Carissimi: Today’s Mass; Friday Passiontide I

fripassio1Friday in the Fifth Week of Lent: Missa “Miserére mihi “

The Station, at Rome, is in the church of St. Stephen on Monte Celio. This church of the great proto-martyr was chosen as the place where the faithful were to assemble on the Friday of Passion week. Until Maunday Thursday, in masses of the season, the Psalm Judica me Psalm 42 is omitted as well as the Gloria Patri after the Introit and the Lavabo.

The 5th century church of Santo Stefano Celimontana, or Santo Stefano Rotondo, may be the oldest of the round Roman churches with the central altar. Originally it held the relics of St. Stephen the Protomartyr, whose relics had been discovered in the Holy Land in 415, but it was later rededicated to St. Stefan, King of Hungary. Because of its original connection to the Holy Land, the church was modeled on the Church of the Holy Sepulcher – their circumferences and diameters are almost identical.

Today we learn of the prophecy of the High Priest, Caiphas and the final determination of the Sanhedrin (Temple Council) to deliberately seek the end of Our Lord. Unwittingly, Caiphas elucidates the significance of the sacrifice of the Messiah on behalf of the people.

Jeremiah is one of the most striking figures of the Messiah persecuted by the Jews. It is on this account, that the Church selects from this prophet so many of her lessons during these two weeks that are sacred to the Passion. In the passage chosen for today’s Epistle, we have the complaint addressed to God by this just man against those that persecute him; and it is in the name of Christ that he speaks. He says: They have forsaken the Lord, the vein of living waters. How forcibly do these words describe the malice, both of the Jews that crucified, and of sinners that still crucify, Jesus our Lord! As to the Jews they had forgotten the rock, whence came to them the living water which quenched their thirst in the desert; or, if they have not forgotten the history of this mysterious rock, they refuse to take it as a type of the Messiah.

And yet, they hear this Jesus crying out to them in the streets of Jerusalem, and saying: ‘If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink.’ (1) (St. John vii. 37). His virtues, His teachings, His miracles, the prophecies that are fulfilled in His person, all claim their confidence in Him; they should believe every word He says. But they are deaf to His invitation; and how many Christians imitate them in their obduracy!

How many there are, who once drank at the vein of living waters, and afterwards turned away to seek to quench their thirst in the muddy waters of the world, which can only make them thirst the more! Let them tremble at the punishment that came upon the Jews; for, unless they return to the Lord their God, they must fall into those devouring and eternal flames, where even a drop of water is refused. Jesus, the by mouth of His prophet, tells the Jews that the day of affliction shall overtake them; and when, later on, He comes to them Himself, He forewarns them, that the tribulation which is to fall on Jerusalem, in punishment for her deicide, shall be so great that such hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be.(2)-{St. Matt. xxiv. 21} But if God so rigorously avenged the Blood of His Son against a city that was so long a place of the habitation of His glory, and against a people that He had preferred to all others, will He spare the sinner who, in spite of the Church’s entreaties, continues obstinate in his evil ways? Jerusalem had filled up the measure of her iniquities; we, also have a measure of sin, beyond which the justice of God will not permit us to go. Let us sin no more: let us fill up that other measure, the measure of good works. Let us pray for those sinners who are to pass these days of grace without being converted; let us pray that this divine Blood, which is to be so generously given to them, but which they are about again to trample upon, may again spare them.

INTROIT Psalm 30:10, 16, 18.

Have pity on me, O Lord, for I am in distress; rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors. O Lord, let me not be put to shame, for I call upon You. Ps 30:2 In You, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In Your justice rescue me. Have pity on me, O Lord…  [Until Holy Thursday the Gloria Patri is omitted]

COLLECT

Graciously pour forth Your grace into our hearts, we beseech You, O Lord, that, keeping our sinful inclinations under control by self-denial, we may suffer for a brief while rather than be condemned to everlasting punishment. Through our Lord…

Second Collect Against the persecutors of Holy Mother Church

We beseech Thee, O Lord, mercifully to receive the prayers of Thy Church : that, all adversity and error being destroyed, she may serve Thee in security and freedom. Through our Lord…

LESSON  Jer 17:13 – 18

In those days, Jeremia said: O Lord, all who forsake You shall be in disgrace; the rebels in the land shall be put to shame; they have forsaken the source of living waters, the Lord. Heal me, Lord, that I may be healed; save me, that I may be saved, for it is You whom I praise. See how they say to me, ‘Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come to pass!’ Yet I am not troubled, following You as my shepherd; the day without remedy I have not desired. You know what passed my lips; it is present before You. Do not be my ruin, You, my refuge in the day of misfortune. Let my persecutors, not me, be confounded; let them, not me, be broken. Bring upon them the day of misfortune, crush them with repeated destruction, O Lord, our God.

GRADUAL  Psalm 34:20, 22

My enemies spoke peaceably to me: and in anger they afflicted me. V. You, O Lord, have seen; be not silent; be not far from me!

Tractus Ps 102:10

O Lord, deal with us not according to our sins, nor requite us according to our crimes. Ps 78:8-9 V. O Lord, remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may Your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low. kneel V. Help us, O God, our Savior, because of the glory of Your Name, O Lord; deliver us and pardon our sins for Your Name’s sake.

GOSPEL  St. John 11:47 – 54

At that time, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together a council against Jesus, and said, What are we doing? for this man is working many signs. If we let Him alone as He is, all will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. But one of them, Caiphas, being high priest that year, said to them, You know nothing at all; nor do you reflect that it is expedient for us that one man die for the people, instead of the whole nation perishing. This, however, he said not of himself; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was to die for the nation; and not only for the nation, but that He might gather into one the children of God who were scattered abroad. So from that day forth their plan was to put Him to death. Jesus therefore no longer went about openly among the Jews, but withdrew to the district near the desert, to a town called Ephrem; and there He stayed with His disciples.

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 118:12, 121

Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes. Let not the proud oppress me; so shall I have an answer for those who reproach me.

SECRET

Grant us, O merciful God, that we may ever have the grace to serve Your altars worthily, and may we be saved by constantly partaking of the sacrifice. Through our Lord…

Second Secret Against the persecutors of Holy Mother Church

Protect us, O Lord, who assist at Thy mysteries; that, fixed upon things divine we may serve Thee in both body and mind. Through our Lord…

PREFACE of the Holy Cross

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God : Who didst establish the salvation of mankind on the tree of the Cross: that whence death came thence also life might arise again, and that he, Who overcame by the tree, by the tree also might be overcome: Through Christ our Lord. Through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also be admitted while we say with lowly praise:

COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 26:12

Give me not up, O Lord, to the wishes of my foes; for false witnesses have risen up against me, and such as breathe out violence.

POSTCOMMUNION

May the abiding protection of the sacrament we have received, O Lord, never forsake us, and always keep us from all things harmful. Through our Lord…

Second Postcommunion against the persecutors of Holy Mother Church

We beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that Thou wouldst not suffer to be exposed to human dangers those to whom Thou givest to rejoice in this divine banquet. Through our Lord…

PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE

Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that we who seek the grace of Your protection, having been delivered from all evils, may serve You with untroubled minds. Through our Lord…

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