Saturday of the Third Week of Easter
feast of saint
Joshua, Chapter 11, Verse 6
The enemy was defeated; why destroy their horses and chariots? Horses and chariots were the tanks of that time. God knows the human heart we tend to trust in our human strength, or our clout, or our wealth, or weapons. God knows and He wants us to trust in Him not any of these things. Even to this very day we have not learned this lesson we in America have learned to trust in the strength of our Army, which is the greatest Army in the world and have forgotten the true basis of our strength which is printed on our money: In God We Trust. Many people in high offices like to play the prophet: but “A wise person is superior to a prophet” (Bava Basra 12a) Think a prophet can see the future but a wise person can see the present. God asks us to be present to each other each and every day. Live in the Present!
Words of wisdom Saint Teresa of Avila:
“I am afraid that if we begin to put our trust in human help, some of our Divine help will fail us.”
“The most potent and acceptable prayer is the prayer that leaves the best effects. I don’t mean it must immediately fill the soul with desire . . . The best effects [are] those that are followed up by actions—–when the soul not only desires the honor of God, but really strives for it. “
“You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.”
Saint Fidelis became a martyr and was murdered for his faith in 1622, while traveling back to his home church after preaching in Seewis, Switzerland to former Catholics who had converted to Calvinism. Saint Fidelis on the day of his martyrdom preached with great energy, he exhorted the Catholics to constancy in the faith.
After a Calvinist had discharged his musket at him in the Church, the Catholics entreated him to leave the place. He answered that death was his gain and his joy, and that he was ready to lay down his life in God's cause. On his road back to Grüsch, he met twenty Calvinist soldiers with a minister at their head. They called him a false prophet, and urged him to embrace their sect. He answered: "I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death." One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his backsword. Fidelis rose again on his knees and stretching forth his arms in the form of a cross, said with a feeble voice "Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. Mary, Mother of God, succor me!"
Another sword stroke clove his skull, and he fell to the ground and lay in a pool of his own blood. The soldiers, not content with this, added many stab wounds to his body with their long knives, and hacked-off his left leg, as they said, to punish him for his many journeys into those parts to preach to them.
Men Seek Heroes
God has created men by nature and vocation with a natural desire for Himself and men can only find happiness in God. But men become lost as they seek God due to ignorance and sin. Realizing real dangers in the world and the God-implanted understanding of the need for salvation, men aspire to heroic deeds and seek courageous heroes to protect and lead them through the challenges of life. The desire and need for true heroes is perennial in the hearts of men across time and cultures. From an early age, boys naturally seek heroes. They look up to their fathers, older boys and other men as role models and as defenders/protectors. Boys are intrigued by the heroic deeds of fictional characters (e.g. Superheroes in movies, TV and books, videogame heroes, sports heroes, etc.). Boys admire and seek those with heroic virtues. When grown, men continue to seek heroes. Some continue on with the fictional heroes of youth, trading comic books for the action/superheroes and celebrities in the media. Most men also look up to heroes in real life. Many follow and celebrate sports teams and athletes. Others admire and follow politicians, social activists or business leaders. Still others look up to and follow real life heroes in the military (Medal of Honor winners), religion (saints) and people who perform extraordinary deeds in the face of tough challenges (911 responders, those who battle life-challenging illnesses). All men, in some way, desire to be heroes and to associate themselves with heroic leaders.
27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:
The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.
44 Man is by nature and vocation a religious being. Coming from God, going toward God, man lives a fully human life only if he freely lives by his bond with God.
397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.
Men fall for false heroes
Many men are confused about the definition and true nature of heroism. Heroism is confused with celebrity. Heroism is confused with self-serving athleticism, political opportunists, charlatans who deceive, “anti-heroes” or outright scoundrels. The meaning of the word “hero” has been dumbed down to the point of being almost meaningless. Doing an Internet search for websites, news articles or images provides ample evidence of the misuse of the word “hero”. Heroism is associated with movie stardom, video games (Guitar Hero), relatively routine athletic accomplishments and even a sandwich. Sadly, many of the real-life men who masquerade as heroes, fail, and fail spectacularly.
