Saturday, March 21, 2015

Passion Sunday 22nd March 2015

Passion Sunday
(First Sunday of Passiontide)
22 March 2015
“Amen, amen, I say to you before
Abraham came to be, I am.” Jn. 8:58
This Sunday is called Passion Sunday
because the Church begins on this day to make the
sufferings of Jesus, our Redeemer, the main object
of our thought as we approach the Paschal
Mysteries of our Redemption. Dom Prosper
Gueranger in The Liturgical Year, Vol. 5 reminds
us: “Everything around us urges to mourn. The
images of the saints, the very crucifix on our
altar, are veiled from our sight. The Church is
oppressed with grief. During the first four weeks
of Lent, she compassionated her Jesus fasting in
the desert; His coming sufferings and crucifixion
and death are what now fill her with anguish.
We read in today’s Gospel, that the Jews
threaten to stone the Son of God as a
blasphemer; but His hour is not yet come. He is
obliged to flee and hide Himself. It is to express
deep humiliation, that the Church veils the cross.
A God hiding Himself, that He may evade the
anger of men what a mystery! Is it weakness?
Is it, that He fears death? No; we shall soon see
Him going out to meet His enemies; but at
present He hides Himself from them, because all
that had been prophesied regarding Him has not
been fulfilled. Besides, His death is not to be by
stoning: He is to die upon a cross, the tree of
malediction, which from this time forward, is to
be the tree of life.” Gueranger, p. 106 On this day,
and all days, we need to see how much Jesus loves
us and love Him in return. Let us open our hearts
with a lively hope for our salvation is in the Passion
of Christ. In today’s Epistle to the Hebrews (9:11-
15) St. Paul “presents to us the majestic figure of
Christ, the Eternal High Priest, who ‘by His
Blood entered once into the holies (that is, heaven)
having obtained eternal redemption.’ (Heb. 9:12)
The Passion of Jesus has redeemed us; it has
opened once again our Father’s house to us; it is
then the motive of our hope.” Fr. Gabriel, OCD,
Divine Intimacy, p. 371-2
“ much more will the blood of Christ, who
through the Holy Spirit offered himself
unblemished unto God, cleanse your conscience
from dead works to serve the living God?” Heb. 9:
14 In today’s Epistle St. Paul tells us why
Christ’s sacrifice was so necessary. All the ancient
sacrifices of the Old Testament were of no avail to
achieve man’s redemption. Only Jesus Christ, “as
the Lamb of God, took on Himself men’s sins
and bore them away; the bond which stood
against us He cancelled by fastening it to the
cross: He broke by His death the power of sin,
and rescuing men from its slavery, made them
children of God and heirs of heaven.” Msgr.
Patrick Boylan, The Sunday Epistles and Gospels,
p. 219 Christ redeemed us by His own blood: “nor
again by virtue of blood of goats and calves, but by
virtue of his own blood, into the Holies, having
obtained eternal redemption.” Heb. 9:12 How
grateful we should be for so great a sacrifice as
Msgr. Boylan tells us: “No adequate thanks can
be offered by us for His sacrifice to our great
High Priest. But we can please Him by joining
with Him in His self-oblation to the Father. He
has entered as a Victim into the most holy place
of heaven, and He shows perpetually the marks
of His wounds to the Father. Let us join with
Him in asking the Father to accept for our sins
the Blood of His Son. There is no other like
offering that we can make to God to
counterbalance our debt of sin.” Ibid, p. 218
“Which of you can convict me of sin? If I speak
the truth, why do you not believe me.” Jn. 8:46
In today’s Gospel (Jn. 8:46-59), St. John
shows the continuing opposition of the Jewish
leaders to Jesus. None of them can challenge Him
on His holy life, but yet none of them will believe
Him when He tells them that truth: “Which of you
can convict me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do
you not believe me? Jn. 8:46 Jesus tells them the
reason that they do not believe in Him is because
they are not of God: “He who is of God hears the
words of God. The reason why you do not hear is
that you are not of God.” Jn. 8:47 The Jews
cannot give any better argument than the “ad
hominem” attack which is the poorest of arguments;
they cannot say anything better that to call Jesus
names: “Are we not right in saying thou are a
Samaritan, and hast a devil.” Jn. 8:48 The Jews
hated the heretical Samaritans and would not even
talk to them; to call Jesus a devil is blasphemous. It
was their way of retaliating for what Jesus said of
them: “The father from whom you are is the
devil.” Jn. 8:44 When Jesus tells them solemnly,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone keep my
word, he will never see death,(Jn. 8:51) they attack
Him: “Art thou greater than our father Abraham
who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom
dost thou make thyself?” Jn. 8:53. Jesus then tells
them that His Father will glorify Him and that
Abraham rejoiced that he would see His day:
“Abraham your father rejoiced that he was to see
my day. He saw it and was glad.” Jn. 8:55 The
Jews again fail to understand Jesus as they see only
the appearances and believe that Jesus is talking of
the present life: “Thou are not yet fifty years old,
and has thou seen Abraham?” Jn. 8:57 It is here
that Jesus, using the words of God to Moses,
solemnly claims His eternal generation as God:
“Amen, amen, I say to you before Abraham came
to be I am.” Jn. 8:58 For them this is too much and
they take up stones to kill him, but Jesus hides
Himself as it is not His time to die. He will sacrifice
Himself on His terms!
