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TIMELY LESSONS OF PALM SUNDAY


‘PALASPAS’ – A vendor checks a decorative palm frond before putting it on display outside the Quiapo Church in Manila yesterday with sales expected to turn brisk today, Palm Sunday. Church goers will shake these ‘palaspas’ or palm fronds, symbolic of the welcome for Jesus Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, after mass as the priest walks around to bless them. (KJ Rosales)  by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD March 29, 2015 Today, Palm Sunday, ushers in the celebration of Holy Week. There is an amusing story which relates that when Jesus made the triumphal entry to Jerusalem, he rode on a lowly donkey. As the Jews waved palm branches, spread their cloaks on the road and shouted “Hosanna,” the donkey thought the crowd’s cheers and wild adulation were for him. So he kept nodding his head in sweet approval! We may laugh at that donkey but aren’t we much the same at times? When we have talents and achievements, including titles and positions, pride gets into our head. We think we owe it all to ourselves, totally forgetful of the generous giver: God. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Walking with Jesus in Holy Week – A daily Calendar By: Msgr. Charles Pope.


At the heart of our faith is the Paschal Mystery: the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ. All of salvation history leads up to and goes forth from these saving events. The purpose of this post is to describe Jesus’ Final week. We call this “Holy Week” for Jesus’ public ministry culminates with his suffering, death and resurrection. What follows is a brief description of each day of Holy Week. It is hoped that you might print out the pdf flyer (Walking-with-Jesus-In-Holy-Week) and read it each day of this week. Prayerfully walk with Jesus in his most difficult and yet glorious week. Plan to attend some or all of the special liturgies of Thursday, Friday and Saturday at your parish. By celebrating them in community, we make them present today and learn again, in a new way, the reality of our Risen Lord alive in our midst. PALM SUNDAY – Our celebration of Holy Week begins this Sunday as we remember and make present the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem to begin his final week and initiate his Passion. All four Gospels recount this triumphant entry that Sunday Morning so long ago, but made present to us today. As you receive your palms, consider that you are part of that vast crowd. How will you journey with Jesus this week? Let the palm remind you to praise him with your prayerful presence during the sacred Triduum. According to Mark 11:11 Jesus returned that evening to Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem. Perhaps he stayed with his friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Pray with Jesus this evening as he considers the difficult days ahead of him. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: World's poor headed for better lives in 2030: Gates


Bill and Melinda Gates
The lives of the poor will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any time in history, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and his wife Melinda say. In their annual letter released Thursday, the couple laid out their upbeat vision for a technology-driven wave of change that will lift hundreds of millions out of poverty by 2030. The major breakthroughs will be most noticeable in health, but also in agriculture, digital banking and online education, where the Gates Foundation is planning to pour in resources. "Our big bet is that in the next 15 years, the lives of the poor are going to improve more than at any time in the history of the world," Melinda Gates told AFP in an interview. Child deaths are predicted to be cut by half, polio will be wiped out while the fight against malaria, a major killer in Africa, will make strides with vaccines and a single-dose cure. Africa can achieve food security by 2030 with access to innovation in agriculture to help farmers, the Gates said in their letter, a vision statement that has been released annually since 2009. "Seven out of 10 adults in Africa are farmers. When they get new seeds that are drought-resistant and as the climate changes, they can still get more yield off their farms," said Melinda. "It means they can feed their families and put the crops on the market."  Mobile banking has been popularized in Kenya, but the Gates Foundation is working to bring the financial tool to the poor in Tanzania, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Uganda. READ MORE...


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Timely lessons of Palm Sunday


‘PALASPAS’ – A vendor checks a decorative palm frond before putting it on display outside the Quiapo Church in Manila yesterday with sales expected to turn brisk today, Palm Sunday. Church goers will shake these ‘palaspas’ or palm fronds, symbolic of the welcome for Jesus Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, after mass as the priest walks around to bless them. (KJ Rosales)

MANILA, MARCH 29, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN)  by Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD March 29, 2015 Today, Palm Sunday, ushers in the celebration of Holy Week. There is an amusing story which relates that when Jesus made the triumphal entry to Jerusalem, he rode on a lowly donkey.

