Fourth Sunday of Easter

+John 10:11-18

The good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep

 

Jesus said:

‘I am the good shepherd:

the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep.

The hired man, since he is not the shepherd

and the sheep do not belong to him,

abandons the sheep and runs away

as soon as he sees a wolf coming,

and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep;

this is because he is only a hired man

and has no concern for the sheep.

‘I am the good shepherd;

I know my own

and my own know me,

just as the Father knows me

and I know the Father;

and I lay down my life for my sheep.

And there are other sheep I have

that are not of this fold,

and these I have to lead as well.

They too will listen to my voice,

and there will be only one flock,

and one shepherd.

‘The Father loves me,

because I lay down my life

in order to take it up again.

No one takes it from me;

I lay it down of my own free will,

and as it is in my power to lay it down,

so it is in my power to take it up again;

and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Symbols of the Church

753 In Scripture, we find a host of interrelated images and figures through which Revelation speaks of the inexhaustible mystery of the Church. The images taken from the Old Testament are variations on a profound theme: the People of God. In the New Testament, all these images find a new center because Christ has become the head of this people, which henceforth is his Body. Around this center are grouped images taken “from the life of the shepherd or from cultivation of the land, from the art of building or from family life and marriage.”

754 “The Church is, accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep.

755 “The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing.

756 “Often, too, the Church is called the building of God. The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the corner-stone. On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God in which his family dwells; the household of God in the Spirit; the dwelling-place of God among men; and, especially, the holy temple. This temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built into it. It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

757 “The Church, further, which is called ‘that Jerusalem which is above’ and ‘our mother’, is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless lamb. It is she whom Christ ‘loved and for whom he delivered himself up that he might sanctify her.’ It is she whom he unites to himself by an unbreakable alliance, and whom he constantly ‘nourishes and cherishes.'”


Psalm 117

Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever.

Let the house of Israel say: God’s love endures forever.

Let the house of Aaron say, God’s love endures forever.

Let those who fear the LORD say, God’s love endures forever.

In danger I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.

The LORD is with me; I am not afraid; what can mortals do against me?

The LORD is with me as my helper; I shall look in triumph on my foes.

Better to take refuge in the LORD than to put one’s trust in mortals.

Better to take refuge in the LORD than to put one’s trust in princes.

All the nations surrounded me; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

They surrounded me on every side; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

They surrounded me like bees; they blazed like fire among thorns; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

I was hard pressed and falling, but the LORD came to my help.

The LORD, my strength and might, came to me as savior.

The joyful shout of deliverance is heard in the tents of the victors: “The LORD’S right hand strikes with power;

the LORD’S right hand is raised; the LORD’S right hand strikes with power.”

I shall not die but live and declare the deeds of the LORD.

The LORD chastised me harshly, but did not hand me over to death.

Open the gates of victory; I will enter and thank the LORD.

This is the LORD’S own gate, where the victors enter.

I thank you for you answered me; you have been my savior.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

By the LOD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

LORD, grant salvation! LORD, grant good fortune!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the LORD’S house.

The LORD is God and has given us light. Join in procession with leafy branches up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, I give you thanks; my God, I offer you praise.

Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever.

Source: The New American Bible

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Third Sunday of Easter

+Luke 24:35-48

It is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead

The disciples told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognised Jesus at the breaking of bread.

They were still talking about all this when Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you!’ In a state of alarm and fright, they thought they were seeing a ghost. But he said, ‘Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; yes, it is I indeed. Touch me and see for yourselves; a ghost has no flesh and bones as you can see I have.’ And as he said this he showed them his hands and feet. Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, and they stood there dumbfounded; so he said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a piece of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.

Then he told them, ‘This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms has to be fulfilled.’ He then opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘So you see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Meaning And Saving Significance Of The Resurrection

651 “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ’s works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by his Resurrection has given the definitive proof of his divine authority, which he had promised.

652 Christ’s Resurrection is the fulfillment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life. The phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures” indicates that Christ’s Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.

