was allowed among the monks of Egypt, who universally abstained from flesh, fish, &c. Prayer was his principal employment; and he practiced what he earnestly recommends to all Christians, that in all their actions, thoughts, and words they should keep themselves with great fervour in the presence of God, and direct all they do to his holy will. By habitual contemplation he acquired an extraordinary purity of heart, and such a facility of lovingly beholding God in all his works that this practice seemed in him a second nature. Thus he accompanied his studies with perpetual prayer. He assiduously read the holy scriptures and fathers, and was one of the most learned doctors of the church. But, to preserve the treasure of humility, he concealed, as much as possible, both his natural and acquired talents, and the extraordinary graces with which the Holy Ghost enriched his soul. By this secrecy he fled from the danger of vainglory, which, like a leech, sticks to our best actions and, sucking from them its nourishment, robs us of their fruit. As if this cell had not been sufficiently remote from the eyes of men, St. John frequently retired into a neighbouring cavern which he had made in the rock, where no one could come to disturb his devotions or interrupt his tears. So ardent were his charity and compunction, that his eyes seemed two fountains, which scarce ever ceased to flow; and his continual sighs and groans to heaven, under the weight of the miseries inseparable from his moral pilgrimage, were not to be equaled by the vehemency of the cries of those who suffer from knives and fire. Overcome by importunities, he admitted a holy anchoret named Moyses to live with him as his disciple.
God bestowed on St. John an extraordinary grace of healing the spiritual disorders of souls. Among others, a monk called Isaac was brought almost to the brink of despair by most violent temptations of the flesh. He addressed himself to St. John, who perceived by his tears how much he underwent from that conflict and struggle which he felt within himself. The servant of God commended his faith, and said, "My son, let us have recourse to God by prayer." They accordingly prostrated themselves together on the ground in fervent supplication for a deliverance, and from that time the infernal serpent left Isaac in peace. Many others resorted to St. John for spiritual advice; but the devil excited some to jealousy, who censured him as one who, out of vanity, lost much time in unprofitable discourse. The saint took this accusation, which was a mere calumny, in good part, and as a charitable admonition; he therefore imposed on himself a rigorous silence for near a twelvemonth. This, his humility and modesty, so much astonished his calumniators that they joined the rest of the monks in beseeching him to reassume his former function of giving charitable advice to all that resorted to him for it, and not to bury that talent of science which he had received for the benefit of many. He who knew not what it was to contradict others, with the same humility and deference again opened his mouth to instruct his neighbour in the rules of perfect virtue, in which office, such was the reputation of his wisdom and experience, that he was regarded as another Moses in that holy place. St. John was now seventy-five years old, and had spent forty of them in his hermitage, when, in the year 600, he was unanimously chosen Abbot of Mount Sinai, and superior-general of all the monks and hermits in that country. Soon after he was raised to this dignity, the people of Palestine and Arabia, in the time of a great drought and famine, made their application to him as to another Elias, begging him to intercede with God in their behalf. The saint failed not, with great earnestness, to recommend their distress to the Father of mercies, and his prayer was immediately recompensed with abundant rains. St. Gregory the Great, who then sat in St. Peter's chair, wrote to our holy abbot, recommending himself to his prayers, and sent him beds, with other furniture and money, for his hospital, for the use of pilgrims near Mount Sinai. John, who had used his utmost endeavours to decline the pastoral charge when he saw it laid upon him, neglected no means which might promote the sanctification of all those who were entrusted to his care. That posterity might receive some share in the benefit of his holy instructions, John, the learned and virtuous Abbot of Raithu, a monastery situate towards the Red Sea, entreated him by that obedience he had ever practiced, even with regard to his inferiors, that he would draw up the most necessary rules by which fervent souls might arrive at Christian perfection. The saint answered him that nothing but extreme humility could have moved him to write to so miserable a sinner, destitute of every sort of virtue; but that he received his commands with respect, though far above his strength, never considering his own insufficiency. Wherefore, apprehensive of falling into death by disobedience, he took up his pen in haste, with great eagerness mixed with fear, and set himself to draw some imperfect outlines, as an unskillful painter, leaving them to receive from him, as a great master, the finishing strokes. This produced the excellent work which he called "Climax; or, the Ladder of religious Perfection." This book, being written in sentences, almost in the manner of aphorisms, abounds more in sense than words. A certain majestic simplicity- an inexpressible unction and spirit of humility, joined with conciseness and perspicuity-very much enhance the value of this performance; but its chief merit consists in the sublime sentiments and perfect description of all Christian virtues which it contains. The author confirms his precepts by several edifying examples, as of obedience and penance. In  describing a monastery of three hundred and