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Friday, March 25, 2016

Catholic News World : Friday March 25, 2016 - SHARE

 2016


#PopeFrancis celebrates #GoodFriday Commemoration at #Vatican - FULL Video



On Good Friday, Pope Francis presides over the Celebration of the Passion of our Lord. FULL TEXT Homily 
(Vatican Radio) At St Peter's Basilica, the Preacher of the Pontifical Household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., gave the homily for the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion.
In his reflection, Fr Cantalamessa focused on “reconciliation” – in particular, Christ’s work of reconciling God and man.
Below, please find the full text of Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa’s homily for Good Friday (English translation courtesy of Zenit):
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, ofmcp.

“BE RECONCILED TO GOD”

Good Friday Sermon, 2016, in St. Peter’s Basilica

God . . . through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. . . . We beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, “At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation! (2 Cor 5:18–6:2)
These words are from Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians. The apostle’s call to be reconciled to God does not refer to the historical reconciliation between God and humanity (which, as we just heard, already occurred “through Christ” on the cross); neither does it refer to the sacramentalreconciliation that takes place in Baptism and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It refers to an existential and personal reconciliation that needs to be implemented in the present. The call is addressed to baptized Christians in Corinth who belonged to the Church for a while, so it is therefore also addressed to us here and now. “The acceptable time, the day of salvation” for us, is the Year of Mercy that we are now in.
But what does this reconciliation with God mean in its existential and psychological dimension? One of the causes, and perhaps the main one, for people’s alienation from religion and faith today is the distorted image they have of God. What is the “predefined” idea of God in the collective human unconscious? To find that out, we only need to ask this question: “What ideas, what words, what feelings spontaneously arise in you without thinking about it when you say the words in the Lord’s Prayer, ‘May your will be done’”?
People generally say it with their heads bent down in resignation inwardly, preparing themselves for the worst. People unconsciously link God’s will to everything that is unpleasant and painful, to what can be seen as somehow destroying individual freedom and development. It is somewhat as though God were the enemy of every celebration, joy, and pleasure—a severe inquisitor-God.
God is seen as the Supreme Being, the Omnipotent One, the Lord of time and history, that is, as an entity who asserts himself over an individual from the outside; no detail of human life escapes him. The transgression of his law inexorably introduces a disorder that requires a commensurate reparation that human beings know they are not able to make. This is the cause of fear and at times hidden resentment against God. It is a vestige of the pagan idea of God that has never been entirely eradicated, and perhaps cannot be eradicated, from the human heart. Greek tragedy is based on this concept: God is the one who intervenes with divine punishment to reestablish the order disrupted by evil.
Of course in Christianity the mercy of God has never been disregarded! But mercy’s task is only to moderate the necessary rigors of justice. It was the exception, not the rule. The Year of Mercy is a golden opportunity to restore the true image of the biblical God who not only has mercy but is mercy.
This bold assertion is based on the fact that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8, 16). It is only in the Trinity, however, that God is love without being mercy. The Father loving the Son is not a grace or a concession, it is a necessity; the Father needs to love in order to exist as Father. The Son loving the Father is not a mercy or grace; it is a necessity even though it occurs with the utmost freedom; the Son needs to be loved and to love in order to be the Son. The same can be said about the Holy Spirit who is love as a person.
It is when God creates the world and free human beings in it that love ceases for God to be nature and becomes grace. This love is a free concession; it ishesed, grace and mercy. The sin of human beings does not change the nature of this love but causes it to make a qualitative leap: mercy as a gift now becomes mercy as forgiveness. Love goes from being a simple gift to become a suffering love because God suffers when his love is rejected."The LORD has spoken: ‘Sons have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me’” (Is 1:2). Just ask the many fathers and mothers who have experienced their children’s rejection if it does not cause suffering—and one of the most intense sufferings in life.
***
But what about the justice of God? Has it been forgotten or underestimated? St. Paul answered this question once and for all. The apostle begins his explanation in the Letter to the Romans with this news: “Now the righteousness of God has been manifested” (Rom 3:21). We can ask, what kind of righteousness is this? Is it the righteousness that gives “unicuique suum,” each person his or her due, and distributes rewards and punishments according to people’s merits? There will of course come a time when this kind of divine righteous justice that gives people what they deserve will also be manifested. The apostle in fact wrote shortly before in Romans that God
will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. (2:6-8
But Paul is not talking about this kind of justice when he writes, “Now the righteousness of God has been manifested.” The first kind of justice he talks about involves a future event, but this other event is occurring “now.” If that were not the case, Paul’s statement would be an absurd assertion that contradicts the facts. From the point of view of distributive justice, nothing changed in the world with the coming of Christ. We continue, said Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, to see the guilty often on the throne and the innocent on the scaffold. But lest we think there is some kind of justice and some fixed order in the world, although it is upside down, sometimes the reverse happens and the innocent are on the throne and the guilty on the scaffold.[1] It is not, therefore, in this social and historical sense that the innovation brought by Christ consists. Let us hear what the apostle says:
Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus. (Rom 3:23-26)
