Out of this world!
AT 3:00 A.M. - Fr. James Reuter, SJ () - March 27, 2005 - 12:00am
John Paul is scheduled to say his Easter Sunday Mass, and to deliver his Easter Message "To the City and to the World" on satellite television, coming to us live, from the Vatican.

But there is deep apprehension among the television networks, and in Church circles, that his doctors will not permit him to do this. He went into the hospital, very recently. And there they did a tracheotomy, to make it easier for him to breathe. No matter how sweetly you say it, it is no small thing when they cut your throat.

The Easter Mass will be said in the great courtyard of the Vatican Basilica, Saint Peter’s Square, at 9:30 a.m., Roman time. The Easter Message "To the City and to the World" will be delivered from 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Roman time. The Philippines is seven hours ahead of Rome, by the international time belts, so we will receive it, by satellite television, from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., our time.

It will be carried on the air, nation wide, in this country, over all six national television networks.

The National Broadcasting Network, Channel 4 in Manila, live, from 4:25 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. on Easter Sunday.

On the Associated Broadcasting Company, Channel 5 in Manila, live from 4:25 pm until 6:30 p.m. on Easter Sunday.

The International Broadcasting Corporation, Channel 13 in Manila, from 7:00 p.m. on Easter Sunday.

On the ABS-CBN News Channel, Studio 23 in Manila, from 10:45 p.m. on Easter Sunday.

On the Radio Philippines Network, Channel 9 in Manila, from 11:00 p.m. on Easter Sunday.

On GMA, the Greater Manila Area, Channel 7 in Manila, from 1:40 a.m. on Easter Monday, March 28

RPN, 9 in Manila, will replay both Mass and Message at 11:00 p.m. on Monday, March 28.

John Paul II is weakening physically, but he is spiritually strong. He talks about this in his Message for Lent. He says that the elderly are sometimes dependent upon others, unable to be self reliant physically, but they are a tremendous resource to the country because of their wisdom and experience.

John Paul, it is true, has to be wheeled about in a carefully constructed chair. But he is mentally alert, deeply interested in people all over the world, compassionate, with an amazing capacity to see the truth in extremely complex events. And he has a heart for the suffering, a heart for the poor. He is strong in the strength of the spirit.

This contrast between the things of this world - the things that can be touched, tasted, seen, counted, weighed, measured – and the interior world of the spirit surfaces very strongly during this season – Holy Week.

When Christ Our Lord rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, on Palm Sunday, the crowds were wild with enthusiasm. They waved
palms. They stretched their cloaks on the road before him. They cried out: "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"

Then, five days later, in the courtyard of Pilate, they cried out: "Away with him! Crucify him! We have no King bur Caesar! Give us Barabbas!" At first blush, you think that this is the fickle mob, whose mind changes with the wind.

But the Jews did not have a fickle mind! They were completely consistent. They were expecting a temporal Messiah. Their heroes were Moses and David. What did Moses do? He started by killing an Egyptian. Then he broke the power of Pharaoh. He slaughtered Pharoah’s army. He led them into the middle of the sea, and drowned them all. What did David do? He broke the power of the Philistines. He killed their champion, Goliath. The people sang: "Saul has killed thousands. But David has killed tens of thousands."

The Jews expected the Messiah to break the power of Rome, to become a war leader, to "Restore the Kingdom of Israel." When he multiplied the loaves and fishes, they said: "Is this not the Messiah?" And when they would come to take him by force and make him King, Our Lord fled into the mountains, Himself alone.

So when they saw him in the power of Pilate, with his hands tied behind his back, crowned with thorns, covered with spittle, they thought: "This is not the Messiah! This man is a fake! Give us Barabbas!" What did Barabbas do? He was a rebel, who in his rebellion killed a Roman. At least he did something! So they crucified the peaceful Christ, and freed the savage, Barabbas.

And so it was that Christ Our Lord said, again and again, "My kingdom is not of this world." His kingdom was not in power, or wealth, or success or comfort - the things that the world holds dear. His kingdom was all in the spirit - in the minds, in the hearts, in the souls of his children.

That is why – in the film "The Passion of Christ" by Mel Gibson – when Our Lord fell under his cross on the way to Calvary, and his mother came to him, he said, on his knees, on the ground, under his cross: "See, mama? I am making all things new." To the world he was a total failure - rejected by his own people, tried and convicted as a criminal, sentenced to death on a cross - but in the world of Christ Our Lord, this was a victory. This was why he came. His kingdom was not of this world. His kingdom was in the hearts and minds of men.

That is what we must learn, when we meditate on the Passion. For instance, when we are sick, we pray. We pray that God will take away the sickness. But sometimes that is not the way of God. In answer to our prayer he gives us peace of soul, a realization that the sickness is a blessing, that it purifies us, that it unites us with those who love us, and with all those we love.

We pray when we are struggling to achieve something. We pray to win. We pray to be successful. We pray to be first. . . . But sometimes that is not the way of God. Winning, success, honor, the gold medal, are things of this world. His kingdom is not of this world. He makes us understand that sometimes it is better for us to lose. Because then we learn humility, to be honest and fair, to rejoice in the success of others. We learn that love and friendship are more important than victory.

We pray for money. But money is a thing of this world. Sometimes God does not give us the money. He gives us the grace to understand the beauty of shared hardship. He gives us the power to sacrifice without complaint. He gives us the ability to smile, the strength and courage to carry on.

Right now many are hoping that the Philippines will resurrect with Christ Our Lord. But they expect this to be rising out of our poverty to economic stability, to comfort. Sometimes that is not God’s way. His kingdom is not of this world. He gives us the grace to help each other, to appreciate the things we have. We grow strong in hardship. We know that we are poor in the things of this world, but we are grateful that God has made us rich in the treasures of the spirit. That is why the Filipino smiles.

John Paul is poor in health, which is a thing of this world. But in his mind and heart he is strong with the strength of God. His kingdom is not of this world.

Really, it is a beautiful truth. It gives us peace of soul, patience, perseverance, hope, courage, strength. Living in this world, according to the law of the Lord, is sometimes hard. But the separation pay, and the pension, is out of this world.!
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There is a daily texting service, called: One Minute With God

You can reach it on Globe by texting: Reuter @ 2978

You can reach it on Smart by texting: Reuter @ 326

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