Participants, Not Spectators, in the Holiest Events in History, Palm Sunday (B), March 29, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Michael’s Parish, Lowell, MA
Palm Sunday
March 29, 2015
Mk 11:1-10, Is 50:4-7, Ps 22, Phil 2:6-11, Mk 14:1-15:47

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

The Week that Jesus Made Holy So That He Could Make Us Holy

We have now begun the week that the Church calls “holy.” It’s holy, first, because of all Jesus Christ did during these days, from the triumphal entry into his city at the beginning of this Mass, to his teaching in the Temple, to the Last Supper, to his prayer in Gethsemane, to his arrest, torture, crucifixion, preaching and death on Good Friday, to his rest in the tomb, and his glorious resurrection on the third day. It’s also called holy because it’s meant to make us holy, if we live this week the right way, if we enter into the mysteries we celebrate, if we internalize all Jesus won for us during these most holy of events in human history. Holy Week is supposed to be our most faith-filled week of the year, the week that is supposed to strengthen us the most in our Christian life, but for that to occur, we have to respond to the graces of the week. We need to choose to make it our holiest and most faithful week of the year. We have to live it not as spectators but as participants.

Growing up here at St. Michael’s, I have powerful memories of living Holy Week as a participant along with my family and this parish family. I remember attending and later serving as an altar boy Palm Sunday Masses and doing the same at the Holy Thursday Mass, when I assisted the priests washing people’s feet and as we celebrated together Jesus’ gift of himself to us in the Eucharist and the priesthood that makes that gift possible. I remember praying the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, pondering Jesus’ Passion, and coming up to venerate the Cross without my shoes. I remember the Easter Vigil, the most beautiful Mass of the year, the seven Old Testament Readings and their accompanying Psalms and prayers, the baptism of adults and welcoming of others into our parish and faith, and coming back on Easter Sunday to a packed Church to burst out together in the singing of “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.” Those Holy Weeks as a child filled me with a depth of love for our faith and copiously watered the seeds of a priestly vocation that God had given me here in these pews.

In my 16 years of service as a parish priest in the Diocese of Fall River, I recognized to my surprise that not everyone lived Holy Week in this same way we celebrated them here at St. Michael’s as I was growing up. There was always something a little weird that would occur on Palm Sunday in the two places where I was pastor and the three others were I served prior, when some Catholics who would come each Lord’s Day would come to greet me at the end of Palm Sunday Mass saying — and apparently meaning — “See you next Sunday, Father!” Coming to Church on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, simply wasn’t on their radar screen. It’s true that attendance on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil is not obligatory, but this is not because the Church doesn’t think these events are less important in our faith than, for example, celebrating All Saints’ Day or Mary’s Immaculate Conception or Assumption. It’s because the Church would never think that it would ever have to make attendance obligatory, since it presumes that all Catholics would want to be there out of love for the Lord. For disciples of Jesus Christ to miss any of these principal celebrations events of our faith would be as incomprehensible as Red Sox fans skipping the fifth, sixth and seventh games of the World Series when the Sox are playing!

The Sacred Triduum

About Holy Thursday, Jesus said to the apostles at the beginning of that most precious meal of all time, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you.” Jesus says the same thing to us: with great eagerness, he wants to eat that Passover with you and me. The summons he gives us to enter into his celebration of the Last Supper is the most important dinner invitation we have ever received. During it, we celebrate with him the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood that makes that perpetual gift possible for us each Sunday, in fact each day, of the year. Could we possibly have a more important invitation on Holy Thursday night?

About Good Friday, if there’s ever one day during the year on which every Christian should think about taking a personal day, it’s the Friday Christian tradition has called “good” because it really shows how incredibly good the Lord is. Most of us would naturally take time off of work or school to be with a beloved family member who was dying. We need to be just as practical about being with Jesus on Good Friday. If we were present in Jerusalem the day he carried the Cross to Golgotha to make our salvation possible, would we have wanted to be with him as Mary and the other faithful disciples were or would we prefer to be busy about other — far less important —matters?

And on Holy Saturday night, the Easter Vigil is by far the most important and beautiful Mass of the entire year, in which we thank God for the supreme gift of his Resurrection and what it means for us and the world. There are Masses on Easter morning that certainly fulfill our “obligation,” but, candidly, they’re not the same as the Easter Vigil, in which we enter with faith into all the central events of salvation history, see how they’re all fulfilled in Christ, and rejoice in faith for the new life that God gives us. It’s the most important liturgy in Catholicism. It’s the Mass that has the power to change us most as we celebrate it, because it helps us to push ourselves to the liturgical limit of love and gratitude to God in celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and what it means for each of us in this world and forever.

