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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Introduction to Joshua[1]


Hail the conquering hero! Beowulf, Alexander the Great, Xerxes, Romulans, Marcus Aurelius, Hannibal, Caesar the Ape... okay, we'll stop here. Needless to say (but you know we're going to anyway), the world is full of conquering heroes. Did you know the Bible has one, too? His name is Joshua. Written in Hebrew during the late 7th century BCE, the Book of Joshua is the first recorded text of the Bible and kicks off what is known as the Historical Books. This doesn't mean that everything is to be taken literally (like our jokes). History was originally meant to teach a community about how to be good citizens and way less concerned with historical accuracy. The Book of Joshua, which reads like a game of Risk, tells the tale of a man named Joshua (didn't see that one coming) and his conquest of the land of Canaan with the Israelite army. Joshua was Moses's replacement to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. The problem? People already lived there. Joshua had the unfortunate job of clearing out the wandering tribes of Canaan so the Israelites could have a home. We think of this like when you go to play in the ball pit, but it's already filled with kids so you kick them all out because it's your turn. Of course that's all hypothetical. We don't do that anymore. We're proud to say we haven't kicked a child out of a ball pit since last week. Like Exodus, the Book of Joshua is about a nation discovering its identity and home in a foreign land, but it's also a very personal story about an ambitious patriot who sees it as his duty to sacrifice everything for his people and God. If that doesn't scream a rockin' good time, we're not sure what does. Maybe if this all took place in a ball pit.
Why Should I Care?

Look, we're going to be honest with you. This book is filled with a lot of bloody battles, human conflict, and pump your fist in the air moments. But that's not why you should care. The Book of Joshua is your history; a story about a foreigner in a strange land with a special talent. To us, that screams freshman year of high school. And college. And work. And the retirement home. It's a tale as old a time, one of those moments where the Bible speaks to some experiences we all share, no matter where we fall on the religious spectrum. Being the new guy is never easy. Or new girl for that matter. The Book of Joshua teaches us about family, commitment, loyalty, and faithall things we need to survive, to make new histories. Give it a read. We dare you.

march 21 Thursday In the Second Week of Lent
PURIM-HOLI-INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS

Joshua, Chapter 1, Verse 9
I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.

The Lord is patient and kind, yet He is also just. He will right the evil of man. When man goes too far God intervenes. Is another intervention coming? Is there a breach in the lines of defense against the forces of darkness? Have we become fat and gross and gorged with secularism? Have we forsaken the God who made us and scorned Him? Have we sacrificed to demons, to “no-gods”?
Good men heed the message of St. Faustina and seek the Divine Mercy of God while there is still time and then join the battle of God coming into the breach. Read the online message of the Bishop of Phoenix and be prepared to fight and defend our church.[2]
Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, a simple, uneducated, young Polish nun receives a special call. Jesus tells her, "I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My merciful Heart." These words of Jesus are found in the Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, which chronicles Sr. Faustina's great experience of Divine Mercy in her soul and her mission to share that mercy with the world. 

Though she died in obscurity in 1938, Sr. Faustina was hailed by Pope John Paul II as "the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time." On April 30, 2000, the Pope canonized her as St. Faustina, saying that the message of Divine Mercy she shared is urgently needed at the dawn of the new millennium.[3]

Thursday in the Second Week of Lent[4]

Prayer. GRANT us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the help of Thy grace, that we, dutifully engaged in fasting and prayer, may be freed from all enemies of body and soul.

EPISTLE. Jer. xvii. 5-10.

Thus, saith the Lord God: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like tamaric in the desert, and he shall not see when good shall come but he shall dwell in dryness in the desert in a salt land, and not inhabited. Blessed be the man that trusteth in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence. And he shall be as a tree that is planted by the waters, that spreadeth out its roots towards moisture: and it shall not fear when the heat corneth. And the leaf thereof shall be green, and in the time of drought it shall not be solicitous, neither shall it cease at any time to bring forth fruit. The heart is perverse above all things, and unsearchable, who can know it?
I am the Lord that search the heart and prove the reins: Who give to everyone according to his way, and according to the fruit of his devices, saith the Lord Almighty.

GOSPEL. Luke xvi. 19-31.

At that time Jesus said to the Pharisees: There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen: and feasted sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores, desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man s table, and no one did give him: moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell. And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom: and he cried, and said: Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, to cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame. And Abraham said to him: Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now lie is comforted, and thou art tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you cannot, nor from thence come hither. And he said: Then, father, I beseech thee that thou wouldst send him to my father’s house; for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments. And Abraham said to him: They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. But he said: No, Father Abraham, but if one went to them from the dead, they will do penance. And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe if one rise again from the dead.

Lenten Calendar[5]

Read: Yesterday, we read about the corporal works of mercy, and today we will focus on the spiritual works of mercy, which have long been a part of the Christian tradition, appearing in the works of theologians and spiritual writers throughout history.

