Holy Saturday

Easter story: What happened on Holy Saturday and why is it important?

 

Easter story: What happened on Holy Saturday and why is it important?

To those of you celebrating Easter tomorrow, we wish you a happy day (especially given your Lenten fast will finally be over). Although many people know plenty about Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but not so many people know what happened on Holy Saturday. This year, it falls today (March 31), and it represents a significant moment in the Christian calendar.

 

In the Bible, it tells how Jesus was crucified on Good Friday. Holy Saturday represents the last day before Easter Sunday and the end of Holy Week in preparation for Sunday’s celebrations. It’s on this day that Jesus was in his tomb, and the time of the Harrowing of Hell. This is, according to scripture, when Jesus descended into hell after his crucifixion and before his resurrection, and preached the the ‘imprisoned souls’ there.

 

It’s thought that this is the symbolism of Jesus ‘releasing’ the sinners from their punishment. Some texts say that he took Adam and Eve out of hell at this point, too. On Holy Saturday, some Catholics also pray for the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Solitude, and reflect on the grief she must have felt at the loss of her son.

 

Fasting is not as stringent on this day as Good Friday, but many people still participate. Mass is also uncommon on this day, and if it does take place, it’s usually a solemn affair. Depending on the type of Christianity practiced, there may be a vigil after sundown on Holy Saturday to mark the start of Easter.

 

Other names for Holy Saturday:

Great Saturday

The Great Sabbath

Black Saturday

Joyous Saturday

Easter Even

The Saturday of Light

 

 

Pray Daily1

Daily Prayer for March 31

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20, NIV

Lord our God, we turn our faces to you and plead with you to come to us earthly and often tormented people. May we find strength in the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom redemption is promised to us all. May your kingdom at last be revealed and everything change for the better even though we do not see it yet. May we always honor your name above all others, for you are our Father and we want to hold fast to your grace that lets us call you Father. In our troubled times we want to have enduring faith that you can bring a new time when good shall at last emerge from all the distress. Grant that every broken and needy person may experience your help, your grace, and your salvation, and may know that these always surround us, if only our eyes are open to see and recognize them. So we want to thank and praise you at all times, and at last know the joy of eternity, to your glory and honor. Amen.

 

Pieta

An Easter Reflection

Annemarie Keiderling

 Anyone who has stepped into the vast courtyard of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome knows the feeling of awe that comes over a person at the sheer size of the place. I was pushing a baby buggy as I walked in. This was my first trip with my little boy, three months old, and suddenly my baby and I felt very small and a rush of protective anxiety came over me. I picked up my precious, sleeping bundle and, leaving the buggy next to one of the pillars, walked up the stairs hugging my son close to me.

As I approached the basilica, my eyes were automatically drawn upward to that massive dome, arching up like the sky itself. I stepped inside and gazed at the mighty pillars, the hosts of saints and apostles standing motionless above my head, the gleaming gold lamps around St. Peter’s tomb. Around me, crowds of people streamed in and out, chattering their international tongues.

Suddenly I caught sight of a particular statue. I had seen photographs of Michelangelo’s Pieta, but had forgotten that it would be here. Its power was overwhelming and drew me like a magnet. I walked up close. Here was a mother just like me, and in her face I could see the same passion of love, a love beyond explaining and like no other, that I felt for my own child. But in her face was also a suffering I had never known. I remembered the “sword that cut through her heart” and I held my son closer, wondering how she survived it.

I remember that sword again as I read about the many mothers who have lost sons and daughters in the war. I know their grief is one with Mary’s grief on Good Friday. I think of the mothers whose sons do return, but who look into their eyes and see wounds—wounds to their spirit where a mother’s caress cannot reach.

I remember Jesus’ words to the women who followed him as he bore his cross:

“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts than never gave suck”

Are we living in those days now? Will my heart someday be pierced by a sword also? How many mothers have felt its stabbing pain this year? I have not lost a son or a daughter. Not yet. But I think every mother can feel Mary’s pain. I would like to protect my innocent children, as Mary wanted to protect her little baby Jesus. But there is evil and darkness in the world and none of us is safe from its power.

But there is something else in Mary’s face. I see her love and her pain, but I also see deep reverence. The body cradled in her lap is her child, but also her God. She knows she is holding a soul of greatness as far beyond the wretchedness that killed him, as the sky towers over a clod of earth.

In her face is the promise of Easter and of resurrection. It is dark, overwhelmingly dark for all those suffering mothers and wives here in America, and down in Iraq. But I believe there will come a day, like Easter came for Mary. Two days ago was Palm Sunday. We all remembered the Palm Sunday long ago, but this year we should especially hold to the promise of the Palm Sunday that is coming:

Behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands…These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb…[He] will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

 

 

 

Living Lent Daily

March 31
Holy Saturday
Contemplating the Resurrected Jesus

Facing the full impact of Jesus’ humiliating and painful death on the cross is the only way to experience the real joy of the Resurrection. We ask to share the joy of Jesus resurrected from the dead, but the depth of that shared joy comes only after we share with Jesus something of what he experienced in his Crucifixion. He still has the wounds, even in glory; the horror is not undone by the Resurrection. Rather, with the Resurrection we find that his Crucifixion and death are not the last word. Here is a magnificent sign of God’s forgiving love: even the worst we can do will not deter God from the desire to embrace us in friendship.

May the honest horror of the Crucifixion help bring me to a deeper celebration of the Resurrection.

Holy Week Action

► Pray for those entering the Church tonight at the Easter Vigil.

► Reflect with Arts & Faith: Holy Saturday.