The Definition of “Hero”
The word “hero” comes from the Latin, hero, meaning, “defender, protector” and “to save, deliver, preserve, protect.” Closely related is the word, “Savior” which comes from the Latin, salvatorem, meaning “one who delivers or rescues from peril” or “heals.” Modern definitions of the word “hero” provide other characteristics of a hero. A hero: faces danger or adversity with courage; sacrifices self for the greater good of humanity; displays moral excellence”; “is placed high above his fellows.”
Jesus – The True Hero
· Jesus is infinitely higher above all other heroes – He is the Son of God; there can be no hero that compares. Heroes come and go, but only Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah. No hero, except Jesus, was anticipated for thousands of years before His birth and remains a hero two millennia after His death (and Resurrection).
· He physically protects people on earth – He saves the Disciples who are in fear of drowning. He stands up to the bloodthirsty mob that is going to stone the adulterous woman. He protects the disciples from the violent legion when He is taken in the Garden. He is the ultimate protector.
· Jesus is the perfect demonstration of virtue – He demonstrates prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude and charity with perfection that no man has met, or can ever, match.
· He heals people from sickness, madness and death – Jesus healed the multitudes of every illness and raises them from the dead.
· He stands for Truth against falsehood – Repeatedly, He confronts the Pharisees and the Sadducees and corrects their falsehoods, despite their collusion to kill Him. He refuses to yield to Pilate, even as Pilate threatens Him with death. Jesus is Truth itself.
· Jesus defeats man’s greatest foe, Satan – There is no greater enemy of man than Satan. Jesus defeats Satan when tempted in the Wilderness, by casting out demons, and by using the Satan-inspired evil of Judas for the Glory of the Cross and Resurrection (CCC 2853). He defeats Satan on his home turf (Hell) when Jesus descends to offer His “redemptive works to all men of all times and all places…” (CCC 634). Only Jesus delivers us from evil.
2853 Victory over the "prince of this world" was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life. This is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world is "cast out." "He pursued the woman" but had no hold on her: the new Eve, "full of grace" of the Holy Spirit, is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, ever virgin). "Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring." Therefore, the Spirit and the Church pray: "Come, Lord Jesus," since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One.
634 "The gospel was preached even to the dead." The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfillment. This is the last phase of Jesus' messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ's redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.
· He defeats man’s greatest scourge, Sin – He saves people from sin (CCC 2854). For example, He tells the sinful woman at Simon the Pharisee’s house, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace”.
2854 When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future, of which he is the author or instigator. In this final petition, the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ's return By praying in this way, she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has "the keys of Death and Hades," who "is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
· Deliver us, Lord, we beseech you, from every evil and grant us peace in our day, so that aided by your mercy we might be ever free from sin and protected from all anxiety, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
· He sacrifices Himself for others – Jesus makes an infinite sacrifice, for His life is of infinite value and he gives it for the sins of all mankind. He chooses a horrible death freely, saying, “Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
· He offers salvation for all mankind – His Name means “God saves” (CCC 430) and it is only the name of Jesus that can actually save. “Christ’s whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of His cross…” (CCC 517). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned”. “For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
430 Jesus means in Hebrew: "God saves." At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission. Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who, in Jesus his eternal Son made man, "will save his people from their sins". In Jesus, God recapitulates all of his history of salvation on behalf of men.
517 Christ's whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross, but this mystery is at work throughout Christ's entire life:
- Already in his Incarnation through which by becoming poor he enriches us with his poverty.
- In his hidden life which by his submission atones for our disobedience.
- In his word which purifies its hearers.
- In his healings and exorcisms by which "he took our infirmities and bore our diseases";
- And in his Resurrection by which he justifies us.
· He is recognized as a Savior during His life on earth – The Samaritans profess, “It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”