God of all time, you call us out of the ordinariness of our everyday lives to see the world anew in your time. Help us to respond to your call to see in all things: both a completion and a new beginning; both an end and a renewed start; both sadness and joy. While our time marks your death on a cross as an end, your time marks the Transitus from one life to the next. Enflame in our hearts a desire to see in life and death the Transitus and transformation your life, death, and resurrection have brought forth in the world. Your time is a time of fulfillment that makes little sense to the world, for what is logical is replaced by what is kingdom-oriented, and this way of thinking appears as foolishness to the worldly. Help us to live as your fools, willing to announce your kingdom. Give us the strength to keep your time, where relationships take priority and we start over again and again to serve the least among us. Amen.
–from the book The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering
✞ "I earnestly admonish you, therefore, my brothers, to look after your spiritual well-being with judicious concern. Death is certain; life is short and vanishes like smoke. Fix your minds, then, on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Inflamed with love for us, he came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sake he endured every torment of body and soul and shrank from no bodily pain. He himself gave us an example of perfect patience and love. We, then, are to be patient in adversity." — St. Francis of Paola
✞ MEDITATION OF THE DAY "God will forgive you if you forgive others. Forgiving those who cause offense or injury is often exceedingly difficult. And yet, forgiveness is one of the most beautiful and important teachings of Jesus Christ. It is central to the gospel because, without it, you can't go to heaven." — Patrick Madrid, p.21 AN EXCERPT FROM A Year with the Bible
GOOD FRIDAY On the Friday of the Lord's Passion (Good Friday) the Church commemorates the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross for the sins of all mankind, at the same time the Passover lamb was being killed and prepared for consumption among the Jewish people. On this day the Church does not celebrate Mass. The main altar remains completely bare, and the Tablernacle is empty. It is at the 3 o'clock hour on Good Friday that Jesus expired on the Cross, His Divine Mercy being poured out on the whole world. At this hour the Christian faithful should observe a solemn and prayerful silence in memory of the hour in which our salvation was won at so great a price.
✞ VERSE OF THE DAY "Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you." 1 Samuel 12:23-24
SAINT OF THE DAY
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Blessed Peter Gonzalez
Saint of the Day for April 14
(1190 – April 15, 1246) Saint Paul had a conversion experience on the road to Damascus. Many years later, the same proved true for Peter Gonzalez, who triumphantly rode his horse into the Spanish city of Astorga in the 13th century to take up an important post at the cathedral. The animal stumbled and fell, leaving Peter in the mud and onlookers amused.
Humbled, Peter reevaluated his motivations–his bishop-uncle had secured the cathedral post for him– and started down a new path. He became a Dominican priest and proved to be a most effective preacher. He spent much of his time as court chaplain, and attempted to exert positive influence on the behavior of members of the court. After King Ferdinand III and his troops defeated the Moors at Cordoba, Peter was successful in restraining the soldiers from pillaging, and persuaded the king to treat the defeated Moors with compassion.
After retiring from the court, Peter devoted the remainder of his life to preaching in northwest Spain. Having developed a special mission to Spanish and Portuguese seamen, he is considered their patron.
Peter Gonzalez died in 1246 and was beatified in 1741.
How often we have heard stories about some misfortune or disaster only to hear later on that it was now seen as a good thing. Not every "disaster" is truly bad in its consequences for the Lord can bring good out of what appears to be a misfortune. Such was the case for Blessed Peter. His being dumped in the mud by a falling horse turned out to be a good thing in his life.
See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. Even as many were amazed at him so marred was his look beyond human semblance and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man 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.
Today stands as one of the most somber days of the year: the day we contemplate Jesus' arrest and crucifixion. But rather than just reminiscing or feeling sad and withdrawn, let's take Pilate's exhortation literally and behold our King. Let's join Mary and John at the foot of the cross and fix our gaze on Jesus.
Behold your king! Look at his broken body. See him crowned with thorns. Focus on his hands, his feet, his side. See his love flowing down to us as the blood continues to pour out from his side. Gaze into his eyes, and see the sorrow and the joy on his face: sorrow that our sins have brought him to this point; joy that his Father would raise him up—and raise us with him.
Behold your king! He is not just a ruler from the annals of history. He is not just a distant sovereign king. He is your King. He knows your name. He chose you to be his own, before you were even created. You belong to him. He sees every detail of your life, and he loves you. Hear him announce, "It is finished" (John 19:30). Know that this is a cry of victory. Believe that your king has completed his mission and opened the gates of heaven—for you.
Behold your king! There he is, the King of glory, the One who sustains the universe, hanging on a cross. This king came to serve, not to be served. Mocked and ridiculed, he suffers in silence. He conquers not with armies but through sacrifice. He delights in showing mercy, not vengeance. Gaze upon him, and see the Son of God offering his life for the sins of the world—for your sins.
