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Friday, April 3, 2015

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2015

Today's Mass Readings : Good Friday April 3, 2015

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
Lectionary: 40

Reading 1IS 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 PsalmPS 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 2HEB 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.

Verse Before The GospelPHIL 2:8-9

Christ became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name.

GospelJN 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.

#PopeFrancis "Lord Jesus Christ, we pray for our persecuted..." #GoodFriday Video/Homily

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presided over the liturgy of Our Lord's Passion in St Peter's Basilica on Good Friday. The celebration, recalling the events leading up to Jesus' Crucifixion and death on the Cross, included reflections given by the preacher of the Papal Household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa.
Please find below an English translation (by Marsha Daigle Williamson) of Father Cantalmessa’s reflections:
“ECCE HOMO!”
We have just heard the account of Jesus’ trial before Pilate. There is one point in particular in that account on which we need to pause.
Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and clothed him in a purple robe; they came up to him, saying, “Hail King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. . . . So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” [Ecce Homo!] ( Jn 19:1-3, 5)
Among the innumerable paintings that have the Ecce Homo as their subject, there is one that has always impressed me. It is by the sixteenth-century Flemish painter, Jan Mostaert. Let me try to describe it. It will help imprint the episode better in our minds, since the artist only transcribes faithfully in paint the facts of the gospel account, especially that of Mark (see Mk 15:16-20).
Jesus has a crown of thorns on his head. A sheaf of thorny branches found in the courtyard, perhaps to light a fire, furnished the soldiers an opportunity for this parody of his royalty. Drops of blood run down his face. His mouth is half open, like someone who is having trouble breathing. On his shoulders there is heavy and worn-out mantle, more similar to tinplate than to cloth. His shoulders have cuts from recent blows during his flogging. His wrists are bound together by a coarse rope looped around twice. They have put a reed in one of his hands as a kind of scepter and a bundle of branches in the other, symbols mocking his royalty. Jesus cannot move even a finger; this is a man reduced to total powerlessness, the prototype of all the people in history with their hands bound.
Meditating on the passion, the philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote these words one day: “Christ will be in agony until the end of the world; we must not sleep during this time.”[1] There is a sense in which these words apply to the person of Christ himself, that is, to the  head of the mystical body, and not just to its members. Not despite being risen and alive now but precisely because he is risen and alive. But let us leave aside this meaning that is too enigmatic and talk instead about the most obvious meaning of these words. Jesus is in agony until the end of the world in every man or woman who is subjected to his same torments. “You did it to me!” (Matt 25:40). He said these words not only about believers in him; he also said it about every man or woman who is hungry, naked, mistreated, or incarcerated.
For once let us not think about social evils collectively: hunger, poverty, injustice, the exploitation of the weak. These evils are spoken about often (even if it is never enough), but there is the risk that they become abstractions—categories rather than persons. Let us think instead of the suffering of individuals, people with names and specific identities; of the tortures that are decided upon in cold blood and voluntarily inflicted at this very moment by human beings on other human beings, even on babies.
How many instances of “Ecce homo” (“Behold the man!”) there are in the world! How many prisoners who find themselves in the same situation as Jesus in Pilate’s praetorium: alone, hand-cuffed, tortured, at the mercy of rough soldiers full of hate who engage in every kind of physical and psychological cruelty and who enjoy watching people suffer. “We must not sleep; we must not leave them alone!”
The exclamation “Ecce homo!”  applies not only to victims but also to the torturers. It means, “Behold what man is capable of!” With fear and trembling, let us also say, “Behold what we human beings are capable of!” How far we are from the unstoppable march forward, from the homo sapiens sapiens (the enlightened modern human being), from the kind of man who, according to someone, was to be born from the death of God and replace him! [1]
*  *  *
Christians are of course not the only victims of homicidal violence in the world, but we cannot ignore the fact that in many countries they are the most frequently intended victims. And today there’s the news that 147 Christians have been slaughtered by the fury of Somali jihadist extremists at a university campus in Kenya. Jesus said to his disciples one day, “The hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God” (Jn 16:2). Perhaps never before have these words found such  precise fulfillment as they do today.
A third-century bishop, Dionysius of Alexandria, has left us a testimony of an Easter celebrated by Christians during the fierce persecutions by the Roman emperor Decius:
First we were set on and surrounded by persecutors and murderers, yet we were the only ones to keep festival even then. Every spot where we were attacked became for us a place for celebrations whether field, desert, ship, inn, or prison. The most brilliant festival of all was kept by the fulfilled martyrs, who were feasted in heaven.[1]
This is the way Easter will be for many Christians this year, 2015 after Christ.
There was someone who, in the secular press, had the courage to denounce the disturbing indifference of world institutions and public opinion in the face of all this killing of Christians, recalling what such indifference has sometimes brought about in the past.[1] All of us and all our institutions in the West risk being Pilates who wash our hands.
However, we are not allowed to make any denunciations today. We would be betraying the mystery we are celebrating. Jesus died, crying out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). This prayer was not simply murmured under his breath; it was cried out so that people could hear it well. Neither is it even a prayer; it is a peremptory request made with the authority that comes from being the Son: ”Father, forgive them!” And since he himself had said that the Father heard all his prayers (see Jn 11:42), we have to believe that he heard this last prayer from the cross and consequently that the crucifiers of Christ were then forgiven by God (not of course without in some way being repentant) and are with him in paradise, to testify for all eternity to what extremes the love of God is capable of going.
Ignorance, per se, existed exclusively among the soldiers. But Jesus’ prayer is not limited to them. The divine grandeur of his forgiveness consists in the fact that it was also offered to his most relentless enemies. The excuse of ignorance is brought forward precisely for them. Even though they acted with cunning and malice, in reality they did not know what they were doing; they did not think they were nailing to the cross a man who was actually the Messiah and the Son of God! Instead of accusing his adversaries, or of forgiving them and entrusting the task of vengeance to his heavenly Father, he defended them.
He presents his disciples with an example of infinite generosity. To forgive with his same greatness of soul does not entail just a negative attitude through which one renounces wishing evil on those who do evil; it has to be transformed instead into a positive will to do good to them, even if it is only by means of a prayer to God on their behalf. “Pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). This kind of forgiveness cannot seek recompense in the hope of divine punishment. It must be inspired by a charity that excuses one’s neighbor without, however, closing one’s eyes to the truth but, on the contrary, seeing to stop evildoers in such a way that they will do no more harm to others and to themselves.
We might want to say,  “Lord, you are asking us to do the impossible!” He would answer, “I know, but I died to give you what I am asking of you. I not only gave you the command to forgive and not only an heroic example of forgiveness, but through my death I also obtained for you the grace that enables you to forgive. I did not give the world just a teaching on mercy as so many others have. I am also God and I have poured out for you  rivers of mercy through my death. From them you can draw as much mercy as you want during the coming jubilee year of Mercy.”
***
Someone could say, “So then, does following Christ always mean surrendering oneself passively to defeat and to death?” On the contrary! He says to his disciples, “Be of good cheer” before entering into his passion: “I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). Christ has overcome the world by overcoming the evil of the world. The definitive victory of good over evil that will be manifested at the end of time has already come to  pass, legally and de facto, on the cross of Christ. “Now,” he said, “is the judgment of this world” (Jn 12:31). From that day forth, evil is losing, and it is losing that much more when it seems to be triumphing more. It has already been judged and condemned in its ultimate expression with a sentence that cannot be appealed.
Jesus overcame violence not by opposing it with a greater violence but by enduring it and exposing all its injustice and futility. He inaugurated a new kind of victory that St. Augustine summed up in three words: “Victor quia victima: “Victor because victim.”[1] It was seeing him die this way that caused the Roman centurion to exclaim, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mk 15:39). Others asked themselves what the “loud cry” emitted by the dying Jesus could mean (see Mk 15:37). The centurion, who was an expert in combatants and battles, recognized at once that it was a cry of victory.[1]
The problem of violence disturbs us, shocks us, and it has invented new and horrendous forms of cruelty and barbarism today. We Christians are horrified at the idea that people can kill in God’s name. Someone, however, could object, “But isn’t the Bible also full of stories of violence? Isn’t God called ‘the Lord of hosts’? Isn’t the order to condemn whole cities to extermination attributed to him? Isn’t he the one who prescribes numerous cases for the death penalty in the Mosaic Law?”
If they had addressed those same objections to Jesus during his life, he would surely have responded with what he said regarding divorce: “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so” (Mt 19:8). The same is true for violence: “at the beginning it was not so.” The first chapter of Genesis presents a world where violence is not even thinkable, neither among human beings themselves nor between people and animals. Not even to avenge the death of Abel, and therefore punish a murderer, is it permissible to kill (see Gen 4:15).
God’s true intention is expressed by the commandment “You shall not kill” more than by the exceptions to that command in the law, which are concessions to the “hardness of heart” and to people’s practices. Violence, along with sin, is unfortunately part of life, and the Old Testament, which reflects life and must be useful for life as it is, seeks through its legislation and the penalty of death at least to channel and curb violence so that it does not degenerate into personal discretion and people then tear each other apart.[1]
Paul speaks about a period of time that is characterized by the “forbearance” of God (see Rom 3:25). God forbears violence the way he forbears polygamy, divorce, and other things, but he is preparing people for a time in which his original plan will be “recapitulated” and restored in honor, as though through a new creation. That time arrived with Jesus, who proclaims on the mount, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if anyone strikes you on the right check, turn to him the other also. . . . You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:38-39, 43-44).
The true “Sermon on the Mount” that changed history is not, however, the one spoken on a hill in Galilee but the one now proclaimed, silently, from the cross. On Calvary Christ delivers a definitive “no” to violence, setting in opposition to it not just non-violence but, even more, forgiveness, meekness, and love. Although violence will still continue to exist, it will no longer—not even remotely—be able to link itself to God and cloak itself in his authority. To do so would make the concept of God regress to primitive and crude stages in history that have been surpassed by the religious and civilized conscience of humanity.
 * * *
True martyrs for Christ do not die with clenched fists but with their hands joined in prayer. We have had many recent examples of this. Christ is the one who gave the twenty-one Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya by ISIS this past February 22 the strength to die whispering the name of Jesus.
Lord Jesus Christ, we pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in the faith and for all the Ecce Homo human beings who are on the face of the earth at this moment, Christian and non-Christian. Mary, at the foot of the cross you united yourself to your Son, and you whispered, after him,  “Father, forgive them!” Help us overcome evil with good, not only on the world scene but also in our daily lives, within the walls of our homes. You “shared his sufferings as he died on the cross. Thus, in a very special way you cooperated by your obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Savior.”[1] May you inspire the men and women of our time with thoughts of peace and mercy. And of forgiveness. Amen.

