With Passion Sunday the Season of Passiontide has begun and today’s Mass is full of the thought of the Passion of Jesus and of the infidelity of the Jews, whose place in the Kingdom of God was taken by those who were baptized; that is to say the catechumens and the Christians.
In the Introit, the Psalmist, exiled among hostile people, represents Christ “against Whom rose up an angry nation” (Gradual).
The Gospel shows us indeed the growing hatred of the Sanhedrin. Abraham believed the divine promises which announced Christ to him, and in limbo his soul, which eternal death could not reach, rejoiced to see them realized. And the Jews, who ought to have recognized in Jesus the Son of God, greater than Abraham and the Prophets because He is eternal, disregarded the meaning of His words. They insulted the Messiah, Whom they declared to be possessed by a devil, a blasphemer whom they would stone to death.
From this point until Holy Saturday the statues and crucifixes are shrouded in violet or purple cloth and holy water fonts are emptied.
INTROIT Psalm 13: 1,2
Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man, for Thou art my God and my strength. V. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacles. [Glory be… etc is NOT said today]
Look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, O Lord, upon Thy family; by Thy governance may we be outwardly protected in body; by Thy favor may we be inwardly strengthened in heart and mind. Through our Lord…
LESSON Hebrews 9: 11-15
A reading from the Epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul to the Hebrews. Brethren: Christ being come, a High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, neither by the blood of goats or of calves, but by His own blood, entered once into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of an heifer being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the Holy Ghost, offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? And therefore He is the Mediator of the New Testament; that by means of His death, for the redemption of those transgressions which were under the former Testament; they that are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance; in Christ Jesus our Lord.
GRADUAL Psalm 142: 9, 10; Psalm 17: 48-49
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord: teach me to do Thy will. V. Thou art my deliverer, O Lord, from the angry nations: Thou wilt lift me up above them that rise up against me: from the unjust man Thou wilt deliver me.
TRACT Psalm 128: 1-4
Often have they fought against me from my youth. Let Israel now say: Often have they fought against me from my youth. But they could not prevail over me: the wicked have wrought upon my back. They have lengthened their iniquities: the Lord, Who is just, will cut the necks of sinners.
GOSPEL St. John 8: 46-59
At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: “Which of you shall convince Me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe Me? He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God.” The Jews therefore answered, and said to Him: Do not we say well, that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: “I have not a devil, but I honor My Father, and you have dishonoured Me. But I seek not My own glory; there is One that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you, If any man keep My word, he shall not see death for ever.” The Jews therefore said: Now we know that Thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and Thou sayest: If any man keep My word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost Thou make Thyself? Jesus answered: “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father that glorifieth Me, of Whom you say that He is your God. And you have not known Him; but I know Him. And if I shall say that I know Him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know Him, and do keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see My day: he saw it, and was glad.” The Jews therefore said to Him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I AM.” They took up stones therefore to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 118: 17, 107
I will confess to Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart: render to Thy servant, I shall live and keep Thy words: enliven me according to Thy word, O Lord.
May these gifts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, merit for us the loosening of the bonds of our sins, and draw down upon us Thy bounteous mercies. 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 1 Corinthians 11: 24, 25
This is My Body which shall be delivered for you: this is the chalice of the New Testament in My Blood, saith the Lord: do this, as often as you receive it, in commemoration of Me.
Draw near to us, O Lord our God, and with everlasting succour aid those whom by Thy sacrament Thou hast called to newness of life. Through our Lord…