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Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 04-10-09. Good Friday of the Lord's Passion (Service/not Mass) American Bible ^ | 04-10-09 | New American Bible

Posted on 04/09/2009 3:22:46 PM PDT by Salvation

April 10, 2009

                                Good Friday of the Lord's Passion

Reading 1
Is 52:13—53:12

See, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at him
so marred was his look beyond human semblance
and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man
so shall he startle many nations,
because of him kings shall stand speechless;
for those who have not been told shall see,
those who have not heard shall ponder it.

Who would believe what we have heard?
To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up like a sapling before him,
like a shoot from the parched earth;
there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him,
nor appearance that would attract us to him.
He was spurned and avoided by people,
a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,
one of those from whom people hide their faces,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.

Though he was harshly treated, he submitted
and opened not his mouth;
like a lamb led to the slaughter
or a sheep before the shearers,
he was silent and opened not his mouth.

Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,
and who would have thought any more of his destiny?
When he was cut off from the land of the living,
and smitten for the sin of his people,
a grave was assigned him among the wicked
and a burial place with evildoers,
though he had done no wrong
nor spoken any falsehood.
But the LORD was pleased
to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
he shall see his descendants in a long life,
and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction
he shall see the light in fullness of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
and their guilt he shall bear.
Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
because he surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked;
and he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25

R. (Lk 23:46) Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
For all my foes I am an object of reproach,
a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends;
they who see me abroad flee from me.
I am forgotten like the unremembered dead;
I am like a dish that is broken.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, "You are my God.
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors."
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
Take courage and be stouthearted,
all you who hope in the LORD.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Reading II
Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

In the days when Christ was in the flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Jn 18:1—19:42

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley
to where there was a garden,
into which he and his disciples entered.
Judas his betrayer also knew the place,
because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards
from the chief priests and the Pharisees
and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him,
went out and said to them, "Whom are you looking for?"
They answered him, "Jesus the Nazorean."
He said to them, "I AM."
Judas his betrayer was also with them.
When he said to them, "I AM,"
they turned away and fell to the ground.
So he again asked them,
"Whom are you looking for?"
They said, "Jesus the Nazorean."
Jesus answered,
"I told you that I AM.
So if you are looking for me, let these men go."
This was to fulfill what he had said,
"I have not lost any of those you gave me."
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it,
struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear.
The slave's name was Malchus.
Jesus said to Peter,
"Put your sword into its scabbard.
Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?"

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus,
bound him, and brought him to Annas first.
He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year.
It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews
that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.
Now the other disciple was known to the high priest,
and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus.
But Peter stood at the gate outside.
So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest,
went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.
Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter,
"You are not one of this man's disciples, are you?"
He said, "I am not."
Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire
that they had made, because it was cold,
and were warming themselves.
Peter was also standing there keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus
about his disciples and about his doctrine.
Jesus answered him,
"I have spoken publicly to the world.
I have always taught in a synagogue
or in the temple area where all the Jews gather,
and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me?
Ask those who heard me what I said to them.
They know what I said."
When he had said this,
one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said,
"Is this the way you answer the high priest?"
Jesus answered him,
"If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong;
but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"
Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm.
And they said to him,
"You are not one of his disciples, are you?"
He denied it and said,
"I am not."
One of the slaves of the high priest,
a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said,
"Didn't I see you in the garden with him?"
Again Peter denied it.
And immediately the cock crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium.
It was morning.
And they themselves did not enter the praetorium,
in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover.
So Pilate came out to them and said,
"What charge do you bring against this man?"
They answered and said to him,
"If he were not a criminal,
we would not have handed him over to you."
At this, Pilate said to them,
"Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law."
The Jews answered him,
"We do not have the right to execute anyone,"
in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled
that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.
So Pilate went back into the praetorium
and summoned Jesus and said to him,
"Are you the King of the Jews?"
Jesus answered,
"Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?"
Pilate answered,
"I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?"
Jesus answered,
"My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here."
So Pilate said to him,
"Then you are a king?"
Jesus answered,
"You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."
Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

When he had said this,
he again went out to the Jews and said to them,
"I find no guilt in him.
But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover.
Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?"
They cried out again,
"Not this one but Barabbas!"
Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head,
and clothed him in a purple cloak,
and they came to him and said,
"Hail, King of the Jews!"
And they struck him repeatedly.
Once more Pilate went out and said to them,
"Look, I am bringing him out to you,
so that you may know that I find no guilt in him."
So Jesus came out,
wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak.
And he said to them, "Behold, the man!"
When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out,
"Crucify him, crucify him!"

Pilate said to them,
"Take him yourselves and crucify him.
I find no guilt in him."
The Jews answered,
"We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die,
because he made himself the Son of God."
Now when Pilate heard this statement,
he became even more afraid,
and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus,
"Where are you from?"
Jesus did not answer him.
So Pilate said to him,
"Do you not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you
and I have power to crucify you?"
Jesus answered him,
"You would have no power over me
if it had not been given to you from above.
For this reason the one who handed me over to you
has the greater sin."
Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out,
"If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar.
Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar."

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out
and seated him on the judge's bench
in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon.
And he said to the Jews,
"Behold, your king!"
They cried out,
"Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!"
Pilate said to them,
"Shall I crucify your king?"
The chief priests answered,
"We have no king but Caesar."
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself,
he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull,
in Hebrew, Golgotha.
There they crucified him, and with him two others,
one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.
Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read,
"Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews."
Now many of the Jews read this inscription,
because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city;
and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,
"Do not write 'The King of the Jews,'
but that he said, 'I am the King of the Jews.'"
Pilate answered,
"What I have written, I have written."

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus,
they took his clothes and divided them into four shares,
a share for each soldier.
They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless,
woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another,
"Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,"
in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says:
They divided my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
This is what the soldiers did.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son."
Then he said to the disciple,
"Behold, your mother."
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, "I thirst."
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
"It is finished."
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

Now since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
and that they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true;
he knows that he is speaking the truth,
so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea,
secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews,
asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus.
And Pilate permitted it.
So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night,
also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes
weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus
and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices,
according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden,
and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day;
for the tomb was close by.

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1 posted on 04/09/2009 3:22:47 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; markomalley; ...
King of Endless Glory Ping!

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The one day of the year when there is not a Mass (if you have more than one priest, that is!)

2 posted on 04/09/2009 3:24:43 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
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3 posted on 04/09/2009 3:57:04 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
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4 posted on 04/09/2009 4:07:09 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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5 posted on 04/09/2009 4:09:52 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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Reflections on the Readings for Friday in Passion Week: The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Reflections on the Readings for Friday in Passion Week: The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary

    Jeremias is one of the most striking figures of the Messias persecuted by the Jews. It is on this account, that the Church selects from this prophet so many of her lessons during these two weeks that are sacred to the Passion. In the passage chosen for today's Epistle, we have the complaint addressed to God by this just man against those that persecute him; and it is in the name of Christ that he speaks. He says: They have forsaken the Lord, the vein of living waters. How forcibly do these words describe the malice, both of the Jews that crucified, and of sinners that still crucify, Jesus our Lord! As to the Jews they had forgotten the rock, whence came to them the living water which quenched their thirst in the desert; or, if they have not forgotten the history of this mysterious rock, they refuse to take it as a type of the Messias.

