INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS
Saturday Third Week of Lent
Prayer. GRANT, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that they who, to mortify their flesh, abstain from food, may, following justice, abstain from sin.
EPISTLE. Daniel xiii. 1-62.
In those days there was a man, that dwelt in Babylon, and his name was Joakim; and he took a wife whose name was Susanna, the daughter of Helcias, a very beautiful woman, and one that feared God. For her parents being just, had instructed their daughter according to the law of Moses. Now Joakim was very rich and had an orchard near his house: and the Jews resorted to him, because he was the most honorable of them all. And there were two of the ancients of the people appointed judges that year, of whom the Lord said: Iniquity came out from Babylon from the ancient judges, that seemed to govern the people. These men frequented the house of Joakim, and all that had any matters of judgment came to them. And when the people departed away at noon, Susanna went in, and walked in her husband’s orchard. And the old men saw her going in every day, and walking: and they were inflamed with lust towards her: and they perverted their own mind and turned away their eyes that they might not look unto heaven, nor re member just judgments. So they were both wounded with the love of her, yet they did not make known their grief one to the other: for they were ashamed to declare to one another their lust, being desirous to have to do with her: and they watched carefully every day to see her: and one said to another: Let us now go home, for it is dinner-time. So, going out, they departed one from another. And turning back again, they came both to the same place: and asking one another the cause, they acknowledged their lust: and then they agreed upon a time, when they might find her alone. And it fell out, as they watched a fit day, she went in on a time, as yesterday and the day before, with two maids only, and was desirous to wash herself in the orchard: for it was hot weather. And there was nobody there, but the two old men that had hid themselves and were considering her. So, she said to the maids: Bring me oil, and washing balls, and shut the doors of the orchard, that I may wash me. And they did as she bade them: and they shut the doors of the orchard and went out by a back door to fetch what she had commanded them, and they knew not that the elders were hid within. Now when the maids were gone forth, the two elders arose, and ran to her, and said: Behold the doors of the orchard are shut, and nobody seeth us, and we are in love with thee: wherefore consent to us and lie with us. But if thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee, that a young man was with thee, and therefore thou didst send away thy maids from thee. Susanna sighed and said I am straitened on every side: for if I do this thing, it is death to me: and if I do it not, I shall not escape your hands. But it is better for me to fall into your hands without doing it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord. With that Susanna cried out with a loud voice: and the elders also cried out against her. And one of them ran to the door of the orchard and opened it. So, when the servants of the house heard the cry in the orchard, they rushed in by the back door to see what was the matter. But after the old men had spoken, the servants were greatly ashamed; for never had there been any such word said of Susanna. And on the next day, when the people were come to Joakim her husband, the two elders also came full of wicked device against (Susanna, to put her to death. And they said before the people: Send to Susanna, daughter of Helcias the wife of Joakim. And presently they sent, and she came with her parents, and children, and all her kindred. Now Susanna was exceeding delicate, and beautiful to behold. But those wicked men commanded that her face should be uncovered (for she was covered) that so at least they might be satisfied with her beauty. Therefore, her friends and all her acquaintance wept. But the two elders rising up in the midst of the people, laid their hands upon her head. And she weeping looked up to heaven, for her heart had confidence in the Lord. And the elders said: As we walked in the orchard alone, this woman came in with two maids, and shut the doors of the orchard, and sent away the maids from her. Then a young man that was there hid came to her, and lay with her. But we that were in a corner of the orchard, seeing this wickedness, ran up to them, and we saw them lie together. And as for him we could not take him because he was stronger than we, and opening the doors he leaped out: but having taken this woman, we asked who the young man was, but she would not tell us: of this thing we are witnesses. The multitude believed them as being the elders and the judges of the people, and they condemned her to death. Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and said: O eternal God, Who knowest hidden things, Who knowest all things before they come to pass, Thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me: and behold I must die, whereas I have done none of these things which these men have maliciously forged against me. And the Lord heard her voice. And when she was led to be put to death, the Lord raised up the holy spirit of a young boy, whose name was Daniel. And he cried out with a loud voice: I am clear from the blood of this woman. Then all the people turning themselves towards him, said: What meaneth this word that thou hast spoken?