 2015

Saint April 3 : St. Richard : Bishop and Confessor : Patron of Coachmen




Information:
Feast Day:April 3
Born:1197 at Droitwich, Worcestershire, England
Died:3 April 1253 at Dover, England
Canonized:1262 by Pope Urban IV
Major Shrine:Chichester Cathedral
Patron of:coachmen
St. Richard was born at the manor of Wiche, famous for its salt wells four miles from Worcester, being second son to Richard and Alice de Wiche In order to keep faithfully his baptismal vows, he from his infancy always manifested the utmost dislike to gay diversions, and ever held in the highest contempt all worldly pomp: instead of which his attention was wholly employed In establishing for himself a solid foundation of virtue and learning. Every opportunity of serving others he regarded as his happiness and gain. The unfortunate situation of his eldest brother's affairs gave him an occasion of exercising his benevolent disposition. Richard condescended to become his brother's servant, undertook the management of his farms and by his industry and generosity effectually retrieved his brother's before distressed circumstances. Having completed this good work, he resumed at Paris those studies he had begun at Oxford, leading with two select companions, a life of piety and mortification, generally contenting himself with coarse bread and simple water for his diet; except that on Sundays and on particular festivals he would, in condescendence to some visitors, allow himself a little meat or fish. Upon his return to England, he proceeded to become master of arts at Oxford, from whence he went to Bologna, in Italy, where he applied himself to the study of the canon law, and was appointed public professor of that science. After having taught there a short time, he returned to Oxford, and, on account of his merit, was soon promoted to the dignity of chancellor in that university. St. Edmund, archbishop of Canterbury. having the happiness of gaining him for his diocese, appointed him his chancellor, and intrusted him with the chief direction of his archbishopric; and Richard was the faithful imitator of his patron's piety and devotions. The principal use he made of his revenues was to employ them to charitable purposes, nor would he on any terms be prevailed on to accept the least present in the execution of his office as ecclesiastical judge. He accompanied his holy prelate in his banishment into France, and after his blessed death at Pontigni, retired into a convent of Dominican friars in Orleans. Having in that solitude employed his time in the improving himself in theological studies, and received the order of priesthood, he returned to England to serve a private curacy, in the diocese of Canterbury. Boniface, who had succeeded St. Edmund in that metropolitan see, compelled him to resume his office of chancellor, with the care of his whole diocese. Ralph Nevil, bishop of Chichester, dying in 1244, king Henry III. recommended to that see an unworthy court favorite, called Robert Passelew: the archbishop and other prelates declared the person not qualified, and the presentation void: and preferred Richard de Wiche to that dignity. He was consecrated in 1245. But the king seized his temporalities, and the saint suffered many hardships and persecutions from him and his officers, during two years, till his majesty granted him a replevin: upon which he recovered his revenues, but much impaired. And as, after having pleaded his cause at Rome before pope Innocent IV. against the king's deputies, and obtained a sentence confirming his election, he had permitted no persecution, fatigue. or difficulty to excuse him to himself for the omission of any part of his duty to his flock so now, the chief obstacles being removed, he redoubled his fervor and attention. He, in person, visited the sick, buried the dead, and sought out and relieved the poor. When his steward complained that his alms exceeded his income: "then," said he, "sell my plate and my horse." Having suffered a great loss by fire, instead of being more sparing in his charities, he said, "Perhaps God sent us this loss to punish our covetousness;" and ordered upon the spot more abundant alms to be given than usual. Such was the ardor of his devotion that he lived as it were in the perpetual contemplation of heavenly things. He preached the word of God to his flock with that unction and success which only an eminent spirit of prayer could produce. The affronts which he received, he always repaid with favors, and enmity with singular marks of charily. In maintaining discipline he was inflexible, especially in chastising crimes in the clergy, no intercession of the king, archbishop, and several other prelates could prevail with him to mitigate the punishment of a priest who had sinned against chastity. Yet penitent sinners he received with inexpressible tenderness and charity. While he was employed in preaching a holy war against the Saracens, being commissioned thereto by the pope, he fell sick of a fever, foretold his own death, and prepared himself for it by the most melting ejaculations of divine love and thanksgiving. He died in an hospital at Dover, called God's House, on the 3d of April, in the year of our Lord 1253, of his episcopal dignity the ninth, of his age the fifty-sixth. His body was conveyed to Chichester, and interred before the altar which he himself had consecrated in his cathedral to the memory of St. Edmund. It was removed to a more honorable place in 1276, on the 16th of June, on which day our ancestors commemorated his translation. The fame of miraculous cures of paralytic and other distempers, and of three persons raised to life at his tomb, moved the pope to appoint commissaries to inquire into the truth of these reports, before whom many of these miracles were authentically proved upon the spot; and the saint was solemnly canonized by Urban IV, in 1262.
source: EWTN