Opening Ourselves to Live the Word

So I’d encourage you to approach all of these events with faith, to look at them all as gifts, to enter into them as participants rather than just remain in the crowd as distant observers. It’s significant that during the Passion account that’s read on Palm Sunday at the beginning of Holy Week, all Catholics enter into the Gospel and proclaim some of the parts. All Catholics say some of the beautiful words of the Passion account — like “Where do you want us to go to prepare for you the Passover?,” like “Surely, not I?,” — and some of the worst words ever enunciated, like “Prophesy!,” the mockery of “Hail, King of the Jews!,” and worst of all, “Crucify Him!” The reason why this is fitting is because we are all part of the drama of Holy Week. We have the occasion to speak up for Jesus, to speak against him, or to pretend as if we can just remain on the sidelines. But just as our vocal proclamation of the Passion makes clear, we are all part of the scene. At the beginning of the liturgy of the Word, the members of the Kenyan and Nigerian communities here had the beautiful procession of the Word of God, joyously bringing up the Lectionary and singing as they did so words that point to how each of us is called to open up the doors of our hearts to the Lord who is coming to speak to us in his Holy Word. That’s an image of the way Christ was welcomed on Palm Sunday as the gates of Jerusalem opened up so that the King of Glory might enter. But we know that five days later, many had closed the doors of their hearts to that same Lord as he was crowned not with gold and diadems but with thorns and blood. During this week, Jesus is asking us to open up everything to him, to ponder his Word, to let him speak to us in saving deeds, and give his body and blood for us during the Last Supper and on the Cross so that we might enter into his Passover from death to life on Easter.

It’s during this week that, concretely, we have a choice to respond to Jesus like Mary of Bethany, anointing his feet with precious aromatic nard worth a year’s salary — by anointing Jesus with our love and “wasting” a week’s worth of time on him — but we can also respond like Judas Iscariot asking couldn’t we spend our time better than on Jesus. It’s during this week that we have a chance to respond to Jesus’ request of Peter, James and John, to stay awake with him in prayer, because like theirs our spirit is strong but our flesh is weak, or it’s a time that we can be asleep instead at prayer or sleepwalk through these mysteries. It’s a chance for us to imitate Judas’ valuing Jesus less than 30 pieces of silver or to resolve that we will never sell Jesus out even for all the silver and gold, work and overtime, in the world. It’s a time for us to confess Jesus like the Centurion at the foot of the Cross or to deny him like Peter in order to stay warm by a fire. It’s a chance for us like Simon of Cyrene to accompany Jesus carrying his Cross, to be like the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, Mary the Wife of Clopas and the apostle John with Jesus as he is redeeming us on Calvary, or like the other disciples who scattered out of fear at the sign of danger. It’s an occasion for us to turn to Jesus like the Good Thief and beg him for the gift of paradise or to mock him and spurn his loving offer of salvation like the other thief on his left. It’s ultimately an opportunity for us to continue to shout as we did at the beginning of Mass, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!,” or to shriek, “Crucify Him!,” by choosing something else in our life as more important than Jesus.

At the beginning of this week, throughout each of the days of this week and beyond, it’s as if Pontius Pilate is before us asking, “Whom do you want me to give to you? Jesus or Barabbas?” To choose Jesus is to choose to be with him, to allow him as the Lamb of God led to the slaughter to take away the sins for which he paid such a precious price, to follow him up close and to enter into these mysteries. To choose Barabbas is to put anyone or anything else before the Lord. Throughout this week, but especially on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, we have a chance to say, “Give me Jesus!” “I want Jesus!” “I want you, Lord!” and “Truly you are the Son of God!”

Our Weekly Holy Week

The best way to get this Holy Week off to a holy start is here at Mass. Each Mass we celebrate is in itself Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday altogether in one. In a few minutes we again will sing, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord.” We will enter into the Upper Room as Jesus gives us his Body and Blood in anticipating of offering it on the altar of Golgotha. We will climb Calvary where we will be not just witnesses but participants in the very same death of the Lord once-and-for-all for us and our salvation. And through receiving his risen Body and Blood, we will leave with him from the tomb of sin and death and get a foretaste of the eternal wedding banquet in that kingdom Jesus won for us by the very passion, death and resurrection we will be celebrating this week, celebrate now, and hope to celebrate for ever. “Whom do you want me to release to you?,” we’re asked. Let us ask God for the grace to choose with faith, with passion, with determination the Lord Jesus who during this week paid the supreme price to choose us and to save us.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

At the Procession with Palms – Gospel Mk 11:1-10

When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem,
to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately on entering it,
you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
If anyone should say to you,
‘Why are you doing this?’ reply,
‘The Master has need of it
and will send it back here at once.’”
So they went off
and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street,
and they untied it.
Some of the bystanders said to them,
“What are you doing, untying the colt?”
They answered them just as Jesus had told them to,
and they permitted them to do it.
So they brought the colt to Jesus
and put their cloaks over it.
And he sat on it.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road,
and others spread leafy branches
that they had cut from the fields.
Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
“Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!”