The Easter Vigil’s many readings walk us through the story of God and God’s people. As we reach the Gospel, we arrive with Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome at the empty tomb of Jesus. Jacopo di Cione’s altarpiece detail captures the moment of encounter between the three women and the mysterious men dressed in white, angels heralding the Resurrection, just as they heralded the birth of Christ many years before.

The image is splendidly detailed: the women bring their spices in small, ornate boxes, as they approach the tomb on a lawn spotted with delicate flowers. The tomb is an ornate sarcophagus carved with decorative patterns. The fine robes on the women are in bold jewel tones, and the angels’ robes are trimmed delicately with gold. The angels wear small tiaras, and their colorful wings hint at heavenly glory through their rainbow of feathers. The golden embossed halos, also signs of the heavenly realm, add another dimension to the image.

Even in the midst of this detailed representation, Mary Magdalene receives special attention. Her traditional red garments and loose red hair allow us to identify her. Behind the spice box she holds, we see another object tucked into her robes, resembling a white scroll. The scroll encapsulates the words offered to her by the angel; it is a symbol of the message she is sent to share. It is also a symbol of the new law, the new reality brought about by Christ in light of his Resurrection; elsewhere in Christian art we will see Peter and Paul with the scroll as a sign of their apostleship and service to the new law of Christ. Mary Magdalene will carry the tucked away scroll and its message of the Resurrection and pass it along to Peter and the disciples, serving as the first apostle to the Apostles themselves.

Immersed in the stories of God and God’s people which climax with the Good News of the Resurrection, the Easter Vigil is replete with scrolls, handed on to each of us to go and share. Like Mary Magdalene and the disciples after her, we are all sent with the Good News to all the world.

 

Read A Eulogy for Jesus by Jurell Sison.

This post is based on Week Seven of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. It was an assignment from my spiritual director, who suggested writing a eulogy for Jesus because of how close I became to him in my imaginative prayer. While some of this piece is not historically or scripturally accurate, the words express my experience with Christ in prayer. The setting of this particular reflection took place after laying Jesus in the tomb and before the Resurrection.

Good morning, family, friends, and loved ones of our dearest friend Jesus.

While my history with Rabbi Jesus goes a long way, I met with him often, following as one of his disciples. And I, along with a couple others, was with him until the end.

I’d like to share a few words about our dear friend, Jesus. My first memory of him was at his birth. I remember Mary asking if I wanted to hold him. I was hesitant, but she placed him in my hands before I could do anything. I couldn’t stop gazing at him, and Mary stayed close by—embracing me and quietly whispering, “You’re part of the family now.” And it was then that I realized how much love would come into this child’s life.

Jesus showed love in his life just like his mother—by staying close, embracing, and whispering confidently to everyone, “You are a part of the family now.”

As he grew older, I became a faithful follower. I watched him change lives. I watched him inspire. I watched him challenge the current understanding of who we are called to love. I can’t tell you how many times I felt unworthy to follow him. At times I didn’t even understand the mission, but I knew he had faith in me. He brought out the greatness within me.

This is what Jesus did throughout his life. Not only did he teach about God’s love, but he lived God’s love. His actions brought out the best of people. He came to people that were on the margins—“the unworthy”—and made them aware of the greatness buried deep beneath the cultural and societal norms. With love and tenderness, he met people where they were, showing them they had worth. He showed them that they, too, were able to love and be loved. Jesus gave people a renewed sense of their lives.

We walked from town to town telling people that God loves them and that God forgives them. What’s more, we told them that we loved them—and we meant it, Jesus especially. If there was one thing he was good at, it was helping people grow into their own human dignity—moving people towards the full humanity that God calls all of us to live.

This is what Jesus did, for all those people, and for me. Jesus saved me.

My friends, today, Jesus is alive in my heart. And while his death was incredibly agonizing and unjust, it would be an even bigger injustice not to honor, remember, and celebrate his life.

May we never forget Jesus’ mission and dream for the world. May we continue to follow and share his dream with every people and every nation. It’s what he would have wanted.

My Lord, it has been an incredible honor. I love you. I miss you. I will see you soon.

 

Read an Easter Vigil reflection by Gary Smith, SJ.

This afternoon I was at Oliji, a village of Madi-speaking Catholics next to the Nile led by a well-organized young catechist named Andruga. The liturgy was under a tree again, since part of the chapel roof burned down when leaders tried to smoke out a colony of termites.

A large and enthusiastic crowd—maybe three hundred people—greeted me as I pulled in to the village an hour before Mass. I heard confessions, not understanding much but able to absolve in Madi. Midway through the confessions, which took place under the chapel tree, a powerful thunderstorm blew through, forcing us to continue under a section of the chapel roof that was still intact.

Because of security issues on the roads after dark, I needed to start the vigil at 4:00 p.m., which took the punch out of the Service of Light. But adjustment is easy for people who adjust all the time. There were thirty-one baptisms. By the time I was through anointing all the little heads and chests, three-quarters of the babies were screaming. The people loved it, though, and at the conclusion of the ceremony everyone applauded and the women ululated and the choir unleashed some wonderful music. Like a speeding locomotive, we blazed into the Easter Gloria.

After Mass, Andruga and I, with many of the women, walked to the edge of the village to visit a sick woman named Lucietta. Andruga wanted me to anoint her and give her communion. The women assisted her out of her hut to a mat underneath a tree, formed a circle around her, and sang and prayed: Oliji’s cloud of witnesses. Lucietta probably weighed about eighty pounds, and in her serene and welcoming face I could detect a hint of a Parkinson’s-like tremor. She looked old but did not know her age. She remained silent throughout the ceremony, a ritual with which she was familiar, having many times before been part of the circle.