    And yet, they hear this Jesus crying out to them in the streets of Jerusalem, and saying: 'If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink.' (1) (St. John vii. 37). His virtues, His teachings, His miracles, the prophecies that are fulfilled in His person, all claim their confidence in Him; they should believe every word He says. But they are deaf to His invitation; and how many Christians imitate them in their obduracy!

    How many there are, who once drank at the vein of living waters, and afterwards turned away to seek to quench their thirst in the muddy waters of the world, which can only make them thirst the more! Let them tremble at the punishment that came upon the Jews; for, unless they return to the Lord their God, they must fall into those devouring and eternal flames, where even a drop of water is refused. Jesus, the by mouth of His prophet, tells the Jews that the day of affliction shall overtake them; and when, later on, He comes to them Himself, He forewarns them, that the tribulation which is to fall on Jerusalem, in punishment for her deicide, shall be so great that such hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be.(2)-{St. Matt. xxiv. 21} But if God so rigorously avenged the Blood of His Son against a city that was so long a place of the habitation of His glory, and against a people that He had preferred to all others, will He spare the sinner who, in spite of the Church's entreaties, continues obstinate in his evil ways? Jerusalem had filled up the measure of her iniquities; we, also have a measure of sin, beyond which the justice of God will not permit us to go. Let us sin no more: let us fill up that other measure, the measure of good works. Let us pray for those sinners who are to pass these days of grace without being converted; let us pray that this divine Blood, which is to be so generously given to them, but which they are about again to trample upon, may again spare them. (pages 161-163)

    ...The council of the nation assembles to devise a plan for His destruction. But they have not assembled to examine if He be or be not the Messias; it is to discuss the best plan for putting Him to death. They argue thus: 'If Jesus be longer allowed to appear in public and work miracles, Judea will rise up in rebellion against the Romans, who now govern us, and will proclaim Jesus to be King; Rome will never allow us, the weakest of her tributaries, to insult her with impunity, and, in order to avenge the outrage offered to the Capitol, her armies will come and exterminate us.'...(page 164)

    The high-priest, who governed the Synagogue during the last days of the Mosaic Law, is a worthless man, by name of Caiphas; he presides over the council. He puts on the sacred ephod, and he prophesies; his prophecy is from God, and is true. Let us not be astonished: the veil of the temple is not yet rent asunder; the covenant between God and Juda is not yet broken, Caiphas is a blood-thirsty man, a coward, a sacrilegious wretch; still, he is high-priest, and God speaks by his mouth. Let us hearken to this second Balaam: Jesus shall die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but to gather in one the children of God, that were dispersed. Thus, the Synagogue is near her end, and is compelled to prophesy the birth of the Church, and that this birth is to be by the shedding of Jesus' Blood. Here and there throughout the world, there are children of God who serve Him among the Gentiles, as did the centurion Cornelius; but there is no visible bond of union among them. The time is at hand, when the great and only city of God is to appear on the mountain, and all nations shall flow unto it.(2)-{Isaias ii. 2} As soon as the Blood of the new Testament shall have been shed, and the Conqueror of death shall have risen from the grave, the day of Pentecost will convoke, not the Jews to the temple of Jerusalem, but all nations to the Church of Jesus Christ. By that time, Caiphas will have forgotten the prophecy he uttered; he will have ordered his servants to piece together the veil of the Holy of holies, which was torn into at the moment of Jesus' death; but this veil will serve no purpose for the Holy of holies will be no longer there: a clean oblation will be offered up in every place, the Sacrifice of the new Law;(1)-{Malach. I 11} and scarcely shall the avengers of Jesus' death have appeared on Mount Olivet, than a voice will be heard in the sanctuary of the repudiated temple, saying: 'Let us go out from this place!'(pages 165-166)

    This Friday of Passion-week is consecrated in a special manner, to the sufferings which the holy Mother of God endured at the foot of the cross. The whole of next week is fully taken up with the celebration of the mysteries of Jesus' Passion; and although the remembrance of Mary's share in those sufferings is often brought before the faithful during Holy Week, yet, the thought of what her Son, our divine Redeemer goes through for our salvation, so absorbs our attention and love, that it is not then possible to honor, as it deserves, the sublime mystery of the Mother's com-passion.

    ...In the work of our redemption there are three interventions of Mary; that is, she was thrice called upon to take part in what God Himself did. The first of these was in the Incarnation of the Word, who would not take flesh in her virginal womb until she had given her consent to become His Mother; and this she gave by that solemn FIAT which blessed the world with a Savior. The second was in the sacrifice which Jesus consummated on Calvary, where she was present that she might take part in the expiatory offering. The third was on the day of Pentecost, when she received the Holy Ghost, as did the apostles, in order that she might effectively labor in the establishment of the Church. Today we must show what part she took in the mystery of her Son's Passion; we must tell the sufferings, the Dolors, she endured at the foot of the cross, and the claims she thereby won to our filial gratitude...Let us pass by all her other sufferings, and come to the morning of the great Friday. (pages 168-169)...

    Mary knows that, on the previous night, her Son has been betrayed by one of His disciples, that is, by one that Jesus had numbered among His intimate friends; she herself had often given him proofs of her maternal affection. After a cruel Agony, her Son has been manacled as a malefactor, and led by armed men to Caiphas, His worst enemy. Thence, they have dragged Him before the Roman governor, whose sanction the chief priests and scribes must have before they can put Jesus to death. Mary is in Jerusalem; Magdalene and the other holy women, the friends of Jesus, are with her; but they cannot prevent her from hearing the loud shouts of the people, and if they could, how is such a heart as hers to be slow in its forebodings? The report spreads rapidly through the city that the Roman governor is being urged to sentence Jesus to be crucified. Whilst the entire populace is on the move towards Calvary, shouting out their blasphemous insults at her Jesus, will His Mother keep away, she that bore Him n her womb, and fed Him at her breast? Shall His enemies be eager to glut their eyes with cruel sight, and His own Mother be afraid to be near Him?

    The air resounded with the yells of the mob. Joseph of Arimathea, the noble counseller, was not there, neither was the learned Nicodemus: they kept at home, grieving over what was done. The crowd that went before and after the divine Victim was made up of wretches without hearts, saving only a few who were seen to weep as they went along; they were women; Jesus saw them, and spoke to them. And if these women from mere sentiments of veneration, or, at the most, of gratitude, thus testified their compassion, would Mary doles? Could she bear to be elsewhere than close to her Jesus? Our motive for insisting so much upon this point is that we may show our detestation of that school of modern rationalism, which, regardless of the instincts of a mother's heart and of all tradition, has dared to call in question the meeting of Jesus and Mary on the way to Calvary. These systematic contradictors are too prudent to deny that Mary was present when Jesus was crucified; the Gospel is too explicit: Mary stood near the cross (1)-{St. John xix. 25} but they would persuade us that, whilst the daughters of Jerusalem courageously walked after Jesus, Mary went up to Calvary by some secret path! What a heartless insult to the love of the incomparable Mother.

