He grew up like a sapling… 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, as The Book of Isaiah says:
“…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…
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… though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood.
But the LORD was pleased!
“…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.” [Is 52:13–53:12]
•Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 31 (verses: 2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25)
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46)
•Second Reading 2 Hebrews 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…
•Gospel according to John 18:1−19:42 …“I told you that I AM.” … It is finished.
[Therefore] instead of pushing quickly through the gloominess of today with your heart set on the joy of Easter Sunday, slow down and take stock. Try to experience Jesus’ Passion more personally, looking for signs of His authority and His mastery of the situation. Walk with Him. Listen to the words that He speaks, and hear the assuredness in them.
Then follow His example and offer yourself to God, confident that you belong to Him. See how committed He is to you, and commit yourself to Him just as deeply. Know that whatever “cross” you have, you can take it up with the same courage and authority Jesus showed. He is walking with you, strengthening you every step of the way…
‘Thank you, Jesus, for taking up Your cross for me and for all of us. Lord, give me a share in Your confidence, Your courage, and Your commitment.‘ ” –The Word Among Us [WAU]
We Adore YOU, O CHRIST, and We Praise YOU.
Because, By Your Holy Cross, YOU Have Redeemed the World!
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