Friday, April 2, 2021

†...“From that hour the disciple took ... †


O Cross of Christ

O Cross of Christ, symbol of divine love and of human injustice, icon of the supreme sacrifice for love and of boundless selfishness even unto madness, instrument of death and the way of Resurrection, sign of obedience and emblem of betrayal, the gallows of persecution and the banner of victory. … O Cross of Christ, image of love without end and way of the Resurrection, today too we see you in noble and upright persons who do good without seeking praise or admiration from others. … In you, Holy Cross, we see God who loves even to the end, and we see the hatred of those who want to dominate, that hatred which blinds the minds and hearts of those who prefer darkness to light. O Cross of Christ, Arc of Noah that saved humanity from the flood of sin, save us from evil and from the Evil One. O Throne of David and seal of the divine and eternal Covenant, awaken us from the seduction of vanity! O cry of love, inspire in us a desire for God, for goodness and for light.

Dear friends, let us bring to Christ's Cross our joys, our sufferings and our failures. There we will find a Heart that is open to us and understands us, forgives us, loves us and calls us to bear this love in our lives, to love each person, each brother and sister, with the same love.

— from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis,

by Diane M. Houdek


†Saint Quote
"If you wish to strengthen your confidence in God still more, often recall the loving way in which He has acted toward you, and how mercifully He has tried to bring you out of your sinful life, to break your attachment to the things of earth and draw you to His love."
— St. Alphonsus Liguori

"God will forgive you if you ask him to. Though your sins be numerous as the grains of sand on the shore, God's merciful forgiveness is far greater than your sins. Do not be afraid. Trust in his love. Repent of your sins without delay and return to the house of the Father. He is waiting for you. "
— Patrick Madrid, p.15
A Year with the Bible

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 Tabernacle 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.

"May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 15:5-6


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St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507) was born in Calabria, Italy, to a husband and wife known for their holiness. After suffering childlessness for many years, his parents had recourse to prayer, especially the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi. They eventually had three children, and the eldest, Francis, was named after St. Francis in thanksgiving for his birth. Francis of Paola grew in sanctity, and after having a vision of St. Francis he spent a year in a Franciscan convent to fulfill a vow his parents had made to the saint. After his time there, he returned to his parents and accompanied them on a pilgrimage to Assisi. Upon returning home, Francis retired to a private spot on his parents' estate to live as a hermit. He later moved his dwelling to a lonely cave by the seashore, living there in prayer, solitude, and mortification for six years. Disciples gradually came to him to imitate his manner of life, so many that St. Francis of Paola, with the permission of his bishop, built a monastery and church to accommodate them. He later obtained permission from the Holy See to found a new religious order called the Minims, or "The Least," as they were to live hidden lives of poverty, abstinence, and humility. St. Francis of Paola became famous and was sought out by others for his prophecies and miracles. He spent the last three months of his life in solitude in preparation for his death. On Good Friday, after receiving Last Rites, he died while the Passion of Christ was read to him aloud. His feast day is April 2.


Good Friday of the Lord's Passion

Lectionary: 40
Reading I

Is 52:13—53:12

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

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 II

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.


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.


Daily Meditation: Isaiah 52:1–53:12

So shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless. (Isaiah 52:15)

For many people, Good Friday is a sad and gloomy day. We are presented with images and depictions of the crucifixion of Jesus, God's only Son, someone who was completely innocent and undeserving of punishment. It was a supreme injustice, an outrage even. So yes, we should have a reflective attitude today—maybe even a somber attitude. But today is not a day to be gloomy.

Instead, let's approach the passion and death of Jesus with gratitude and awe and adoration. Let's gaze at our crucified Lord and expect to be startled, even to be rendered speechless, by what we see (Isaiah 52:15). Because as paradoxical as it may seem, the sheer agony and injustice of Jesus' cross reveal the powerful and surprising beauty of our God.

The crucifixion of Jesus shows us that God's love is so powerful that it can make even the evil of sin and death serve his perfect plan. It shows us that the goodness and strength of God's desire to redeem us cannot be overturned, not even by the wicked scheming of the devil or the selfish desires of fallen human beings. No act of violence or deceit can ever thwart him.