    No; Mary, who is, by excellence, the valiant woman, (2)-{Prov. xxxi. 10} was with Jesus as He carried His cross. And who could describe her anguish and her love as her eye met that of her Son tottering under His heavy load? Who would tell the affection and the resignation of the look He gave her in return? Who could depict the eager and respectful tenderness wherewith Magdalene and the other holy women grouped around this Mother, as she followed her Jesus up to Calvary, there to see Him crucified and die? The distance between the fourth and tenth Station of the Dolorous Way is long; it is marked with Jesus' Blood, and with His Mother's tears.

    Jesus and Mary have reached the summit of the hill that is to be the altar of the holiest and most cruel Sacrifice: but the divine decree permits not the Mother as yet to approach her Son. When the Victim is ready, then she that is to offer Him shall come forward. Meanwhile, they nail her Jesus to the cross; and each blow of the hammer is a wound to Mary's heart. When, At last, she is permitted to approach, accompanied by the beloved disciple (who has made amends for his cowardly flight), and the disconsolate Magdalene and the other holy women, what unutterable anguish must have filled the soul of this Mother, when raising up her eyes, she sees the mangled Body of her Son stretched upon the cross, with His face all covered with blood, and His head wreathed with a crown of thorns!

    Here, then, is this King of Israel, of Whom the angel had told her such glorious things in his prophecy! Here is that Son of hers, whom she has loved both as her God and as the fruit of her own womb! And who are they that have reduced Him to this pitiable state? Men -for whose sake rather than for her own, she conceived Him, gave Him birth, and nourished Him! Oh! If by one of those miracles, which His heavenly Father could so easily work, He might be again restored to her! If that divine justice, which He has taken upon Himself to appease, would be satisfied with what He has already suffered! But no: He must die; He must breathe forth His blessed Soul after a long and cruel agony.

    Mary then is at the foot of the cross, there to witness the death of her Son. He is soon to be separated from her. In three hours' time, all that will be left her of this beloved Jesus will be a lifeless Body, wounded from head to foot. Our words are too cold for such a scene as this: let us listen to those of St. Bernard, which the Church has inserted in her Matins of this feast. 'O Blessed Mother! A sword of sorrow pierced thy soul, and we may well call thee more than martyr, for the intensity of thy compassion surpassed all that a bodily passion could produce. Could any sword have made thee smart so much as that word which pierced thy heart, reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit: "Woman! Behold thy Son!" What an exchange! John for Jesus! The servant, for the Lord! The disciple for the Master! The son of Zebedee for the Son of God! A mere man, for the very God! How must thy most loving heart have been pierced with the sound of those words, when even ours, that are hard as stone and steel, break down as we think of them! Ah! My brethren, be not surprised when you are told that Mary was a martyr in her soul. Let him alone be surprised, who has forgotten that St. Paul counts it as one of the greatest sins of the Gentiles, that they were without affection. Who could say that of Mary? God forbid it be said of us, the servants of Mary! (1)- {Sermon on the twelve stars.}

    ...that the only son she is henceforth to have on earth is one of adoption. Her maternal joys of Bethlehem and Nazareth are all gone; they make her present sorrow the bitterer; she was the Mother of a God, and men have taken Him from her! Her last and fondest look at her Jesus, her own dearest Jesus, tells her that He is suffering a burning thirst, and she cannot give Him to drink! His eyes grow dim; His head droops; all is consummated!

    Mary cannot leave the cross; love brought her thither; love keeps her there, whatever may happen! A soldier advances near that hallowed spot; she sees him lift up his spear, and thrust it through the breast of the sacred Corpse. "Ah," cries out St. Bernard, 'that thrust is through thy soul, O blessed Mother! It could but open His side, but it pierced thy very soul. His Soul was not there, thine was, and could not but be so.'(1)- {Sermon on the twelve stars.} The undaunted Mother keeps close to the Body of her Son. She watches them as they take it down from the cross; and when, at last, the friends of Jesus, with all the respect due to both Mother and Son, enable her to embrace it, she raises it upon her lap, and He that once lay upon her knees receiving the homage of the eastern kings, now lies there cold, mangled, bleeding, dead! And as she looks upon the wounds of the divine Victim, she gives them the highest honor in the power of creatures: she kisses them, she bathes them with her tears, she adores them, but oh! With what intensity of grief!

    The hour is far advanced; and before sunset, He, Jesus, the author of life, must be buried. The Mother puts the whole vehemence of her love into a last kiss, and oppressed with a bitterness great as is the sea,(2)-{Lam. i. v, ii. 13} she makes over this adorable Body to them that have to embalm and then lay it on the sepulchral slab. The sepulcher is closed; and Mary, accompanied by John, her adopted son, and Magdalene, and the holy women, and the two disciples that have presided over the burial, returns sorrowing to the deicide city.

    Now, in all this, there is another mystery besides that of Mary's sufferings. Her Dolours at the foot of the cross include and imply a truth, which we must not pass by, or we shall not understand the full beauty of today's feast. Why would God have her assist in person at such a scene as this of Calvary? Why was not she, as well as Joseph, taken out of this world before this terrible day of Jesus' death? Because God had assigned her a great office for that day, and it was to be under the tree of the cross that she, the second Eve, was to discharge her office. As the heavenly Father had waited for her consent before He sent His Son into the world: so, likewise, He called for her obedience and devotedness, when the hour came for that Son to be offered up in sacrifice for the world's redemption. Was not Jesus hers? Her Child? Her own and dearest treasure? And yet, God have Him not to her, until she had consented to become His Mother; in like manner, He would not take Him from her, unless she gave Him back.

    But see what this involved, see what a struggle it entailed upon this most loving heart! It is the injustice, the cruelty, of men that rob her of her Son; how can she, His Mother, ratify, by her consent, the death of Him, whom she loved with a twofold love, as her Son, and as her God? But, on the other hand, if Jesus be not put to death, the human race is left a prey to satan, sin is not atoned for, and all the honors and joys of her being Mother of God are of no use or blessing to us. This Virgin of Nazareth, this noblest heart, this purest creature, whose affections were never blunted with the selfishness which so easily makes its way into souls that have been wounded by original sin, what will she do? Her devotedness to mankind, her conformity with the will of her Son who so vehemently desires the world's salvation, lead her, a second time, to pronounce the solemn FIAT: she consents to the immolation of her Son. It is not God's justice that takes Him from her; it is she herself that gives Him up. But, in return, she is raised to a degree of greatness, which her humility could never have suspected was to be hers: an ineffable union is made to exist between the two offerings, that of the Incarnate Word, and that of Mary; the Blood of the divine Victim, and the tears of the Mother, flow together for the redemption of mankind. (pages 166-175)

    ...St. Ambrose thus speaks of her position at the foot of the cross: 'She stood opposite the cross, gazing with maternal love on the wounds of her Son; and thus she stood, not waiting for her Jesus to die, but for the world to be saved.'(1)- {In lucam cap. xxiii.}... The sword, by piercing her immaculate heart, has given us admission there. For time and eternity, Mary will extend to us the love she has borne for her Son, for she has just heard Him saying to her that we are her children. He is our Lord, for He has redeemed us; she is our Lady, for she generously cooperated in our redemption. (pages 175-176)

    ...Deign, sweet Mother, to watch over us, during these days of grace. Give us to feel and relish the Passion of thy Son. It was consummated in thy presence; thine own share in it was magnificent! Oh, make us enter into all its mysteries, that so our souls, redeemed by the Blood of thy Son, and helped by thy tears, may be thoroughly converted to the Lord, and persevere, henceforward, faithful in His service. (page 177)

6 posted on 04/09/2009 4:21:17 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Reading 1
Is 52:13—53:12

We had this passage in Sunday School class last Sunday. We also had a passion performance in the evening Saturday and Sunday with portions of the movie The Passion of the Christ shown. What a heart-wrenching movie. The woman who portrayed Mary, Jesus’ mother, was superb. How poignant when she kissed His bloody foot as he hung on the Cross.

