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.
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]
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
The Pharisees at once acted on the information. It is no longer possible to deny the fact of the signs. Instead of asking themselves what these ‘signs’ must mean, their only thought is how to prevent others from drawing the obvious conclusion. The chief priests, who were Sadducees, and the Pharisees, their natural foes, but who together composed the supreme authority, “called together a meeting of the Sanhedrim”. Even the adversaries of Jesus are being converted, and something decisive must be done.
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.
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.
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…