Thursday, April 2, 2009

"This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many."

Issue Date: April 5, 2009
Palm Sunday (LPalmB)

BURNING QUESTION: What sacraments were instituted by Jesus on Holy Thursday?
FEATURED BLOG: Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Jerusalem!
VOCATION NEWS: El Grano Que Muere
PASTORAL HISPANA: Pontiff: God Never Ceases to Call Vocations

Dear Friends:

The Sunday before Easter is observed by virtually all Christians -- Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox -- as Palm Sunday. Scholars tell us that what we will hear this Sunday is the oldest written account of the passion and death of Jesus. So by reading it in dramatic form, we are able to get very close to the most significant of all events in the history of the world. Our Discussions Questions on the Sunday Readings will guide you during your personal reflection or at your bible study groups.

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains why the Catholic practice of careful, repeated meditation on the Passion of Christ is important. It is the climax of the entire history of Revelation and Redemption. It's the ultimate Revelation of two intertwined realities: human sin and divine love. Fr. Alex McAllister says it entirely typifies the paradoxical nature of the Kingdom Christ came to inaugurate.

The King had come to dinner at Simon’s house. Fr. Joseph Pelligrino homilizes how Jesus was anointed with costly perfume in respect. But the Noble One said it was actually a preparation for his burial. Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm says If we take this little story of the anointing of Jesus seriously, we will learn that the passion story is not primarily about how much Jesus suffered, but rather about how much he loved. The glorious Son of God who "reigns from the wood" transformed our death from a curse into the door of eternal life, as Father Cusick explains.

Fr. John Foley declares that the real basis of kingship is serving the people. And Jesus, the true leader, lets go of everything in allegiance to God and in service of His people. And the cross, Fr. James Gilhooley explains, reveals people's hatred for God and God's love for people. And this, according to Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS, is the week we carry our own cross. While Fr. Phil Bloom tells us that if we fix our attention on Christ crucified., we will see a more profound justice at work. And it has a name: the Divine Mercy.

HOLY WEEK. The Holy Week message is "Salvation Through Christ: This is where we're going!" as we celebrate with Christians all across the world. And if like many, you haven't been blessed with the opportunity to spend Holy Week in the holy city of Jerusalem, you can follow Paul Dion, STL, as he narrates his Holy Week in the Holy Land experience - one day at a time - begining with this Palm Sunday Report: "JERUSALEM! JERUSALEM! JERUSALEM!"

In the weeks leading to Holy Week, many of you might have witnessed First Eucharist celebration for the young children in your parish. Fr Longenecker explains quite well "The Many Advantages of First Confessions at a Tender Age." And as we move towards the end of Holy Week, hundreds of thousands - over 150,0000 by USCCB estimates - are expected to join the the U.S. Catholic Church during April 11 Easter Vigils.

CATHOLICS MORE LIBERAL? A Gallup Poll this week concluded that Catholics are the same and in some cases even more liberal than non-Catholics when it comes to moral issues - namely premarital sex, embryonic stem cell research and the death penalty. As an example, the topic of contraception seems to be a touchy topic even among Catholic couples who are preparing to get married in the Church, as a pre-Cana lecturer from New York explains in "Contraception: the Bitter Pill."

It is no big surprise then that the media would have a field day when the Pope spoke against the use of condoms last week in Africa. Here's a great commentary on "Media and Religion's Uneasy Relationship" by the editor of Catholic Information Service for Africa.

CATHOLIC NEWS. With the new Obama administration moving to repeal the federal "conscience clause" at hospitals, many health workers at Catholic hospitals will now be coerced to perform medical practices that are violations of their personal moral values - abortion being one of them. Also this week, the USCCB had to issue a statement denouncing the Reiki Therapy, a popular Japanese treatment, as unchristian and not to be practiced in Catholic instututions. And finally, we bring you "Memories of John Paul II" on the fourth anniversary of his death this week on April 2.

STORIES OF HOPE. Small miracles of goodwill are running deep in flood-stricken Fargo, ND. Even as thousands of people are driven out of their homes, most of the local storm shelters are virtually empty. Why? Neighbors are going out of their way to take in neighbors and strangers alike. And just as many have decided that online dating was dangerous and risque, we ran across a story that good can come out of just about anything. Check it out: "How I met my husband online."

LIFESTYLE. Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP reports on an interview she did with Ryne Pearson, one of four writers who scripted the film, "The Knowing" starring Nicholas Cage. . Ryne is a practicing Catholic who went to public school and attended CCD (catechism classes). Check out his story. And here's a simple health tip that can save your life: Brush your teeth; it could prevent a heart attack. Plus here are "5 Things you Must Know About Sleep."

nother eventful day in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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