Thank you again Salvation for this post. It is beyond words what our Savior did for us.

7 posted on 04/09/2009 4:21:35 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Be prepared for tough times. FReepmail me to learn about our survival thread!)
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To: Salvation

Stabat Mater


At the cross her station keeping,
Mary stood in sorrow weeping
When her Son was crucified.

While she waited in her anguish,
Seeing Christ in torment languish,
Bitter sorrow pierced her heart.

With what pain and desolation,
With what noble resignation,
Mary watched her dying Son.

Ever-patient in her yearning
Though her tear-filled eyes were burning,
Mary gazed upon her Son.

Who, that sorrow contemplating,
On that passion meditating,
Would not share the Virgin’s grief?

Christ she saw, for our salvation,
Scourged with cruel acclamation,
Bruised and beaten by the rod.

Christ she saw with life-blood failing,
All her anguish unavailing,
Saw him breathe his very last.

Mary, fount of love’s devotion,
Let me share with true emotion
All the sorrow you endured.

Virgin, ever interceding,
Hear me in my fervent pleading:
Fire me with your love of Christ.

Mother, may this prayer be granted:
That Christ’s love may be implanted
In the depths of my poor soul.

At the cross, your sorrow sharing,
All your grief and torment bearing,
Let me stand and mourn with you.

Fairest maid of all creation,
Queen of hope and consolation,
Let me feel your grief sublime.

Virgin, in your love befriend me,
At the Judgment Day defend me.
Help me by your constant prayer.

Savior, when my life shall leave me,
Through your mother’s prayers receive me
With the fruits of victory.

Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of your dying Son divine.

Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it has swooned
In His very Blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awe-full judgment day.

Savior, when my life shall leave me,
Through your mother’s prayers receive me
With the fruits of victory.

While my body here decays
May my soul your goodness praise,
Safe in heaven eternally. Amen Alleluia.

The Collegeville Hymnal
Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1990.

8 posted on 04/09/2009 4:23:11 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Be prepared for tough times. FReepmail me to learn about our survival thread!)
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To: TenthAmendmentChampion

** It is beyond words what our Savior did for us.**

Very true. It is difficult for me to look at a crucifix during this service and not have tears swell up within my eyes.

To think that Jesus died for MY sins!

9 posted on 04/09/2009 4:23:55 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Yes. Praised be His Holy Name forever and ever, Amen and Hallelujah.

10 posted on 04/09/2009 4:35:58 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Be prepared for tough times. FReepmail me to learn about our survival thread!)
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To: Salvation

Good Friday - April 10

11 posted on 04/09/2009 9:31:43 PM PDT by Coleus (Abortion, Euthanasia & FOCA - - don't Obama and the Democrats just kill ya!)
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To: Coleus

LOL! I was just getting ready to post that!

12 posted on 04/09/2009 11:43:32 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Crucifixion by Giotto

13 posted on 04/09/2009 11:48:03 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross


The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.

The Sorrowful Mysteries
(Tuesdays and Fridays)
1. The Agony in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46) [Spiritual fruit - God's will be done]
2. The Scourging at the Pillar (Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 19:1) [Spiritual fruit - Mortification of the senses]
3. The Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27:27-30, Mark 15:16-20, John 19:2) [Spiritual fruit - Reign of Christ in our heart]
4. The Carrying of the Cross (Matthew 27:31-32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26-32, John 19:17) [Spiritual fruit - Patient bearing of trials]
5. The Crucifixion (Matthew 27:33-56, Mark 15:22-39, Luke 23:33-49, John 19:17-37) [Spiritual fruit - Pardoning of Injuries]

14 posted on 04/09/2009 11:49:30 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All


St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

15 posted on 04/09/2009 11:50:36 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Change Worth Praying For
16 posted on 04/09/2009 11:51:24 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
April Devotion: The Blessed Sacrament

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The Church traditionally encouraged the month of April for increased devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. "The Church in the course of the centuries has introduced various forms of this Eucharistic worship which are ever increasing in beauty and helpfulness; as, for example, visits of devotion to the tabernacles, even every day; Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; solemn processions, especially at the time of Eucharistic Congresses, which pass through cities and villages; and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament publicly exposed . . . These exercises of piety have brought a wonderful increase in faith and supernatural life to the Church militant upon earth and they are re-echoed to a certain extent by the Church triumphant in heaven, which sings continually a hymn of praise to God and to the Lamb 'Who was slain.'" --Pope Pius XII

I adore Thee, 0 Jesus, true God and true Man, here present in the Holy Eucharist, humbly kneeling before Thee and united in spirit with all the faithful on earth and all the blessed in heaven. In deepest gratitude for so great a blessing, I love Thee, my Jesus, with my whole heart, for Thou art all perfect and all worthy of love.

Give me grace nevermore in any way to offend Thee, and grant that I, being refreshed by Thy Eucharistic presence here on earth, may be found worthy to come to the enjoyment with Mary of Thine eternal and everblessed presence in heaven. Amen.

O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art really and corporally present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I adore Thee here present from the very depths of my heart, and I worship Thy sacred presence with all possible humility. O my soul, what joy to have Jesus Christ always with us, and to be able to speak to Him, heart to heart, with all confidence. Grant, O Lord, that I, having adored Thy divine Majesty here on earth in this wonderful Sacrament, may be able to adore it eternally in Heaven. Amen.

Believing that Thou, my God, hast in any way revealed to us--grieving for all my sins, offenses and negligences--hoping in Thee, O Lord, who wilt never let me be confounded--thanking Thee for this supreme gift, and for all the gifts of Thy goodness--loving Thee, above all in this sacrament of Thy love--adoring Thee in this deepest mystery of Thy condescension: I lay before Thee all the wounds and wants of my poor soul, and ask for all that I need and desire. But I need only Thyself, O Lord; I desire none but Thee--Thy grace, and the grace to use well Thy graces, the possession of Thee by grace in this life, and the possession of Thee forever in the eternal kingdom of Thy glory.

