Saturday Night at the Movies
Introduction to Jeremiah
Along with Isaiah and Ezekiel, Jeremiah's one of the "Major Prophets" of the Hebrew Bible: Jeremiah's the only one with a word named after him: jeremiad, meaning a long, mournful lament or angry harangue. God called Jeremiah to the prophecy biz when he was just a kid. Early on in his career, Jeremiah saw King Josiah try to get the Judeans back to observing the laws that God set down for them in Deuteronomy. That worked for a while, but pretty soon they went back to their sinful ways—idol worship, child sacrifice, eating bacon cheeseburgers, etc. God told Jeremiah what would happen (total destruction of Judea courtesy of the Babylonian army) and told him he had to warn the people to shape up or else. Jeremiah spent years prophesying the bad news to no avail. All he got for his trouble was rejection, imprisonment. For some reason, no one wanted to hear about invasion, slaughter, divine wrath, starvation, rape, and enslavement. The king wouldn't listen to his advice about surrendering to the Babylonians to save the nation. Jeremiah spent a lot of time weeping about this. So, just as he prophesied, the city of Jerusalem was invaded and burned to the ground by the Babylonian army as punishment for their disobedience to God. The Temple was reduced to rubble and the king hauled off into captivity. Most of the people who weren't slaughtered immediately were exiled to Babylon from the land promised to them by God, where they'd lived and flourished as an independent nation. The rest were left to starve in the streets and get eaten by vultures. Jeremiah managed to refrain from too much "I told you so." Instead, he went about trying to comfort the people by prophesying about the eventual return from exile and restoration of Jerusalem. He gave them advice about how to manage while living in Babylon and warned them not to go to Egypt, where things would be just as bad. As Rabbi Michael Lerner points out, Jeremiah lived through the most critical point in Jewish history. Having been carted off to exile in Babylon, the Jews were about to disappear from history, probably to be assimilated into the culture of their captors. No ancient nation had ever returned from exile. Thanks to Jeremiah's ideas about personal responsibility and having an individual relationship with the one God, the Jews maintained their identity during the 70 years of foreign exile and Judaism itself was transformed in the process. We have no idea who actually wrote or edited together the prophecies in the Book of Jeremiah. It almost certainly wasn't actually one guy named "Jeremiah," but it's possible that the outlook of the real, historical Jeremiah (who lived from the reign of Josiah to sometime after the fall of Jerusalem in roughly 586 B.C.) strongly influenced the perspective of the Book of Jeremiah, and that at least some genuine prophecies of Jeremiah are included. The book itself was put together at a later time—probably during the end of the Babylonian Exile (late 6th Century B.C.) when the people of Judah were finally allowed by King Cyrus of Persia to go home. Jeremiah's prophecies all have a similar vibe. Jeremiah's desperately warning people about the great tragedy that's about to come down, and it's not a pretty picture. God's angry, and you wouldn't like him when he's angry. Jeremiah is definitely the Red Dawn of Major Biblical Prophets' Books. If you like dungeons and dragons (well, dungeons at least), apocalyptic visions of death and destruction, thundering hordes, eye-gouging, betrayal, and a total breakdown of society, this one's for you.
Why Should I Care?
Rules, rules, rules, we're not recommending anarchy here but, obviously, lots of rules are necessary to keep people living in peace, safety, health, and harmony. No texting while driving is probably a good idea. But sometimes, all the rules we have to follow seem really burdensome and arbitrary, especially when things are going well for us and we assume we're doing the right things. That's the situation that the Judeans of Jeremiah's day found themselves in. Life was pretty good, and the Judeans weren't paying much attention to the rules they were supposed to be living by. Even though those rules were given to them by God Himself and they were living in the city where God's presence hung out in the Temple. The bottom line in Jeremiah is except for the rule about not having other gods, God ends up caring less about the exact details of his rules than about loyalty, respect, and closeness with his people. By obeying the rules, the Judeans would have been showing gratitude and respect to God for all they'd been given. It would have been a real relationship, which was what God really wanted.
April 2 Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Do not be AFRAID
of them, for I am with you to deliver you—oracle of the LORD.
Jeremiah in this chapter received the call of God and he was afraid. Jeremiah as a young man felt inadequate to do the call of God. Moses on the other hand was a much older man but like Jeremiah when he received the call of God he felt inadequate. When Peter received the call from our Lord Jesus, he felt insignificant and cried out, “Leave me Lord. I am a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8b). The lesson here is that when we are called it will be scary. Christ asks us to not be afraid. The perfect example of what our attitude to the call should be was the attitude of Mary at the annunciation when God called her to be the mother of Christ. Mary’s fiat was "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1: 38).
