Let us pray..
Jesus, I see you naked, bloody, suffering terribly. You cry out in pain and agony. I hear you say, “I thirst.” I feel helpless because I don’t know what you mean. How do you want me to alleviate your thirst? I need help getting in touch with my own thirst—a thirst that I unconsciously fill with so many distractions that leave me unsatisfied. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I know most of all, Lord, that I thirst for love. Could that be what you ultimately thirst for, too? Then help me fall in love with you. Amen.
“Surely not I my Lord?” when I told you I would not give in to my anger and pride. “Surely not I my Lord?” when I said I was not going to fall into sexual temptations. “Surely not I my Lord?” when I said I would never deny you in front of others but did so by my words and actions. “Surely not I my Lord?” when I told you I would not but turned by back on those crying out to me for help, the poor, the needy, my fallen brethren, my church.
Amidst all pain and obstacles You O Lord remained steadfast in love to do Your Father’s Will. Help me to do likewise, knowing that You will never abandon me.
Lord, in your great love, answer me.
In multitúdine misericórdia tua, Dómine, exáudi me, témpore grátiæ. Amen
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, “My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”
We all have experienced betrayal in one way or another and it always hurt a whole lot more when it was someone we loved and cared about. Some of us become bitter, withdrawn even depressed. Others launch into defence mode often cold and vindictive seeking to get even.
But you O Lord were patient and loving to the end, offering many chances for a change of heart. Even though it must have been extremely hurtful to face such betrayal and knowing that all those whom you loved would soon leave you in your hour of need, still you persevered to do our Father’s Will because You so loved us, Your friends.
Give us the strength to persevere especially when we are tempted to abandon our cross, let us stay focussed on doing our Father’s Will as You were. So that striving for Holiness we may lead one another into our heavenly inheritance. Amen
John 13:21–33, 36–38
Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant. One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or to give something to the poor. So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.
When he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”
Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” Peter said to him, “Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”
Have I offered my best or choicest to my Lord and God in praise, honour and worship? Or have I made excuses out of being practical or modest? Have I anointed the feet of Jesus my Lord with such fragrant oil of love, that it perfumes the air such that everyone can know the presence of my Lord in all I say and do?
When I feel that Jesus is not with me, do I go seeking Him out knowing I will surely find Him in the poor? Do I serve Him in the poor and downtrodden bringing them His light? The same light that illuminated my life and drove all darkness from it.
Lord Jesus be with me always, however if there are times that You must go so that I may grow, then return to me Lord as swiftly as Your Will is done. Amen
Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said, “Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions. So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”
The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.
Meditations, Personal Thoughts & Reflections
I began this Lenten journey like most with the desire to grow in my relationship with God. But what I was shown and taught went a whole lot deeper.
First thing I learned was that in any relationship, with a spouse, children, family members, friends, colleagues and whomever I desire to get to know better. I would need to ‘SPEND’ time with them. In other words I would need to invest some precious time in order that I may build up my relationship with them. And by doing so on a regular basis, and with God’s grace I am able to build intimate bonds with them.
So it is with building a relationship with God, I need to spend time with Him, getting to know Him and experiencing Him in His Word. I would need to spend quiet time with Him in prayer, and stay alert listening to Him and being in His presence. To heed Him as He told His disciples, ”Could you not stake awake an hour with me?” Matt 26:40
Now here is where it gets deeper, to grow in my relationship with Him does not end in building it in Him or with Him alone. I need to grow in my relationship with His Body, in other words with my brothers and sisters in Christ! Not just my immediate family, but my Church community. Not just the ones that I love, but the ones I don’t love as much or at all. And how do I go about doing that? Well like in the very beginning, I need to spend time with them; learning and growing in faith with them.
While there is certainly room for improvement and further growth, I praise and thank God for allowing me to grow in my relationship with Him, my immediate family and my family in Him during this Lenten journey. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen
April 13th 2014 – Passion Sunday
Sunday Bible Reflections by Dr. Scott Hahn
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
“All this has come to pass that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled,” Jesus says in today’s Gospel (see Matthew 26:56).
Indeed, we have reached the climax of the liturgical year, the highest peak of salvation history, when all that has been anticipated and promised is to be fulfilled.
By the close of today’s long Gospel, the work of our redemption will have been accomplished, the new covenant will be written in the blood of His broken body hanging on the cross at the place called the Skull.
In His Passion, Jesus is “counted among the wicked,” as Isaiah had foretold (see Isaiah 53:12). He is revealed definitively as the Suffering Servant the prophet announced, the long-awaited Messiah whose words of obedience and faith ring out in today’s First Reading and Psalm.
The taunts and torments we hear in these two readings punctuate the Gospel as Jesus is beaten and mocked (see Matthew 27:31), as His hands and feet are pierced, as enemies gamble for His clothes (see Matthew 27:35), and as his enemies dare Him to prove His divinity by saving Himself from suffering (see Matthew 27:39-44).
He remains faithful to God’s will to the end, does not turn back in His trial. He gives Himself freely to His torturers, confident that, as He speaks in today’s First Reading: “The Lord God is My help…I shall not be put to shame.”
Destined to sin and death as children of Adam’s disobedience, we have been set free for holiness and life by Christ’s perfect obedience to the Father’s will (see Romans 5:12-14,17-19; Ephesians 2:2; 5:6).
This is why God greatly exalted Him. This is why we have salvation in His Name. Following His example of humble obedience in the trials and crosses of our lives, we know we will never be forsaken. We know, as the centurion today, that truly this is the Son of God (see Matthew 27:54).