After the women finished, I knelt in front of Lucietta and anointed her hands and head, then gave her communion. I carefully took her beautiful, tremulous face in my hands, tilting her head so that she could look into my eyes, and blessed her. In such a moment, when the near-death anointed one looks at me, everything I have ever studied about sacraments of encounter becomes clear. I rested silently before an obvious and splendid truth: this touch was an encounter with the heart of God.

She asked me in Madi, “What is your name?”

I responded in Madi, “My name is Gary, Abuna Gary.”

She peered into my face, smiled, and exclaimed, “This is a Madi name!” (There is a Madi word, gaari, that means “bicycle.”) Then she slowly said, “Abuna Gaari” and laughed. I laughed. The cloud of witnesses laughed.

We left her sitting prayerfully on her mat and headed for the pickup—Andruga, those wonderful women, and me, Father Bicycle. Later, driving on the bumpy road toward Adjumani, dusk settling in, I commented to Ratib that if I was going to fight for God, all I wanted backing me up were the women of Oliji, armed with the most powerful of weapons: their prayer. Ratib, a Madi and a Muslim, nodded reflectively and said, “A good choice, Father, a good choice.”

 

 

Easter Sunday – The Resurrection of the Lord -At the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night of Easter

Reading 1 Gn 1:1—2:2

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss,
while a mighty wind swept over the waters.

Then God said,
“Let there be light,” and there was light.
God saw how good the light was.
God then separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”
Thus evening came, and morning followed—the first day.

Then God said,
“Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters,
to separate one body of water from the other.”
And so it happened:
God made the dome,
and it separated the water above the dome from the water below it.
God called the dome “the sky.”
Evening came, and morning followed—the second day.

Then God said,
“Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin,
so that the dry land may appear.”
And so it happened:
the water under the sky was gathered into its basin,
and the dry land appeared.
God called the dry land “the earth, ”
and the basin of the water he called “the sea.”
God saw how good it was.
Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth vegetation:
every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth
that bears fruit with its seed in it.”
And so it happened:
the earth brought forth every kind of plant that bears seed
and every kind of fruit tree on earth
that bears fruit with its seed in it.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed—the third day.

Then God said:
“Let there be lights in the dome of the sky,
to separate day from night.
Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years,
and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth.”
And so it happened:
God made the two great lights,
the greater one to govern the day,
and the lesser one to govern the night;
and he made the stars.
God set them in the dome of the sky,
to shed light upon the earth,
to govern the day and the night,
and to separate the light from the darkness.
God saw how good it was.
Evening came, and morning followed—the fourth day.

Then God said,
“Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures,
and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky.”
And so it happened:
God created the great sea monsters
and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems,
and all kinds of winged birds.
God saw how good it was, and God blessed them, saying,
“Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas;
and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
Evening came, and morning followed—the fifth day.

Then God said,
“Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures:
cattle, creeping things, and wild animals of all kinds.”
And so it happened:
God made all kinds of wild animals, all kinds of cattle,
and all kinds of creeping things of the earth.
God saw how good it was.
Then God said:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image;
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said:
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.
Since on the seventh day God was finished
with the work he had been doing,
he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.

or Gn 1:1, 26-31a

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea,
the birds of the air, and the cattle,
and over all the wild animals
and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image;
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, saying:
“Be fertile and multiply;
fill the earth and subdue it.
Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air,
and all the living things that move on the earth.”
God also said:
“See, I give you every seed-bearing plant all over the earth
and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;
and to all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air,
and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground,
I give all the green plants for food.”
And so it happened.
God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 104:1-2, 5-6, 10, 12, 13-14, 24, 35 

R. (30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
You are clothed with majesty and glory,
robed in light as with a cloak.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You fixed the earth upon its foundation,
not to be moved forever;
with the ocean, as with a garment, you covered it;
above the mountains the waters stood.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You send forth springs into the watercourses
that wind among the mountains.
Beside them the birds of heaven dwell;
from among the branches they send forth their song.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
You water the mountains from your palace;
the earth is replete with the fruit of your works.
You raise grass for the cattle,
and vegetation for man’s use,
Producing bread from the earth.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them all—the earth is full of your creatures.
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Alleluia.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.

or Ps 33:4-5, 6-7, 12-13, 20 and 22

R. (5b) The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Upright is the word of the LORD,
and all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right;
of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made;
by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as in a flask;
in cellars he confines the deep.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 Gn 22:1-18

God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am, ” he replied.
Then God said:
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust
on a height that I will point out to you.”
Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey,
took with him his son Isaac and two of his servants as well,
and with the wood that he had cut for the holocaust,
set out for the place of which God had told him.

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar.
Then he said to his servants:
“Both of you stay here with the donkey,
while the boy and I go on over yonder.
We will worship and then come back to you.”
Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the holocaust
and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders,
while he himself carried the fire and the knife.
As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham:
“Father!” Isaac said.
“Yes, son, ” he replied.
Isaac continued, “Here are the fire and the wood,
but where is the sheep for the holocaust?”
“Son,” Abraham answered,
“God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust.”
Then the two continued going forward.

When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Next he tied up his son Isaac,
and put him on top of the wood on the altar.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven,
“Abraham, Abraham!”
“Here I am!” he answered.
“Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger.
“Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”
As Abraham looked about,
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.
Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh;
hence people now say, “On the mountain the LORD will see.”

Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing—
all this because you obeyed my command.”

or Gn22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18

God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am, ” he replied.
Then God said:
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust
on a height that I will point out to you.”