O most sacred, most loving heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still. Now as then Thou sayest, "With desire I have desired." I worship Thee, then, with all my best love and awe, with my fervent affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will. O make my heart beat with Thy heart. Purify it of all that is earthly, all that is proud and sensual, all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity, of all disorder, of all deadness. So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day nor the circumstances of the time may have power to ruffle it; but that in Thy love and Thy fear it may have peace. --Cardinal Newman

I believe Thou art present in the Blessed Sacrament, O Jesus. I love Thee and desire Thee. Come into my heart. I embrace Thee, O never leave me. I beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus, may the burning and most sweet power of Thy love absorb my mind, that I may die through love of Thy love, who wast graciously pleased to die through love of my love. --St. Francis of Assisi

Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, well known in connection with devotion to the Sacred Herat of Jesus, led the way in making reparation to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for the coldness and ingratitude of men. This prayer of hers can become our own as we attempt to make amends for our own and others' neglect of the great Sacrament of His love, the Eucharist.
O kind and merciful savior, from my heart I earnestly desire to return Thee love for love. My greatest sorrow is that Thou art not loved by men, and, in particular, that my own heart is so cold, so selfish, so ungrateful. Keenly aware of my own weakness and poverty, I trust that Thy own grace will enable me to offer Thee an act of pure love. And I wish to offer Thee this act of love in reparation for the coldness and neglect that are shown to Thee in the sacrament of Thy love by Thy creatures. O Jesus, my supreme good, I love Thee, not for the sake of the reward which Thou hast promised to those who love Thee, but purely for Thyself. I love Thee above all things that can be loved, above all pleasures, and above myself and all that is not Thee, promising in the presence of heaven and earth that I will live and die purely and simply in Thy holy love, and that if to love Thee thus I must endure persecution and suffering I am completely satisfied, and I will ever say with Saint Paul: Nothing "will be able to separate us from the love of God." 0 Jesus, supreme master of all hearts, I love Thee, I adore Thee, I praise Thee, I thank Thee, because I am now all Thine own. Rule over me, and transform my soul into the likeness of Thyself, so that it may bless and glorify Thee forever in the abode of the saints.
--Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

My Lord, I offer Thee myself in turn as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Thou hast died for me, and I in turn make myself over to Thee. I am not my own. Thou hast bought me; I will by my own act and deed complete the purchase. My wish is to be separated from everything of this world; to cleanse myself simply from sin; to put away from me even what is innocent, if used for its own sake, and not for Thine. I put away reputation and honor, and influence, and power, for my praise and strength shall be in Thee. Enable me to carry out what I profess. Amen. --Cardinal Newman

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

The best, the surest , and the most effective way of establishing everlasting peace on the face of the earth is through the great power of perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament." -- Pope John Paul II


"Could you not watch one hour?" -- Mark 14:37

I am happy to testify that many young people are discovering the beauty of adoration, whether personal or in community. I invite priests to encourage youth groups in this, but also to accompany them to ensure that the forms of adoration are appropriate and dignified, with sufficient times for silence and listening to the word of God. In life today, which is often noisy and scattered, it is more important than ever to recover the capacity for interior silence and recollection: Eucharistic adoration permits one to do this not only within one's "I" but rather in the company of that "You" full of love who is Jesus Christ, "the God who is near us."
~Pope Benedict XVI

Holy Communion and Non-Catholics (with a Quiz!)
Beginning Catholic: The Eucharist: In the Presence of the Lord Himself [Ecumenical]
Beginning Catholic: Receiving the Lord in Holy Communion [Ecumenical]
Faithful Invited to Follow Pope, Adore Eucharist [Catholic Caucus]
Christmas and the Eucharist(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)

Eucharist kneeling request sparks controversy [Catholic Caucus]
Eucharist vs. the Word (which is more important in the Catholic Church)
Christ the Miracle Worker in the Eucharist(Catholic Caucus)
Imitating Christ in the Eucharist(Catholic Caucus)
The Eucharist - the Lord's Sacrifice, Banquet and Presence (OPEN)

Pope Calls Eucharist History's Greatest Revolution [OPEN]
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 22: The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion)
A series of reflections from St. Peter Julian Eymard Blessed Sacrament(Catholic Caucus)
Eucharist, Holy Meal
Imitating Christ in the Eucharist

Christmas and the Eucharist
Prayer Before the Blessed Sacrament
This is My Body, This is My Blood
Gift Of Life, Gift Eternal: The Most Holy Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

Area worshipers march to celebrate Holy Eucharist
Grace of the Eucharist is secret to holy priests, says Pope
The Disposition of Priests [Valid Mass, Valid Holy Eucharist?]
The Body of Christ?
Holy Sacrifice, Living Sacrament

Knights of the Eucharist
The Banquet of Corpus Christi - "Why did Jesus give us His Body and Blood?"
The Eucharist: Eternity and Time Together
Restored Order of the Sacraments of Initiation? Confirmation and First Eucharist together? (Vanity)
Reflections of Cardinal Ratzinger on the Eucharist

The Eucharist in Scripture - Part 1 - Old Testament
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

New Plenary Indulgence to Mark Year of the Eucharist
Kneeling and Faith in the Eucharist
The Immaculate Conception and the Eucharist, a course in Christian culture in Tashkent
The Year of the Eucharist by Bishop Donald Wuerl
"While We're At It": What can we do to show that the Eucharist is a communal activity?

The Discipline of the Eucharist Holy See Releases Redemptionis Sacramentum...
Vatican: Matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist (April 23, 2004)
Devotion to the Holy Eucharist Advances Devotion to Jesus' Person
New rules on the Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday

The Reverence due to the Holy Eucharist
The Holy Face of Jesus Christ as appeared on the Holy Eucharist
The Fourth Cup: The Sacrament of the Eucharist [Holy Thursday] [Passover]
Holy Father stresses Need of Devotion to Holy Eucharist outside of Mass: Pope Paul VI

17 posted on 04/09/2009 11:52:22 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

Holy Father's Prayer Intentions For April 2009

General: That the Lord may bless the farmers with an abundant harvest and sensitise the richer populations to the drama of hunger in the world

Mission: That the Christians who work in areas where the conditions of the poor, the weak and the women and children are most tragic, may be signs of hope, thanks to their courageous testimony to the Gospel of solidarity and love.

18 posted on 04/09/2009 11:53:08 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

From: Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Fourth Song of the Servant of the Lord

[13] Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and
shall be very high. [14] As many were astonished at him—his appearance was
so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of
men—[15] so shall he startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because
of him; for that which has not been told them they shall see, and that which they
have not heard they shall understand.

[1] Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD
been revealed? [2] For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root
out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and
no beauty that we should desire him. [3] He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide
their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

[4] Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him
stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. [5] But he was wounded for our transgres-
sions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that
made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. [6] All we like sheep have
gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on
him the iniquity of us all.

[7] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a
lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb,
so he opened not his mouth. [8] By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the
living, stricken for the transgression of my people? [9] And they made his grave
with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no vio-
lence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

[10] Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when
he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong
his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand; [11] he shall see the fruit
of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one,
my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and be shall bear their ini-

[12] Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil
with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with
the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the


52:13-53:12. This fourth Song of the Servant is one of the most commented on
passages in the Bible, as regards both its literary structure and its content. From
the point of view of structure, it interrupts the hymn-style of chapter 52 (which is
taken up again in chapter 54); the style here is more reflective; the theme, the
value of suffering. In terms of content, the song is unusual in that it shows the
servant triumphing through his humiliation and suffering. Even more than that—he
makes the pains and sins of others his own, in order to heal them and set them
free. Prior to this, the idea of “vicarious expiation” was unknown in the Bible. The
passage is original even in its vocabulary: it contains forty words that are not to
be found elsewhere in the Bible.

