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Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent

 Judges, Chapter 8, Verse 19-20

19They were my brothers, my mother’s sons,” he said. “As the LORD lives, if you had spared their lives, I would not kill you.” 20Then he said to his firstborn, Jether, “Go, kill them.” But the boy did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, for he was still a boy.

Remember mercy is not just something I feel, even something, I always think about. It is something I do.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  (Mt. 26:52)

Gideon Ushers in a Golden Age[1]
·         Gideon's army continues to pursue the fleeing Midianites, led by their kings Zebah and Zalmunna.
·         They pass through the towns of Succoth and Penuel, and both refuse to give food to Gideon's army. This is rude, and Gideon promises he'll make them pay when he's done with Zebah and Zalmunna.
·         His army defeats Midian and captures Z&Z.
·         On their way back, Gideon captures a young man from Succoth, who identifies the elders and princes of the city that were so inhospitable before.
·         Gideon beats them with thorns and briars. That'll teach them!
·         He also returns to Penuel and breaks down their tower and kills the men of the city. Seriously—don't mess with Gideon.
·         While interrogating Z&Z, Gideon finds out that they killed his brethren in Tabor. Their life expectancy suddenly plummets dramatically.
·         Gideon tells his oldest son, Jether, to kill these fools. Jether is still just a boy, though, and he doesn't want to.
·         Z&Z say, "You know what, Gid? Why don't you do the honors? You're stronger anyway" (see KJV 8:21).
·         So he does, and he takes the ornaments from their camels' necks because, hey, free camel jewelry.
·         Israel asks Gideon to be their king, and his sons after him, because he's delivered them from Midian.
·         Gideon refuses, and tells them that the Lord will be their king.

Jether was still a boy when asked by his father to continue the cycle of violence. Sometimes children are wiser than parents. Children instinctively know that being fair starts with understanding your own shortcomings and listening to that small voice of conscience.

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent[2]

Prayer. MAY Thy right hand defend Thy suppliant people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and worthily instruct them, being purified in Thy sight, that by present consolation it may profit for future good things.

EPISTLE. Jer. xviii. 18-23.

In those days the impious Jews said: Come, and let us invent devices against Jeremias: for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet: come, and let us strike him with the tongue, and let us give no heed to all his words. Give heed to me, O Lord, and hear the voice of my adversaries. Shall evil be rendered for good, be cause they have digged a pit for my soul?

Remember that I have stood in Thy sight, to speak good for them, and to turn away Thy indignation from them. Therefore, deliver up their children to famine, and bring them into the hands of the sword: let their wives be bereaved of children, and widows: and let the husbands be slain by death: let their young men be stabbed with the sword in battle. Let a cry be heard out of their houses: for Thou shalt bring the robber upon them suddenly: because they have digged a pit to take me, and have hid snares for my feet. But Thou, O Lord, knowest all their counsel against me unto death: forgive not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from Thy sight: let them be overthrown before Thy eyes; in the time of Thy wrath do Thou destroy them, O Lord our God.

GOSPEL. John xii. 10-36.

At that time a great multitude, that was come to the festival-day, when they had heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm-trees and went forth to. meet Him, and cried: Hosanna, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel. And Jesus found a young ass, and sat upon it, as it is written; Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold thy King cometh sitting on an ass s colt. These things His disciples did not know at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things to Him. The multitude therefore gave testimony, which was with Him when He called Lazarus out of the grave, and raised him from the dead. For which reason also the people came to meet Him: because they heard that He had done this miracle The Pharisees therefore said among themselves: Do you see that we prevail nothing? behold, the whole world is gone after Him, Now there were certain gentiles among them who came up to adore on the festival-day. These therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying: Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew. Again, Andrew and Philip told Jesus. But Jesus answered them, saying: The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone. But if it dies, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it: and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal. If any man minister to Me, let him follow Me: and where I am, there also shall My minister be. If any man minister to Me, him will My Father honor. Now is My soul troubled. And what shall I say?

Father save Me from this hour. But for this cause I came unto this hour. Father glorify Thy name. A voice therefore came from heaven: I have both glorified it and will glorify it again. The multitude therefore that stood and heard said that it thundered. Others said, an angel spoke to Him. Jesus answered, and said: This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of the world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself. (Now this He said, signifying what death He should die.) The multitude answered Him: We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth forever: and how sayest Thou: The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?

Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while the light is among you. Walk whilst you have the light, that the darkness overtake you not. And he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. Whilst you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light. These things Jesus spoke, and He went away, and hid Himself from them.

The Mass[3]

The Mass was the center of life for the disciples of Jesus, and so it has ever been. The first Christians were Jews, living in a Jewish culture, steeped in Jewish forms of worship. The liturgy of the new covenant had been foreshadowed in the rituals of the old. The Mass is explicitly connected with the Passover meal. There are also parallels between the thank-offering or todah and the Mass.

A todah sacrifice would be offered by someone whose life had been delivered from great peril, such as disease or the sword. The redeemed person would show his gratitude to God by gathering his closest friends and family for a todah sacrificial meal. The lamb would be sacrificed in the Temple and the bread for the meal would be consecrated the moment the lamb was sacrificed. The bread and meat, along with wine, would constitute the elements of the sacred todah meal, which would be accompanied by prayers and songs of thanksgiving, such as Psalm 116.[4]

The Talmud records the ancient rabbis’ teaching that, when the Messiah has come, “All sacrifices will cease except the todah.” In fact, Greek scriptures rendered the word todah as eucharistia, the word from which we get “Eucharist.”