653 The truth of Jesus’ divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection. He had said: “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he.” The Resurrection of the crucified one shows that he was truly “I AM”, the Son of God and God himself. So St. Paul could declare to the Jews: “What God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'” Christ’s Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God’s Son, and is its fulfillment in accordance with God’s eternal plan.

654 The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace. It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: “Go and tell my brethren. “We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.

 

655 Finally, Christ’s Resurrection – and the risen Christ himself is the principle and source of our future resurrection: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. . . For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfillment . In Christ, Christians “have tasted. . . the powers of the age to come” and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may “live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”


Psalm 4

For the leader; with stringed instruments. A psalm of David.

Answer when I call, my saving God. In my troubles, you cleared a way; show me favor; hear my prayer.

How long will you people mock my honor, love what is worthless, chase after lies? Selah

Know that the LORD works wonders for the faithful; the LORD hears when I call out.

Tremble and do not sin; upon your beds ponder in silence.

Offer fitting sacrifice and trust in the LORD.

Many say, “May we see better times! LORD, show us the light of your face!” Selah

But you have given my heart more joy than they have when grain and wine abound.

In peace I shall both lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me secure.

Source: The New American Bible

Sunday of Divine Mercy

+John 20:19-31

Eight days later, Jesus came again and stood among them

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,

so am I sending you.’

After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.

For those whose sins you forgive,

they are forgiven;

for those whose sins you retain,

they are retained.’

Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:

‘You believe because you can see me.

Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

. . . from the time of the Church of the Apostles . . .

1086 “Accordingly, just as Christ was sent by the Father so also he sent the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit. This he did so that they might preach the Gospel to every creature and proclaim that the Son of God by his death and resurrection had freed us from the power of Satan and from death and brought us into the Kingdom of his Father. But he also willed that the work of salvation which they preached should be set in train through the sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves.”

1087 Thus the risen Christ, by giving the Holy Spirit to the apostles, entrusted to them his power of sanctifying: they became sacramental signs of Christ. By the power of the same Holy Spirit they entrusted this power to their successors. This “apostolic succession” structures the whole liturgical life of the Church and is itself sacramental, handed on by the sacrament of Holy Orders.


Psalm 117(118)

Praise the LORD, all you nations! Give glory, all you peoples!

The LORD’S love for us is strong; the LORD is faithful forever. Hallelujah!

Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever.

Let the house of Israel say: God’s love endures forever.

Let the house of Aaron say, God’s love endures forever.

Let those who fear the LORD say, God’s love endures forever.

In danger I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.

The LORD is with me; I am not afraid; what can mortals do against me?

The LORD is with me as my helper; I shall look in triumph on my foes.

Better to take refuge in the LORD than to put one’s trust in mortals.

Better to take refuge in the LORD than to put one’s trust in princes.

All the nations surrounded me; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

They surrounded me on every side; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

They surrounded me like bees; they blazed like fire among thorns; in the LORD’S name I crushed them.

I was hard pressed and falling, but the LORD came to my help.

The LORD, my strength and might, came to me as savior.

The joyful shout of deliverance is heard in the tents of the victors: “The LORD’S right hand strikes with power;

the LORD’S right hand is raised; the LORD’S right hand strikes with power.”

I shall not die but live and declare the deeds of the LORD.

The LORD chastised me harshly, but did not hand me over to death.

Open the gates of victory; I will enter and thank the LORD.

This is the LORD’S own gate, where the victors enter.

I thank you for you answered me; you have been my savior.

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.

By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

LORD, grant salvation! LORD, grant good fortune!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. We bless you from the LORD’S house.

The LORD is God and has given us light. Join in procession with leafy branches up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, I give you thanks; my God, I offer you praise.

Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever.

Source: The New American Bible


 

Easter Sunday

+John 20:1-9

He must rise from the dead

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Historical And Transcendent Event

639 The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about A.D. 56 St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. . .” The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus.