“Strange blindness” and “hardness of heart”
Dom Gueranger comments on the obstinacy
of the Jews to the truth that Jesus reveals to them:
“Their obstinacy in refusing to acknowledge
Jesus as the Messias, has led these men to ignore
the very God, whom they boast of honouring; for
if they knew the Father, they would not reject
His Son. Moses, and all the Psalms, and the
Prophets, are a dead letter to them; ...Strange
blindness, that comes from pride and hardness
of heart! The feast of the Pasch is at hand; these
men are going to eat, and with much parade of
religion the flesh of the figurative lamb; they
know full well that this lamb is the symbol, or
figure, which is to have fulfilment. The true
Lamb is to be sacrificed by their hands, and they
will not know Him. He will shed His Blood for
them, and it will not save them. How this
reminds us of those sinners, for whom this
Easter promises to be as fruitless as those of the
past years!” Gueranger, p. 114-5
“The Great Work of Christ”
In Mediator Dei, (1940)Ven. Pope Pius XII
also speaks of our debt to Christ: “The great work
of Christ was to reconcile man with God. This
he did all his life by means of a complete
offering of himself to the Father. This sacrificial
offering continued all his life, to be
consummated on Calvary. All his activity has no
other purpose.... lifted up between heaven and
earth, he offers the sacrifice of his life and, from
his pierced heart burst forth, in some way, the
sacraments, which distribute to souls treasures
of the redemption. In doing all this he had as his
main purpose the glory of his Father and the
greater sanctification of men.” Let not our eyes
be blind and our hearts be hardened for all that
Jesus Christ has done for us with His sacrifice on
the Cross by which he has merited for us our
redemption and our eternal salvation.
“Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle!
With completed victory rife:
And above the Cross’s trophy
Tell the triumph of the strife:
How the world’s Redeemer conquered
By offering of His life.”
(Hymn for Good Friday)
“Could you not, then, watch one hour with
Me?” Mt. 26:40
. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us how very
special the Holy Eucharist is: “O precious
wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and
contains all sweetness......No other sacrament has
greater healing power; through it, sins are
purged away, virtues are increased and the soul
is enriched with an abundance of every spiritual
gift.” “Could you not, then, watch one hour
with Me?” Mt. 26:40
How to attend Holy Mass
“The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even
the highest prayer that exists. It is the sacrifice,
dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and
repeated every day on the altar. If you wish to
hear Mass, as it should be heard, you must
follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that
happens at the altar. Further, you must pray
with the Priest the holy words said by him in the
Name of Christ and which Christ says by him.
You have to associate your heart with the holy
feelings which are contained in these words, and
in this manner you ought to follow all that
happens at the altar. When acting in this way,
you have prayed Holy Mass.” Pope St. Pius X
Why the Rosary is so Important.
“You must know that when you ‘hail’ Mary, she
immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is
one of those rude women of whom there are so
manyon the contrary, she is utterly courteous
and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer
you right away and converse with you!”
Saint Bernardine of Siena
“Recite your Rosary with faith, with humility,
with confidence, and with perseverance.”
Saint Louis de Montfort
“The rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer
that touches most the Heart of the Mother of
God…and if you wish peace to reign in your
homes, recite the family Rosary.” Pope Saint
Pius X
Rosary is the most beautiful and the most
“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every
day become a formal heretic or be led astray by
the devil.” Saint Louis de Montfort
“Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even
if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold
your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who
practice black magic, and even if you are a
heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later
you will be converted and will amend your life
and will save your soul, ifand mark well what
I sayif you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every
day until death for the purpose of knowing the
truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for
your sins.” Saint Louis de Montfort
“The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in
which we live has given a new efficacy to the
recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that
there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is,
whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the
personal life of each one of us, of our
families…that cannot be solved by the Rosary.
There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how
difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the
prayer of the Holy Rosary.”
Sister Lucia dos Santos, Fatima seer.
When you say your Rosary, the angels rejoice,
the Blessed Trinity delights in it, my Son finds
joy in it too, and I myself am happier than you
can possibly guess. After the Holy Sacrifice of
the Mass, there is nothing in the Church that I
love as much as the Rosary.”
Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche
“‘Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!’
No creature has ever said anything that was
more pleasing to me, nor will anyone ever be
able to find or say to me anything that pleases
me more.” Our Lady to Saint Mechtilde