Reflect: Forgiving others is difficult at times because we do not have God's limitless mercy and compassion.  But Jesus teaches us that we should forgive as God forgives, relying on him to help us show others the mercy of God. Are there grudges you are holding on to that you should let go of? 

Pray: the Chaplet of Divine Mercy today. Also today is World Downs Syndrome day. Pray for an end to the murder of these inocents in the newest laws in Virginia and New York.

Act: In practicing one of the spiritual works of mercy, forgiving others, make an effort to go to Confession before Easter.


Purim[6]

A Jewish Holiday which commemorates Jewish people being saved from extermination in Persia.  The story of Purim comes from the Biblical book of Esther.  In it, Haman a high-ranking advisor to King Ahasuerus sought to kill all Jews in ancient Persia. He is motivated by an incident in which Mordechai, a Jewish leader, defied the king's orders and refused to bow to Haman. Haman is stopped through the actions of Mordechai and his niece Esther, a beautiful and courageous Jewish woman. Esther initially disguises her Jewish Identity and eventually becomes Queen. Through their actions the King becomes aware of Haman's plot and is persuaded to have him hanged.

Purim Facts & Quotes

·         Purim is considered to be a joyous Holiday often accompanied by celebrations, plays, festive food and costume parties.
·         Purim holiday is often preceded by fast, referred to as the Fast of Esther.  This fast commemorates Esther's three days of fasting in preparation for her meeting with the king.  The fast is observed from dawn until dusk on the eve of Purim.
·         The story of Purim is told in the book of Esther, which is also known as "the Scroll" (Megillah in Hebrew).
·         If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life - this is my petition, and the life of my people - this is my request. (Esther 7:3)

Purim Top Events and Things to Do

·         Make a Mishloach Manot (also known as mishloach manos or shalach manos).  This is a gift of at least two kinds of food that are ready to eat.  Give them out to neighbors, friends and associates.
·         Make Hamantaschen cookies.  These are pocket triangle shaped cookies that are often made with fruit, poppy seed or cheese filling.
·         Attend a Purim Carnival or Festival.  Some of the more popular ones are the Carnival at Mamilla (Jerusalem) and Cirque Du Purim in Minneapolis.
·         Donate to the poor.  It is customary and part of tradition to give at least two gifts to two poor people on Purim.
·         Visit a Jewish Museum.  Many put on special activities for kids such as plays, performances, and costume parties


Holi-Another Pagan Fest[7]

Holi is the ancient Hindu Festival of Love and also known as the Festival of Colors.  The origins of Holi lie in ancient Hindu traditions where Holi was celebrated to mark the arrival of spring.  Holi is also related to the legend of Holika, the evil sister of demon king Hiranyakashipu, who tried to burn Hiranyakashipu's son Prahlada.  Prahlada had maintained faith in god (Vishnu), while Hiranyakashipu contended that he was god.  Wearing a cloak that guarded her from fire, Holika lured Prahlada into a fire but the cloak that was guarding Holika flew and protected Prahlada instead.  Because of this Holi also celebrates the triumph of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and love over hate.

Holi Facts & Quotes

·         The name Holi stems from Holiya, who was the evil sister of a demon god that tried to burn her nephew.  According to ancient Sanskrit scriptures, Holiya died in the fire while her nephew was unharmed.  Since then, on the eve of Holi, a bonfire named Holiya is lit to signify the triumph of good over evil.
·         Central to most Holi festivals are bright colors that are often thrown, sprayed or painted on. For this reason, Holi is often refered to as the Festival of Colors.
·         Traditionally colors were achieved through dyes that were made from turmeric, sandalwood, flower and leaf extracts, and beetroots.  In recent times Synthetic Color dyes are often used during Holi festivals.  These dyes are often toxic or cause allergic reactions.  It's a good idea to rub coconut oil into your skin before hand, to prevent toxic color dyes from absorbing.
·         Bhang, tea made from cannabis leaves, is frequently served at some Holi celebrations in India and Nepal. Bhang also contains milk, butter and spicies (cinnamon or nutmeg).
·         Holi is the day to express love with colors. It is a time to show affection. All the colors that are on you are of love. – Anonymous

Holi Top Events and Things to Do

·         Light a Holika bonfire the night before Holi.  Read the legend associated with it about Holika, the demoness in Hindu Vedic scriptures that was burnt with the help of God Vishnu.
·         Decorate your home with colorful ribbons and adornments to recognize the holi festival.  Marigold flowers are traditionally hung-over balconies, railings and staircases.  Sofa cushions are often covered with bold, bright colors.  Walls are traditionally covered with colorful fabric patchwork.
·         Attend a Holi Festival.  Festivals are held across cities in the United States, especially where there is a large Hindu or Yoga community.   Festivals often includes yoga demonstrations, Bollywood music, color dye toss, and Indian Food.
·         Watch the Bollywood movie Mohabbatein (2000).  It includes scenes where a song called Soni Soni is played during a holi festival celebration in India.
·         Eat at an Indian restaurant on this day to enjoy some Holi specialty sweet dishes such as shakarpara (sweet crispy bread), gujjias (sweet fried dumplings), kheer (rice pudding) and malpua (pancakes).


