Today’s first reading has a special place in my heart. For the Lord has spoken these very words to me a number of times as He gently and lovingly wakes me in the morning. He reminds me just how much He loves me as I listen intently to His word and will for me. Then He sends me out to comfort those who are tired and struggling, to bring His presence to them. So that they too might know how loved they are by Him.

Have I not be tempted to sell off my relationship with Him for thirty pieces of silver? Surely I have when I choose to watch netflix, online movies for hours on end without even pausing to pray or to be His disciple. When my work in the office is all I think about even when I’m at home. When I choose to distract myself with pornographic material instead of looking upon Him. When I simply refuse to come out of my comfort zone to explore new ways, be it using the latest technology available to draw closer to Him and lead others to do likewise. When I choose to laze, eat and sleep without lifting a finger to help those in need. The list above is not exhaustive…

Yet it is in these times I must turn to my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ who still loves me and confess to Him, ‘Surely it is I who have betrayed you Lord, in Your mercy Lord pardon my sins and heal me.” So that I may once again have my loving saviour wake me. To listen to Your sweet voice, receive Your grace and to begin the day in filial discipleship. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 50:4-9 ·
Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me

The Lord has given me a disciple’s tongue.
So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech.
Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. The Lord has opened my ear.

For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face
against insult and spittle.

The Lord comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults. So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.

My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me? Then let us go to court together. Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me.

The Lord is coming to my help, who will dare to condemn me?

Gospel

Matthew 26:14-25
‘The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will’

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.”’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.
When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.


‘Death before dishonour’ wow! I marveled at the tattoo on my camp mate’s arm about thirty years ago. Wondering would I be able to live up to such a gung-ho code? Was he? Seriously doubt that he was, but what did it matter to me if he was or not? Moreover I didn’t have it tattooed on my own arm. Still it played on mind from time to time over the years as I tried to live it out in my life.There is no doubt that sin leads to darkness and if we continue to live in sin then we have chosen to dishonour our relationship with the Lord our God. This ultimately leads us to death. It is therefore far better to endure physical death blameless so as to rise to eternal life with our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Who chose to honour His Father by doing His Will always. Jesus is indeed the light of all nations and He will drive all darkness away. The darkness that Judas Iscariot chose to succumb to and so the dark of night fell upon him.Jesus my Lord, illumine my heart, my mind, my soul. That I too may be a beacon of Your light for others. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 49:1-6 ·
I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.Islands, listen to me, pay attention, remotest peoples. The Lord called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.He made my mouth a sharp sword, and hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me into a sharpened arrow, and concealed me in his quiver.He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel) in whom I shall be glorified’; while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain, I have exhausted myself for nothing’; and all the while my cause was with the Lord, my reward with my God. I was honoured in the eyes of the Lord, my God was my strength.And now the Lord has spoken, he who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him:‘It is not enough for you to be my servant,
to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’

Gospel

John 13:21-33,36-38
‘What you are going to do, do quickly’While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.
When he had gone Jesus said:‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,
and in him God has been glorified.
If God has been glorified in him,
God will in turn glorify him in himself,
and will glorify him very soon.‘My little children,
I shall not be with you much longer.
You will look for me,
And, as I told the Jews,
where I am going, you cannot come.’Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’


“Be like the rose that perfumes the hand that crushes it.” I first heard this phrase from my English teacher while in a conversation in my early teens. It struck me then and spoke to my heart as I was rather quick tempered then and at times slightly volatile. This phrase gave me a glimpse of a possibility of looking beyond oneself and being loving regardless of how one was being treated. Today I see Jesus as that very Rose that was crushed for our sins. He did not come to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him.

I am likewise called to be rose after my saviour for others. My acts of love and reverence for Him is the pure nard that will perfume the air that will lead others to Him. And if there is a need that I lay down my life for the least of my brethren, then I too shall surely rise with my Lord on the last day. This is my faith built upon my rock, my Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

First reading

Isaiah 42:1-7 ·
Here is my chosen one in whom my soul delights

Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights.
I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations.

He does not cry out or shout aloud, or make his voice heard in the streets. He does not break the crushed Reed, nor quench the wavering flame.

Faithfully he brings true justice; he will neither waver, nor be crushed until true justice is established on earth, for the islands are awaiting his law.

Thus says God, the Lord, he who created the heavens and spread them out, who gave shape to the earth and what comes from it,
who gave breath to its people and life to the creatures that move in it:

‘I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right; I have taken you by the hand and formed you; I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations,

‘to open the eyes of the blind,
to free captives from prison,
and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.’

Gospel

John 12:1-11
‘She had to keep this scent for the day of my burial’

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot – one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him – said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions. So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone; she had to keep this scent for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.’
Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.

Passion Sunday

Posted: April 4, 2020 by CatholicJules in Sunday Reflections
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All Is Fulfilled: Scott Hahn Reflects on Passion Sunday


Readings:

Isaiah 50:4–7
Psalm 22:8–917–2023–24
Philippians 2:6–11
Matthew 26:14–27:66
 
“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 5:12–1417–19Ephesians 2:25:6).

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).