thirty monks which he had visited near Alexandria, in Egypt, he mentions one of the principal citizens of that city, named Isidore, who, petitioning to be admitted into the house, said to the abbot, "As iron is in the hands of the smith, so am I in your hands." The abbot ordered him to remain without the gate, and to prostrate himself at the feet of everyone that passed by, begging their prayers for his soul struck with a leprosy. Thus he passed seven years in profound humility and patience. He told St. John that, during the first year, he always considered himself as a slave condemned for his sins, and sustained violent conflicts; the second year he passed in tranquillity and confidence; and the third with relish and pleasure in his humiliations. So great was his virtue that the abbot determined to present him to the bishop in order to be promoted to the priesthood, but the humility of the holy penitent prevented the execution of that design; for, having begged at least a respite, he died within ten days. St. John could not help admiring the cook of this numerous community, who seemed always recollected, and generally bathed in tears amidst his continual occupation, and asked him by what means he nourished so perfect a spirit of compunction, in the midst of such a dissipating laborious employment. He said that serving the monks, he represented to himself that he was serving not men, but God in his servants; and that the fire he always had before his eyes reminded him of that fire which will burn souls for all eternity. The moving description which our author gives of the monastery of penitents called the Prison, above a mile from the former, hath been already abridged in our language. John the Sabaite told our saint, as of a third person, that seeing himself respected in his monastery, he considered that this was not the way to satisfy for his sins; wherefore, with the leave of his abbot, he repaired to a severe monastery in Pontus, and after three years saw in a dream a schedule of his debts, to the amount in appearance of one hundred pounds of gold, of which only ten were cancelled. He therefore repeated often to himself, "Poor Antiochus, thou hast still a great debt to satisfy." After passing other thirteen years in contempt and the most fervent practices of penance, he deserved to see in a vision his whole debt blotted out. Another monk, in a grievous fit of illness, fell into a trance, in which he lay as if he had been dead for the space of an hour; but, recovering, he shut himself up in a cell, and lived a recluse twelve years, almost continually weeping, in the perpetual meditation of death. When he was near death, his brethren could only extort from him these words of edification, "He who hath death always before his eyes will never sin." John, Abbot of Raithu, explained this book of our saint by judicious comments, which are also extant. We have likewise a letter of St. John Climacus to the same person concerning the duties of a pastor, in which he exhorts him in correcting others to temper severity with mildness, and encourages him zealously to fulfil the obligations of his charge; for nothing is greater or more acceptable to God than to offer him the sacrifice of rational souls sanctified by penance and charity.
St. John sighed continually under the weight of his dignity during the four years that he governed the monks of Mount Sinai; and as he had taken upon him that burden with fear and reluctance, he with joy found means to resign the same a little before his death. Heavenly contemplation, and the continual exercise of divine love and praise, were his delight and comfort in his earthly pilgrimage: and in this imitation of the functions of the blessed spirits in heaven he placeth the essence of the monastic state. In his excellent maxims concerning the gift of holy tears, the fruit of charity, we seem to behold a lively portraiture of his most pure soul. He died in his hermitage on the 30th day of March, in 605, being fourscore years old. His spiritual son, George, who had succeeded him in the abbacy, earnestly begged of God that he  might not be separated from his dear master and guide; and followed him by a happy death within a few days. On several Greek commentaries on St. John Climacus's ladder, see Montfaucon, Biblioth. Coisliana, pp. 305, 306.
St. John Climacus, speaking of the excellence and the effects of charity, does it with a feeling and energy worthy of such a subject: "A mother," says he, "feels less pleasure when she folds within her arms the dear infant whom she nourishes with her own milk than the true child of charity does when united as he incessantly is, to his God, and folded as it were in the arms of his heavenly Father.—Charity operates in some persons so as to carry them almost entirely out of themselves. It illuminates others, and fills them with such sentiments of joy, that they cannot help crying out: The Lord is my helper and my protector: in him hath my heart confided, and I have been helped And my flesh hath flourished again, and with my will I will give praise to him. This joy which they feel in their hearts, is reflected on their countenances; and when once God has united, or, as we may say, incorporated them with his charity, he displays in their exterior, as in the reflection of a mirror, the brightness and serenity of their souls: even as Moses, being honored with a sight of God, was encompassed round by his glory." St. John Climacus composed the following prayer to obtain the gift of charity: "My God, I pretend to nothing upon this earth, except to be so firmly united to you by prayer that to be separated from you may be impossible; let others desire riches and glory; for my part, I desire but one thing, and that is, to be inseparably united to you, and to place in you alone all my hopes of happiness and repose." The Catholic Encyclopedia