Catholic’s and Holi[8]

With Indians and Hindus celebrating Holi, a spring festival of colors, today, Bishop Thomas Dabre of Poona has encouraged the faithful to participate in the celebration, which is meant to promote spiritual and social harmony. Holi is celebrated with everyone throwing brightly dyed powders on each other. It marks the setting aside of differences and grudges in a spirit of reconciliation. Observing the collective celebratory spirit of Holi which integrates joy, enthusiasm and freedom, Bishop Dabre said the day “gives a message of joy and happiness.”

Nevertheless, Bishop Dabre cautioned that “Holi must live the holy joy, and the joy a religion should spread is not without norms or principles but must be coupled with the observance of commandments.” The true joy that emanates from religion must respect the freedom of others; not impose our likes and dislikes on others,” he reflected. Hindus begin the celebration with a Holika bonfire the evening prior to Holi, which relates to the myth upon which the festival is based. However, the throwing of color and water which all Indians participate in is a manifestation of joy and friendship across religious lines.  Bishop Dabre also noted that “religion must be experienced as a liberating experience of freedom, and this is very significant in the context of religious terrorism and extremism in different parts of the world, and in India.”

He lamented the rise of such groups as the Taliban, Boko Haram, and Islamic State, saying that in these cases, “religion has become a cause of fear, terror, injustice and oppression.” In the light of recent persecution and discrimination against Christians in India, Bishop Dabre lamented that “even in our country, in the name of religion unreasonable restriction are imposed on the people; force and pressure is employed to reconvert people and to ban the adoption of a religion of one’s choice … also gruesome crimes are committed against women and people of the so-called low caste. Thus, religion has become a matter of grievous concern. “However, “in such a situation Holi gives an important lesson that religion must spread true joy and freedom,” he added.

International Day of Forests[9]

International Day of Forests seeks to celebrate forests while providing a platform to raise awareness of the importance of trees. The day also raises awareness of rapid deforestation and educates about the vital role that forests and trees play in sustaining and protecting humans by supplying us with freshwater and oxygen. In fact, forested watersheds and wetlands provide the world with nearly 75% of its accessible freshwater. International Day of Forests was declared in December 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly in an effort to promote the importance of forests to humans and aid in conservation efforts. International Day of Forests is observed annually on March 21st. Since then, International Forest Day has become one of the most influential global events advocating for forest conservation in the world.


International Day of Forests Facts & Quotes

·         According to the UN, forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass
·         Nearly one-third of the world's largest cities get their drinking water directly from protected forest areas. Forests act as natural filters for water by removing particles from it such as metals and nitrogen.
·         According to the UN, approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests for their livelihood.
·         The development of civilization and industry in general has always shown itself so active in the destruction of forests that everything that has been done for their conservation and production is completely insignificant in comparison. – Karl Marx

International Day of Forests Top Events and Things to Do

·         Join the celebration of the International Day of Forests and World Water Day in the Economic and Social Council Chamber of the UN. Every year they host a meet and greet style event in the chamber that the public can join in on.
·         Watch a movie that advocates for the protection of forests or showcases their rich biological diversity. Some of our favorites are Planet Earth, FernGully: The Last Rainforest, and Wild.
·         Spread awareness on social media by using the hashtags #InternationalDayofForests, #SavetheForests or #IntForestDay.
·         Share your favorite photo of a forest or plant with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN by emailing it to idf@fao.org. The UN will add it to a combined gallery of everyone’s pictures around the world!
·         Read a book that is advocating forest conservation. Some of our favorites are: The Sibley Guide to Trees, The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring, and Forest Ecology.


Aids in Battle[10] When in the battle

In the moments when you are tempted to be careless or halfhearted in the struggle, let these exhortations stir you to a renewed valor in battle and provide you with strategies to follow.


·         The life of man upon the earth is a warfare. Tob 12: 13 DOUAY-RHEIMS
·         God has not destined us to wrath, but to gain
·         Fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience. 1 Tim 1: 19
·         lay hold of the life eternal, to which you have been called
·         Conduct yourself in work as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
·         Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. Rom 12: 21 RSVCE
·         The unceasing prayer of a just man has great effectiveness.

The Way[11] Resolutions

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

That is a painful wound. But it is well on its way to being healed. Stick to your resolutions. And the pain will soon turn into Joyful peace.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Manhood of Christ Day 2, Third Week.
·         3rd Day with St. Joseph




[1] Shmoop Editorial Team, "Book of Joshua," Shmoop University, Inc., Last modified November 11, 2008, https://www.shmoop.com/book-of-joshua/.
[4] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
[5]http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/march-21.cfm
[6]https://www.wincalendar.com/Purim
[10]Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.
[11]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm

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