READINGS for 2008-03-21
He said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. – John 19:30
Ever wondered why the memory of the death of Christ is called Good Friday? How can His death be so good?
Two years ago, Mommy died after a surgery at the Philippine General Hospital. I missed her so much and only found solace in the thought that she is happier in heaven. How good it would be if she were still around. Good for me, that is.
But at 86 years old, surely she must have been tired. After having served us for so many years, she died in a state of grace at a ripe old age and her spirit expired silently. Now she can enjoy the presence of the Lord. I can imagine Jesus heaving a sigh of relief in His words, “It is finished!” His suffering has ended. His mission is accomplished. He can be with His Father in glory.
Today, as I recall the passion and death of Jesus, I also celebrate deep in my heart His victory over death. And yes, I do feel it is a good Friday after all. Cristy Galang
Let’s meditate not only in the passion and death of Jesus, but also on the victorious mission He has accomplished.
My Jesus, please help me to see the meaning behind Your passion and death and allow it to be fulfilled in me. Amen.
Isaiah presents to us the horror of suffering. It is something that is close to our lives if we care to open ourselves up to the plight of the poor in our midst. Yes, there is deep physical suffering somewhere close by. What is your response to the call to unite yourself with those who suffer? How can you play even a small part in helping to alleviate some of the suffering in the world today?
13 See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. 14 Even as many were amazed at him — so marred was his look beyond that of man, and his appearance beyond that of mortals — 15 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. 53: 1 Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 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. 3 He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. 4 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. 5 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. 6 We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all. 7 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. 8 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, 9 a grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood. 10 [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. 11 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. 12 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.
P S A L M
Psalm 31:2 and 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17 and 25
R: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
1  In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your justice rescue me. 5  Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God. (R) 11  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. 12  I am forgotten like the unremembered dead; I am like a dish that is broken. (R) 14  But my trust is in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” 15  In your hands is my destiny; rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors. (R) 16  Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your kindness. 24  Take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the LORD. (R)
I always find it amazing that God would allow His Son Jesus to suffer such a horrible death. Surely there was another way we could have been saved? Even if this is the case, God chose to do it the way it was done. This means that we have to reflect upon the reality of the suffering of the Son of God and ask ourselves, “Why?” We have to confront the horror that it is for our sins He suffered and thus respond to the depth of love that would lead to such a sacrifice.
Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
14 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. 15 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. 16 So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help. 5: 7 In the days when he 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. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; 9 and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
G O S P E L
John’s account of the Passion, while similar to the synoptic accounts invites us to reflect upon some different aspects of Jesus’ death. One is the conversation between Jesus, John and Mary at the foot of the cross. Even when He is in great pain, Jesus remembers His duty to His mother and commends her to John’s care. It is essential that we never allow our personal circumstances, no matter how dire they may be, to distract us from our fundamental duties as persons.
1 Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered. 2 Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4 Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.” He said to them, “I AM.” Judas his betrayer was also with them. 6 When he said to them, “I AM,” they turned away and fell to the ground. 7 So he again asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill what he had said, “I have not lost any of those you gave me.” 10 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. 11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?” 12 So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, 13 and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people. 15 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. 16 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. 17 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.” 18 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. 19 The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. 20 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. 21 Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.” 22 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?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25 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.” 26 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?” 27 Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed. 28 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. 29 So Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring [against] this man?” 30 They answered and said to him, “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” 31 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,” 32 in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled that he said indicating the kind of death he would die. 33 So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” 35 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?” 36 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.” 37 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.” 38 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. 39 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?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this one but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary. 19: 1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. 2 And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, 3 and they came to him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly. 4 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.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, “Behold, the man!” 6 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.” 7 The Jews answered, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” 8 Now when Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid, 9 and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” Jesus did not answer him. 10 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?” 11 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.” 12 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.” 13 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. 14 It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your king!” 15 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.” 16 Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, 17 and carrying the cross himself he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.” 20 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. 21 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.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” 23 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. 24 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. 25 Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary of Magdala. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. 28 After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” 29 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. 30 When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. 31 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 they be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, 34 but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 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. 36 For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of it will be broken.” 37 And again another passage says: “They will look upon him whom they have pierced.” 38 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. 39 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. 40 They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom. 41 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. 42 So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.
think:What small part can you play in helping to alleviate some of the suffering in the world today?