It doesn't seem possible that Jesus' suffering could end in triumph. But even though Jesus was "marred . . . beyond human semblance," God promised that he would be "raised high and greatly exalted" (Isaiah 52:13, 14). That's where the surprise comes in: just when evil seems to have had the last word, good wins out!

When you contemplate the passion of the Lord today, remember that you know the end of the story. The ugliness of the suffering, pain, and rejection Jesus endured was real. But so is the redemption that he accomplished through it. So is the perfect culmination of God's plan to forgive and redeem you. Death does not have the final word; life does. And that's something truly beautiful!

"Jesus, as I consider your crucifixion and death today, may my heart exult with wonder at the beauty of your love."

Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-17, 25 | Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 | John 18:1–19:42



Keep your eyes on the crucifix; for Jesus without the cross is a man without a mission, and the cross without Jesus is a burden without a reliever.
— Venerable Fulton J. Sheen


Is 52:13—53:12
"See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted."
And our Lord was raised up, to proclaim healing to the sinner, all those who had ever complained against God our Father. "HERE IS YOUR SIGN"

"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..."
A disfigured man appeared. But He was disfigured by people's pride. He was disfigured by pride-fueled hatred. Today, the story continues, the proud reject the cross, and thus the crucifix, and thus...Christ.

"... because of him kings shall stand speechless;
for those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it."


We prayed: "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. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
Yesterday, we buried a father, my brother in law, at age 47, pray for his Soul, Michael Reyes. He left his one son and one daughter and wife. It has been a hard week on everyone. I've wondered how I could memorialize the moment He passed away last Saturday when unplugged from the life machines. His heart didn't make it out of surgery, and this after having taking the Covid shot too. The memorial would help us remember him and celebrate him every year. I remember my grandma passed, then my aunt, her daughter, and another daughter that had gone before Grandma. They all died about this time of year, March 29th. And one cousin always tried to do a monthly prayer for them over a conference call to people all over. It kept going for a few months actually, and then, it began fading. A month skipped here, another there, and now it is no more. No more memorial. But the Memorial of our Lord persists and is a miracle in of itself. It is perpetuated at every single Mass every single day of the year. But the dead soon are forgotten, and are remembered only as a pain, and so we hide the pain. But we must look at the pain on the cross, and remember. God loves me.


Our Lord said a few things while dying on the cross, there's been books on the 7 last things which you may read. I believe Fulton Sheen wrote "The 7 Last Words" which is the book I've read. But among the 7 last things, He asked God to forgive His enemies. And He also said to us all in the disciple "Behold, your mother." His mother was there with a dagger in her heart. He was begging to please hold her. And not just hold her but take her as your mother. You are entrusted with the love of His life. Have you ever seen a son take care of his mother? How about an only son? Such was my brother in law. I don't recall seeing any brothers or sisters at the funeral, some close but not really. I sat across from his mother, a small fragile older woman, who had lost her husband a couple years ago, and now, what I believe is her only son. She was solemn, stricken. I often found myself looking at her, to see her reaction. I told all, "if you want to see her son's smile, look at his mom's". And I found myself launching myself to her, to comfort her, as if to comfort Mother Mary herself. Behold. Behold means more than just Mother Mary in Heaven. Behold means to love Mother Mary like that. Mother Mary is solemn. Behold.
Mother Mary loves her son. Behold.
Behold the message of a mother carrying her child from the womb to the tomb.
Every step of the way she caresses Him. Jesus loved her touch. Jesus loves her touch. And she touches Him and lately said from Heaven: "Jesus is still as humble today as the day he was born". What does that mean? Easy. True Love.

They say that talks today should be short. But honestly, I could write books about the moment of Good Friday. But for that, we must hold and behold the moment so Sacred. So Special. So special that Mother Mary was said to have began the Stations of the Cross, and would often wonder off on her own tracking every step of the Passion. Why? To look for Him? To honor Him? I believe she was awe struck about what God would treasure the most. The gift to the world. A Son. A Passion. A passion that says "I want the world set ablaze in eternal love".

Lord, You said "It is Finished". You accomplished your mission to the last with humility and shown the world true love of God.
Mother Mary was amazed. And I cannot fathom such love without her and You showing every step of the Way.

from your brother in Christ our Lord,


Random online bible verse from a random verse generator:

Proverbs 12:11
11 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,

but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.


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