Thursday, April 2, 2015

#PopeFrancis Mass of Lord's Supper at Prison Homily/Video

Full Text Homily of Mass of the Lord's Supper : April 2, 2015 a Rebibbia Prison (Image Source Photos - Vatican.va)

This Thursday, Jesus is at table with the disciples, celebrating the feast of Passover. The passage of the Gospel that we have heard says a word that is precisely the center of what Jesus did for all of us: "He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end. (Jn. 13,2). Jesus loved us. Jesus loves us. But without limits, always to the end. The love of Jesus for us has no limits, it is always more. He never tires of loving anyone. He loves all of us to the point of giving His life. Yes, He gives his life for all of us, He gives his life for each one of us. And each one of us can say: "He gave His life for me." He gave his life for you, for you, for you, for me for each one, with first and last name, because His love is like that: personal.
The love of Jesus never deceives because he never tires of loving, as He also never tires of forgiving, He never tires of embracing us. This is the first thing I wanted to tell you: Jesus loved each one of you "to the end."
And then He does something that the disciples did not understand: He washed their feet. In that time, it was common; it was customary because the people, when they would arrive to a house, their feet were dirty with dust from the road. There weren't any Sampietrini [stone pavement] in that time!
And at the entrance of the house, they would wash their feet. But it was not done by the head of the household; it was done by the slaves. It was the work of slaves. And Jesus cleans our feet, the feet of the disciples, like a slave. And He says to them: "What I am doing, you do not understand now," he says to Peter, "but you will understand later.” (Jn. 13:7)
Jesus, has so much love that He made Himself a slave in order to serve us, to heal us, to clean us. And today, in this Mass, the Church wants the priest to wash the feet of 12 persons, in memory of the 12 disciples there. But in our heart, we must have the certainty, we must be sure that the Lord, when he washes our feet, He washes everything, He purifies us! He makes us feel once again His love.
In the Bible there is a sentence from the prophet Isaiah that is very beautiful. It says: "Can a mother forget her own child? Though a mother may forget her child, I will not forget you!" (Is. 49:15) That is how the love of God is for us.
And I will wash today the feet of 12 of you, but in these brothers and sisters, there are all of you. Everyone, everyone! All those who live here. You represent them, but I also have a need to be cleaned by the Lord. And for this, pray during this Mass so that the Lord may also clean my filth, so that I may become more your slave, more of a slave in the service of people, as Jesus was. Now, we will begin this part of the ceremony.
[Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves] 

What is the Triduum and Holy Week - SHARE - Amazing Video and Free Resources!

Holy Thursday, marks the start of Holy Week, and the Easter Triduum. From the Latin word meaning "three days", the Easter Triduum is the holiest time of the year in the Catholic Church. The solemn liturgies of the Triduum are the most important liturgies of the Church year teaching the meaning of Christ's life, death and resurrection. People gather to commemorate the three pillars of the Catholic faith: the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the Priesthood and the Mass.

During the Chrism Mass, the Holy Oils to be used throughout the coming year for Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick are consecrated. The Mass of the Lord's Supper is traditionally held after sundown. 
 This commemorates the Institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion and recalls the Last Supper of Our Lord. It was at this last supper that Christ after he was betrayed, offered His Body and Blood to God the Father, under the species of bread and wine which he gave to the Apostles as spiritual nourishment, commanding them and their successors in the priesthood to perpetuate this offering. At the Mass of the Lord's Supper it is traditional in Catholic dioceses for the archbishop or bishop to wash the feet of 12 priests to symbolise Christ's washing of the feet of His Apostles and a symbol of service everyone is called to live. 
This Mass ends in silence, the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession to the Altar of Repose where it will remain until Mass the following day. Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and is the most solemn day in the Christian calendar. It is a day of quiet fasting and mourning, remembering again how Jesus suffered and died for our sins.Christ has died. Christ is Risen. Christ will come again.  During the Solemn Commemoration of the Lord's Passion the ceremony and prayers are solemn and reflective. The pulpit and altar will be bare; no candles lit. This creates the awareness of grief over the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son. Communion will be distributed - the hosts having been blessed in the Thursday Mass. On Holy Saturday the service begins in a darkened Church. There is the blessing of new fire, lighting of the paschal candle and the Easter Proclamation. These are the most important days of remembrance and celebration in the Catholic Church. The Easter Triduum is the holiest time of the year in the Catholic Church. The Easter fast, begun on Good Friday ends on Sunday, when the world celebrates the Resurrection of Our Lord. Statues and artworks covered for Lent are uncovered, the altar is no longer bare and the entire church is filled with flowers. The Palm Sunday celebration commemorated Christ's arrival in ancient Jerusalem riding on a small donkey to be greeted by exuberant crowds hailing him as the Messiah and waving palm leaves. As we know before the week was out, Christ had been betrayed and arrested. What followed was the Lord's terrible suffering and his crucifixion outside the walls of the city. But three days later came His glorious resurrection which Catholics and Christians of all denominations celebrate on Easter Sunday. Edited from Archdiocese of Sydney