The empty tomb

640 “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ’s body from the tomb could be explained otherwise. Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter. The disciple “whom Jesus loved” affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered “the linen cloths lying there”, “he saw and believed”. This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb’s condition that the absence of Jesus’ body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus.


Psalm 41

My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life: when can I enter and see the face of God?

Like the deer that yearns

for running streams,

so my soul is yearning

for you, my God.

My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life: when can I enter and see the face of God?

My soul is thirsting for God,

the God of my life;

when can I enter and see

the face of God?

My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life: when can I enter and see the face of God?

O send forth your light and your truth;

let these be my guide.

Let them bring me to your holy mountain,

to the place where you dwell.

My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life: when can I enter and see the face of God?

And I will come to the altar of God,

the God of my joy.

My redeemer, I will thank you on the harp,

O God, my God.

My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life: when can I enter and see the face of God?

Source: The New American Bible


 

Palm Sunday

 

 

Mark 14:1-15:47

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark
Key: N. Narrator. ✠ Jesus. O. Other single speaker. C. Crowd, or more than one speaker.
N. It was two days before the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread, and the chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by some trick and have him put to death. For they said,
C. It must not be during the festivities, or there will be a disturbance among the people.
N. Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper; he was at dinner when a woman came in with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the ointment on his head. Some who were there said to one another indignantly,
C. Why this waste of ointment? Ointment like this could have been sold for over three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor.
N. and they were angry with her. But Jesus said,
✠ Leave her alone. Why are you upsetting her? What she has done for me is one of the good works. You have the poor with you always, and you can be kind to them whenever you wish, but you will not always have me. She has done what was in her power to do: she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. I tell you solemnly, wherever throughout all the world the Good News is proclaimed, what she has done will be told also, in remembrance of her.
N. Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, approached the chief priests with an offer to hand Jesus over to them. They were delighted to hear it, and promised to give him money; and he looked for a way of betraying him when the opportunity should occur.
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was sacrificed, his disciples said to him,
C. Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the passover?
N. So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them,
✠ Go into the city and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him, and say to the owner of the house which he enters, ‘The Master says: “Where is my dining room in which I can eat the passover with my disciples?”’ He will show you a large upper room furnished with couches, all prepared. Make the preparations for us there.
N. The disciples set out and went to the city and found everything as he had told them, and prepared the Passover.
When evening came he arrived with the Twelve. And while they were at table eating, Jesus said,
✠ I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me, one of you eating with me.
N. They were distressed and asked him, one after another,
C. Not I, surely?
N. He said to them,
✠ It is one of the Twelve, one who is dipping into the same dish with me. Yes, the Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!
N. And as they were eating he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them, saying:
✠ Take it: this is my body.
N. Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them,
✠ This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.
N. After psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them,
✠ You will all lose faith, for the scripture says: ‘I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.’ However, after my resurrection I shall go before you to Galilee.
N. Peter said,
O. Even if all lose faith, I will not.
N. And Jesus said to him,
✠ I tell you solemnly, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times.
N. But he repeated still more earnestly,
O. If I have to die with you, I will never disown you.
N. And they all said the same.
They came to a small estate called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples,
✠ Stay here while I pray.
N. Then he took Peter and James and John with him. And a sudden fear came over him, and great distress. And he said to them,
✠ My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here, and keep awake.
N. And going on a little further he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, this hour might pass him by. He said:
✠ Abba (Father)! Everything is possible for you. Take this cup away from me. But let it be as you, not I, would have it.
N. He came back and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter,
✠ Simon, are you asleep? Had you not the strength to keep awake one hour? You should be awake, and praying not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
N. Again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came back and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy; and they could find no answer for him. He came back a third time and said to them,
✠ You can sleep on now and take your rest. It is all over. The hour has come. Now the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up! Let us go! My betrayer is close at hand already.
N. Even while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came up with a number of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the traitor had arranged a signal with them. He had said, ‘The one I kiss he is the man. Take him in charge, and see he is well guarded when you lead him away.’ So when the traitor came, he went straight up to Jesus and said,
O. Rabbi!
N. and kissed him. The others seized him and took him in charge. Then one of the bystanders drew his sword and struck out at the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear.
Then Jesus spoke:
✠ Am I a brigand, that you had to set out to capture me with swords and clubs? I was among you teaching in the Temple day after day and you never laid hands on me. But this is to fulfil the scriptures.