God shows his righteousness and justice by having mercy! This is the great revelation. The apostle says God is “just and justifying,” that is, he is just to himself when he justifies human beings; he is in fact love and mercy, so for that reason he is just to himself—he truly demonstrates who he is—when he has mercy.
But we cannot understand any of this if we do not know exactly what the expression “the righteousness of God” means. There is a danger that people can hear about the righteousness of God but not understand its meaning, so instead of being encouraged they are frightened. St. Augustine had already clearly explained its meaning centuries ago: “The ‘righteousness of God’ is that by which we are made righteous, just as ‘the salvation of God’ [see Ps 3:8] means the salvation by which he saves us.”[2] In other words, the righteousness of God is that by which God makes those who believe in his Son Jesus acceptable to him. It does not enact justice but makes people just
Luther deserves the credit for bringing this truth back when its meaning had been lost over the centuries, at least in Christian preaching, and it is this above all for which Christianity is indebted to the Reformation, whose fifth centenary occurs next year. The reformer later wrote that when he discovered this, “I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.”[3] But it was neither Augustine nor Luther who explained the concept of “the righteousness of God” this way; Scripture had done that before they did:
When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy” (Titus 3:4-5).
God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our own trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. (see Eph 2:4-5)
Therefore, to say “the righteousness of God has been manifested” is like saying that God’s goodness, his love, his mercy, has been revealed. God’s justice not only does not contradict his mercy but consists precisely in mercy!
***
What happened on the cross that was so important as to explain this radical change in the fate of humanity? In his book on Jesus of Nazareth, Benedict XVI wrote, “That which is wrong, the reality of evil, cannot simply be ignored; it cannot just be left to stand. It must be dealt with; it must be overcome. Only this counts as a true mercy. And the fact that God now confronts evil himself because men are incapable of doing so—therein lies the ‘unconditional’ goodness of God.”[4]
God was not satisfied with merely forgiving people’s sins; he did infinitely more than that: he took those sins upon himself, he shouldered them himself. The Son of God, says Paul, “became sin for us.” What a shocking statement! In the Middle Ages some people found it difficult to believe that God would require the death of his Son in order to reconcile the world to himself. St. Bernard responded to this by saying, “What pleased God was not Christ’s death but his will in dying of his own accord”: “Non mors placuit sed voluntas sponte morientis.”[5] It was not death, then, but love that saved us!
The love of God reached human beings at the farthest point to which they were driven in their flight from him, death itself. The death of Christ needed to demonstrate to everyone the supreme proof of God’s mercy toward sinners. That is why his death does not even have the dignity of a certain privacy but is framed between the death of two thieves. He wants to remain a friend to sinners right up to the end, so he dies like them and with them.
***
It is time for us to realize that the opposite of mercy is not justice but vengeance. Jesus did not oppose mercy to justice but to the law of retaliation: “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Ex 21:24). In forgiving sinners God is renouncing not justice but vengeance; he does not desire the death of a sinner but wants the sinner to convert and live (see Ez 18:23). On the cross Jesus did not ask his Father for vengeance.
The hate and the brutality of the terrorist attacks this week in Brussels help us to understand the divine power of Christ’s last words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:24). No matter how far the hate of human beings can go, the love of God always has been, and will be, greater. In these current circumstances Paul’s exhortation is addressed to us: “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21).
We need to demythologize vengeance! It has become a pervasive mythic theme that infects everything and everybody, starting with children. A large number of the stories we see on the screen and in video games are stories of revenge, passed off at times as the victory of a good hero. Half, if not more, of the suffering in the world (apart from natural disasters and illnesses) come from the desire for revenge, whether in personal relationships or between states and nations.
It has been said that “Beauty will save the world.”[6] But beauty, as we know very well, can also lead to ruin. There is only one thing that can truly save the world, mercy! The mercy of God for human beings and the mercy of human beings for each other. In particular, it can save the most precious and fragile thing in the world at this time, marriage and the family.
Something similar happens in marriage to what happened in God’s relationship with humanity that the Bible in fact describes with the image of a wedding. In the very beginning, as I said, there was love, not mercy. Mercy comes in only after humanity’s sin. So too in marriage, in the beginning there is not mercy but love. People do not get married because of mercy but because of love. But then after years or even months of life together, the limitations of each spouse emerge, and problems with health, finance, and the children arise. A routine sets in that quenches all joy.
What can save a marriage from going downhill without any hope of coming back up again is mercy, understood in the biblical sense, that is, not just reciprocal forgiveness but spouses acting with “compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience” (Col 3:12). Mercy adds agape to eros, it adds the love that gives of oneself and has compassion to the love of need and desire. God “takes pity” on human beings (see Ps 102:13). Shouldn’t a husband and wife, then, take pity on each other? And those of us who live in community, shouldn’t we take pity on one another instead of judging one another?
Let us pray. Heavenly Father, by the merits of your Son on the cross who “became sin for us” (see 2 Cor 5:21), remove any desire for vengeance from the hearts of individuals, families, and nations, and make us fall in love with mercy. Let the Holy Father’s intention in proclaiming this Year of Mercy be met with a concrete response in our lives, and let everyone experience the joy of being reconciled with you in the depth of the heart. Amen!