As the Jews waved palm branches, spread their cloaks on the road and shouted “Hosanna,” the donkey thought the crowd’s cheers and wild adulation were for him. So he kept nodding his head in sweet approval!

We may laugh at that donkey but aren’t we much the same at times? When we have talents and achievements, including titles and positions, pride gets into our head. We think we owe it all to ourselves, totally forgetful of the generous giver: God.

CONTINUE READING...
Holy Week is called “Mahal na Araw,” in local parlance, which literally means a “costly day” because God saved us at a very costly price. His Son, Jesus Christ, suffered ignominiously, died, and resurrected in order to redeem us. St. John Chrysostom says, “Redemption was completed by God during these days.”

DISLOYAL DISCIPLES

Holy Week begins with the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem. Peter and the apostles were euphoric as they basked in the royal welcome accorded their Master amidst shouts of “Hosannah, Son of David!” But shortly afterwards, when Jesus was dragged from one court to another, helpless and pathetic, Peter who had declared at the Last Supper that he would never abandon Him, denied Him thrice and all the others, except John, fled in disgrace.

How often do we deny and abandon Christ in the way we live. Government officials, who enrich themselves through scams and briberies, do it. So does a husband who cheats on his wife and vice versa.

JUDAS’ BETRAYAL

Then there’s the betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas. Judas’ tragic treachery stemmed from the expectation that Christ would become the political Messiah and, being a materialistic man, he realized how much wealth he could amass under His leadership. But when he found that Jesus would be just the opposite—a “Suffering Servant”—he betrayed Him for 30 sordid pieces of silver.

Don’t we have a streak of Judas in us at times? When a friend is successful, we lionize him; but the moment he is down and broke, we drop him like a hot potato. “Success is relative,” somebody quipped. “The more successful you are, the more relatives you have.”

ROOT OF EVIL

As with Judas, isn’t money the root of evil, betrayals and vengeance?

The elders, chief priests and scribes—the ruling class—who manipulated the people so that a few days before they had shouted “Hosannah,” but on Good Friday turned out shouting “Crucify him, crucify him!”

Don’t we have such people among politicians and charlatans who deceive the masses by making empty promises; who talk big but are short on deeds?

PASSIVE SPECTATORS OR ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS?

Instead of being passive spectators of the great drama of Christ’s Passion, the greater challenge is to be active participants of the paschal events– the suffering, death, and resurrection– of Jesus Christ.

All of us have our own Calvary, our passion and death. But like Christ, we too will know and feel the beauty, the joy of the Resurrection, if we but suffer and die with Him.


ARCHDIOCESE OF WASHINGTON

Walking with Jesus in Holy Week – A daily Calendar
By: Msgr. Charles Pope.


palm-sunday

At the heart of our faith is the Paschal Mystery: the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ. All of salvation history leads up to and goes forth from these saving events. The purpose of this post is to describe Jesus’ Final week. We call this “Holy Week” for Jesus’ public ministry culminates with his suffering, death and resurrection. What follows is a brief description of each day of Holy Week. It is hoped that you might print out the pdf flyer (Walking-with-Jesus-In-Holy-Week) and read it each day of this week. Prayerfully walk with Jesus in his most difficult and yet glorious week. Plan to attend some or all of the special liturgies of Thursday, Friday and Saturday at your parish. By celebrating them in community, we make them present today and learn again, in a new way, the reality of our Risen Lord alive in our midst.

PALM SUNDAY – Our celebration of Holy Week begins this Sunday as we remember and make present the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem to begin his final week and initiate his Passion. All four Gospels recount this triumphant entry that Sunday Morning so long ago, but made present to us today. As you receive your palms, consider that you are part of that vast crowd. How will you journey with Jesus this week? Let the palm remind you to praise him with your prayerful presence during the sacred Triduum. According to Mark 11:11 Jesus returned that evening to Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem. Perhaps he stayed with his friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Pray with Jesus this evening as he considers the difficult days ahead of him.