USCCB Release 18 Questions Answered About the Triduum:

The following eighteen questions address the most commonly received questions concerning the Sacred Paschal Triduum, and may be freely reproduced by diocesan Offices for Worship, parish Liturgy Committees, and others seeking to promote the effective celebration of these most sacred days. 
1. When does the Triduum begin and end? The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday. 
2. May another Mass besides the Mass of the Lord’s Supper be celebrated on Holy Thursday? Ordinarily, no other Mass may be celebrated on Holy Thursday. However, by way of exception, the local Ordinary may permit another Mass in churches and oratories to be celebrated in the evening, and, in the case of genuine necessity, even in the morning. Such Masses are provided for those who in no way are able to participate in the evening Mass. 
3. How are the Holy Oils, consecrated and blessed at the Chrism Mass, to be received in the parish? A reception of the oils may take place before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The oils, in suitable vessels, can be carried in procession by members of the assembly. 
4. A text for this can be found here. Is the Mandatum, the washing of feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, required? No. The Roman Missal only indicates, “After the Homily, where a pastoral reason suggests it [ubi ratio pastoralis id suadeat], the Washing of Feet follows.” 
5. When should the Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion take place? Normally it should take place in the afternoon, at about 3:00 PM, to enable people to assemble more easily. However, pastoral discretion may indicate a time shortly after midday, or in the late evening, though never later than 9:00 PM. Depending on the size or nature of a parish or other community, the local Ordinary may permit the service to be repeated. 
6. May a deacon officiate at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion? Although the Celebration of the Lord's Passion appears to be a service of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion, the Roman Missal does not permit a deacon to officiate at the celebration. Historically, even though the Eucharist is not celebrated on this day, the liturgy of Good Friday bears resemblance to a Mass. At one time it was called the “Mass of the Presanctified” (referring to the pre-consecrated hosts used at Communion, even when only the priest received Communion). This is also reflected in the prescribed vesture for the priest: stole and chasuble. The liturgy of Good Friday, as an integral part of the Triduum, is linked to the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. While there may be cases where a parish with multiple churches or chapels (e.g., mission churches or a cluster of parishes under one pastor) might rotate the liturgies among the various locations, it would not be appropriate for a community to celebrate only part of the Triduum. 
7. May any of the readings at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion be omitted? The Lectionary for Mass does not indicate that any readings may be omitted at the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. All three readings (Isaiah, Hebrews, and the Passion according to John) are required. It should be noted, however, for Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, the Lectionary indicates that while all three readings provided should be used, there may be circumstances in which one or more of the readings at Mass could be omitted: “Given, however, the importance of the account of the Lord’s Passion, the priest, having in mind the character of each individual congregation, is authorized to choose only one of the two readings prescribed before the Gospel, or if necessary, he may read only the account of the Passion, even in the shorter form. This permission applies, however, only to Masses celebrated with a congregation.” Thus, the account of the Passion is never omitted. 
8. Does the Church encourage any other liturgical celebrations on Good Friday? On this day the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer could appropriately be celebrated with the participation of the people in the churches. Note that Evening Prayer is only prayed by those who do not participate in the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. 
9. Do devotions have a particular importance on Good Friday? The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2002) provides the proper perspective in paragraphs 142-145. Clearly the central celebration of this day is the Good Friday Celebration of the Lord’s Passion. In no way should manifestations of popular piety, either by the time or manner in which they are convoked, substitute for this solemn liturgical action. Nor should aspects of the various acts of piety be mixed with the Good Friday celebration, creating a hybrid. In recent times, Passion processions, celebrations of the Stations of the Cross, and Passion Plays have become more common. In such representations, actors and spectators can be involved in a moment of faith and genuine piety. Care should be taken, however, to point out to the faithful that a Passion Play is a representation which is commemorative and they are very different from “liturgical actions” which are anamnesis, or the mysterious presence of the redemptive event of the Passion. 
10. How does the Adoration of the Holy Cross on Good Friday begin? The Adoration of the Holy Cross begins with one of two forms of the Showing of the Holy Cross. The First Form begins as the deacon or another suitable minister goes to the sacristy and obtains the veiled Cross. Accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles, the veiled Cross is brought to the center of the sanctuary in procession. The priest accepts the Cross and then, standing in front of the altar and facing the people, uncovers the upper part of the Cross, the right arm, and then the entire Cross. Each time he unveils a part of the Cross, he sings the acclamation, Behold the wood of the Cross. In the Second Form of the Showing of the Holy Cross, the priest or deacon goes to the church door, where he takes up the uncovered Cross. Accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles, he processes to the sanctuary, stopping at the door of the church, in the middle of the church, and before entering the sanctuary, to sing the acclamation, Behold the wood of the Cross. 
11. How is the cross venerated by members of the congregation on Good Friday? After the showing of the Cross, the priest or deacon may carry the Cross to the entrance of the sanctuary or another suitable place. The first person to adore the Cross is the priest celebrant. If circumstances suggest, he takes off his chasuble and his shoes. The clergy, lay ministers and the faithful then approach the Cross. The personal adoration of the Cross is an important feature in this celebration and every effort should be made to achieve it. The rubrics remind us that “only one Cross” should be used for adoration. If the numbers are so great that all cannot come forward, the priest, after some of the clergy and faithful have adored the Cross, can take it and stand in the center before the altar. In a few words he invites the people to adore the Cross. He then elevates the Cross higher for a brief period of time while the faithful adore it in silence. It should also be kept in mind that when a sufficiently large Cross is used even a large community can reverence it in due time. The foot of the Cross as well as the right and left arm can be approached and venerated. Coordination with ushers and planning the flow of people beforehand can allow for this part of the liturgy to be celebrated with decorum and devotion. 
12. When should the Easter Vigil take place? The Vigil, by its very nature, must take place at night. It is not begun before nightfall and should end before daybreak on Easter Sunday. The celebration of the Easter Vigil takes the place of the Office of Readings of Easter Sunday. The Easter Vigil begins and ends in darkness. It is a nocturnal vigil, retaining its ancient character of vigilance and expectation, as the Christian people await the Resurrection of the Lord during the night. Fire is blessed and the paschal candle is lighted to illumine the night so that all may hear the Easter proclamation and listen to the word of God proclaimed in the Scriptures. For this reason the Solemn Beginning of the Vigil (Lucernarium) takes place before the Liturgy of the Word. Since sunset varies at different locations throughout the country, local weather stations can be consulted as to the time of sunset in the area, keeping in mind that twilight concludes (i.e., nightfall occurs) somewhat later. 
13. What considerations should be given for the paschal candle used at the Easter Vigil? This candle should be made of wax, never be artificial, be replaced each year, be only one in number, and be of sufficiently large size that it may convey the truth that Christ is the light of the world. The paschal candle is the symbol of the light of Christ, rising in glory, scattering the darkness of our hearts and minds. Above all, the paschal candle should be a genuine candle, the pre-eminent symbol of the light of Christ. Choice of size, design, and color should be made in relationship to the sanctuary in which it will be placed. 
14. In the case of mission churches and cluster parishes, can multiple paschal candles be used for the Service of Light? The Roman Missal, not envisioning the pastoral situation of mission churches or cluster parishes, specifies that only one paschal candle is used. To accommodate the particular circumstances, the Secretariat of Divine Worship might suggest that the candles from the mission churches or other parish churches could be present at the Easter Vigil, having been prepared in advance, and blessed alongside the main candle (perhaps having deacons or other representatives holding them). In keeping with the rubrics, for the lighting and procession only one candle should be lit (the principal one, or the one which will remain in that particular church). As the other candles in the congregation are lit, the other paschal candles could be lit and held(but not high, in order to maintain the prominence of the one principal candle) by someone at their place in the assembly. Once all the candles are extinguished after the singing of the Exsultet, the other paschal candles are put aside. On Easter Sunday morning, those candles could be taken to each of the missions and carried, lit, in the entrance procession at the first Mass at each church and put in place in the sanctuary. 
15. How many readings should be proclaimed at the Easter Vigil? One of the unique aspects of the Easter Vigil is the recounting of the outstanding deeds of the history of salvation. These deeds are related in seven readings from the Old Testament chosen from the law and the prophets and two readings from the New Testament, namely from the Apostle Paul and from the Gospel. Thus, the Lord meets us once again on our journey and, “beginning with Moses and all the prophets” (Lk 24:27) opens up our minds and hearts, preparing us to share in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup. The faithful are encouraged to meditate on these readings by the singing of a responsorial psalm, followed by a silent pause, and then by the celebrant’s prayer. Meditation on these readings is so significant for this night that we are strongly urged to use all the readings whenever it can be done. Only in the case of grave pastoral circumstances can the number of readings be reduced. In such cases, at least three readings from the Old Testament should be read, always including Exodus 14.
16. How is the First Communion of the neophytes to be emphasized during the Easter Vigil? The celebrant, before he says, Behold the Lamb of God, may make a brief remark to the neophytes about their first Communion and about the importance of so great a mystery, which is the climax of initiation and the center of the Christian life. This is a night when all should be able to receive Holy Communion under both forms. 
17. What directions are given for the celebration of Masses on Easter Sunday? Mass is to be celebrated on Easter Day with great solemnity. A full complement of ministers and the use of liturgical music should be evident in all celebrations. On Easter Sunday in the dioceses of the United States, the rite of the renewal of baptismal promises may take place after the homily, followed by the sprinkling with water blessed at the Vigil, during which the antiphon Vidi aquam, or some other song of baptismal character should be sung. (If the renewal of baptismal promises does not occur, then the Creed is said. The Roman Missal notes that the Apostles' Creed, "the baptismal Symbol of the Roman Church," might be appropriately used during Easter Time.) The holy water fonts at the entrance to the church should also be filled with the same water. On the subsequent Sundays of Easter, it is appropriate that the Rite for the Blessing and Sprinkling of Water take the place of the Penitential Act. 
18. Where is the paschal candle placed during Easter Time? The paschal candle has its proper place either by the ambo or by the altar and should be lit at least in all the more solemn liturgical celebrations of the season until Pentecost Sunday, whether at Mass, or at Morning and Evening Prayer. After Easter Time the candle should be kept with honor in the baptistery, so that in the celebration of Baptism the candles of the baptized may be lit from it. In the celebration of funerals the paschal candle should be placed near the coffin to indicate Christ’s undying presence, his victory over sin and death, and the promise of sharing in Christ’s victory by virtue of being part of the Body of Christ (see Order of Christian Funerals, no. 35). The paschal candle should not otherwise be lit nor placed in the sanctuary outside Easter Time.