[1] See Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, “Sermon sur la Providence” (1662), inOeuvres de Bossuet, eds. B. Velat and Y. Champailler (Paris: Pléiade, 1961), p. 1062. 
[2] See St. Augustine, The Spirit and the Letter, 32, 56, in Augustine: Later Works, trans. and intro. John Burnaby (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1955), p. 241; see also PL 44, p. 237.
[3] Martin Luther, Preface to Latin Writings, in Luther’s Works, vol. 34 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1960), p. 337.
[4] Joseph Ratzinger [Benedict XVI], Jesus of Nazareth, Part II (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011), p. 133.
[5] St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Letter 190, “Against the Errors of Abelard,” in Anthony N. S. Lane, Theologian of the Cross (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2013), pp. 201-202. See also PL 182, p. 1070.
[6] Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot, III, 5, trans. Henry and Olga Carlisle (New York: New American Library, 1969), p. 402.


What is Good Friday? The Day Jesus Died for Love of You - #GoodFriday SHARE


Good Friday,  is the Friday in Holy Week. On this day the Church remembers the anniversary of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is one of the oldest feasts in the calendar. From the earliest times the Christians kept every Friday as a feast day. The origin of the term Good is not clear. Some say it is from "God's Friday" (Gottes Freitag). Sometimes, too, the day was called Long Friday by the Anglo-Saxons; so today in Denmark.
Good Friday, is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It celebrates the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. This falls on the 2nd day of the Easter Triduum after the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.
During the liturgy the account of the Passion according to the Gospel of John is read, there are  intercessory prayers, and the faithful venerate the Cross by kissing it. The Liturgy ends with the distribution of Holy Communion.
 There is no Mass celebrated on Good Friday Hosts that were kept from the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday are distributed. The service on Good Friday is very solemn; the organ is not played, and all vestments are red or (Traditional Latin Mass) black.
 Fasting and Abstinence is observed on Good Friday. Catholics over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 are required to fast, this means that they can eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day, with no food in between. Those who are over the age of 14 are required to refrain from eating any meat, or any food made with meat, on Good Friday.
Catholics are encouraged to attend the Commemoration of Our Lord's Passion on Good Friday. However, Good Friday is not a Holy Day of Obligation.  A veiled image of the Crucifix is gradually exposed to view, while the celebrant, accompanied by his assistants, sings three times the "Ecce lignum Crucis", etc. (Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the salvation of the world), to which the choir answers, each time, "Venite adoremus" (Come let us adore). During the singing of this response the whole assembly (except the celebrant) kneel in adoration. When the Cross is completely unveiled the celebrant carries it to the foot of the altar, and places it in a cushion prepared for it. He then takes off his shoes and approaches the Cross (genuflecting three times on the way) and kisses it.  Edited from the Catholic Encyclopedia