Free Catholic Movie : The Staircase : Based on a True Story - Stars Barbara Hershey


The Staircase (1998) TV Movie | 96 min | Drama, Western | 12 April 1998 (USA)  A small chapel's choir loft survives incomplete with no staircase, until one day a mysterious drifter, with a background in carpentry, arrives in town. Director: Karen Arthur Writer: Christopher Lofton Stars: Barbara Hershey, William Petersen, Diane Ladd

Pope Francis says "Have faith! In the midst of crying...even if death seems to have won...Let the Word of God bring life.." Full Text - Video - Angelus


ANGELUS with Pope Francis from the Vatican - Full Text + Video

Library of the Apostolic Palace
Sunday, March 29, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The Gospel of this fifth Sunday of Lent is that of the resurrection of Lazarus (cf. Jn 11: 1-45). Lazarus was brother of Marta and Maria; they were very close to Jesus. When he arrives in Bethany, Lazarus has been dead for four days; Martha runs to meet the Master and says to him: "If you had been here, my brother would not have died!" (v. 21). Jesus replies: "Your brother will rise" (v. 23); and adds: «I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live "(v. 25). Jesus shows himself as the Lord of life, the One who is capable of giving life even to the dead. Then Mary and other people arrive, all in tears, and then Jesus - says the Gospel - "was deeply moved and [...] burst into tears" (vv. 33.35). With this disturbance in his heart, he goes to the grave, thanks the Father who always listens to him, opens the sepulcher and shouts loudly: "Lazarus, come out!" (v. 43). And Lazarus comes out with "his feet and hands tied with bandages, and his face wrapped in a shroud" (v. 44).

Here we touch with our hands that God is life and gives life, but takes on the drama of death. Jesus could have avoided the death of his friend Lazarus, but he wanted to make our pain for the death of loved ones his own, and above all he wanted to show God's dominion over death. In this passage of the Gospel we see that the faith of man and the omnipotence of God, of the love of God are sought and finally meet. It is like a double path: the faith of man and the omnipotence of the love of God that is sought and eventually met. We see it in the cry of Martha and Mary and all of us with them: "If you had been here! ...". And the answer of God is not a speech, no, the answer of God to the problem of death is Jesus: "I am the resurrection and the life ... Have faith! In the midst of crying, you continue to have faith, even if death seems to have won. Remove the stone from your heart! Let the Word of God bring life back to where there is death. "

Even today Jesus repeats to us: "Remove the stone". God did not create us for the grave, he created us for life, beautiful, good, joyful. But "death entered the world out of envy of the devil" (Wis 2,24), says the Book of Wisdom, and Jesus Christ came to free us from his snares.

Therefore, we are called to remove the stones of everything that tastes of death: for example, the hypocrisy with which faith is lived is death; destructive criticism of others is death; the offense, the slander, is death; the marginalization of the poor is death. The Lord asks us to remove these stones from the heart, and then life will still flourish around us. Christ lives, and whoever welcomes him and adheres to him comes into contact with life. Without Christ, or outside of Christ, not only is life not present, but one falls back into death.

The resurrection of Lazarus is also a sign of the regeneration that takes place in the believer through Baptism, with full insertion into the Paschal Mystery of Christ. By the action and strength of the Holy Spirit, the Christian is a person who walks in life like a new creature: a creature for life and who goes towards life.

May the Virgin Mary help us to be compassionate like her Son Jesus, who made our pain his own. Each of us is close to those who are in trial, becoming for them a reflection of the love and tenderness of God, who frees us from death and makes life win.