When they came to the place of which God had told him,
Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven,
“Abraham, Abraham!”
“Here I am, ” he answered.
“Do not lay your hand on the boy, ” said the messenger.
“Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God,
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”
As Abraham looked about,
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.

Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing—
all this because you obeyed my command.”

Responsorial Psalm  Ps 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Reading 3 Ex 14:15—15:1

The LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the Israelites to go forward.
And you, lift up your staff and, with hand outstretched over the sea,
split the sea in two,
that the Israelites may pass through it on dry land.
But I will make the Egyptians so obstinate
that they will go in after them.
Then I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army,
his chariots and charioteers.
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD,
when I receive glory through Pharaoh
and his chariots and charioteers.”

The angel of God, who had been leading Israel’s camp,
now moved and went around behind them.
The column of cloud also, leaving the front,
took up its place behind them,
so that it came between the camp of the Egyptians
and that of Israel.
But the cloud now became dark, and thus the night passed
without the rival camps coming any closer together
all night long.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and the LORD swept the sea
with a strong east wind throughout the night
and so turned it into dry land.
When the water was thus divided,
the Israelites marched into the midst of the sea on dry land,
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.

The Egyptians followed in pursuit;
all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and charioteers went after them
right into the midst of the sea.
In the night watch just before dawn
the LORD cast through the column of the fiery cloud
upon the Egyptian force a glance that threw it into a panic;
and he so clogged their chariot wheels
that they could hardly drive.
With that the Egyptians sounded the retreat before Israel,
because the LORD was fighting for them against the Egyptians.

Then the LORD told Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea,
that the water may flow back upon the Egyptians,
upon their chariots and their charioteers.”
So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and at dawn the sea flowed back to its normal depth.
The Egyptians were fleeing head on toward the sea,
when the LORD hurled them into its midst.
As the water flowed back,
it covered the chariots and the charioteers of Pharaoh’s whole army
which had followed the Israelites into the sea.
Not a single one of them escaped.
But the Israelites had marched on dry land
through the midst of the sea,
with the water like a wall to their right and to their left.
Thus the LORD saved Israel on that day
from the power of the Egyptians.
When Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the seashore
and beheld the great power that the LORD
had shown against the Egyptians,
they feared the LORD and believed in him and in his servant Moses.

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:
I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.

Responsorial Psalm Ex 15:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 17-18

R. (1b) Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
I will sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant;
horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
He is my God, I praise him;
the God of my father, I extol him.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The LORD is a warrior,
LORD is his name!
Pharaoh’s chariots and army he hurled into the sea;
the elite of his officers were submerged in the Red Sea.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
The flood waters covered them,
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O LORD, magnificent in power,
your right hand, O LORD, has shattered the enemy.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.
You brought in the people you redeemed
and planted them on the mountain of your inheritance—
the place where you made your seat, O LORD,
the sanctuary, LORD, which your hands established.
The LORD shall reign forever and ever.
R. Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Reading 4 Is 54:5-14

The One who has become your husband is your Maker;
his name is the LORD of hosts;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
called God of all the earth.
The LORD calls you back,
like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
a wife married in youth and then cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with great tenderness I will take you back.
In an outburst of wrath, for a moment
I hid my face from you;
but with enduring love I take pity on you,
says the LORD, your redeemer.
This is for me like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah
should never again deluge the earth;
so I have sworn not to be angry with you,
or to rebuke you.
Though the mountains leave their place
and the hills be shaken,
my love shall never leave you
nor my covenant of peace be shaken,
says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
O afflicted one, storm-battered and unconsoled,
I lay your pavements in carnelians,
and your foundations in sapphires;
I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your walls of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
In justice shall you be established,
far from the fear of oppression,
where destruction cannot come near you.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13

R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Reading 5 Is 55:1-11

Thus says the LORD:
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread,
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.
I will renew with you the everlasting covenant,
the benefits assured to David.
As I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of nations,
so shall you summon a nation you knew not,
and nations that knew you not shall run to you,
because of the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you.

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked man his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

For just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm  Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6

R. (3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Reading 6 Bar 3:9-15, 32C4:4

Hear, O Israel, the commandments of life:
listen, and know prudence!
How is it, Israel,
that you are in the land of your foes,
grown old in a foreign land,
defiled with the dead,
accounted with those destined for the netherworld?
You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom!
Had you walked in the way of God,
you would have dwelt in enduring peace.
Learn where prudence is,
where strength, where understanding;
that you may know also
where are length of days, and life,
where light of the eyes, and peace.
Who has found the place of wisdom,
who has entered into her treasuries?

The One who knows all things knows her;
he has probed her by his knowledge—
The One who established the earth for all time,
and filled it with four-footed beasts;
he who dismisses the light, and it departs,
calls it, and it obeys him trembling;
before whom the stars at their posts
shine and rejoice;
when he calls them, they answer, “Here we are!”
shining with joy for their Maker.
Such is our God;
no other is to be compared to him:
He has traced out the whole way of understanding,
and has given her to Jacob, his servant,
to Israel, his beloved son.

Since then she has appeared on earth,
and moved among people.
She is the book of the precepts of God,
the law that endures forever;
all who cling to her will live,
but those will die who forsake her.
Turn, O Jacob, and receive her:
walk by her light toward splendor.
Give not your glory to another,
your privileges to an alien race.
Blessed are we, O Israel;
for what pleases God is known to us!