What are the Stations of the #Cross - Powerful #Prayer of Jesus' sufferings for Us - With Indulgences - SHARE

The Stations of the Cross is a series of images showing the struggles of Jesus Christ from his condemnation to his crucifixion. They are especially prayed during Lent and Good Friday. There are usually 14 images that are hung in order around a church or along a path. People walk from image to image, and stop at each "station" saying prayers and possibly reading scripture passages. This prayer is often held by groups or individually. Other names for the Stations of the Cross are the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows, or, The Way. In Jerusalem, the Via Dolorosa is the actual path that Jesus walked, and the stations are the actual places where the events occurred.  St. Francis of Assisi started the tradition of moving from station to station although it was practiced less formerly before. In Lent, and on Good Friday, this practice is very popular but it is also prayed during the year.The number of stations varied throughout history; Pope Clement XII extended to all churches the right to have the stations. Ultimately, the stations are an act of love towards Jesus to thank him for the great sacrifices he made for love of us and to atone for our sins.
Here is the most common list of Stations:
 1. Jesus is condemned to death
2. Jesus carries his cross
3. Jesus falls the first time
4. Jesus meets his mother
5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
7. Jesus falls the second time
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
9. Jesus falls the third time
10. Jesus is stripped of his garments
11.Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross
12. Jesus dies on the cross
13. Jesus is taken down from the cross
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb.
15. Resurrection of Jesus is sometimes included as a fifteenth station.
Common prayers at each Station:
(while genuflecting)

P/ We adore thee O Christ and we praise thee.

C/Becuase by thy Holy cross thou hast redeemed the world.

And, when moving from station to station:

All: Holy Mother, pierce me thorugh, in my heart each wound renew, of my saviour crucified.

Indulgences are: 
  • A plenary indulgence every time the devotion is completed.
  • An additional plenary indulgence if one receives Holy Communion on the day.
  • Also an additional plenary indulgence if one performs the devotion ten times and receives Holy Communion within a month after so doing.
  • A partial indulgence of ten years for every Station made if one was not able to finish the Stations.
    The conditions for gaining them are
    • Walking from Station to Station when making the Way of the Cross privately; when making it publicly, it suffices for the priest with the altar boys to do so. Meditate at each Station on the sufferings of our Lord.




  • These two conditions are essential. No oral prayers are prescribed; yet they are profitable.
  • A plenary indulgence* is granted to the faithful for making the Stations of the Cross under the normal conditions: 




  • one is free from all attachment from sin
  • one receives the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist (7 days before or after)
  • one prays for the intentions of the Pope (1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be) 

  •  2016

    Breathtaking Hymn #StabatMater for Good Friday sung by Children's Choir - FULL Lyrics

     Stabat Mater is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary. It imagines her suffering as Jesus Christ's mother during his crucifixion. Although not certain it is that Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi or Pope Innocent III composed the text. This musical rendition is by Pergolesi who lived in 1736. 


    Stabat mater dolorosa
    juxta Crucem lacrimosa,
    dum pendebat Filius.

    Cuius animam gementem,
    contristatam et dolentem
    pertransivit gladius.

    O quam tristis et afflicta
    fuit illa benedicta,
    mater Unigeniti!

    Quae mœrebat et dolebat,
    pia Mater, dum videbat
    nati pœnas inclyti.