N. And they all deserted him and ran away. A young man who followed him had nothing on but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the cloth in their hands and ran away naked.
They led Jesus off to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes assembled there. Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the high priest’s palace, and was sitting with the attendants warming himself at the fire.
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus on which they might pass the death sentence. But they could not find any. Several, indeed, brought false evidence against him, but their evidence was conflicting. Some stood up and submitted this false evidence against him,
C. We heard him say, ‘I am going to destroy this Temple made by human hands, and in three days build another, not made by human hands.’
N. But even on this point their evidence was conflicting. The high priest then stood up before the whole assembly and put this question to Jesus,
O. Have you no answer to that? What is this evidence these men are bringing against you?
N. But he was silent and made no answer at all. The high priest put a second question to him,
O. Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?
N. Jesus said,
✠ I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.
N. The high priest tore his robes, and said:
O. What need of witnesses have we now? You heard the blasphemy. What is your finding?
N. And they all gave their verdict: he deserved to die.
Some of them started spitting at him and, blindfolding him, began hitting him with their fists and shouting,
C. Play the prophet!
N. And the attendants rained blows on him.
While Peter was down below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s servant-girls came up. She saw Peter warming himself there, stared at him and said,
O. You too were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.
N. But he denied it, saying.
O. I do not know, I do not understand, what you are talking about.
N. And he went out into the forecourt. The servant-girl saw him and again started telling the bystanders,
O. This fellow is one of them.
N. But again he denied it. A little later the bystanders themselves said to Peter,
C. You are one of them for sure! Why, you are a Galilean.
N. But he started calling down curses on himself and swearing,
O. I do not know the man you speak of.
N. At that moment the cock crew for the second time, and Peter recalled how Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times.’ And he burst into tears.
First thing in the morning, the chief priests together with the elders and scribes, in short the whole Sanhedrin, had their plan ready. They had Jesus bound and took him away and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him:
O. Are you the king of the Jews?
N. He answered,
✠ It is you who say it.
N. And the chief priests brought many accusations against him. Pilate questioned him again:
O. Have you no reply at all? See how many accusations they are bringing against you!
N. But, to Pilate’s amazement, Jesus made no further reply.
At festival time Pilate used to release a prisoner for them, anyone they asked for. Now a man called Barabbas was then in prison with the rioters who had committed murder during the uprising. When the crowd went up and began to ask Pilate the customary favour, Pilate answered them
O. Do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?
N. For he realised it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over. The chief priests, however, had incited the crowd to demand that he should release Barabbas for them instead. Then Pilate spoke again:
O. But in that case, what am I to do with the man you call king of the Jews?
N. They shouted back,
C. Crucify him!
N. Pilate asked them,
O. Why? What harm has he done?
N. But they shouted all the louder,
C. Crucify him!
N. So Pilate, anxious to placate the crowd, released Barabbas for them and, having ordered Jesus to be scourged, handed him over to be crucified.
The soldiers led him away to the inner part of the palace, that is, the Praetorium, and called the whole cohort together. They dressed him up in purple, twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on him. And they began saluting him,
C. Hail, king of the Jews!
N. They struck his head with a reed and spat on him; and they went down on their knees to do him homage. And when they had finished making fun of him, they took off the purple and dressed him in his own clothes.
They enlisted a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull.
They offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he refused it. Then they crucified him, and shared out his clothing, casting lots to decide what each should get. It was the third hour when they crucified him. The inscription giving the charge against him read: ‘The King of the Jews.’ And they crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left.
The passers-by jeered at him; they shook their heads and said,
C. Aha! So you would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days! Then save yourself: come down from the cross!
N. The chief priests and the scribes mocked him among themselves in the same way. They said,
C. He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, for us to see it and believe.
N. Even those who were crucified with him taunted him.
When the sixth hour came there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
✠ Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?
N. which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me?’ When some of those who stood by heard this, they said
C. Listen, he is calling on Elijah.
N. Someone ran and soaked a sponge in vinegar and, putting it on a reed, gave it him to drink, saying:
O. Wait and see if Elijah will come to take him down.
N. But Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
All kneel and pause for a moment.
And the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The centurion, who was standing in front of him, had seen how he had died, and he said,
O. In truth this man was a son of God.
N. There were some women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary of Magdala, Mary who was the mother of James the younger and Joset, and Salome. These used to follow him and look after him when he was in Galilee. And there were many other women there who had come up to Jerusalem with him.
It was now evening, and since it was Preparation Day (that is, the vigil of the sabbath), there came Joseph of Arimathaea, a prominent member of the Council, who himself lived in the hope of seeing the kingdom of God, and he boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate, astonished that he should have died so soon, summoned the centurion and enquired if he was already dead. Having been assured of this by the centurion, he granted the corpse to Joseph who bought a shroud, took Jesus down from the cross, wrapped him in the shroud and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of Joset were watching and took note of where he was laid.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Virginity for the sake of the Kingdom