Responsorial Psalm  Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (John 6:68c) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
the decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Reading 7 Ez 36:16-17a, 18-28

The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their land,
they defiled it by their conduct and deeds.
Therefore I poured out my fury upon them
because of the blood that they poured out on the ground,
and because they defiled it with idols.
I scattered them among the nations,
dispersing them over foreign lands;
according to their conduct and deeds I judged them.
But when they came among the nations wherever they came,
they served to profane my holy name,
because it was said of them: “These are the people of the LORD,
yet they had to leave their land.”
So I have relented because of my holy name
which the house of Israel profaned
among the nations where they came.
Therefore say to the house of Israel: Thus says the Lord GOD:
Not for your sakes do I act, house of Israel,
but for the sake of my holy name,
which you profaned among the nations to which you came.
I will prove the holiness of my great name, profaned among the nations,
in whose midst you have profaned it.
Thus the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD,
when in their sight I prove my holiness through you.
For I will take you away from among the nations,
gather you from all the foreign lands,
and bring you back to your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you
to cleanse you from all your impurities,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you,
taking from your bodies your stony hearts
and giving you natural hearts.
I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes,
careful to observe my decrees.
You shall live in the land I gave your fathers;
you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Responsorial Psalm – When baptism is celebrated. Ps 42:3, 5; 43:3, 4

R. (42:2) Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
I went with the throng
and led them in procession to the house of God,
Amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving,
with the multitude keeping festival.
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
 

When baptism is not celebrated. Is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6

R. (3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
God indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.
With joy you will draw water
at the fountain of salvation.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Sing praise to the LORD for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throughout all the earth.
Shout with exultation, O city of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!
R. You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

When baptism is not celebrated Ps 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

R. (12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a holocaust, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

Epistle Rom 6:3-11

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life.

For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his,
we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him,
so that our sinful body might be done away with,
that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.
If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over him.
As to his death, he died to sin once and for all;
as to his life, he lives for God.
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin
and living for God in Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm  Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23

R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mk 16:1-7

When the sabbath was over,
Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome
bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Very early when the sun had risen,
on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb.
They were saying to one another,
“Who will roll back the stone for us
from the entrance to the tomb?”
When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man
sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,
and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, “Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.
But go and tell his disciples and Peter,
‘He is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him, as he told you.'”

– – –
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Reading 1 Is 52:13—53:12

See, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at himC
so marred was his look beyond human semblance
and his appearance beyond that of the sons of manC
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 Psalm Ps 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 2 Heb 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 Gospel Phil 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.

Gospel Jn 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.

– – –
Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

 

 

bible reading

 

Easter is a time when we commemorate the death of Jesus and celebrate His resurrection. It is also a time when we reflect on what it means to be a Christian. We do this by looking closely at Jesus’ journey leading up to the cross. Most of the traditional Easter stories and pageants celebrated in churches remember the male disciples and their supporting roles. We think of the all-male Last Supper, Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial and the thieves’ redemption. We often don’t hear about or even think about the women that played a role in Jesus’ life and the events surrounding His death and resurrection too. Unfortunately, too often women’s stories have taken second place to the interests and needs of male biblical writers and male leaders in Christian churches over the centuries. But their stories are just as important. These three women were named Mary and played a significant role in the Easter story.

Mary of Bethany

Mary of Bethany is one of the most beautiful characters in all of Scripture, preparing the way for the Lord’s burial. Mary was the sister of Martha, and her brother was Lazarus from whom Jesus raised from the dead. We see Mary three different times in the Bible, beginning with the incident in her home of her sister, Martha referenced in Luke 10:38-42, where Jesus, and presumably the disciples who traveled with Him, were being entertained. This is probably her most recognized feature. Martha was so distressed, distracted with serving and frustrated that her sister wasn’t helping that she actually rebuked Jesus, accusing Him of not caring that Mary sat at His feet while she did all the work. Jesus’ response gives us our first insight into Mary of Bethany. Jesus commended her for “choosing the better,” meaning that Mary’s desire to be near her Lord and hang onto His every word was far more beneficial than running herself ragged with preparations for a meal. Jesus further said that choosing the better thing, learning of the Lord, would not be taken away from Mary. Her priority in life was Christ, the knowledge of Him, and the nearness to Him has chosen what will last through eternity.

We also see Mary of Bethany just days before Christ’s crucifixion, referenced in Matthew 26:1-6, Mark 14:3-9 and John 12:1-8. A meal had been prepared at the home of Simon the leper, probably a leper who had been healed by Jesus and had become one of His followers. Martha was again serving while the resurrected Lazarus reclined at the table with Jesus and the disciples. At some point, Mary broke open an alabaster jar, poured a pint of very expensive perfume on Jesus’ head and feet, and wiped them with her hair. In spite of criticism from the disciples about the wasting of the costly perfume, Mary said nothing. Just as the first incident, Mary allowed Jesus to defend her, which He does, saying that she has kept this perfume for His burial and has done a beautiful act of service to Him which would be memorialized through the ages. We can learn valuable lessons from studying her connection to Jesus in those key moments.

Mary, Mother of Jesus

Jesus’ mother, Mary of Nazareth, remained by Jesus’ side from His first breath to His last, her loyalty unwavering. As is true with Jesus, we know nothing of Mary’s physical appearance or demeanor. But the historical sources give us a rather detailed picture of Mary’s character. Mary seems on the surface to be an ordinary Jewish woman whose life was indistinguishable from many others. She cooked, sewed and cleaned. She prayed, conversed and served the needs of her family. Yet, what we see in her biblical stories of Jesus’ birth shows that Mary’s life was extraordinary. This didn’t lie in herself; it was a divine gift. By the free choice of God the Father, she was predestined to be the mother of the Redeemer. By His mercy, God filled her soul with His grace and His presence.