The poem, which is very carefully composed, divides into three stanzas: the first
(52:13-15) is put on the Lord’s lips and it acts as a kind of overture to what follows
—taking in the themes of the triumph of the servant (v. 13), his humiliation and
suffering (v. 14), and the stunning effect that this has on his own people and on

The second stanza (53:1-11a) celebrates the servant?s trials, and the good effects
they produce. This is spoken in the first person plural, standing for the people and
the prophet: both feel solidarity with the servant of the Lord. This stanza has four
stages to it: first (53:1-3) it describes the servant’s noble origins (he grew up before
the Lord like a young plant: cf. v. 2) and the low esteem in which he is held as a
“man of sorrows”. Then we learn that all this suffering is atonement for the sins of
others (53:4-6). Traditionally, suffering was interpreted as being a punishment for
sins, but here it is borne on behalf of others. This is the first lesson to be learned
by those who see him “stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted”, and it marks the
climax of the poem. Thirdly (53:7-9), the point is made, again that he has freely
accepted suffering and meekly, offers himself as a sacrifice of atonement (he is
like a lamb, like a sheep). His death is as ignominious as the suffering that pre-
cedes it. Finally (vv. 10-11a) we are told how fruitful all this suffering is: like the
patriarchs of old (the text seems to imply) the servant will have many offspring
and a long life and be a man of great wisdom.

In the, third stanza (53:11b-12) the Lord speaks again, finally acknowledging that
his servant”s sacrifice is truly efficacious: he will cause many to be accounted
“righteous”, that is, he will win their salvation (v. 11) and will share in the Lord’s
spoils (v. 12).

The fourth song of the servant of the Lord was from very early on interpreted as
having a current application. When the Jews of Alexandria made the Greek trans-
lation of the Old Testment (the Septuagint) around the second century BC, they
tinkered a little with the text to indicate that the servant in the poem stood for the
people of Israel in the diaspora. Those Jews, who encountered huge obstacles in
their effort to maintain their identity in that Hellenistic and polytheistic environ-
ment, found comfort in the hope that they would emerge enhanced, just like the

Jews of Palestine identified the victorious servant with the Messiah, but they re-
interpreted the sufferings described here to apply them to the pagan nations. The
Dead Sea Scrolls interpret this song in the light of the ignominy experienced by
the Teacher of Righteousness,the probable founder of the group that established
itself at Qumran.

Jesus revealed his redemptive mission to be that of the suffering servant prophe-
sied by Isaiah here. He referred to him on a number of occasions—in his reply to
the request made by the sons of Zebedee (”the Son of man came not to be served
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”: Mt 20:28 and par.); at the
Last Supper, when he announced his ignominious death among transgressors,
quoting 53:12 (Lk 22:37); in some passages in the fourth Gospel (Jn 12:32, 37-38);
etc. He also seems to refer to it in his conversation with the disciples of Emmaus
(Lk 24:25ff) to explain his passion and death. Therefore, the first Christians inter-
preted Jesus’ death and resurrection in terms of this poem; evidence of this is the
expression “in accordance with the scriptures” in 1 Corinthians 15:3; the words
“for our trespasses” (Rom 4:25; 1 Cor 15:3?5); the Christological hymn in the
Letter to the Philippians (Phil 2:6-11); and expressions used in the First Letter of
Peter (1 Pet 2:22-25) and in other New Testament passages (Mt 8:17; 27:29;
Acts 8:26-40; Rom 10:16; etc.).

Patristic tradition reads the song as a prophecy that found fulfillment in Christ (cf.
St Clement of Rome, “Ad Corinthios”, 16:1-14; St Ignatius Martyr, “Epistula ad
Polycarpum”, 1, 3; the so-called “Letter of Barnabas”, 5, 2 and “Epistula ad
Diognetuin”, 9, 2; etc.). The Church uses it in the Good Friday liturgy.

52:14. “Beyond human semblance”: this phrase sums up the description given in
53:2-3 and shows the intense pain reflected in the servant’s face: the description
is so graphic that Christian ascetical writing, with good reason, reads it as antici-
pating the passion of our Lord: “The prophet, who has rightly been called ‘the Fifth
Evangelist’, presents in this Song an image of the sufferings of the Servant with a
realism as acute as if he were seeing them with his own eyes: the eyes of the
body and of the spirit. [...] The Song of the Suffering Servant contains a description
in which it is possible, in a certain sense, to identify the stages of Christ’s Passion
in their various details: the arrest, the humiliation, the blows, the spitting, the con-
tempt for the prisoner, the unjust sentence, and then the scourging, the crowning
with thorns and the mocking, the carrying of the Cross, the crucifixion and the
agony” (John Paul II, “Salvifici Doloris”, 17; cf. idem, “Dives in Misencordia”, 7).

53:1. St Paul cites this verse to prove the need for preaching (Rom 10:16). The
verse also underlines the extraordinary degree of undeserved suffering endured by
the Servant. It is sometimes interpreted as a further sign of the humility of Christ,
who, being divine, took on the form of a servant: ?Christ is a man of humble
thought and feeling, unlike those who attack his flock. The heart of God’s majesty,
the Lord Jesus Christ, did not come with loud cries of arrogance and pride; he
came in humility, as the Holy Spirit said of him: “Who has believed what we have
heard?? (St Clement of Rome, “Ad Corinthios”, 16, 1-3).

53:4-5. “He has borne our griefs [or pains]”: the servant’s sufferings are not due to
his own personal sins; they are atonement for the sins of others. “The sufferings
of our Savior are our cure” (Theodoret of Cyrus, “De Incarnatione Domini”, 28). He
suffered on account of the sins of the entire people, even though he was not guilty
of them. By bearing the penalty for those sins, he expiated the guilt involved. St
Matthew, after recounting some miraculous cures and the casting out of devils,
sees the words of v. 4a fulfilled in Christ (Mt 8:17). He interprets Jesus Christ as
being the servant foretold by the prophet, who will cure the physical suffering of
people as a sign that he is curing the root cause of all types of evil, that is, sin,
iniquity (v. 5). The miracles worked by Jesus for the sick are therefore a sign of
Redemption: “Christ’s whole life is a mystery of ‘redemption’. Redemption comes
to us above all through the blood of his cross (cf. Eph 1:7; Col 1:13-14; 1 Pet
1:18-19), but this mystery is at work throughout Christ?s entire life” (”Catechism
of the Catholic Church”, 517).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

19 posted on 04/09/2009 11:54:26 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

From: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Our Confidence is Based on Christ’s Priesthood

[14] Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. [15] For we have not a high
priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every
respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning. [16] Let us then with
confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find
grace to help in time of need.