1618 Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond with him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social. From the very beginning of the Church there have been men and women who have renounced the great good of marriage to follow the Lamb wherever he goes, to be intent on the things of the Lord, to seek to please him, and to go out to meet the Bridegroom who is coming. Christ himself has invited certain persons to follow him in this way of life, of which he remains the model:

“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.”

1619 Virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven is an unfolding of baptismal grace, a powerful sign of the supremacy of the bond with Christ and of the ardent expectation of his return, a sign which also recalls that marriage is a reality of this present age which is passing away.

1620 Both the sacrament of Matrimony and virginity for the Kingdom of God come from the Lord himself. It is he who gives them meaning and grants them the grace which is indispensable for living them out in conformity with his will. Esteem of virginity for the sake of the kingdom and the Christian understanding of marriage are inseparable, and they reinforce each other:

Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity. Whoever praises it makes virginity more admirable and resplendent. What appears good only in comparison with evil would not be truly good. The most excellent good is something even better than what is admitted to be good.


Psalm 21

For the leader. A psalm of David.

LORD, the king finds joy in your power; in your victory how greatly he rejoices!

You have granted him his heart’s desire; you did not refuse the prayer of his lips. Selah

For you welcomed him with goodly blessings; you placed on his head a crown of pure gold.

He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever.

Great is his glory in your victory; majesty and splendor you confer upon him.

You make him the pattern of blessings forever, you gladden him with the joy of your presence.

For the king trusts in the LORD, stands firm through the love of the Most High.

Your hand will reach all your enemies; your right hand will reach your foes!

At the time of your coming you will drive them into a furnace. Then the LORD’S anger will consume them, devour them with fire.

Even their descendants you will wipe out from the earth, their offspring from the human race.

Though they intend evil against you, devising plots, they will not succeed,

For you will put them to flight; you will aim at them with your bow.

Arise, LORD, in your power! We will sing and chant the praise of your might.

Source: The New American Bible


 

Fifth Sunday of Lent

+John 12:20-33

If a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it yields a rich harvest

Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. These approached Philip, who came from Bethsaida in Galilee, and put this request to him, ‘Sir, we should like to see Jesus.’ Philip went to tell Andrew, and Andrew and Philip together went to tell Jesus. Jesus replied to them:

‘Now the hour has come

for the Son of Man to be glorified.

I tell you, most solemnly,

unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,

it remains only a single grain;

but if it dies,

it yields a rich harvest.

Anyone who loves his life loses it;

anyone who hates his life in this world

will keep it for the eternal life.

If a man serves me, he must follow me,

wherever I am, my servant will be there too.

If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.

Now my soul is troubled.

What shall I say:

Father, save me from this hour?