There are indications throughout the Bible that show that Mary, as a mother, was interested in what her son was doing. At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, she was among the group of disciples who followed Him. What was she thinking as she watched her son die in such an excruciating manner? Did she remember Simeon’s prediction just after Jesus’ birth? Simeon said, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34-35). As Jesus hung on the cross, His hands and feet pierced, her soul was being pierced by the sword of grief. His words meant that God knew Jesus would be crucified and had a plan to use Jesus’ suffering. Even though she didn’t completely understand His call, she remained by His side because of her unconditional love for Him.

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene was the most important woman disciple in the movement of Jesus and continues to be one of the most mysterious and controversial figures in religious history. Many popular depictions of Mary Magdalene don’t do her story justice or speak her truth as a true disciple of Christ. When Mary and the other women, along with the twelve joined Jesus, they were taking a serious risk. Jesus was spurred into action after the arrest of John the Baptist. Much of John the Baptist’s ministry took place on the east bank of the Jordan in Herod’s territory of Parea. When John was imprisoned, Jesus took up his ministry in Herod’s territory of Galilee which was viewed by Herod, not only as a challenge but also a threat. Despite the risk, Mary Magdalene was committed to Jesus’ ministry. Mary Magdalene, delivered of seven demons, bravely supported her Teacher through His darkest hours during the resurrection, then proclaimed His glorious resurrection. She was committed to Jesus and His mission, no matter the costs.

This Easter, remember these three biblical women who had very close encounters with Jesus. Their intimate encounters with Jesus will deepen your faith in God who so loved the world that He gave His only Son.

 

 

Your Daily Prayer Devotional Banner

A Prayer for When the World Makes You Anxious
By Kelly Balarie

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil 4:8)

I watch the evening news. And, I’m convinced they shouldn’t no longer call it evening news, friends, they should call it: The Anxiety Hour. Do you watch it too? Do you feel it crawl all over you?

You see the tears. You see the evil. You see the injustice. You see the pain. You see the prognosis. You see no answers. You feel helpless.

If you could do something to change anything, you would. But, you feel small, unable. You assure yourself, even your loudest call would ring hallow and uncared for, in this echo-chamber called the world.

There is an undercurrent of fear. The tensions under the surface of forced calmness are like riptides. They are rising. We all see them. We want to turn away. Pretend. Run. Hide. Shiver. Shake.

Yet, is this what Jesus called us to? Self-preservation and dread? Worry and anxiety?

Might we consider: The news is not evil, but how our heart distrusts God easily could be?

If we fill our mind with the grim, we can hardly keep our mind set on Him. We can’t see if we are blinded by the anger that boils over in our heart. We get distracted and what emerges doesn’t look like love. It doesn’t look like Jesus.

And what hits me is this: Jesus never called us hone in on what’s wrong with everything, he called us to remember God is in control – of everything. This is peace. 

Dear God, I am prone to worry. I let the happenings of the world, the elections and the economy sit heavy on me. I need to find your peace. I invite you to restructure my thinking. May my hope be you. May my peace be you. May you help love flow out from me. Give me clarity. May I change what I am able to change and release what I can’t. May I know that the greatest joy is staying where you are. God, thank you that you have the whole world in your hands. I need not fear because you are the best manager, orchestrator and caretaker. You made it all. I believe in your plan. Amen.

 

 

On Saturday
by Max Lucado

John didn’t know on that Friday what you and I now know. He didn’t know that Friday’s tragedy would be Sunday’s triumph. John would later confess that he “did not yet understand from the Scriptures that Jesus must rise from the dead” (John 20:9).

That’s why what he did on Saturday is so important.

We don’t know anything about this day; we have no passage to read, no knowledge to share. All we know is this: When Sunday came, John was still present. When Mary Magdalene came looking for him, she found him.

Jesus was dead. The Master’s body was lifeless. John’s friend and future were buried. But John had not left. Why? Was he waiting for the resurrection? No. As far as he knew, the lips were forever silent and the hands forever still. He wasn’t expecting a Sunday surprise. Then why was he here?

You’d think he would have left. Who was to say that the men who crucified Christ wouldn’t come after him? The crowds were pleased with one crucifixion; the religious leaders might have called for more. Why didn’t John get out of town?

Perhaps the answer was pragmatic; perhaps he was taking care of Jesus’ mother. Or perhaps he didn’t have anywhere else to go. Could be he didn’t have any money or energy or direction … or all of the above.

Or maybe he lingered because he loved Jesus.

To others, Jesus was a miracle worker. To others, Jesus was a master teacher. To others, Jesus was the hope of Israel. But to John, he was all of these and more. To John, Jesus was a friend.

You don’t abandon a friend—not even when that friend is dead. John stayed close to Jesus.

He had a habit of doing this. He was close to Jesus in the upper room. He was close to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was at the foot of the cross at the crucifixion, and he was a quick walk from the tomb at the burial.

Did he understand Jesus? No.

Was he glad Jesus did what he did? No.

But did he leave Jesus? No.

What about you? When you’re in John’s position, what do you do? When it’s Saturday in your life, how do you react? When you are somewhere between yesterday’s tragedy and tomorrow’s triumph, what do you do? Do you leave God—or do you linger near him?

John chose to linger. And because he lingered on Saturday, he was around on Sunday to see the miracle.

From He Chose the Nails
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2001) Max Lucado

 

 

Crosswalk the Devotional

Easter: All That Matters vs. All I Live For
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Editorial Director

He has risen, just as He said.
Matthew 28:6, NIV

What would I ever do if someone I knew came back from the dead? Especially if he had said he would, and if he had spent a couple nights in a grave already?