After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

in recent days, the Secretary General of the United Nations has launched an appeal for a "global and immediate ceasefire in all corners of the world", recalling the current emergency for COVID-19, which knows no borders. A call for total ceasefire.

I join all those who have accepted this appeal and invite everyone to follow you up by stopping all forms of war hostility, promoting the creation of corridors for humanitarian aid, openness to diplomacy, attention to those in a greater situation. vulnerability.

The joint commitment against the pandemic can lead everyone to recognize our need to strengthen fraternal bonds as members of a single family. In particular, arouse a renewed commitment to overcoming rivalries among the leaders of nations and other stakeholders. Conflicts are not resolved through war! It is necessary to overcome antagonisms and contrasts, through dialogue and a constructive search for peace.
At this moment my thoughts go in a special way to all the people who suffer from the vulnerability of being forced to live in a group: retirement homes, barracks ... In particular, I would like to mention people in prisons. I read an official memo from the Human Rights Commission that talks about the problem of overcrowded prisons, which could become a tragedy. I ask the authorities to be sensitive to this serious problem and to take the necessary measures to avoid future tragedies.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me; I do it for you. Have a good lunch and goodbye.

Beautiful Lent Hymn "O Sacred Head wounded by Crown of piercing thorn" Sung by King's College Choir

"O Sacred Head surrounded By crown of piercing thorn" is one of the most famous hymns from passiontide within the Lenten season. It is generally attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaux as author. The translator: H. W. Baker. This famous tune is known as PASSION CHORALE by (Hassler) - JS Bach.
Lyrics:
1 O sacred head, so wounded
defiled and put to scorn.
O bleeding head, surrounded
so shamed and put to scorn!
What sorrow  comes o'er thee,
the glow of life decays;
yet angel-hosts adore thee,
and tremble as they gaze.
2 Thy comeliness and vigour
is withered up and gone,
and in thy wasted figure
I see death drawing on.
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesu, all grace supplying,
turn thou thy face on me.
3 In this thy bitter passion,
good Shepherd, think of me
with thy most sweet compassion,
unworthy though I be:
beneath thy cross abiding
for ever would I rest,
in thy dear love confiding,
and with thy presence blest.
Image: Stom,_Matthias_-_Christ_Crowned_with_Thorns_-_c._1633-1639 - Google Images

Saint March 29 : Saint Ludovico of Casoria : Founder of Gray Brothers and Sisters


Saint Ludovico of Casoria
(March 11, 1814 – March 30, 1885) Born in Casoria, near Naples, Arcangelo Palmentieri was a cabinet-maker before entering the Friars Minor in 1832, taking the name Ludovico. After his ordination five years later, he taught chemistry, physics, and mathematics to younger members of his province for several years.

In 1847, he had a mystical experience which he later described as a cleansing. After that, he dedicated his life to the poor and the infirm, establishing a dispensary for the poor, two schools for African children, an institute for the children of nobility, as well as an institution for orphans, the deaf, and the speechless, and other institutes for the blind, elderly, and for travelers. In addition to an infirmary for friars of his province, he began charitable institutes in Naples, Florence, and Assisi. He once said, “Christ’s love has wounded my heart.” This love prompted him to great acts of charity.

To help continue these works of mercy, in 1859 he established the Gray Brothers, a religious community composed of men who formerly belonged to the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later, he founded the Gray Sisters of St. Elizabeth for the same purpose.

Toward the beginning of his final, nine-year illness, Ludovico wrote a spiritual testament which described faith as “light in the darkness, help in sickness, blessing in tribulations, paradise in the crucifixion, and life amid death.” The local work for his beatification began within five months of Ludovico’s death. He was beatified in 1993 and canonized in 2014.
Bio Source: franciscanmedia.org

Afghanistan Closes its Only Catholic Church Amid the Coronavirus - Priest urges Prayer of the Rosary and Mercy Chaplet


ASIA/AFGHANISTAN - The only Catholic church in Afghanistan closes for the Covid-19 emergency
Saturday, 28 March 2020