On this holy day, try to set aside some extra time to be with Jesus. Your parish probably has a special celebration of the Stations of the Cross today. Join in if you can. Let the Stations show you what Jesus did for you. Fix your eyes on the crown of thorns, the nails, his side. As you do, behold your King, and let his sacrifice move your heart. Offer him your love, your trust, and your obedience.
"Jesus, my King, thank you for dying for me. I love you."
We read today "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." I bet everyone has heard of these following statements and I'm getting them from a Spanish reflection: "Why do the innocent suffer? Does pain make any sense? Where is God when all this happens? Why is he silent? If it is good, why not intervene?" These questions are enough to make some people atheists, and many more to lose hope and the joy of the Lord and what happens on Easter because of what happens today. Suddenly bad...is good. We prayed today " 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." I was struck by a thought yesterday, and excuse my crass language, "the world does not care about you...therefore, you have to care". Isn't that backwards? Making bad into good.
In comes the Lord of our lives: "You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above." OUCH! He told Pontius Pilate these words but we are reading this, you are reading this, as if God gave you power...to condemn, or to save, to choose life or death...to our Lord. Such is the yells of Pro-Choice people, they want the power to choose death to an unborn child. They want Barrabas, they want what they believe is truth, and thus, a condemnation, a sentencing to death. Jesus said to Pilate ""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 stands...the world did not care for Jesus. And today? I'm not going to answer that. It is a an inter-personal issuance. I live in a world where many do not KNOW Jesus. Therefore, He is condemned, ousted of every day life. You see the danger of not being with the Lord? I would dare say this to you: Your animosity here, your not caring, your little rabid ways, they have something to do with the terrorism, like the killings of people in their churches. Brutal words Mr. Adrian, why? We are in this world together. And God so loved the world that He sent His only Son...for what? To be tortured to death? To be followed all His life and then abandoned?
They chose Barrabas, whose name means "son of the father", instead of Jesus, whose name means "He Who Saves". They chose a revolutionary with military ambitions, to brutally assault the world, instead of the suffering servant that would die for the world. So many times us transformed peoples like to say we are "soldiers of Christ". Let's not be so haughty. Can you truly drink this cup? Can you really embrace suffering? Mental, physical, spiritual, and beyond? I've had a fever these last couple days, and I just keep praying it to go away, why can't I embrace it? Most often healings comes when the pain is embraced. That's how and why Jesus chose the cross to heal the world. And since then, we are being healed. That would be the last time people chose themselves...God would write His commandment of love in the hearts of every person from there on out. "Even as many were amazed at him so marred was his look beyond human semblance and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man so shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless; for those who have not been told shall see" Today we could start a novena, 9 days of prayer to the Divine Mercy of Christ for the following Sunday after Easter. Once as we prayed in a cursillo, to kill time, we prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet, I was close to the Blessed Sacrament, facing the side of Christ on the crucifix. Suddenly, I was as in a vision, taken out of this world. I saw Christ breathing his last on the cross, and it was dark and time stood still. I could not see him because of all the blood poured out of his head and body, but the strangest sensation was in my heart "this is my true Father". And He is the Son of the Father God, the truth. As I came into the vision, I was suddenly jolted out of it, apparently the guy next to me was shaking me to snap out of it and I realized my face was covered in tears, and didn't even know I was crying. We pray in the Divine Mercy Chaplet "For the sake of His sorrowful Passion....Have mercy on us and on the whole world". Indeed, that's why He died, mercy, and passion for the world. Today they asked me to sing at a funeral, and I will try, but I will be recalling the Lord's death too. As if He died alone. God was there. When everyone else fled. God was there. When everyone turned their backs, God was there. When they spat on Him, smacked Him on the head, mocked Him, stripped Him of HIs clothes and His skin with scourging and whips, yes, God was there. God says "I will give you just enough grace to get you through it". On the other part...your heart. How much do you love ME And God stretched out His arms on the cross, I would die for you
adrian from RedeemedOnline.com:
Thought for today: It is so easy to forget that Jesus died for us as individuals as well as humankind as a whole. We get so caught up in hearing and saying "Jesus loves us" and "Jesus loves you" but we rarely say "Jesus loves me." It's almost too daring and too presumptuous that we feel sheepish acknowledging that truth to ourselves.
Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was for us even if we turn our backs on Him, even if we don't know Him or love Him back. Jesus' victory on the cross is what has mending the gap between humanity and our home in heaven with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In acknowledging that Jesus, the son of God, died for me, for you, for us; we are taking the first step to receiving God's radical love for us.
Action for today: Take a moment of silence to pause and reflect on Jesus' love for you as an individual. Let it sink in that He is seeking to have a personal relationship with you and that He was willing to die for you to be saved.
Prayer for today: Jesus, open my eyes more fully to Your presence in my life, and help me to receive your love and healing.
Quote for today: "He died not for men, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, He would have done no less." ― C.S. Lewis
Be a Hero today – #ShareJesus: Reach out to a family member or close friend and seek to repair a damaged relationship. Ask God for the grace and mercy to begin the healing process.