Monday of Holy Week

CONTINUE READING...
According to Matthew 21, Mark 11 and Luke 19, Jesus returns to Jerusalem today and, seeing shameful practices in the Temple area, he cleanses the Temple. John’s Gospel also records that he rebuked the unbelief of the crowds. Mark 11:19 records that he returned to Bethany that night. Pray with Jesus as he is zealous to purify us.

Tuesday of Holy Week

According to Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus again returns to Jerusalem where he is confronted by the Temple leadership for what he did yesterday. They question his authority. He also teaches extensively using parables and other forms. There is the parable of the vineyard (cf Mt 21:33-46), the parable of the wedding banquet, (cf Mt. 22:1). There is also the teaching on paying taxes (cf Mt 22:15) and the rebuke of the Sadducees who deny the resurrection (cf Mt. 22:23). There is also the fearful prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem if the inhabitants do not come to faith in him. He warns that not one stone will be left on another (cf Mt 24). Continue to pray with Jesus and listen carefully to his final teachings just before his passion.

Wednesday of Holy Week.

Traditionally this day was called “Spy Wednesday” for it was on this Wednesday before the crucifixion that Judas conspired to hand Jesus over. For this he was paid thirty pieces of silver (cf Mt. 26:14). Jesus likely spent the day In Bethany. In the evening Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus with costly perfumed oil. Judas objects but Jesus rebukes him and says Mary has anointed him for his burial! (cf Mt 26:6). The wicked are besetting Jesus and plotting against him. Are you praying?


lastsupper

HOLY THURSDAY, marks the beginning of the sacred Triduum, or “three days.” Earlier this day Jesus had given instructions to the disciples on how to prepare for this most holy meal, which will be his last supper. Through the day they make these preparations (cf Mt 26:17). In the Mass of the Lord’s Supper conducted at our parishes, we remember and make present that Last Supper which Jesus shared with his disciples. We are in the upper room with Jesus and the Apostles and do what they did. Through the ritual of washing the feet (Jn 13:1) of 12 parishioners, we unite in service to one another.

Through our celebration of this first Mass and Holy Eucharist (Mt 26:26), we unite ourselves to Jesus and receive his Body and Blood as if for the first time. At this Eucharist, we especially thank God for his gift of the ministerial priesthood. After the Last Supper (First Mass) the apostles and Jesus made a short journey across the Kidron Valley to the Garden where he asks them to pray and he experiences his agony (cf Mt 26:30). We too will process in Church with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to a garden (the altar of repose) which has been prepared.

The liturgy ends in silence. It is an ancient custom to spend an hour before the reposed Blessed Sacrament tonight. We are with Jesus in the Garden and pray as he goes through his agony. Most of our parish churches remain open until close to midnight. It was near Midnight that Jesus was betrayed by Judas, was arrested and taken to the house of the High Priest (cf Mt. 26:47).

GOOD FRIDAY, All through the night Jesus has been locked in the dungeon of the high priest’s house. Early this morning he was bought before a Pilate who transferred his case to Herod. Herod sent him back to Pilate who, sometime in the mid-morning, bowed to the pressure of the Temple leadership and the crowds, and condemned Jesus to a horrible death by crucifixion. In the late morning Jesus was taken by the soldiers through the city and up the hillside of Golgotha.

By noon he is nailed to the cross where he hangs in agony for some three hours. He dies around three in the afternoon. He is taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb hastily before sundown. Today is a day of prayer, fasting and abstinence. Whenever possible, Christians are urged to keep today free of work, of social engagements, of entertainment, and to devote themselves to communal prayer and worship. At noon many parishes gather for stations of the cross for recollections of the seven last words of Jesus.

Many parishes also offer staions of the cross at 3pm the hour of Jesus death. In the evening, we gather quietly in our parish Churches to enter into time of prayer as we reflect on Jesus death on the cross. We also pray for the needs of the world.