    Quis est homo qui non fleret,
    matrem Christi si videret
    in tanto supplicio?

    Quis non posset contristari
    Christi Matrem contemplari
    dolentem cum Filio?

    Pro peccatis suæ gentis
    vidit Iesum in tormentis,
    et flagellis subditum.

    Vidit suum dulcem Natum
    moriendo desolatum,
    dum emisit spiritum.

    Eia, Mater, fons amoris
    me sentire vim doloris
    fac, ut tecum lugeam.

    Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
    in amando Christum Deum
    ut sibi complaceam.

    Sancta Mater, istud agas,
    crucifixi fige plagas
    cordi meo valide.

    Tui Nati vulnerati,
    tam dignati pro me pati,
    pœnas mecum divide.

    Fac me tecum pie flere,
    crucifixo condolere,
    donec ego vixero.

    Juxta Crucem tecum stare,
    et me tibi sociare
    in planctu desidero.

    Virgo virginum præclara,
    mihi iam non sis amara,
    fac me tecum plangere.

    Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
    passionis fac consortem,
    et plagas recolere.

    Fac me plagis vulnerari,
    fac me Cruce inebriari,
    et cruore Filii.

    Flammis ne urar succensus,
    per te, Virgo, sim defensus
    in die iudicii.

    Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
    da per Matrem me venire
    ad palmam victoriæ.

    Quando corpus morietur,
    fac, ut animæ donetur
    paradisi gloria. Amen.
    At the Cross her station keeping,
    stood the mournful Mother weeping,
    close to her Son to the last.

    Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
    all His bitter anguish bearing,
    now at length the sword has passed.

    O how sad and sore distressed
    was that Mother, highly blest,
    of the sole-begotten One.

    Christ above in torment hangs,
    she beneath beholds the pangs
    of her dying glorious Son.

    Is there one who would not weep,
    whelmed in miseries so deep,
    Christ's dear Mother to behold?

    Can the human heart refrain
    from partaking in her pain,
    in that Mother's pain untold?

    For the sins of His own nation,
    She saw Jesus wracked with torment,
    All with scourges rent:

    She beheld her tender Child,
    Saw Him hang in desolation,
    Till His spirit forth He sent.

    O thou Mother! fount of love!
    Touch my spirit from above,
    make my heart with thine accord:

    Make me feel as thou hast felt;
    make my soul to glow and melt
    with the love of Christ my Lord.

    Holy Mother! pierce me through,
    in my heart each wound renew
    of my Savior crucified:

    Let me share with thee His pain,
    who for all my sins was slain,
    who for me in torments died.

    Let me mingle tears with thee,
    mourning Him who mourned for me,
    all the days that I may live:

    By the Cross with thee to stay,
    there with thee to weep and pray,
    is all I ask of thee to give.

    Virgin of all virgins blest!,
    Listen to my fond request:
    let me share thy grief divine;

    Let me, to my latest breath,
    in my body bear the death
    of that dying Son of thine.

    Wounded with His every wound,
    steep my soul till it hath swooned,
    in His very Blood away;

    Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
    lest in flames I burn and die,
    in His awful Judgment Day.

    Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
    be Thy Mother my defense,
    be Thy Cross my victory;

    While my body here decays,
    may my soul Thy goodness praise,
    Safe in Paradise with Thee.
    — Translation by Edward Caswall, Lyra Catholica (1849)

    Free Catholic Movie - The Jesus Film - Stars Brian Deacon and Rivka Neuman


    The Jesus Film (1979) The Jesus Film (1979) "Jesus" (original title) G | 117 min | Biography, Drama, Family | 19 October 1979 (USA) 7.2 Your rating: -/10 Jesus of Nazareth,the son of God raised by a Jewish carpenter. Based on the gospel of Luke in the New Testament,here is the life of Jesus from the miraculous virgin birth to the calling of ... See full summary » Directors: John Krish, Peter Sykes Writer: Barnet Bain (screenplay) (as Barnet Fishbein) Stars: Brian Deacon, Rivka Neuman, Alexander Scourby |