An interesting thing in this verse, is the use of the word presence. Worldly people are masters of presence or the projection of power. When called do not fear powerful people for is not God greater than the world? Talk to God, let him take control for our Lord will empower us and deliver us to accomplish his word just like he did Jeremiah and all the Saints. We for our part must be, ready for change, for God will prepare us for the challenges of our calling. We must be open to the promptings of our Lord and be willing to give up any of our own façades of presence or false images of power we may have developed over time.
We may have, at times, found ourselves projecting a presence, which is actually just an overreaction to our fears and self-doubts. Let us follow the advice of Father J. Brian Bransfield and realize:
To find the depths of our identity we must pass through our fears.
Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Prayer. MAY our devotion be made fruitful by Thy grace, we beseech Thee, O Lord, for the fasts we have undertaken will become profitable to us only if they are pleasing to Thy mercy.
EPISTLE. Isaias xlix. 8-15.
Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time I have heard thee, and in the day of salvation I have helped thee: and I have preserved thee, and given thee to be a covenant of the people, that thou mightest raise up the earth, and possess the inheritances that were destroyed: that thou mightest say to them that are bound: Come forth: and to them that are in darkness: Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in every plain. They shall not hunger, nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun strike them: for He that is merciful to them, shall be their shepherd, and at the fountains of waters He shall give them drink. And I will make all My mountains a way, and My paths shall be exalted. Behold these shall come from afar and behold these from the north and from the sea, and these from the south country. Give praise, O ye heavens, and rejoice, O earth; ye mountains, give praise with jubilation: because the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy on His poor ones. And Sion said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and the Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? and if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee, saith the Lord Almighty.
GOSPEL. John viii. 12-20.
At that time: Jesus spoke to the multitudes of the Jews, saying I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said to Him: Thou givest testimony of Thy self: Thy testimony is not true. Jesus answered and said to them: Although I give testimony of Myself, My testimony is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go: but you know not whence I come, or whither I go. You judge according to the flesh: I judge not any man. And if I do judge, My judgment is true; because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me. And in your law it is written, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that give testimony of Myself: and the Father that sent Me, giveth testimony of Me. They said therefore to Him: Where is Thy Father? Jesus answered: Neither Me do you know, nor My Father: if you did know Me, perhaps you would know My Father also. These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, teaching in the temple: and no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come.
In December of 1925, Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucia, giving her the following guaranty of salvation for those who complete the First Five Saturdays Devotion:
“I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls."
Why Five Saturdays?
The five first Saturdays correspond to the five kinds of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
1) Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
2) Blasphemies against her virginity
3) Blasphemies against her divine maternity, at the same time the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all men
4) Instilling indifference, scorn and even hatred towards this Immaculate Mother in the hearts of children
5) Direct insults against Her sacred images
How to complete the Five First Saturdays Devotion:
On the first Saturday of five consecutive months:
1. Go to confession.
2. Receive Holy Communion.
3. Say five decades of the Rosary.
4. Keep Our Lady company for 15 minutes, meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary.
5. Have the intention of making reparation to Our Lady for the offenses listed above.
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, during which, for a period of thirty days, Muslims abstain from eating, and drinking from sunrise to sunset. Muslims do this because it is a pillar of Islam, and obligatory for everyone and the entire month is holy for Muslims so that they can increase their remembrance of life after death. Muslims also abstain from all bad deeds and habits, like smoking, swearing, backbiting, and disrespectfulness. Muslims reflect upon themselves, their religion. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Fasting and abstaining from bad habits teaches Muslim’s self-control, humility, and generosity. Ramadan is a time for charity, family, and good deeds. Muslims fast because they believe it is vital for spiritual health. Unlike the fast of Ashurah, the fasts of Ramadan and salah (praying towards Mecca), fasting helps Muslims maintain spiritual and physical health. The month of Ramadan begins when the new moon of Ramadan is sighted and ends when the new moon of Sha'ban is sighted. Muslims also believe that devils are chained up during Ramadan.
Ramadan Facts & Quotes
· Ramadan comes from the word ramadaa, which means 'sunbaked' in Arabic. This is perhaps a reference to the pangs of hunger Muslims feel when fasting.