At the Mass – Reading 1 Is 50:4-7

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24

R. (2a) My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
All who see me scoff at me;
they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
“He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, if he loves him.”
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Indeed, many dogs surround me,
a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
They divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
“You who fear the LORD, praise him;
all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;
revere him, all you descendants of Israel!”
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Reading 2 Phil 2:6-11

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming 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 name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

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 name.

Gospel Mk 14:1—15:47

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
were to take place in two days’ time.
So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way
to arrest him by treachery and put him to death.
They said, “Not during the festival,
for fear that there may be a riot among the people.”

When he was in Bethany reclining at table
in the house of Simon the leper,
a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil,
costly genuine spikenard.
She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.
There were some who were indignant.
“Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil?
It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages
and the money given to the poor.”
They were infuriated with her.
Jesus said, “Let her alone.
Why do you make trouble for her?
She has done a good thing for me.
The poor you will always have with you,
and whenever you wish you can do good to them,
but you will not always have me.
She has done what she could.
She has anticipated anointing my body for burial.
Amen, I say to you,
wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world,
what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve,
went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them.
When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money.
Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
his disciples said to him,
“Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
“Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there.”
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he came with the Twelve.
And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said,
“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me,
one who is eating with me.”
They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one,
“Surely it is not I?”
He said to them,
“One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish.
For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”

While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, and said,
“Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them,
“All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be dispersed.

But after I have been raised up,
I shall go before you to Galilee.”
Peter said to him,
“Even though all should have their faith shaken,
mine will not be.”
Then Jesus said to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
this very night before the cock crows twice
you will deny me three times.”
But he vehemently replied,
“Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you.”
And they all spoke similarly.
Then they came to a place named Gethsemane,
and he said to his disciples,
“Sit here while I pray.”
He took with him Peter, James, and John,
and began to be troubled and distressed.
Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch.”
He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed
that if it were possible the hour might pass by him;
he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.
Take this cup away from me,
but not what I will but what you will.”
When he returned he found them asleep.
He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep?
Could you not keep watch for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.
Then he returned once more and found them asleep,
for they could not keep their eyes open
and did not know what to answer him.
He returned a third time and said to them,
“Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
It is enough. The hour has come.
Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.
See, my betrayer is at hand.”

Then, while he was still speaking,
Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived,
accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs
who had come from the chief priests,
the scribes, and the elders.
His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying,
“The man I shall kiss is the one;
arrest him and lead him away securely.”
He came and immediately went over to him and said,
“Rabbi.” And he kissed him.
At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
One of the bystanders drew his sword,
struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear.
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you come out as against a robber,
with swords and clubs, to seize me?
Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area,
yet you did not arrest me;
but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled.”
And they all left him and fled.
Now a young man followed him
wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body.
They seized him,
but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

They led Jesus away to the high priest,
and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together.
Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest’s courtyard
and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin
kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus
in order to put him to death, but they found none.
Many gave false witness against him,
but their testimony did not agree.
Some took the stand and testified falsely against him,
alleging, “We heard him say,
‘I will destroy this temple made with hands
and within three days I will build another
not made with hands.’”
Even so their testimony did not agree.
The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus,
saying, “Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?”
But he was silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked him and said to him,
“Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?”
Then Jesus answered, “I am;
and ‘you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power
and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
At that the high priest tore his garments and said,
“hat further need have we of witnesses?
You have heard the blasphemy.
What do you think?”
They all condemned him as deserving to die.
Some began to spit on him.
They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, “Prophesy!”
And the guards greeted him with blows.

While Peter was below in the courtyard,
one of the high priest’s maids came along.
Seeing Peter warming himself,
she looked intently at him and said,
“You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus.”
But he denied it saying,
“I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.”
So he went out into the outer court.
Then the cock crowed.
The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders,
“This man is one of them.”
Once again he denied it.
A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more,
“Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean.”
He began to curse and to swear,
“I do not know this man about whom you are talking.”
And immediately a cock crowed a second time.
Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him,
“Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.”
He broke down and wept.

As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
“Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of.”
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?”
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
“Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?”
They shouted again, “Crucify him.”
Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.”
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, AHail, King of the Jews!”
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
— which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
“The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
“Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
“Truly this man was the Son of God!”
There were also women looking on from a distance.
Among them were Mary Magdalene,
Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.
These women had followed him when he was in Galilee
and ministered to him.
There were also many other women
who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

When it was already evening,
since it was the day of preparation,
the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea,
a distinguished member of the council,
who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God,
came and courageously went to Pilate
and asked for the body of Jesus.
Pilate was amazed that he was already dead.
He summoned the centurion
and asked him if Jesus had already died.
And when he learned of it from the centurion,
he gave the body to Joseph.
Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down,
wrapped him in the linen cloth,
and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.
Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses
watched where he was laid.

Or Mk 15:1-39

As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
“Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of.”
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?”
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
“Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?”
They shouted again, “Crucify him.”
Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.”
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
—which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
“The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
“Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
“Truly this man was the Son of God!”

 

hosanna