Christ Has Been Made High Priest by God the Father

[7] In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud
cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard
for his godly fear. [8] Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what
he suffered; [9] and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation
to all who obey him, [10] being designated by God a high priest after the order of


14-16. The text now reverts to its main theme (cf. 2:17), that is, the priesthood of
Christ. It highlights the dignity of the new high priest, who has passed through
the heavens; and His mercy, too, for He sympathizes with our weaknesses. We
have, therefore, every reason to approach Him with confidence. “The believers
were at that time in a storm of temptation; that is why the Apostle is consoling
them, saying that our High Priest not only knows, as God, the weaknesses of
our nature: as man, He has also experienced the sufferings that affect us, al-
though He was free from sin. Since He knows our weaknesses so well, He can
give us the help we need, and when He comes to judge us, He will take that
weakness into account in His sentence” (”Interpretatio Ep. Ad Haebreos, ad loc.”).

We should respond to the Lord’s goodness by staying true to our profession of
faith. The confession or profession of faith referred to here is not simply an exter-
nal declaration: external confession is necessary but there must also be commit-
ment and a spirit of fidelity. A Christian needs to live up to all the demands of his
calling; he should be single-minded and free from doubts.

15. “If we should some time find ourselves sorely tempted by our enemies, it will
greatly help us to remember that we have on our side a high priest who is most
compassionate, for He chose to experience all kinds of temptation” (”St. Pius V
Catechism”, IV, 15, 14). In order to understand and help a sinner to get over his
falls and cope with temptation, one does not oneself need to have experience of
being tempted; in fact, only one who does not sin knows the full force of tempta-
tion, because the sinner gives in prior to resisting to the end. Christ never yielded
to temptation. He therefore experienced much more than we do (because we are
often defeated by temptation) the full rigor and violence of those temptations which
He chose to undergo as man at particular points in His life. Our Lord, then,
allowed Himself to be tempted, in order to set us an example and prevent us from
ever losing confidence in our ability to resist temptation with the help of grace (cf.
notes on Matthew 4:1-11 and paragraph).

“There is no man”, St. Jerome comments, “who can resist all tests except He
who, made in our likeness, has experienced everything but sin” (”Comm. In Ioan-
nam”, II, 46). Christ’s inlessness, often affirmed in Sacred Scripture (Romans 8:3;
2 Corinthians 5:21; John 8:46; 1 Peter 1:19; 2:21-24), follows logically from His
being God and from His human integrity and holiness. At the same time Christ’s
weakness, which He chose to experience out of love for us, is a kind of invitation
from God to pray for strength to resist sin. “Let us adore Christ who emptied Him-
self to assume the condition of a slave. He was tempted in every way that we are,
but did not sin. Let us turn in prayer to Him, saying, ‘You took on our human
weakness. Be the eyes of the blind, the strength of the weak, the friend of the
lonely’” (”Liturgy of the Hours”, Christmas Day, Evening Prayer I).

16. The “throne” is the symbol of Christ’s authority; He is King of the living and
the dead. But here it speaks of a “throne of grace”: through the salvation worked
by Christ, the compassionate Priest and Intercessor, God’s throne has become
a judgment seat from which mercy flows. Christ has initiated for mankind a time
of forgiveness and sanctification in which He does not yet manifest His position
as Sovereign Judge. Christ’s priesthood did not cease to operate with His death;
it continues in Heaven, where He forever pleads on our behalf, and therefore we
should have confident recourse to Him.

“What security should be ours in considering the mercy of the Lord! ‘He has but
to cry for redress, and I, the Ever-Merciful, will listen to him’ (Exodus 22:27). It
is an invitation, a promise that He will not fail to fulfill. ‘Let us then with confidence
draw near to the throne of grace, and we may receive mercy and find grace to
help in time of need’. The enemies of our sanctification will be rendered powerless
if the mercy of God goes before us. And if through our own fault and human weak-
ness we should fall, the Lord comes to our aid and raises us up” (St. J. Escriva,
“Christ Is Passing By”, 7).

7-9. This brief summary of Christ’s life stresses his perfect obedience to the Fa-
ther’s will, his intense prayer and his sufferings and redemptive death. As in the
hymn to Christ in Philippians 2:6-11, the point is made that Christ set his power
aside and, despite his being the only-begotten Son of God, out of obedience
chose to die on the cross. His death was a true self-offering expressed in that
“loud voice” when he cried out to the Father just before he died, “into thy hands
I commit my spirit” (Lk 23:46). But although Jesus’ obedience was most obvious
on Calvary, it was a constant feature of “the days of his flesh”: he obeyed Mary
and Joseph, seeing in them the authority of the heavenly Father; he was obedient
to political and religious authorities; and he always obeyed the Father, identifying
himself with him to such a degree that he could say, “I have glorified thee on
earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do [...]. All mine
are thine and thine are mine” (Jn 17:4, 10).

The passage also points to Jesus prayer, the high point of which occurred in
Gethsemane on the eve of his passion. The reference to “loud cries and suppli-
cations” recalls the Gospel account of his suffering: “And being in an agony he
prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling
down upon the ground” (Lk 22:44).

Hebrews 5:7-9 is probably referring not so much to his prayer in the Garden, still
less to any prayer of Christ asking to be delivered from death, but to our Lord’s
constant prayer for the salvation of mankind. “When the Apostle speaks of these
supplications and cries of Jesus,” St John Chrysostom comments, “he does not
mean prayers which he made on his own behalf but prayers for those who would
later believe in him. And, due to the fact that the Jews did not yet have the ele-
vated concept of Christ that they ought to have had, St Paul says that ‘he was
heard’, just as the Lord himself told his disciples, to console them, ‘If you loved
me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater
than I’ [...]. Such was the respect and reverence shown by the Son, that God the
Father could not but take note and heed his Son and his prayers” (”Hom. on Heb”,

7. “In the days of his flesh”, a reference to the Incarnation. “Flesh” is synonymous
with mortal life; this is a reference to Christ’s human nature—as in the prologue to
St John’s Gospel (elf. Jn 1:14) and many other places (Heb 2:14; Gal 2:20; Phil
1:22-24; 1 Pet 4:1-2) including where mention is made of Jesus being a servant
and capable of suffering (cf. Phil 2:8; Mt 20:27-28). Jesus’ human nature “in the
days of his flesh” is quite different from his divine nature and also from his human
nature after its glorification (cf. 1 Cor 15:50). “It must be said that the word ‘flesh’
is occasionally used to refer to the weakness of the flesh, as it says in 1 Cor
15:50: ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God’. Christ had a weak and
mortal flesh. Therefore it says in the text, ‘In the days of his flesh’, referring to
when he was living in a flesh which seemed to be like sinful flesh, but which was
sinless” (St Thomas Aquinas, “Commentary on Heb”, 5, 1). So, this text under-
lines our Lord’s being both Victim and Priest.

“Prayers and supplications”: very fitting in a priest. The two words mean much
the same; together they are a form of words which used to be employed in peti-
tions to the king or some important official. The plural tells us that there were lots
of these petitions. The writer seems to have in mind the picture of the Redeemer
who “going a little farther fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it be possible,
let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mt 26:39).
St Thomas comments on this description of Christ’s prayer as follows: “His action
was indeed one of offering prayers and supplications, that is, a spiritual sacrifice:
that was what Christ offered. It speaks of prayers in the sense of petitions be-
cause ‘The prayer of a righteous man has great power’ (Jas 5:16); and it speaks
of supplications to emphasize the humility of the one who is praying, who falls
on his knees, as we see happening in the case of him who ‘fell on his face and
prayed’ (Mt 26:39)” (”Commentary on Heb”, 5, 1).