     2016

    Saint March 25 : The Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary



    The fact of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is related in Luke 1:26-38. The Evangelist tells us that in the sixth month after the conception of St. John the Baptist by Elizabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to the Virgin Mary, at Nazareth, a small town in the mountains of Galilee. Mary was of the house of David, and was espoused (i.e. married) to Joseph, of the same royal family. She had, however, not yet entered the household of her spouse, but was still in her mother's house, working, perhaps, over her dowry. (Bardenhewer, Maria Verk., 69). And the angel having taken the figure and the form of man, came into the house and said to her: "Hail, full of grace (to whom is given grace, favoured one), the Lord is with thee." Mary having heard the greeting words did not speak; she was troubled in spirit, since she knew not the angel, nor the cause of his coming, nor the meaning of the salutation. And the angel continued and said: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end." The Virgin understood that there was question of the coming Redeemer. But, why should she be elected from amongst women for the splendid dignity of being the mother of the Messiah, having vowed her virginity to God? (St. Augustine). Therefore, not doubting the word of God like Zachary, but filled with fear and astonishment, she said: "How shall this be done, because I know not man?"
    The angel to remove Mary's anxiety and to assure her that her virginity would be spared, answered: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." In token of the truth of his word he made known to her the conception of St. John, the miraculous pregnancy of her relative now old and sterile: "And behold, thy cousin Elizabeth; she also has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: because no word shall be impossible with God." Mary may not yet have fully understood the meaning of the heavenly message and how the maternity might be reconciled with her vow of virginity, but clinging to the first words of the angel and trusting to the Omnipotence of God she said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word."
    Since 1889 Holzmann and many Protestant writers have tried to show that the verses Luke 1:34-35, containing the message of conception through the Holy Ghost are interpolated. Usener derives the origin of the "myth" from the heathen hero worship; but Harnack tries to prove that it is of Judaic origin (Isaiah 7:14, Behold a Virgin shall conceive, etc.). Bardenhewer, however, has fully established the authenticity of the text (p. 13). St. Luke may have taken his knowledge of the event from an older account, written in Aramaic or Hebrew. The words: "Blessed art thou among women" (v. 28), are spurious and taken from verse 42, the account of the Visitation. Cardinal Cajetan wanted to understand the words: "because I know not man", not of the future, but only of the past: up to this hour I do not know man. This manifest error, which contradicts the words of the text, has been universally rejected by all Catholic authors. The opinion that Joseph at the time of the Annunciation was an aged widower and Mary twelve or fifteen years of age, is founded only upon apocryphal documents. The local tradition of Nazareth pretends that the angel met Mary and greeted her at the fountain, and when she fled from him in fear, he followed her into the house and there continued his message. (Buhl, Geogr. v. Palaest., 1896.) The year and day of the Annunciation cannot be determined as long as new material does not throw more light on the subject. The present date of the feast (25 March) depends upon the date of the older feast of Christmas.
    The Annunciation is the beginning of Jesus in His human nature. Through His mother He is a member of the human race. If the virginity of Mary before, during, and after the conception of her Divine Son was always considered part of the deposit of faith, this was done only on account of the historical facts and testimonials. The Incarnation of the Son of God did not in itself necessitate this exception from the laws of nature. Only reasons of expediency are given for it, chiefly, the end of the Incarnation. About to found a new generation of the children of God, The Redeemer does not arrive in the way of earthly generations: the power of the Holy Spirit enters the chaste womb of the Virgin, forming the humanity of Christ. Many holy fathers (Sts. Jerome, Cyril, Ephrem, Augustine) say that the consent of Mary was essential to the redemption. It was the will of God, St. Thomas says (Summa III:30), that the redemption of mankind should depend upon the consent of the Virgin Mary. This does not mean that God in His plans was bound by the will of a creature, and that man would not have been redeemed, if Mary had not consented. It only means that the consent of Mary was foreseen from all eternity, and therefore was received as essential into the design of God.
    Text shared from the Catholic Encyclopedia

    Today's Mass Readings and Video : #GoodFriday March 25, 2016


    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.
    Service and Sound starts at 11:45 
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