Full Text Way of the Cross Prayer led by Pope Francis for Good Friday


OFFICE FOR THE LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
GOOD FRIDAY
PASSION OF THE LORD
WAY OF THE CROSS LED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
COLOSSEUM,  ROME, 3 APRIL 2015

THE CROSS, RADIANT CULMINATION OF GOD’S PROTECTIVE LOVE
We too are called, in love, to be protectors
MEDITATIONS by  H.E. Msgr. Renato Corti
Emeritus Bishop of Novara

INTRODUCTION
It was 19 March 2013. Pope Francis had been elected just a few days before. He preached on Saint Joseph, the “protector” of Mary and Jesus[1], as a model of discretion, humility, silence, abiding presence and complete fidelity.
The present Way of the Cross will make constant reference to the gift of our being “protected” by God’s love, particularly by Jesus crucified, and to the task which we in turn have received, to be loving protectors of all creation, of every person, especially the poor, of ourselves and our families. In this way we will make the star of hope shine forth in our world.
We want to take part in this Way of the Cross in profound union with Jesus. Attentive to the words of the Gospel, we will soberly meditate on some of the thoughts and feelings present in the mind and heart of Jesus at that time of trial.
We will also consider some of those challenging situations which – for better or worse – are typical of our own time. By allowing them to resonate within us, we will show our desire to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ in his Passion.
Prayer
O Father, who willed to save mankind by the death of your Son on the cross,
grant that we who have known on earth the mystery of his love,
may be his witnesses, in our words and actions, in our daily lives,
before all those whom you place on our path.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.