I like speaking with people, meeting up with them and sharing Jesus with them. I am most alive when I am able to do so. But a couple of months back all our lives around the globe started to change in ways we could not possibly have imagined. We were scattered so to speak, separated, taught and even drilled to keep a social distance! Not by choice but by simple necessity. Diablo had found a new and swift way to scatter God our Father’s flock. So what can we do about it? Do we choose to allow ourselves to dry up spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, even physically?

We must cling to the hope and certainty that this too shall pass. And so we turn to Jesus who died to gather all of God our Father’s scattered children around the world. He is afterall the Lord of Lords, King of Kings. Through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit we can be filled with new insights and be grace filled as we gather in new ways in the Lord’s presence. Through Skype, Google hangout, zoom and more. We can attend virtual Catholic conferences, read and beef up on our knowledge of our faith through books, online courses and sound Catholic websites like Catholic answers. The options we have are limitless and all we need to do is continue to open our minds and hearts to our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. He will meet us at the well and ofter us living water for all time.

So let us continue to stay awake as we await the coming of the day when we will once again be in full communion with Him and one another. Amen

First reading

Ezekiel 37:21-28 ·
I will bring them home and make them one nation

The Lord says this: ‘I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil. I shall make them into one nation in my own land and on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and their filthy practices and all their sins. I shall rescue them from all the betrayals they have been guilty of; I shall cleanse them; they shall be my people and I will be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my observances, respect my laws and practise them. They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and increase them; I shall settle my sanctuary among them for ever. I shall make my home above them; I will be their God, they shall be my people. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord, the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.’

Gospel

John 11:45-56
Jesus was to die to gather together the scattered children of God

Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed in him, but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. ‘Here is this man working all these signs’ they said ‘and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.’ One of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said, ‘You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.’ He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him. So Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples.
The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, ‘What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?’


Even today we are often taunted for our faith. Where is your God in the crisis the world is facing? Isn’t He killing off His very own people or as you all put it His own children? Are you any safer than the non believers?

Do not despair in the face of such disparaging remarks. Reflect instead on the fundamentals which is built upon the foundation of our rock, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

*God is good not some of the time but all of the time and in all of time.

*Hence evil and all its works does not come from Him. He may permit it for reasons beyond our knowledge or understanding.

*In God our Father’s great love for us, He gave up His only Begotten Son Jesus for our salvation.

*Through Him whether we live or die today we will have eternal life with God our Heavenly.

Therefore what greater gift can we ever hope for, need or want? For we have Jesus! Praise and glory be to God our Father, His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 20:10-13 ·
He has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men

Jeremiah said:

I hear so many disparaging me, ‘“Terror from every side!”
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’
All those who used to be my friends watched for my downfall, ‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error.
Then we will master him and take our revenge!’
But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, mastered, confounded by their failure; everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.
But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice, who scrutinise the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.
Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men.

Gospel

John 10:31-42
They wanted to stone Jesus, but he eluded them

The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, ‘I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God.’ Jesus answered:

‘Is it not written in your Law:
I said, you are gods?
So the Law uses the word gods
of those to whom the word of God was addressed, and scripture cannot be rejected.
Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because he says, “I am the son of God.” If I am not doing my Father’s work, there is no need to believe me; but if I am doing it, then even if you refuse to believe in me, at least believe in the work I do; then you will know for sure that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’

They wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded them.
He went back again to the far side of the Jordan to stay in the district where John had once been baptising. Many people who came to him there said, ‘John gave no signs, but all he said about this man was true’; and many of them believed in him.


Even today we are often taunted for our faith. Where is your God in the crisis the world is facing? Isn’t He killing off His very own people or as you all put it His own children? Are you any safer than the non believers?

Do not despair in the face of such disparaging remarks. Reflect instead on the fundamentals which is built upon the foundation of our rock, our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.

*God is good not some of the time but all of the time and in all of time.

*Hence evil and all its works does not come from Him. He may permit it for reasons beyond our knowledge or understanding.

*In God our Father’s great love for us, He gave up His only Begotten Son Jesus for our salvation.

*Through Him whether we live or die today we will have eternal life with God our Heavenly.

Therefore what greater gift can we ever hope for, need or want? For we have Jesus! Praise and glory be to God our Father, His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit. Amen

First reading

Jeremiah 20:10-13 ·
He has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men

Jeremiah said:

I hear so many disparaging me, ‘“Terror from every side!”
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’
All those who used to be my friends watched for my downfall, ‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error.
Then we will master him and take our revenge!’
But the Lord is at my side, a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, mastered, confounded by their failure; everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.
But you, O Lord of Hosts, you who probe with justice, who scrutinise the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.
Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men.

Gospel

John 10:31-42
They wanted to stone Jesus, but he eluded them

The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, ‘I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God.’ Jesus answered:

‘Is it not written in your Law:
I said, you are gods?
So the Law uses the word gods
of those to whom the word of God was addressed, and scripture cannot be rejected.
Yet you say to someone the Father has consecrated and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because he says, “I am the son of God.” If I am not doing my Father’s work, there is no need to believe me; but if I am doing it, then even if you refuse to believe in me, at least believe in the work I do; then you will know for sure that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’

They wanted to arrest him then, but he eluded them.
He went back again to the far side of the Jordan to stay in the district where John had once been baptising. Many people who came to him there said, ‘John gave no signs, but all he said about this man was true’; and many of them believed in him.