Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter

+John 3:7-15

No-one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man who has come down from heaven

 

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘Do not be surprised when I say:

You must be born from above.

The wind blows wherever it pleases;

you hear its sound,

but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.

That is how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.’

‘How can that be possible?’ asked Nicodemus. ‘You, a teacher in Israel, and you do not know these things!’ replied Jesus.

‘I tell you most solemnly,

we speak only about what we know

and witness only to what we have seen

and yet you people reject our evidence.

If you do not believe me when I speak about things in this world,

how are you going to believe me when I speak to you about heavenly things?

No one has gone up to heaven

except the one who came down from heaven,

the Son of Man who is in heaven;

and 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.’

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.” 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 92

A psalm. A sabbath song.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praise to your name, Most High,

To proclaim your love in the morning, your faithfulness in the night,

With the ten-stringed harp, with melody upon the lyre.

For you make me jubilant, LORD, by your deeds; at the works of your hands I shout for joy.

How great are your works, LORD! How profound your purpose!

A senseless person cannot know this; a fool cannot comprehend.

Though the wicked flourish like grass and all sinners thrive, They are destined for eternal destruction;

for you, LORD, are forever on high.

Indeed your enemies, LORD, indeed your enemies shall perish; all sinners shall be scattered.

You have given me the strength of a wild bull; you have poured rich oil upon me.

My eyes look with glee on my wicked enemies; my ears delight in the fall of my foes.

The just shall flourish like the palm tree, shall grow like a cedar of Lebanon.

Planted in the house of the LORD, they shall flourish in the courts of our God.

They shall bear fruit even in old age, always vigorous and sturdy,

As they proclaim: “The LORD is just; our rock, in whom there is no wrong.”

Source: The New American Bible

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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


 

Triumph of the Cross

+John 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus:

‘No one has gone up to heaven

except the one who came down from heaven,

the Son of Man who is in heaven;

and 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.’

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.” 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 77

For the leader; al Jeduthun. A psalm of Asaph.

I cry aloud to God, cry to God to hear me.

On the day of my distress I seek the Lord; by night my hands are raised unceasingly; I refuse to be consoled.

When I think of God, I groan; as I ponder, my spirit grows faint. Selah

My eyes cannot close in sleep; I am troubled and cannot speak.

I consider the days of old; the years long past

I remember. In the night I meditate in my heart; I ponder and my spirit broods:

“Will the Lord reject us forever, never again show favor?

Has God’s love ceased forever? Has the promise failed for all ages?

Has God forgotten mercy, in anger withheld compassion?” Selah

I conclude: “My sorrow is this, the right hand of the Most High has left us.”

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, your wonders of old I will remember.

I will recite all your works; your exploits I will tell.

Your way, O God, is holy; what god is as great as our God?

You alone are the God who did wonders; among the peoples you revealed your might.

With your arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

The waters saw you, God; the waters saw you and lashed about, trembled even to their depths.

The clouds poured down their rains; the thunderheads rumbled; your arrows flashed back and forth.

The thunder of your chariot wheels resounded; your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.

Through the sea was your path; your way, through the mighty waters, though your footsteps were unseen.

You led your people like a flock under the care of Moses and Aaron.

Source: The New American Bible


In the Christian liturgical calendar, there are several different Feasts of the Cross, all of which commemorate the cross used in the crucifixion of Jesus. While Good Friday is dedicated to the Passion of Christ and the Crucifixion, these days celebrate the cross itself, as the instrument of salvation.

In English, it is called The Exaltation of the Holy Cross in the official translation of the Roman Missal, while the 1973 translation called it The Triumph of the Cross. In some parts of the Anglican Communion the feast is called Holy Cross Day, a name also used by Lutherans. The celebration is also sometimes called Holy Rood Day.

As per some Christian tradition the True Cross was discovered in 326 by Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine. The church was dedicated nine years later, with a portion of the cross. One-third remained in Jerusalem, one-third was brought to Rome and deposited in the Sessorian basilica Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Holy Cross in Jerusalem), and one-third was taken to Constantinople to make the city impregnable.

The date of the feast marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335. This was a two-day festival: although the actual consecration of the church was on September 13, the cross itself was brought outside the church on September 14 so that the clergy and faithful could pray before the True Cross, and all could come forward to venerate it.

Red is the usual liturgical color in churches that follow such traditions. In Western Christianity, red vestments are worn at church services conducted on this day as well as Pentecost and other times of celebration. In the Roman Catholic liturgical observance, the red is worn only on this day, and if the day falls on a Sunday, its Mass readings are used instead of those for the occurring Sunday in Ordinary Time. The lectionaries of the Church of England (and other Anglican churches) and Western Rite Orthodoxy also stipulate red as the liturgical color for ‘Holy Cross Day.’

In Eastern-Rite Orthodox Churches that use various liturgical colors, red vestments are also worn. Yet in these Orthodox churches, the wearing of red continues for a week after the feast

In Western Rite Orthodox Parishes, the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the calendar week after the one in which the feast day occurs, are designated as one of each year’s four sets of Ember days. In new calendar Western Rite Orthodox Parishes (e.g. those under the Antiochian Diocese) these ember days are the week following 14 September. In old calendar Western Rite Orthodox Parishes (e.g. those under the Russian Diocese) these ember days are the week following 27 September.

Until 1969, these ember days were a part of the Roman Catholic Church. Organization of these celebrations is now left to the decision of episcopal conferences in view of local conditions and customs.

September 14 is the titular feast of the Congregation of Holy Cross, The Companions of the Cross and the Episcopal Church’s Order of the Holy Cross. This date also marked the beginning of the period of fasting, except on Sundays and ending on Easter Sunday, that was stipulated for Carmelites in the Carmelite Rule of St. Albert of 1247. The Rule of St. Benedict also prescribes this day as the beginning of monastic winter (i.e., the period when there are three nocturns of psalms and readings at matins) which also ends at Easter.

Source: Wikipedia