But it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.

Father, glorify your name!’

A voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ People standing by, who heard this, said it was a clap of thunder; others said, ‘It was an angel speaking to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not for my sake that this voice came, but for yours.

‘Now sentence is being passed on this world;

now the prince of this world is to be overthrown.

And when I am lifted up from the earth,

I shall draw all men to myself.’

By these words he indicated the kind of death he would die.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Facing difficulties in prayer

2729 The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction. It can affect words and their meaning in vocal prayer; it can concern, more profoundly, him to whom we are praying, in vocal prayer (liturgical or personal), meditation, and contemplative prayer. To set about hunting down distractions would be to fall into their trap, when all that is necessary is to turn back to our heart: for a distraction reveals to us what we are attached to, and this humble awareness before the Lord should awaken our preferential love for him and lead us resolutely to offer him our heart to be purified. Therein lies the battle, the choice of which master to serve.

2730 In positive terms, the battle against the possessive and dominating self requires vigilance, sobriety of heart. When Jesus insists on vigilance, he always relates it to himself, to his coming on the last day and every day: today. The bridegroom comes in the middle of the night; the light that must not be extinguished is that of faith: “‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!'”

2731 Another difficulty, especially for those who sincerely want to pray, is dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if dies, it bears much fruit.”18 If dryness is due to the lack of roots, because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion.


 Psalm 50

A psalm of Asaph.  The LORD, the God of gods, has spoken and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.

From Zion God shines forth. perfect in beauty.

Our God comes and will not be silent! Devouring fire precedes, storming fiercely round about.

God summons the heavens above and the earth to the judgment of his people:

“Gather my faithful ones before me, those who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”

The heavens proclaim divine justice, for God alone is the judge. Selah

“Listen, my people, I will speak; Israel, I will testify against you; God, your God, am I.

Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you, nor for your holocausts, set before me daily.

I need no bullock from your house, no goats from your fold.

For every animal of the forest is mine, beasts by the thousands on my mountains.

I know every bird of the heavens; the creatures of the field belong to me.

Were I hungry, I would not tell you, for mine is the world and all that fills it.

Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?

Offer praise as your sacrifice to God; fulfill your vows to the Most High.

Then call on me in time of distress; I will rescue you, and you shall honor me.”

But to the wicked God says: “Why do you recite my commandments and profess my covenant with your lips?

You hate discipline; you cast my words behind you!

When you see thieves, you befriend them; with adulterers you throw in your lot.

You give your mouth free rein for evil; you harness your tongue to deceit.

You sit maligning your own kin, slandering the child of your own mother.

When you do these things should I be silent? Or do you think that I am like you? I accuse you, I lay the charge before you.

“Understand this, you who forget God, lest I attack you with no one to rescue.

Those who offer praise as a sacrifice honor me; to the obedient I will show the salvation of God.”

Source: The New American Bible


 

Fourth Sunday of Lent

+John 3:14-21

God sent his Son so that through him the world might be saved

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘The Son of Man must be lifted up

as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,

so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,

so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost

but may have eternal life.

For God sent his Son into the world

not to condemn the world,

but so that through him the world might be saved.

No one who believes in him will be condemned;

but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,

because he has refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son.

On these grounds is sentence pronounced:

that though the light has come into the world

men have shown they prefer darkness to the light

because their deeds were evil.

And indeed, everybody who does wrong

hates the light and avoids it,

for fear his actions should be exposed;

but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light,

so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FOR YOURSELF A GRAVEN IMAGE . . .”

2129 The divine injunction included the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man. Deuteronomy explains: “Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure. . . . ” It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel. “He is the all,” but at the same time “he is greater than all his works.”67 He is “the author of beauty.”

2130 Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically toward salvation by the incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim.

2131 Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified against the iconoclasts the veneration of icons – of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new “economy” of images.

2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, “the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,” and “whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.” The honor paid to sacred images is a “respectful veneration,” not the adoration due to God alone:

Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.