Kabul (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholic chapel of the Italian Embassy in Kabul - the only Catholic church in Afghanistan - has suspended celebrations to respond to the containment measures of the coronavirus. This is what Father Giovanni Scalese, Barnabite priest, at the head of the Missio sui iuris in Afghanistan reports to Agenzia Fides. "At the end of February - says the priest in a note sent to Fides - I had sent a message regarding the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the covid-19 disease. Unfortunately, the virus has continued to spread. Although, thank God, the contagion in Afghanistan has not reached the levels of China or Italy, the experience of those countries suggests that the danger of the virus should not be underestimated. The spread of the first cases in Kabul led the Embassy authorities to close the compound. So, on Monday 23 March I celebrated the last mass with the nuns. Attendance at Sunday mass, however, had already decreased significantly in recent weeks, a sign that many have already returned to their country".
The Barnabite continues to personally celebrate the Eucharist in the church inside the Embassy: "I do not know if it will be possible for me to live the rites of Holy Week, because they require the participation of the faithful or, at least, of some ministers, but in any case, every time there will be the possibility of celebrating a Holy Mass, I will do it".
The exhortation of Fr. Scalese is to live this time accompanied by personal prayer: "I encourage everyone to live their own journey of faith by making use of the celebrations and moments of prayer spread through the media. I urge you to experience this period of trial in a spirit of penance and reconciliation. I invite you to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Holy Rosary for ourselves, for our loved ones, for the victims of the Coronavirus, for health workers and for civil authorities every day".
As of March 27, 80 infected people have been registered in Afghanistan, including two diplomats and four Italian soldiers. The country, which does not have adequate health facilities to respond to a possible crisis, also experiences a state of total political uncertainty, due to the dualism between elected president Ashraf Ghani and his opponent Abdullah Abdullah, both self-proclaimed winners in the last elections. (LF-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 28/3/2020)

Pope Francis at Sunday Mass says "...ask the Lord for this grace.." to "..cry with your people who are suffering at the moment." FULL Video + Homily


MORNING CELEBRATION BROADCAST LIVE
FROM THE CHAPEL OF CASA SANTA MARTA

HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

"Sunday of tears"

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Introduction

I think of so many people crying: isolated people, people in quarantine, the elderly alone, people hospitalized and people in therapy, parents who see that, as there is no salary, they will not be able to feed their children . Many people cry. We too, from our heart, accompany them. And it won't hurt us to cry a little with the Lord's weeping for all his people.

Homily

Jesus had friends. He loved everyone, but he had friends with whom he had a special relationship, as one does with friends, of more love, more confidence ... And many, many times he stayed at the house of these brothers: Lazarus, Martha, Mary ... And Jesus he felt pain for his friend's illness and death. He arrives at the sepulcher and is deeply moved and very upset he asked: "Where did you place it?" (Jn 11.34). And Jesus burst into tears. Jesus, God, but man, wept. Another time in the Gospel it is said that Jesus cried: when he cried over Jerusalem (Lk 19: 41-42). And with how much tenderness Jesus cries! He cries from the heart, cries with love, cries with his who cry. The cry of Jesus. Perhaps, he cried other times in life - we don't know -; certainly in the Garden of Olives. But Jesus cries for love, always.

He was deeply moved and very upset he cried. How many times have we heard in the Gospel this commotion of Jesus, with that phrase that is repeated: "Seeing, he had compassion" (Cf Mt 9,36; Mt 13,14). Jesus cannot see people and feel no compassion. His eyes look with the heart; Jesus sees with the eyes, but also he sees with the heart and is capable of crying.

Today, in front of a world that suffers so much, to so many people who suffer the consequences of this pandemic, I ask myself: am I capable of crying, as surely Jesus would have done and Jesus is doing it now? Does my heart resemble that of Jesus? And if it is too hard, even if I am able to speak, to do good, to help, but the heart does not enter, I am not able to cry, I must ask the Lord for this grace. Lord, may I cry with you, cry with your people who are suffering at the moment. Many cry today. And we, from this altar, from this sacrifice of Jesus, of Jesus who was not ashamed to cry, ask for the grace to cry. May it be for all of us today like the Sunday of tears.

Prayer for spiritual communion

My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all and desire you in my soul. Since I cannot receive you sacramentally now, at least spiritually come to my heart. As already come, I embrace you and I join everything with you. Don't let it ever separate me from you.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation
************ Vatican News explained following the Mass there was a brief period of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, after which the Pope gave Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. The liturgy ended with the intonation of the ancient Marian antiphon Regina Caelorum (Hail, O Queen of Heaven).