But he standing in the midst of them, said: Are ye so foolish, ye children of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the truth, you have condemned a daughter of Israel?
Return to judgment, for they have borne false witness against her. So, all the people turned again in haste, and the old men said to him: Come, and sit thou down among us, and show it us: seeing God hath given thee the honor of old age. And Daniel said to them: Separate these two far from one another, and I will examine them. So when they were put asunder one from the other, he called one of them and said to him: O thou that are grown old in evil days, now are thy sins come out, which thou hast committed before: in judging unjust judgments, oppressing the innocent, and letting the guilty to go free, whereas the Lord saith: The innocent and the just thou shalt not kill. Now then, if thou sawest her, tell me under what tree thou sawest them conversing together. He said: Under a mastic tree. And Daniel said: Well hast thou lied against thy own head: for behold the angel of God having received the sentence of Him, shall cut thee in two. And having put him aside, he commanded that the other should come, and he said to him: O thou seed of Chanaan, and not of Juda, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thy heart: thus did you do to the daughters of Israel, and they for fear conversed with you: but a daughter of Juda would not abide your wickedness. Now therefore tell me, under what tree didst thou take them conversing together. And he answered: Under a holm tree. And Daniel said to him: Well hast thou also lied against thy own head: for the angel of the Lord waiteth with a sword to cut thee in two, and to destroy you. With that all the assembly cried out with a loud voice, and they blessed God, who saveth them that trust in Him. And they rose up against the two elders (for Daniel had convicted them of false witness by their own mouth) and they did to them as they had maliciously dealt against their neighbor, to fulfill the law of Moses: and they put them to death, and innocent blood was saved in that day.
GOSPEL. John viii. 1-11.
At that time: Jesus went unto Mount Olivet. And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him, and sitting down He taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees bring unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and they set her in the midst. And said to Him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest Thou?
And this they said tempting Him that they might accuse Him. But Jesus bowing Himself down, wrote with His finger on the ground: when therefore they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again, stooping down, He wrote on the ground. But they hearing this went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up Himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee?
Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.
Read: The Seven Penitential Psalms, Day Five:
(During times when we wish to express repentance and especially during Lent, it is customary to pray the seven penitential psalms. The penitential designation of these psalms’ dates from the seventh century. Prayerfully reciting these psalms will help us to recognize our sinfulness, express our sorrow and ask for God’s forgiveness.)
Today we will focus on Psalm 102.
Reflect: Read a reflection of Psalm 102—Prayer in Time of Distress.
Pray: “LORD, hear my prayer; let my cry come to you. Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress.” (Ps 102:2-3, NABRE)
Act: In this psalm, the psalmist calls to God in great distress. He acknowledges his weakness in body and spirit before the Lord. Yet he fixes his sight on the Lord, extolling the Lord’s name and his mercy.
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 email@example.com. 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.
USCCB Responds to Coronavirus
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19):
With the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, we are confronted once more with the fragility of our lives, and again we are reminded of our common humanity; that the peoples of this world are our brothers and sisters, that we are all one family under God.
God does not abandon us; he goes with us even now in this time of trial and testing. In this moment, it is important for us to anchor our hearts in the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Now is the time to intensify our prayers and sacrifices for the love of God and the love of our neighbor. Let us draw closer to one another in our love for him, and rediscover the things that truly matter in our lives.
United with our Holy Father Pope Francis, let us pray in solidarity for our brothers and sisters here and around the world who are sick. Let us pray for those who have lost loved ones to this virus. May God console them and grant them peace.
We pray also for doctors, nurses, and caregivers, for public health officials and all civic leaders. May God grant them courage and prudence as they seek to respond to this emergency with compassion and in service to the common good.
In this time of need, I invite all the faithful to seek together the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and I share this prayer with you:
Aids in Battle 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.
Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.