To emphasize the force of Christ’s prayer, the writer adds, “with loud cries and
tears”. According to rabbinical teaching, there were three degrees of prayer,
each stronger than the last—supplications, cries and tears. Christian tradition
has always been touched by the humanity of the Redeemer as revealed in the
way he prays. “Everything that is being said here may be summed up in one
word—humility: that stops the mouths of those who blaspheme against Christ’s
divinity saying that it is completely inappropriate for a God to act like this. For,
on the contrary, the Godhead laid it down that [Christ’s] human nature should
suffer all this, in order to show us the extreme to which he truly became incar-
nate and assumed a human nature, and to show us that the mystery of salvation
was accomplished in a real and not an apparent or fictitious manner” (Theodoret
of Cyrus, “Interpretatio Ep. ad Haebreos, ad loc.”). Christ’s prayer, moreover,
teaches us that prayer must 1) be fervent and 2) involve interior pain. “Christ had
both [fervor and pain], for the Apostle by mentioning ‘tears’ intends to show the
interior groaning of him who weeps in this way [...]. But he did not weep on his
own account: he wept for us, who receive the fruit of his passion” (St Thomas,
“Commentary on Heb., ad loc.”).

“He was heard for his godly fear.” St John Chrysostom’s commentary is very
apposite: “’He gave himself up for our sins’, he says in Gal 1:4; and elsewhere
(cf. 1 Tim 2:6) he adds, ‘He gave himself as a ransom for all’. What does he mean
by this? Do you not see that he is speaking with humility of himself, because of
his mortal flesh? And, nevertheless, because he is the Son, it says that he was
heard for his godly fear” (”Hom. on Heb.”, 8). It is like a loving contention between
Father and Son. The Son wins the Father’s admiration, so generous is his self-

And yet Christ’s prayer did not seem to be heeded, for his Father God did not save
him from ignominious death—the cup he had to drink—nor were all the Jews, for
whom he prayed, converted. But it was only apparently so: in fact Christ’s prayer
was heard. It is true that, like every one, the idea of dying was repugnant to him,
because he had a natural instinct to live; but, on the other hand, he wished to die
through a deliberate and rational act of his will, hence in the course of the prayer,
he said, “not my will, but thine, be done” (Lk 22:42). Similarly Christ wanted to
save all mankind—but he wanted them to accept salvation freely (cf. “Commentary
on Heb., ad loc.”).

8. In Christ there are two perfect and complete natures and therefore two diffe-
rent levels of knowledge—divine knowledge and human knowledge. Christ’s human
knowledge includes 1 ) the knowledge that the blessed in heaven have, that is, the
knowledge that comes form direct vision of the divine essence; 2) the knowledge
with which God endowed man before original sin (infused knowledge); and 3) the
knowledge which man acquires through experience. This last-mentioned knowledge
could and in fact did increase (cf. Lk 2:52) in Christ’s case. Christ’s painful expe-
rience of the passion, for example, increased this last type of knowledge, which is
why the verse says that Christ learned obedience through suffering. There was a
Greek proverb which said, “Sufferings are lessons.” Christ’s teaching and example
raise this positive view of suffering onto the supernatural level. “In suffering there is
concealed’ a particular ‘power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ’, a
special grace [...]. A result of such a conversion is not only that the individual
discovers the salvific meaning of suffering but above all that he becomes a com-
pletely new person. He discovers a new dimension, as it were, ‘of his entire life
and vocation’” (John Paul II, “Salvifici Doloris”, 26).

In our Lord’s case, his experience of suffering was connected with his generosity
in obedience. He freely chose to obey even unto death (cf. Heb 10:5-9; Rom 5:19;
Phil 2:8), consciously atoning for the first sin, a sin of disobedience. “In his suf-
fering, sins are canceled out precisely because he alone as the only-begotten
Son could take them upon himself, accept them ‘with that love for the Father which
overcomes’ the evil of every sin; in a certain sense he annihilates this evil in the
spiritual space of the relationship between God and humanity, and fills this space
with good” (”Salvifici Doloris”, 17). Christ “learned obedience” not in the sense that
this virtue developed in him, for his human nature was perfect in its holiness, but in
the sense that he put into operation the infused virtue his human soul already
possessed. “Christ knew what obedience was from all eternity, but he learned
obedience in practice through the severities he underwent particularly in his pas-
sion and death” (St Thomas Aquinas, “Commentary on Heb., ad loc.”).

Christ’s example of obedience is something we should copy. A Christian writer
of the fifth century, Diadochus of Photike, wrote: “The Lord loved (obedience) be-
cause it was the way to bring about man’s salvation and he obeyed his Father
unto the cross and unto death; however, his obedience did not in any sense dimi-
nish his majesty. And so, having—by his obedience—dissolved man’s disobedience,
he chose to lead to blessed and immortal life those who followed the way of obe-
dience” (”Chapters on Spiritual Perfection”, 41).

9. Obviously Christ as God could not increase in perfection. Nor could his sacred
humanity become any holier, for from the moment of his Incarnation he received
the fullness of grace, that is, he had the maximum degree of holiness a man could
have. In this connection Thomas Aquinas points out that Christ had union (that is,
the personal union to the Son of God gratuitously bestowed on human nature):
clearly this grace is infinite as the person of the Word is infinite. The other grace
is habitual grace which, although it is received in a limited human nature, is yet
infinite in its perfection because grace was conferred on Christ as the universal
source of the justification of human nature (cf. “Summa Theologiae”, III, q. 7, a.
11). In what sense, then, could Christ be “made perfect”? St Thomas provides the
answer: Christ, through his passion, achieved a special glory—the impassibility
and glorification of his body. Moreover, he attained the same perfections as we
shall participate in when we are raised from the dead in glory, those of us who
believe in him (cf. “Commentary on Heb., ad loc.”). For this reason our Redeemer
could exclaim before his death, “It is finished” (Jn 19:30)—referring not only to his
own sacrifice but also to the fact that he had completely accomplished the re-
deeming atonement. Christ triumphed on the cross and attained perfection for
himself and for others. In Hebrews the same verb is used for what is translated
into English as “to be made perfect” and “to finish”. Christ, moreover, by obeying
and becoming a perfect victim, truly pleasing to the Father, is more perfectly posi-
tioned to perfect others. “Obedience” is essentially docility to what God asks of
us and readiness to listen to him (cf. Rom 1:5; 16:26; 2 Cor 10:5; Heb 4:3).
Christ’s obedience is a source of salvation for us; if we imitate him we will truly
form one body with him and he will be able to pass on to us the fullness of his

“Now, when you find it hard to obey, remember your Lord: ‘factus obediens usque
ad mortem, mortem autem crucis”: obedient even to accepting death, death on a
cross!’” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States

20 posted on 04/09/2009 11:55:28 PM PDT by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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