Seriously, what would I do? What would you do? Wouldn’t I blab to everyone I know – and most people I don’t – about this miraculous event? Heck, I tell everyone when I’m feeling under the weather or when I saw a good movie.

Then factor in that the same guy was now telling us that because of what he had done, none of the rest of us would ever have to suffer death. What’s more, simply by believing what we had seen, no matter our background, history, race, or education, we could restore our long-lost connection with the Almighty, and live forever.

Man… unfortunately, I’m having a hard time conceiving what I would do. Or, even if I can conceive it, I can’t quite believe it, because honestly, I have seen this, I do believe this, and yet my daily reaction to it doesn’t exactly line up with The Acts of the Apostles.

Has the news of a resurrected savior really become passe?

Why don’t I want to read Acts?

What am I afraid of?

That I’ll be rejected?

(He who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 4:8)).

That I won’t be powerful enough?

(God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7)).

That the good news isn’t relevant enough?

Salvation and the message of the resurrection, the miracle of born again-ness, is a salve to all wounds.

This Easter I’ll join choruses like “He’s Alive” while pondering and praising the miracle, but when it comes time for the next day of my life to begin, a day and a life that means nothing if not lived for my Savior, it’ll be all about me again and my troubles and making my way and who cut me off and what I have to get done and who I don’t like and what can we complain about today.

Yuck.

I want this Easter to be real. Because I did see it happen (so to speak; the resulting spread of those who ran to the corners of the earth to tell the story with no regard for personal safety is traceable to this day), it is real, and I’m cheating life and people God loves if I’m not shouting those facts from every corner and rooftop I can find. Everything else is just window dressing; “Christian living” is often just how we pass all our extra time in this country where so many of our basic needs are so easily met, and where we can cordon ourselves off from each other. What matters in life?

That there is life, and…
how it came about that there might never be death, but…
there are still dead men walking.
Really, why else are we here if not to keep excitedly shouting the truth of the miracle as if we’d just experienced it with our own eyes yesterday?

Intersecting Faith & Life: For the longest time, I’ve felt a leading in my heart to launch out into a complete study of the book of Acts, something I’ve never fully done. For some reason, I continue to put it off. But in my quest this year to make Easter real, I’m beginning a study of what those who witnessed the resurrection couldn’t keep themselves from going out and doing. Care to join me?

Further Reading
Acts 1:1

 

 

The Grandness of God

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Revelation 1:8
Recently a team of astronomers announced they have conclusive proof that a powerful black hole is 50 million light years away. Since the early 1900’s Albert Einstein predicted there were black holes as a part of his theory of relativity. At first black holes were only a theory and based on math formulas. For many years as¬tronomers have been trying to prove the existence of these black holes in space. Now with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists can prove the existence of these black holes.
Fifty million light years. As I thought about that distance, it was more than my mind could imagine. We usually talk about size with words like big, large, extra large, and huge. A black hole is bigger than big . . . it defies our comprehension.
This science news also gave me a new appreciation for how big and how grand God is. The opening line of the Bible says “God created the heavens and the earth”. Yet despite the grandness of the heavens, God cares about the intimate details of my life. In the New Testament book of Matthew, Jesus says that God knows when a sparrow falls to the ground and that even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
I challenge you today to consider how big the world is, but also realize that we can have an intimate relationship with the God who created it.
“People see God every day, they just don’t recognize him.” -Pearl Baily (1918-1988)
Devotionals Daily: A Year with Jesus

From A Charles Dickens Devotional

Childhood Innocence

“You must be tired, sir,” said he as he placed a chair near the fire, “how can I thank you?”

“By taking more care of your grandchild . . . , my good friend,” I replied.

“More care!” said the old man in a shrill voice, “more care of Nelly! . . .”

He said this with such evident surprise that I was perplexed what answer to make . . . “I don’t think you consider—” I began.

“I don’t consider!” cried the old man interrupting me, “I don’t consider her! Ah, how little you know of the truth!” . . .

While we were sitting thus, . . . the door of the closet opened, and the child returned, . . . She busied herself immediately in preparing supper, and . . . I was surprised to see that . . . everything was done by the child, and that there appeared to be no other persons but ourselves in the house. I took advantage of a moment when she was absent to venture a hint on this point, to which the old man replied that there were few grown persons as trustworthy or as careful as she.

“It always grieves me,” I observed, . . . “to contemplate the initiation of children into the ways of life, when they are scarcely more than infants. It checks their confidence and simplicity—two of the best qualities that Heaven gives them—and demands that they share our sorrows before they are capable of entering into our enjoyments.”

From The Old Curiosity Shop

Little Nell, a child not yet fourteen years of age, was forced to grow up too soon while caring for her grandfather, the owner of the Old Curiosity Shop. Not only did she care for the old man day and night, but Nell was forced to live with him as a pauper in the streets of London after a bad debt cost the grandfather his shop. Nell’s story is a sad one and a prime example of Victorian sentimentality in the literature of Dickens’s time.

When we read what Dickens says about a child’s confidence and simplicity being taken away too soon, we might be reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 18:3–4: “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus recognized the pure simplicity and innocence of a child’s faith, untarnished by the issues of adulthood. He warned us against allowing our straightforward faith in God to be commandeered by the world. Has your faith been compromised by worldly demands, or is it rooted in childlike humility? Remember, it is always possible for you to approach God with the unwavering faith of a child.