Thomas Jefferson[5] born this day 1743


Thomas Jefferson (d. 1826) was – besides being a founding father of the United States and president – one of the most learned figures of his age. His education, through Episcopalian and Huguenot schoolmasters and then at William and Mary included a comprehensive classical approach in the Enlightenment tradition and fostered in him an appreciation for mathematics, philosophy, architecture, botany, science, music, and law. Philosophically, he was a dedicated Deist, meaning that he rejected the need for revelation and repudiated all forms of established or institutional religion beyond the obvious limits of reason. As such, he declared himself a Christian – chafing against charges that he was an atheist or infidel – but he had little patience with dogmas, finding especially unacceptable the teachings of the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, he did not oppose organized religion, insisting that all religions be treated with toleration within the pluralistic society established by the Constitution. The best source for appreciating Jefferson’s self-identification with Christianity (again from the standpoint of the Deists) was his work The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, Extracted Textually from the Gospels in Greek, Latin, French, and English, compiled a few years before his death. Called also the Jefferson Bible, it contains no personal writings by Jefferson, save for the Table of Contents. Rather, it is a collection of nearly 1,000 verses from the Gospels (Matthew and Luke chiefly), offering Jesus’ comprehensive moral philosophy, as Jefferson saw it. He thus omitted all references to the divinity of Jesus, the primacy of Peter, the Eucharist, comments by the evangelists, and miracles; in effect, Jefferson drained the Gospels of any form of mystery. The selection reveals Jefferson’s belief in God, the Commandments, practicing the virtues, and an afterlife in which the just are rewarded and the evil punished.

Deism:[6] The term used to certain doctrines apparent in a tendency of thought and criticism that manifested itself principally in England towards the latter end of the seventeenth century. The doctrines and tendency of deism were, however, by no means entirely confined to England, nor to the seventy years or so during which most of the deistical productions were given to the world; for a similar spirit of criticism aimed at the nature and content of traditional religious beliefs, and the substitution for them of a rationalistic naturalism has frequently appeared in the course of religious thought. Thus, there have been French and German deists as well as English; while Pagan, Jewish, or Moslem deists might be found as well as Christian.

Because of the individualistic standpoint of independent criticism which they adopt, it is difficult, if not impossible, to class together the representative writers who contributed to the literature of English deism as forming any one definite school, or to group together the positive teachings contained in their writings as any one systematic expression of a concordant philosophy. The deists were what nowadays would be called freethinkers, a name, indeed, by which they were not infrequently known; and they can only be classed together wholly in the main attitude that they adopted, viz. in agreeing to cast off the trammels of authoritative religious teaching in favour of a free and purely rationalistic speculation. Many of them were frankly materialistic in their doctrines; while the French thinkers who subsequently built upon the foundations laid by the English deists were almost exclusively so. Others rested content with a criticism of ecclesiastical authority in teaching the inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures , or the fact of an external revelation of supernatural truth given by God to man. In this last point, while there is a considerable divergence of method and procedure observable in the writings of the various deists, all, at least to a very large extent, seem to concur. Deism, in its every manifestation was opposed to the current and traditional teaching of revealed religion.

Timeline of Holy Week[7]


·         Saturday Before Palm Sunday:  Jesus arrives in Bethany Six Days Before Passover (Jn12:1)
·         Stays with Lazarus, Mary and Martha (His Judean Home)
·         Possibly the Supper and Anointing in Bethany At the Home of Simon The Leper Where Jesus Is Anointed By Mary. (Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8)

Mary of Bethany and Judas[8]

Today the liturgy presents two noteworthy characters who play dissimilar roles in the Lord's passion. One fills us with solace and comfort; the other with uneasiness and wholesome fear. Their juxtaposition produces a powerful effect by way of contrast. The two characters are Mary of Bethany and Judas. Jesus is in the house of Lazarus, at dinner. Mary approaches, anoints the feet of her Savior for His burial and dries them with her hair. Judas resents her action and resolves upon his evil course. These two persons typify man's relation to Christ. He gives His Body to two types of individuals: to Magdalenes to be anointed, to Judases to be kissed; to good persons who repay Him with love and service, to foes who crucify Him. How movingly this is expressed in the Lesson: "I gave My body to those who beat Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked them. I did not turn away My face from those who cursed and spit upon Me." The same must hold true of His mystical Body. Down through the ages Christ is enduring an endless round of suffering, giving His body to other Marys for anointing and to other Judases to be kissed, beaten, and mistreated. Augustine explains how we can anoint Christ's body:

Anoint Jesus' feet by a life pleasing to God. Follow in His footsteps; if you have an abundance, give it to the poor. In this way you can wipe the feet of the Lord.

The poor are, as it were, the feet of the mystical Christ. By aiding them we can comfort our Lord in His mystical life, where He receives Judas' kisses on all sides-the sins of Christians. The Gospel account may be understood in a very personal way. In everyone's heart, in my own too, there dwell two souls: a Judas-soul and a Mary-soul. The former is the cause of Jesus' suffering, it is always ready to apostatize, always ready to give the traitor's kiss. Are you full master over this Judas-soul within you?

Your Magdalen-soul is a source of comfort to Christ in His sufferings. May the holy season of Lent, which with God's help we are about to bring to a successful conclusion, bring victory over the Judas-soul and strengthen the Magdalen-soul within our breasts.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Universal Man Plan
·         Manhood of Christ Day 4, Sixth Week.
·         Pray for our country



[1] http://www.shmoop.com/book-of-judges/chapter-8-summary.html
[2] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
[3] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 4. The Mass.
[5]http://www.ewtn.com/v/experts/showmessage.asp?number=370234
[7]https://www.catholicconvert.com/wp-content/uploads/Timeline-of-Holy-Week.pdf

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