· According to Islamic tradition, menstruating women, women who are experiencing bleeding after giving birth, people who are sick (either with short term or long-term illnesses), and travelers are exempt from fasting. Pregnant women also have the option of skipping fasts.
· In Islamic countries, when Ramadan ends and the crescent moon is first seen, people bang drums and give mighty shouts.
· According to Sunnah belief, the Prophet Muhammad once said, there is no conceit in fasting.
· who believe, fasting is decreed for you as it was decreed for those before you; perchance you will guard yourselves (Quran, 2:183)
Ramadan Top Events and Things to Do
· The fast is usually broken in a family setting, where traditional foods are served. Most Muslims begin their meal with a few dates and a glass of milk because the Prophet Muhammad used to do the same. The high sugar content of the dates sends energy to weary fasting Muslim, while the fiber in the dates and the protein in the milk fills them up and prevents nausea.
· During Ramadan, Muslims congregate every night in the mosque to pray Taraweeh prayers in congregation. In the United States, in between sets of prayers, the Imam gives a brief sermon and encourages people to give to charity.
· In Islamic countries, the end of the fast is signaled by a loud call to the sunset prayer. Most people eat a small meal, pray at the mosque, and then join their families for a large, festive dinner.
World Autism Awareness Day
World Autism Awareness Day seeks to raise awareness of the autism spectrum disorders and improve the lives of those currently living with autism. Autism refers to a lifelong brain development disorder that affects social interactions, learning, routines and communication. It is estimated that approximately 1% of the global population is autistic. World Autism Awareness Day was designated by the United Nations in 2007 in an effort to end stigmatization and discrimination against those with autism. World Autism Day is celebrated annually on April 2nd and fits in with the UN's Agenda for Sustainable Development, which promises to leave no one behind.
World Autism Awareness Day Facts & Quotes
· Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average.
· 35 % of young adults (aged 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school.
· Who do you think made the first stone spears? The Asperger guy. If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon. – Temple Grandin, world-renowned Autism spokesperson and university professor.
World Autism Awareness Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Wear blue in order to support World Autism Day. The color blue is internationally recognized as a symbol of support for World Autism Day and it is accompanied by the catchphrase wear blue, April 2.
· Watch a movie about autism such as Fly Away, Sounding the Alarm and The Story of Luke.
· Light up your home or your business in blue like many famous buildings or monuments worldwide. There are many ways you can do this. It can be as simple as putting blue plastic over floodlights to project the color blue on your home. You can also use a blue Phillips light bulb, which can be bought at Home Depot.
· Take part in an Autism Speaks Walk that raises money for the cause. You can gather a team and walk in support of someone you know with autism or simply donate, walk and enjoy the day with thousands of others.
Aids in Battle The Devil fears those who pray
My dear brothers and sisters not only is prayer very powerful; even more, it’s of the utmost necessity for overcoming the enemies of our salvation. Look at all the saints: They weren’t content with watching and fighting to overcome the enemies of their salvation and with keeping well away from all that could offer them temptation. They passed their whole lives in prayer, not only the day, but very often the whole night as well. Yes, my dear children, we watch over ourselves and all the motions of our hearts in vain, and in vain we avoid temptation, if we don’t pray. If we don’t continually resort to prayer, all our other ways will be of no use at all to us, and we’ll be overcome. We won’t find any sinner converted without turning to prayer. We won’t find one persevering without depending heavily on prayer. Nor will we ever find a Christian who ends up damned whose downfall didn’t begin with a lack of prayer. We can see, too, how much the Devil fears those who pray, since there’s not a moment of the day when he tempts us more than when we’re at prayer. He does everything he possibly can to prevent us from praying. When the Devil wants to make someone lose his soul, he starts out by inspiring in him a profound distaste for prayer. However good a Christian he may be, if the Devil succeeds in making him either say his prayers badly or neglect them altogether, he’s certain to have that person for himself. Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, from the moment that we neglect to pray, we move with big steps towards hell. We’ll never return to God if we don’t resort to prayer.
ST. JOHN VIANNEY
Catechism of the Catholic Church
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
"I BELIEVE" - "WE BELIEVE"
CHAPTER TWO-GOD COMES TO MEET MAN
Article 2-THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE REVELATION
I. The Apostolic Tradition
75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."
In the apostolic preaching. . .
76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:
- orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit”.
- in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".
. . . continued in apostolic succession
77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles’ left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."
78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes."37 "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."
79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
 J. Brian Bransfield, Living the Beatitudes-A Journey of Life in Christ.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
 Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.