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Genesis 41-45
SAGETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Cuthbert, born in 635 A.D. at Scotland, worked as a shepherd in his early years. At 16, he received a vision of St. Aidan being carried to heaven by angels. This made him consider entering the seminary. But prior to that, Cuthbert served as a soldier in Northumbria. It was only after the conflict when he decided on his call to priesthood. He entered the monastery at Melrose.
When the monastery at Ripon was founded, Cuthbert became master. He and his followers went back to Melrose when the Roman approach adopted Ripon in 661. Three years later, he served as Prior of Melrose. When the Synod of Whitby settled the differences between the Roman and Celtic Christianity, in favour of the former, Cuthbert, despite his Celtic background, gladly submitted. He moved to Lindisfarne for the smooth transition. Cuthbert continued in the evangelization and conversion of people to Christianity. Not long after, he retired and shortly lived as a hermit. He moved to Farne Island then back to Lindisfarne where he was invited to become bishop.
Two years later, he felt his death nearing. He resigned his see and moved back to Farne Island where he died on March 20, 687.
His tomb became an attraction for pilgrims. Miracles were reported to have occurred; thus, he was called “Wonderworker of England.”
Saint enDa of arran
Saint Enda was born of nobility in Meath, Ireland. He was an Irish prince and the son of Conall Derg of Ergall, Ulster. Enda served his people as a soldier, but when his brother Saint Fanchea of Rossory encouraged him in the Faith, the man converted to Christianity.
Enda gave up his military life and his dreams of conquest. Instead, he envisioned himself to marry. But when his fiancée died, the prince renounced the throne and entered the seminary. Enda became a monk. He went as a pilgrim to Rome then later served as a priest. Enda continued his education in Galloway, Scotland with Saint Ninian. On his return home, he founded a monastery at Killeany in the Arran Islands, making him the founder of Irish monasticism.
This served as the first true monastery in the country. Along with this, Enda built churches at Drogheda and a monastery in the Boyne valley. Enda became the spiritual teacher of a number of saints. Among them were Saints Ciaran of Clonmacnoise, Brendan the Voyager, Finnian, Columba of Iona, Jarlath of Tuam, and Cartach the Elder.
Saint Enda of Arran died in 530 and was buried at Tighlagheany, Inishmore, Ireland.
In 420 A.D, a Christian bishop’s burning down of the Pyraeum put an end to the 12 years of peace the Church had enjoyed in the kingdom. Isdegerdes demolished all Christian churches in Persia. He ordered for the death of the bishop and persecuted the Church.
Saint Benjamin, a deacon, came to the Christians’ rescue. He was beaten and imprisoned in a dungeon. After a year, an ambassador of the emperor released him provided that he would never speak about religion to any of the courtiers. Benjamin became a street preacher, proclaiming the Good News about God to every person he met. When the king learned about this, Benjamin arrested and tortured. Saint Benjamin died in martyrdom in 424.
a life offered in serviCe
Today’s liturgy, among many other things, celebrates two very important aspects of the Christian life. We remember the institution of the Eucharist and we do this in the context of recognizing that Jesus came to offer His life in the service of all. It is essential that we realize that these two aspects of today’s celebration are inseparable.
Jesus instituted the Eucharist as the ongoing means for the celebration and making present to the lives of all His disciples the gift of salvation He offers to all. The Eucharist is thus the source of all we do as Christians and the goal to which we aspire, in the sense that Jesus’ example of self-giving will become the pattern of our own lives given in the service of the Church and one another. The Eucharist is not just a celebration of salvation, but also the call to unite ourselves to the offering of Jesus, and thus becomes the means by which the gift of salvation is brought into the lives of those who have not yet met Jesus.
This is why it is important for us to appropriate Jesus’ example of service as celebrated in the ritual of the washing of the feet in today’s evening liturgy. It is not enough for us to simply remember these events as a part of Jesus’ life and witness to us. We must take them to ourselves and make them our own in the way we live in His service and the service of the Church. Only then will we, as individuals and the Church as the Body of Christ, truly become the witnesses we need to be in order to transform the world.
Jesus did not come to seek any glory for Himself. He obeyed His Father ’s will in order to save us from our sins. He is an example to us of selfless service and love – an example we should seek to emulate in all that we do. The world would be a vastly different place if we all followed the example of Jesus and sought to serve others rather than be served ourselves. Fr. Steve Tynan
How can I make the world a better place in which to live? What gifts and resources do I have to offer others and how can I be faithful to this aspect of my call?
Father, You generously gave us Your Son, Jesus, to be our Savior. Help me to follow His example of selfless service and so be an instrument of change for the betterment of the world.
Blessed John of Parma, pray for us.
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