“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”– Luke 10:21 NIV

 

 

 

What Jesus Did! ‘You Gotta Be Kiddin’ Me’

But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.'” “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded. The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd.

— John 5:9b-13 NLT

Key Thought

You don’t know who healed you? You’ve been trying to get into the pool all these years and now that you are healed, you don’t know the name of the person who did it? Didn’t you ask? Was it irrelevant to you? Even more, you want to blame him for your actions on the Sabbath? Come on, that’s not the way other folks acted when Jesus healed them. Yes, Jesus did slip away in the crowd, but how did this man let that happen without finding out who he was? Here is a man who doesn’t want to take responsibility or go out on a limb for anyone or anything. Here is a man with potentially a far greater testimony than the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) but instead of sharing his story with others, he’s still trying to dodge responsibility. “It’s not my fault … I don’t know …” And when he does finally learn the name of his healer, instead of saying “Thank you!” he turns him in to the authorities, as we will see in the next verses. How sad! Which brings to mind a crucial question for us: Who or what am I in this “Jesus thing” for? Myself and what I want, or my Lord and what he wills?

Today’s Prayer

Cleanse my heart, O God, and teach me to love what you love and despise what you despise. Give me a heart to tell your story of grace in my life so others can know that Jesus is the one who has healed me through and through. I pray in his mighty name. Amen.


The phraseology of the first sentence of this prayer was inspired by the song, “The Things God Loves” by Wayne Watson. Here is a verse from that song:

I’ll be a friend to You
Move as the Spirit moves
Dance unrestrained with joy
Or welcome crying eyes

Bless as I have been blessed
Hunger for righteousness
Love all the things You love
And hate what You despise

Related Scripture Readings

 

Passion for Praise: ‘How Good!’

Illustration of Psalm 147:1 — Praise the LORD! How good to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting!

 

 

header-devo-broadcast-02.png

Chase Away Sinful Thoughts

Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth and spread it for herself on the rock, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell upon them from the heavens. And she did not allow the birds of the air to come upon them by day, or the beasts of the field by night. 2 Samuel 21:10

If the love of a woman to her slain sons could make her prolong her mournful vigil for so long a period, shall we grow tired of considering the sufferings of our blessed Lord? She drove away the birds of prey, and shall not we chase from our meditations those worldly and sinful thoughts that defile both our minds and the sacred themes upon which we are occupied?

Be gone, you birds of evil wing! Leave the sacrifice alone! She bore the heat of summer, the night dews and the rains, unsheltered and alone. Sleep was chased from her weeping eyes: her heart was too full for slumber. Consider how she loved her children! Shall Rizpah endure while we quit at the first little inconvenience or trial? Are we such cowards that we cannot bear to suffer with our Lord? She chased away even the wild beasts with unusual courage, and will we not be ready to encounter every foe for Jesus’ sake? Her children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept and watched.

What ought we to do who have by our sins crucified our Lord? Our obligations are boundless; our love should be fervent and our repentance thorough. To watch with Jesus should be our business, to protect His honor our occupation, to abide by His cross our solace. Those ghastly corpses might well have frightened Rizpah, especially by night, but in our Lord, at whose cross we are sitting, there is nothing revolting but everything attractive. Never was living beauty so enchanting as a dying Savior.

Jesus, we will watch with You still, and may You graciously unveil Yourself to us; then shall we not sit beneath sackcloth but in a royal pavilion.

 

 

Verse of the Day

for Saturday, March 31, 2018

Inspirational illustration of Isaiah 53:5-6

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

I don’t know how Jesus could stand up under its weight. He had my sin, your sin, our sin. He allowed it to be placed upon him so that we would not have to bear the consequences of it all. But in that sacrifice, as horrible as it was, we find ourselves healed — cured of the most awful disease a person can have, a sin-sick soul. He was pierced, crushed, and punished for our sins. In their place, he has left us his transforming peace and a place to belong.

My Prayer…

God of peace, fill my soul with the wonder of your grace. Let me not forget the cost of your love. Stir in me the constant and abiding memory of your redemptive grace. Thank you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

Prophetic Insight newsletter

Prophecy: It’s Showtime!

In the spirit, I saw on giant marquees in front of theaters, hotels and many buildings throughout the world, the words, “It’s Showtime!” The Lord was announcing to Planet Earth that He was coming to show up in a sovereign way to heal, deliver and manifest His glory.

It was a kairos time to show and tell cities and nations what He had to offer. Just when we thought every light on Earth had gone out and the stars had fallen from their sockets, His light was returning to the world, expelling darkness.

I was amazed as I saw Him overruling people’s belief systems and revealing Himself to them. He was touching atheists who didn’t believe in Him, but He believed in them. Witches, those who follow the occult, Hollywood stars and many of His own people who through great trials, afflictions and hope deferred had turned away from Him were still being pursued by Him.

It was a day of His appearing once again as He was making public appearances throughout the world by visions and dreams to individuals, including world leaders and mass gatherings. To many, He was the uninvited guest who had invited Himself.

Bill Yount has been a member of Bridge of Life in Hagerstown, Maryland, where he is now an elder, and a home missionary for the past 40 years. He faithfully served in prison ministry at Mount Hope Inc. for 23 years and now travels full-time, ministering in churches and Aglow circles. He is currently an adviser at large for Aglow International. Bill has authored several prophetic books. His latest book is: The Power of Real / Transparent Prophetic Encouragement. His prophetic email list is:billyountweekly.com. Visit Bill’s website at billyount.com.

 

 

Image result for Blessings on Holy Saturday

 

Stay blessed!!!

 

 

 

 

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