To acknowledge the power of the cross in our lives today, we one by one come forward to venerate the cross with a kiss. Our hunger from this day of fasting is satisfied with Holy Communion distributed at the end of this liturgy.Consider too how the apostles might have gathered that night together in fear and prayer reflecting on all that happened.


resurrection

HOLY SATURDAY – The body of Jesus is in the tomb but His soul is among the dead to announce the kingdom. The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear it will Live (John 5:25).

Consider what it must have been like for the dead in Sheol to awaken to the voice of Jesus! Meanwhile The Disciples, heartbroken at the death of Jesus, observed the Jewish Sabbath in sorrow. They had forgotten the promise of Jesus that He would rise. We cannot forget His promise. We cannot forget.

Tonight in our parishes after sundown we gather for the Great Easter Vigil where we will experience Jesus rising from the dead. We gather in darkness and light the Easter fire which reminds us that Jesus is light in the darkness. He is the light of the world. We enter into the church and attentively listen to Bible stories describing God’s saving work of the past. Suddenly, the church lights are lit and the Gloria is sung as we celebrate the moment of Christ’s resurrection.

He Lives! In the joy of the resurrection we then celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist for our Catechumens and Candidates who have prepared for many weeks for this night.

As a Church we sing Alleluia for the first time in forty days. Do everything you can to be present on this evening and invite friends and family to join. Our Vigil ushers in an Easter joy that never ends!


MANILA STANDARD

World's poor headed for better lives in 2030: Gates By AFP | Jan. 22, 2015 at 04:17pm New York, United States | Thursday 1/22/2015 by Carole LANDRY


Bill and Melinda Gates

The lives of the poor will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any time in history, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and his wife Melinda say.

In their annual letter released Thursday, the couple laid out their upbeat vision for a technology-driven wave of change that will lift hundreds of millions out of poverty by 2030.

The major breakthroughs will be most noticeable in health, but also in agriculture, digital banking and online education, where the Gates Foundation is planning to pour in resources.

"Our big bet is that in the next 15 years, the lives of the poor are going to improve more than at any time in the history of the world," Melinda Gates told AFP in an interview.

Child deaths are predicted to be cut by half, polio will be wiped out while the fight against malaria, a major killer in Africa, will make strides with vaccines and a single-dose cure.

Africa can achieve food security by 2030 with access to innovation in agriculture to help farmers, the Gates said in their letter, a vision statement that has been released annually since 2009.

"Seven out of 10 adults in Africa are farmers. When they get new seeds that are drought-resistant and as the climate changes, they can still get more yield off their farms," said Melinda.

"It means they can feed their families and put the crops on the market."

Mobile banking has been popularized in Kenya, but the Gates Foundation is working to bring the financial tool to the poor in Tanzania, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Uganda.

READ MORE...
She sees potential for poverty reduction through online education and the development of software, especially for cell phones to help teachers and students.

- Confounding the skeptics -

The Gates' "big bet" that the world will be a better place in 2030 comes at a time of gloom in international circles with humanitarian agencies struggling to help a record number of people displaced by conflicts.

The letter acknowledges that there are skeptics and that "we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that a handful of the worst-off countries will continue to struggle."

But Melinda said her numerous fact-finding missions on the ground in Africa and Asia -- along with a clear faith in "the new tools of science" -- were feeding her optimism.

"Bill and I see progress because we see the global statistics," she said. "We see child mortality going down. And then you go out and travel."

She singled out Tanzania, which she has visited several times, and said it was a "completely different" country from her first trip a decade ago, with improvements in infrastructure and other key sectors.

In its campaign to bring vaccines to developing countries, the foundation has succeeded in cutting down the lag time for the life-saving medicines to reach the poor from 20-25 years to one-three years.

Active in more than 100 countries, the foundation has more than $42 billion in endowments to fund projects and innovations, but the Gates said their work also focused on shaping policy with governments.

Non-governmental organizations can "show points of lights" when it comes to fighting poverty, but "it takes governments to scale those up."


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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