FIRST STATION
Jesus is condemned to death

Intimacy, betrayal, condemnation
Adoramus…
From the Gospel according to Luke
“This is my body, which is given for you… This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood”.[2]
From the Gospel according to Mark
“Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews’. They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’. Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified”.[3]
 JESUS’ THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
I just celebrated Passover with my disciples. I had eagerly desired this:[4] my last Passover, before the passion, before my return to you! But then something went wrong. The devil put it in the heart of one of my disciples to betray me.[5] In the garden of Gethsemane he came up to me. With a sign of love he said, “Greetings, Rabbi!”. And he kissed me.[6] How bitter was that moment!
During the meal, I asked you, Father, to protect my disciples in your name, that they may be one, as we are one.[7]
OUR RESONANCE
Jesus, even more than your first disciples, we are weak in faith. We too risk betraying you, while your love should make us love you all the more.
We need prayer, watchfulness, sincerity and truth. That is how our faith can grow. A faith which is strong and full of joy.
LET US PRAY
Protected by the Eucharist
“May your body and blood, Lord Jesus, protect us for eternal life”.[8]
May this miracle take place for our priests who celebrate the Eucharist and for all of us, the faithful who approach the altar to receive you, the living bread come down from heaven.
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater


SECOND STATION
Jesus takes up his cross

“Numbered with the transgressors”
Adoramus…
From the Gospel according to Mark
“After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him”.[9]
JESUS’ THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
The soldiers of the governor surround me. For them, I am no longer a person but a thing. They want to toy with me, to mock me. So they dress me up as a king. There is even a crown, a crown of thorns. They strike my head with a reed. They spit on me. They lead me off.[10]
I keep thinking of the striking passage of the prophet Isaiah about the Servant of the Lord. It says that he had no appearance of beauty; he was despised; he was a man of sorrows; he was like a lamb led to the slaughter; he was cut off from the land of the living; he was beaten to death. I am that Servant, sent to reveal the greatness of God’s love for man.[11]
OUR RESONANCE
You, Jesus, were “numbered with the transgressors”.[12] Among the first generation of Christians, simply because they spoke openly of you, Peter and John, Paul and Silas were cast into prison.[13] This has happened repeatedly throughout history.
In our day too, men and women are imprisoned, condemned and even slaughtered for the simple reason that they are believers or engaged in promoting justice and peace. They are not ashamed of your cross. For us they are wonderful examples to imitate.
LET US PRAY IN THE WORDS OF A MARTYR, SHAHBAZ BHATTI
On the morning of 2 March 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities, was killed by a group of armed men. In his spiritual testament he had written:
“I remember a Good Friday when I was only thirteen years old. I heard a sermon on the sacrifice of Jesus for our redemption and for the salvation of the world. And I thought of responding to that love by showing love for our brothers and sisters, placing myself at the service of Christians, especially the poor, the needy and the persecuted who live in this Islamic country.
“I want my life, my character and my actions to speak for me, and to say that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. This is so strong a desire in me that I would consider it a privilege if Jesus should wish to accept the sacrifice of my life”.
In the light of this testimony, let us pray: Lord Jesus, you strengthen inwardly all who suffer persecution. May the fundamental right of religious freedom spread throughout the world. We thank you for all those who, like “angels”, give marvellous signs of your coming Kingdom.
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater


THIRD STATION
Jesus falls beneath the cross

“Behold the Lamb of God”
Adoramus…
From the Book of the prophet Isaiah
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his wounds we are healed”.[14]
JESUS’ THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
I stagger as I take my first steps towards Calvary. I have already lost a lot of blood. It is hard for me to bear the weight of the wood I have to carry. And so I fall to the ground.
Someone helps me up. I see people all around me. Surely there are some who love me. Others are just curious bystanders. I think of John the Baptist, who at the beginning of my public life, said: “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”.[15] Now the truth of those words is revealed.
OUR RESONANCE
O Jesus, on this day we must not be like the Pharisee who sings his own praises, but like the tax collector who does not even dare to look up.[16] So in trust we ask you, Lamb of God, to forgive our sins, in thought and word, in what we have done and what we have failed to do.
As we ponder the weight of your cross, we will not be ashamed to make the sign of the cross on our bodies: “It is an effective aid: free for the poor and effortless for the weak. For it is a grace from God”.[17]
LET US PRAY
Your Son shared our human life
We give you praise, Father most holy, because time and time again through the prophets you taught us to look forward to salvation. We praise you because you so loved the world as to send us your only-begotten Son. To accomplish your plan of redemption, he shared our human nature in all things but sin. To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation, to prisoners freedom, and to the sorrowful of heart joy.[18]
Thank you, Father!
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater


FOURTH STATION
Jesus meets his Mother

A sword will pierce your soul
Adoramus…
From the Gospel according to Luke
“Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, ‘This child is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed, so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too’ … His mother treasured all these things in her heart”.[19]
JESUS’ THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
My Mother is part of the crowd. My heart is racing. I can only catch a glimpse of her. Blood is streaming down my face.
When I was just forty days old, I was brought to the Temple to be presented according to the Law of Moses. A prophet spoke to my father and mother. His name was Simeon. He took me in his arms. He said that I would be a“sign of contradiction”, and he told my mother that “a sword will pierce your soul”. Those words have now become a searing reality, for her and for me. Today my presentation is complete.[20]
MARY’S RESONANCE
“O my God-sprung Son, you are dragged by the hands of this evil generation and you bear it; you came to be thrown into chains and willingly let yourself be led by them, you who are the liberator of the enchained human race from its chains! … How devastated I am! Speak, say a word to me, O Word of God the Father, do not pass by in silence before your handmaid, who became your mother”.[21]
Jesus, the drama played out between you and your mother in a street of Jerusalem makes us think of so many dramatic family situations in our world. No one is spared: mothers, fathers, children, grandparents. It is easy to judge, but it is more important to put ourselves in the place of others and to help them as best we can. This we will try to do.
LET US PRAY
“Do whatever he tells you”
Holy Mary, mother of Jesus and spouse of Joseph, we ask you to accompany the Synod of Bishops on the family. Intercede for the Pope, the Bishops and all those directly engaged in its labours. May they be docile to the Holy Spirit and carry out their discernment with wisdom. May they keep in mind the words of the Psalm: “Mercy and truth will meet”.[22] At the wedding feast of Cana, you said to the servants: “Do whatever he tells you”.[23] Sustain all Christian spouses and parents, called to bear witness to the beauty of a family inspired and guided by the words of Jesus.
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater


FIFTH STATION
The Cyrenean helps Jesus carry his cross

Returning from the fields
Adoramus…
From the Gospel according to Luke
“As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus”.[24]
JESUS’ THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
All around me I hear shouting. They have forcibly laid hold of a labourer who was passing by, perhaps by chance. Without much explanation they force him to shoulder my burden. I feel relieved. They tell him to walk behind me. Together we will go to the place of execution.
More than once, when proclaiming God’s kingdom, I had said: “Whoever does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”.[25] But now this man is carrying my cross. Perhaps he doesn’t even know who I am, yet he is helping me and following me all the same.
OUR RESONANCE IN PRAISE OF SIMON
“Blessed too are you, Simon, who in your lifetime carried the cross behind our King. Those who carry the insignia of kings are proud, but kings will disappear with their insignia. Blessed are your hands, which lifted and bore in procession the life-giving cross of Jesus.”[26]
Lord, perhaps for some of us, too, our first encounter with you occurred in a completely unexpected way. But then it grew.
Let us consider it a great grace that there are still Cyreneans in our midst. They carry other people’s crosses. They do it with perseverance. They are motivated by love. They put into practice Saint Paul’s command: “Bear one another’s burdens”.[27] In this way they protect their brothers and sisters.
LET US PRAY
Who doesn’t need a Cyrenean?
Lord Jesus, you told us that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”.[28] Make us ready to be “Cyreneans” to others. May those who see our way of life find encouragement, as they watch us striving to cultivate all that is beautiful, just, true and essential. May the frail see us as humble, for we too are frail in so many ways. Those who receive tokens of our generosity will realize that we too have a thousand reasons to be thankful. Even those who cannot run can simply stand and wait, for they are dear to us. They will find us ready to slow our pace: we do not want to leave them behind.
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater


SIXTH STATION
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus 

Women Disciples
Adoramus…
From the Gospel according to Luke
“[Jesus] went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.[29]
JESUS’ THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
There are many women in the crowd. Kindness inspires one of them to come and wipe my face. This makes me think of so many other encounters. One was just a week ago. I went to dinner in Bethany, as the guest of my friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Mary anointed by feet with perfume made of pure nard. I said, to her surprise, that she should keep it for my burial.[30]
I can also remember sitting beside the well in Sychar. I was tired and thirsty. A Samaritan woman then came by, carrying a water jar. I asked her for water. I spoke to her about water which springs up to eternal life. She seemed to be waiting for this gift, to open her heart. She wanted to tell me everything about herself. I saw her, in amazement, delving into her conscience. And she returned home speaking of me and saying: “Could he be the Messiah?”.[31]
OUR RESONANCE
Jesus, this evening, in our midst, there is a significant presence of women. In the Gospel women have an important place. They looked after you and the apostles. Some of them were present at your passion. And they would be the first to bring the news of your resurrection.
The feminine genius impels us to a faith full of love for you.[32] All the saints teach us this. We want to follow in their footsteps.
LET US PRAY
The gift of spiritual motherhood
Lord Jesus, the proclamation of the faith in the world and the progress of Christian communities are largely sustained by women. Protect them as witnesses to that happiness born of an encounter with you, a happiness which is the mysterious secret behind their lives. Protect them as a radiant sign of motherhood at the side of the little ones, who, in their hearts, become the greatest.
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater


SEVENTH STATION
Jesus falls the second time 

“Do not be far from me”
[33]
Adoramus…
From the Gospel according to Matthew
“Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane… and prayed. He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them: ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here and stay awake with me’. He prayed: ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want’”.[34]
From the Gospel according to Luke
“Then an angel from heaven appeared and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground”.[35]
JESUS’ THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
It is not simply physical weariness. There is something deeper I have to endure. Last night I prayed long and hard to the Father, stretched out on the ground. My sweat was like drops of blood. My death was already upon me. Now I am sharing the ultimate, painful experience of every human being near death. Thank you, my Father, for sending an angel from heaven to comfort me at that moment!
OUR RESONANCE
Jesus, how much pain lies deep within those many souls racked by loneliness, abandonment, indifference, illness, or the loss of a dear one!
Boundless too are the sufferings of those trapped in painful situations, those who hear only lying and hateful words; those who encounter hearts of stone which cause tears and lead to despair.
The human heart – the heart of each one of us – awaits something completely different: the protection of love. You, Jesus, teach this to us and to all people of good will: “Love one another, as I have loved you”.[36]
LET US PRAY
My heart, protect and console!
Be open, my heart. Be as expansive as God’s own heart. Be open to bringing hope. Be open to caring. Be open to listening. Be open to pouring balm upon every wound. Be open to bringing light to those living in darkness. Protect and console, today, tomorrow and always.
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater


EIGHTH STATION
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world”
[37]
Adoramus…
From the Gospel according to Luke
“A great number of people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children’”.[38]
JESUS’ THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
Just a few days ago, I entered Jerusalem. A small crowd of disciples was there to welcome me. They even greeted me with the words: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”.[39] For all its simplicity, that moment was also most solemn. And yet the Pharisees showed their displeasure. The joy did not stop me from weeping at the sight of the city.[40] Now as I make my weary way towards Golgotha, I hear the cries of women weeping for me as they beat their breasts.
OUR RESONANCE
Perhaps today too, Jesus, looking at our cities, would have cause to weep. We too can be blind, failing to see the path to peace which you point out to us.[41]
But now we realize the summons contained in your words in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God”. And in your words to the disciples: “You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world … Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.[42]
LET US PRAY
In the light of the heavenly Jerusalem
Lord God, you have called us to the heavenly Jerusalem, God’s dwelling-place among men. There, you have promised, every tear will be wiped from our eyes. Death, mourning, weeping and pain will be no more. You will be our God and we will be your people.[43] Protect our hope that, after the toil of our sowing in tears, we will come at last to the joy of the harvest.[44]
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater
NINTH STATION
Jesus falls the third time

The “journey” of Jesus
Adoramus…
From the Gospel according to John
“I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father”.[45]
JESUS’ THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
My earthly journey is now at an end. When I was born, my Mother laid me in a manger.[46] I lived almost my whole life in Nazareth. I immersed myself in the history of the Chosen People.
On my journey as the One sent by the Father, I preached the breadth of his love, which overlooks no one; the length of his love, which is faithful in every generation; the height of his love, a hope which triumphs over death itself;[47]and the depth of his love, which sent me to call not the righteous, but sinners.[48]
Many heard and followed me, becoming my disciples; others did not understand. Some even fought me and ultimately condemned me. But at his moment I am called, more than ever, to reveal God’s love for all mankind.[49]
OUR RESONANCE
Jesus, in considering your love and the love of the Father, we wonder if we risk becoming beguiled by the world, which can only see your passion and death as “folly and scandal”, and not “the power and wisdom of God”.[50]Could it be that we Christians are lukewarm, while your love is a mystery of fire?
Do we realize that before God came among us, we did not even know who God was? When you, the only-begotten Son, came into our world, God who had formed us in his image, let us look up to him and promised us the Kingdom of heaven. How then will we not love the one who loved us first?.[51]
LET US PRAY
“Abba, Father”
Lord God, we dare to call you “our Father”. To think of ourselves as children is a marvellous gift for which we are eternally grateful. We know, Father, that we are but a speck of dust in the universe. You have granted us a great dignity, you have called us to freedom. Free us from all forms of slavery. Do not let us wander far from you. Father, protect each of us. Protect every man and woman on the face of the earth.
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater


TENTH STATION
Jesus is stripped of his garments

The robe
Adoramus…
From the Book of Psalms
“They divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots”.[52]
JESUS’ THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
I stand in silence. I feel humiliated by so apparently banal an act. I was already stripped hours ago. I think of my Mother, who is here. My humiliation is also hers. Once more her heart is pierced. To her I owe the robe which was torn from me, which is a sign of her love for me.[53]
OUR RESONANCE
Lord, your robe makes us think of a moment of grace and so many violations of our human dignity.
The grace is that of Baptism. A newly-christened child is told: “You have become a new creation, and have clothed yourself with Christ. See in this white garment a sign of your Christian dignity. With your family and friends to help you by word and example, bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven.[54] Here is the deepest truth about human life.
Yet the love which which you protect each creature also makes us think of appalling realities: human trafficking, child-soldiers, slave labour, children and adolescents robbed of their souls, wounded in their deepest being, barbarously violated.
You urge us in humility to beg forgiveness of all who have suffered these atrocities, and to pray that the conscience of those who darkened their lives will at last be stirred. In your presence, Jesus, we renew our resolve to “overcome evil with good”.[55]
PRAYER
The two ways
“Blessed indeed is the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the path with sinners, nor abides in the company of scorners, but whose delight is the law of the Lord, and who ponders his law day and night. He is like a tree that is planted beside the flowing waters, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves shall never fade; and all that he does shall prosper”.[56]
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater


ELEVENTH STATION
Jesus is nailed to the cross 

The supreme “throne” of God’s love
Adoramus…
From the Gospel according to John
“Then they handed him over to them to be crucified … Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews’”.[57]
JESUS’ THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS
They are driving nails into my hands and feet. My arms are outstretched. The nails excruciatingly pierce my flesh. I am immobilized in body, but free in heart, with the same freedom with which I went forth to my passion.[58] Free, for I am full of love, a love which embraces all.
I look at the men who are crucifying me. I think of those who have ordered them to do this: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing”.[59] Beside me are two other men condemned to crucifixion. One of them asks me to remember him when I come into my kingdom. Yes, I tell him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise”.[60]
OUR RESONANCE
We gaze at you, Jesus, as you are nailed to the cross. And our conscience is troubled. We anxiously ask: When will the death penalty, still practiced in many states, be abolished? When will every form of torture and the violent killing of innocent persons come to an end? Your Gospel is the surest defence of the human person, of every human being.
PRAYER
“Have mercy on us!”
Lord Jesus, to teach us how to offer our lives in love you embraced the cross; at the hour of death you heard the plea of the penitent thief. Sinless Saviour, you were numbered with the transgressors and submitted to the judgement of sinners.[61]
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater
TWELFTH STATION
Jesus dies on the cross 

“Christ, we need you”  
(Blessed Paul VI)
Adoramus…
JESUS’ WORDS ON THE CROSS
Jesus cried with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”.[62] Then, turning to his Mother, he said, “Woman, here is your son!”, and to the disciple John, “Here is your mother”.[63] He said, “I am thirsty”.[64] He said, “It is finished”.[65] And finally, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”.[66]
OUR RESONANCE
On the cross, Jesus, you prayed. That was the way you experienced the supreme moment of your call and mission.
In that hour you turned to your Mother and to the disciple John. Through them, you also turned and spoke to us. We were entrusted to your Mother. You asked us to welcome her into our lives and to be protected by her, even as you were.
It impresses us deeply that, during an agony which lasted for hours, you cried out to God in the words of Psalm 21, words which express the sufferings but also the hopes of the just.
The evangelist Luke recounts that, at the moment of your death, you said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”.[67] The Father’s response will be your resurrection.
PRAYER
“Omnia nobis est Christus”  (Saint Ambrose)
- Christ, we need you, to know ourselves and our destiny.
- We need you to discover the true basis of human fraternity, the foundations of justice, the treasures of charity, the supreme good of peace.
- We need you, the great bearer of our sorrows, to know the meaning of suffering.
- We need you, the conqueror of death, to set us free from despair and denial.
- Christ, we need you, to learn true love and to advance, in joy and with the strength of your love, along our weary way, until at last we encounter you, the beloved, the awaited, blessed for all ages.[68]
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater


THIRTEENTH STATION
Jesus is taken down from the cross 

The royal way for the Church
Adoramus…
From the Gospel according to Matthew
“The centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus… said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’. Many women were also there … Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee”.[69]
OUR RESONANCE
- “In you, Jesus – word made flesh – we are called to be the Church of mercy.
- In you – who chose to be poor – the Church is called to be poor and the friend of the poor.
- As we contemplate your face, our own cannot be different than yours.
- Our weakness will be strength and victory, only if it reveals the humanity and meekness of our God”.[70]
LET US PRAY
“Father, extend to the whole human family the kingdom of justice and peace which you have prepared through your only-begotten Son, our king and saviour. Thus the blessing of true peace will be granted to humanity; the poor will find justice; the afflicted will be consoled and all the peoples of the earth will be blessed in him, our Lord and our God, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever”.[71]
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater


FOURTEENTH STATION
Jesus is placed in the tomb 

Protected for ever
Adoramus…
From the Gospel according to John
“After these things, Joseph of Arimathea… asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission, so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews”.[72]
THE FEELINGS OF TWO FRIENDS OF JESUS
The bodies of those condemned to crucifixion were judged unworthy even of burial. Yet two men of standing, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, were concerned to protect the body of Jesus.
“How fortunate for you and me” – Joseph tells us – “that we became disciples of Jesus![73] Before I was a secret disciple. But now I have found great courage. I even approached Pilate to obtain Jesus’ body.[74] More than out of courage, I did it out of affection and joy. I am happy to have provided a new tomb hewn in the rock.[75] To all of you I say: Love our Saviour!”
Nicodemus could well add: “I first met Jesus by night. From him I was invited to be born from above”.[76] Only slowly did I come to understand his words. Now I am here to honour his body. I readily brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes.[77] But in fact Jesus did much more for me: he brought new fragrance to my life!”.
MARY SPEAKS TO OUR HEART
“John stood close to me. Beneath the cross my faith was sorely tried. As in Bethlehem and then in Nazareth, now once more I ponder these things in silence.[78] I have put my trust in God. My hope, the hope of a mother, is not spent. You too need to trust! For all of you I implore the grace of a strong faith. And for those experiencing dark days, consolation”.
LET US PRAY
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
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 at the hour of our death, Amen.
All: Pater noster… Stabat Mater

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