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Archive for April 15th, 2019

THOUSANDS OF IRAQI CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE PALM SUNDAY IN QARAQOSH


This is Qaraqosh, a Christian city in Iraq. In 2014, it was overrun by ISIS terrorists who looted the town, destroyed churches, and deported indigenous people. After the liberation, more than 4800 Assyrian families returned. This picture was taken as people attend the 2019 Palm Sunday mass.

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“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified”  St. John 12: 23b

Almighty God, grant that in the midst of our failures and weaknesses we may be restored through the passion and intercession of Your only-begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Readings:  Isaiah 50:  5-10  Psalm 36: 5-10  Hebrews 9:  11-15  St. John 12: 1-23

There was a famous televangelist, Robert Schuller, who’s TV show was entitled, “The Hour of Power”. He was more a proponent for positive thinking than he was of the Gospel.  His hour of power was all about positive thinking.  He even gave away the “Positive Thinker’s Bible” in which all the positive passages were in the color blue. I wondered if the 10 commandments and the cross were in blue.

Jesus also spoke quite a few times of the coming “hour”:  John 2:4John 7:30John 12:27John 16:32,John 17:1.   The hour would be suffering and death, humiliation and shame, then on the third day rise from the dead. Rev. Schuller said that the passages about Jesus’ crucifixion just showed that He had positive thoughts by which He would get through this.  It was not positive thoughts that led Jesus through it.  It was His love of mankind, for me and for you  and our redemption in His blood that Jesus led us the way through the valley of the shadow of death and sin.  He came to do the Father’s will.  

There is more to life in this world than this life lived on our terms.  Even positive thinking is a symptom of the sin of Adam.  Such positive thinking helps to alleviate symptoms but not the root cause:  man separated from his God. Man can not bridge the chasm, only the One who true God and true man has. Thinking apart from the Lord leads us down many a rabbit hole:  first the hole seems utopian but rabbit holes are terrible dead ends. That fruit always looks good but it is cursed.  And in the faith and life in Christ we can admit we have failures and weaknesses, as we did in the prayer above.  The Lord knows as He cares for you and He bears you up.  The second Adam, the man from heaven came to this hour to bear our sin and be our Savior.  

The hour was the  Triduum,  or The Three Days:  the period of three days that begins with the liturgy on the evening of Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and ends with evening prayer on Easter Sunday. The Triduum is the culmination of the Lenten journey.  All of our positive thoughts, as nice and good as they can be, won’t lead us through.  Christ is the good Seed planted into the earth, His death and now risen to bear much fruit:  faith in Him, love of Him, hope in Him to bear fruit as He is the vine and we are the branches (cf. St. John 15).  He leads us through as He is the pioneer and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12: 1-2), not us!

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