Psalm 136

Praise the LORD, who is so good; God’s love endures forever;

Praise the God of gods; God’s love endures forever;

Praise the Lord of lords; God’s love endures forever;

Who alone has done great wonders, God’s love endures forever;

Who skillfully made the heavens, God’s love endures forever;

Who spread the earth upon the waters, God’s love endures forever;

Who made the great lights, God’s love endures forever;

The sun to rule the day, God’s love endures forever;

The moon and stars to rule the night, God’s love endures forever;

Who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, God’s love endures forever;

And led Israel from their midst, God’s love endures forever;

With mighty hand and outstretched arm, God’s love endures forever;

Who split in two the Red Sea, God’s love endures forever;

And led Israel through, God’s love endures forever;

But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea, God’s love endures forever;

Who led the people through the desert, God’s love endures forever;

Who struck down great kings, God’s love endures forever;

Slew powerful kings, God’s love endures forever;

Sihon, king of the Amorites, God’s love endures forever;

Og, king of Bashan, God’s love endures forever;

And made their lands a heritage, God’s love endures forever;

A heritage for Israel, God’s servant, God’s love endures forever.

The LORD remembered us in our misery, God’s love endures forever;

Freed us from our foes, God’s love endures forever;

And gives food to all flesh, God’s love endures forever.

Praise the God of heaven, God’s love endures forever.

Source: The New American Bible


 

Third Sunday of Lent

+John 2:13-25

Destroy this sanctuary and in three days I will raise it up

Just before the Jewish Passover Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and in the Temple he found people selling cattle and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting at their counters there. Making a whip out of some cord, he drove them all out of the Temple, cattle and sheep as well, scattered the money-changers’ coins, knocked their tables over and said to the pigeon-sellers, ‘Take all this out of here and stop turning my Father’s house into a market.’ Then his disciples remembered the words of scripture: Zeal for your house will devour me. The Jews intervened and said, ‘What sign can you show us to justify what you have done?’ Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this sanctuary: are you going to raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the words he had said.

During his stay in Jerusalem for the Passover many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he gave, but Jesus knew them all and did not trust himself to them; he never needed evidence about any man; he could tell what a man had in him.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

JESUS AND THE TEMPLE

583 Like the prophets before him Jesus expressed the deepest respect for the Temple in Jerusalem. It was in the Temple that Joseph and Mary presented him forty days after his birth. At the age of twelve he decided to remain in the Temple to remind his parents that he must be about his Father’s business. He went there each year during his hidden life at least for Passover. His public ministry itself was patterned by his pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great Jewish feasts.

584 Jesus went up to the Temple as the privileged place of encounter with God. For him, the Temple was the dwelling of his Father, a house of prayer, and he was angered that its outer court had become a place of commerce. He drove merchants out of it because of jealous love for his Father: “You shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade. His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.'” After his Resurrection his apostles retained their reverence for the Temple.

585 On the threshold of his Passion Jesus announced the coming destruction of this splendid building, of which there would not remain “one stone upon another”. By doing so, he announced a sign of the last days, which were to begin with his own Passover. But this prophecy would be distorted in its telling by false witnesses during his interrogation at the high priest’s house, and would be thrown back at him as an insult when he was nailed to the cross.

586 Far from having been hostile to the Temple, where he gave the essential part of his teaching, Jesus was willing to pay the Temple-tax, associating with him Peter, whom he had just made the foundation of his future Church. He even identified himself with the Temple by presenting himself as God’s definitive dwelling-place among men. Therefore his being put to bodily death presaged the destruction of the Temple, which would manifest the dawning of a new age in the history of salvation: “The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”


Psalm 18

For the leader. Of David, the servant of the LORD, who sang to the LORD the words of this song after the LORD had rescued him from the clutches of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.

He said: I love you, LORD, my strength,

LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold!

Praised be the LORD, I exclaim! I have been delivered from my enemies.

The breakers of death surged round about me; the menacing floods terrified me.

The cords of Sheol tightened; the snares of death lay in wait for me.

