Summary: let’s pray for the conversion and healing of all those who hate us, even those who are killing our loved ones in the Middle East and Africa and elsewhere.

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Under the Old Covenant, or Old Testament, established by God with Moses and the people in the desert, there were a series of rituals focused on forgiveness and purification. The Letter to the Hebrews follows the tradition that these rituals have been perfected in Our Lord’s perfect sacrifice, which we re-present here today in the Eucharist. Moses, when he brought the Ten Commandments to the people, killed an animal as an act of worship. He sealed the commandments and the people together by sprinkling the blood on both, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God commanded you.” Jesus sealed His new commandment, a commandment to love without condition, to His followers when He told them and us, “This is my blood of the New Covenant, shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sin.” As our High Priest, He ascended to the altar in heaven bearing His own precious Blood as the only sacrifice needed for all the sins of the world. In a few moments the priest will pray that God’s holy angel do the same as that precious Blood is brought to us under the appearances of wine. The sacrifice is One sacrifice, and we can daily participate in it. Just receiving Him in communion with the proper intention will eradicate all our venial sins, and give us the grace to do good and avoid evil as we enter this new season of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. There are a mere two weeks until Resurrection Sunday, so we have only that time to redouble our efforts to image Christ and His Mother to a world in desperate need of their help. We beseech our Lord to look down in mercy upon His family, and protect and strengthen us in the struggle of life against death, good against evil, mercy against ruthlessness.

A few months ago, the 4th Court of Appeals ruled that a simple Roman Cross, the Peace Cross, erected in the 1920s and used exclusively on federal holidays to honor those who died in World War I is an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Atheist organizations wrote Congress objecting to evangelist Billy Graham lying in state in the Capitol rotunda a couple of weeks ago. Bakers who refuse to participate in attempted marriages between people of the same gender are put out of business by the courts. Stories like this have become routine. Why can’t they leave well enough alone?

Cardinal Chaput recently gave us the third book of a trilogy, “Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World.” He tells us why those who practice atheism or vicious habits can’t leave people of faith alone. Generations ago, the apostles of the so-called Enlightenment turned their back on Christian faith and attempted to build a stable society without a belief in God and in the commandments of God. They wanted to affirm human dignity without acknowledging that such dignity can only come from a divine Creator. They wanted humans to function as individuals, rather than as responsible members of communities. The results are hitting us in the face daily for the past half-century.

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