In my distress I called out: LORD! I cried out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry to him reached his ears.

The earth rocked and shook; the foundations of the mountains trembled; they shook as his wrath flared up.

Smoke rose in his nostrils, a devouring fire poured from his mouth; it kindled coals into flame.

He parted the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet.

Mounted on a cherub he flew, borne along on the wings of the wind.

He made darkness the cover about him; his canopy, heavy thunderheads.

Before him scudded his clouds, hail and lightning too.

The LORD thundered from heaven; the Most High made his voice resound.

Source: The New American Bible


 

Second Sunday of Lent

+Mark 9:2-10

Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone by themselves. There in their presence he was transfigured: his clothes became dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them. Elijah appeared to them with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter spoke to Jesus: ‘Rabbi,’ he said ‘it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say; they were so frightened. And a cloud came, covering them in shadow; and there came a voice from the cloud, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.’ Then suddenly, when they looked round, they saw no one with them any more but only Jesus.

As they came down from the mountain he warned them to tell no one what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They observed the warning faithfully, though among themselves they discussed what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

“I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED”

To believe in God alone

150 Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. As personal adherence to God and assent to his truth, Christian faith differs from our faith in any human person. It is right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God and to believe absolutely what he says. It would be futile and false to place such faith in a creature.

To believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God

151 For a Christian, believing in God cannot be separated from believing in the One he sent, his “beloved Son”, in whom the Father is “well pleased”; God tells us to listen to him. The Lord himself said to his disciples: “Believe in God, believe also in me.” We can believe in Jesus Christ because he is himself God, the Word made flesh: “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” Because he “has seen the Father”, Jesus Christ is the only one who knows him and can reveal him.


Psalm 115

Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name give glory because of your faithfulness and love.

Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”

Our God is in heaven; whatever God wills is done.

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.

They have mouths but do not speak, eyes but do not see.

They have ears but do not hear, noses but do not smell.

They have hands but do not feel, feet but do not walk, and no sound rises from their throats.

Their makers shall be like them, all who trust in them.

The house of Israel trusts in the LORD, who is their help and shield.

The house of Aaron trusts in the LORD, who is their help and shield.

Those who fear the LORD trust in the LORD, who is their help and shield.

The LORD remembers us and will bless us, will bless the house of Israel, will bless the house of Aaron,

Will bless those who fear the LORD, small and great alike.

May the LORD increase your number, you and your descendants.

May you be blessed by the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

The heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth is given to us.

The dead do not praise the LORD, all those gone down into silence.

It is we who bless the LORD, both now and forever. Hallelujah!

Source: The New American Bible


 

First Sunday of Lent

+Mark 1:12-15

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’

Source: Jerusalem Bible

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Jesus’ temptations

538 The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus Jesuin the desert immediately after his baptism by John. Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating; he lives among wild beasts, and angels minister to him. At the end of this time Satan tempts him three times, seeking to compromise his filial attitude toward God. Jesus rebuffs these attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert, and the devil leaves him “until an opportune time”.

539 The evangelists indicate the salvific meaning of this mysterious event: Jesus is the new Adam who remained faithful just where the first Adam had given in to temptation. Jesus fulfills Israel’s vocation perfectly: in contrast to those who had once provoked God during forty years in the desert, Christ reveals himself as God’s Servant, totally obedient to the divine will. In this, Jesus is the devil’s conqueror: he “binds the strong man” to take back his plunder.243 Jesus’ victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love for the Father.

540 Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.”245 By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.


Psalm 24

A psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’S and all it holds, the world and those who live there.

For God founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers.

Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place?

“The clean of hand and pure of heart, who are not devoted to idols, who have not sworn falsely.

They will receive blessings from the LORD, and justice from their saving God.

Such are the people that love the LORD, that seek the face of the God of Jacob.” Selah

Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

Who is this king of glory? The LORD, a mighty warrior, the LORD, mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.

Who is this king of glory? The LORD of hosts is the king of glory. Selah

Source: The New American Bible