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Claretian Communications Foundation, Inc.

Posted at 04/26/2015 12:12 AM | Updated as of 04/26/2015 12:13 AM

Ps 118:1, 8–9, 21–23, 26, 28, 29
The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.

4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Psalter: Week 4 / (White)

1st Reading: Acts 4:8–12
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke up, “Leaders of the people! Elders! It is a fact that we are being examined today for a good deed done to a cripple. How was he healed? You and all the people of Israel must know that this man stands before you cured through the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean. You had him crucified, but God raised him from the dead. Jesus is the stone rejected by you the builders which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other Name given to humankind all over the world by which we may be saved.”

2nd Reading: 1 Jn 3:1–2
See what singular love the Father has for us: we are called children of God, and we really are. This is why the world does not know us, because it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children and what we shall be has not yet been shown. Yet when he appears in his glory, we know that we shall be like him, for then we shall see him as he is.

Gospel: Jn 10:11–18
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. Not so the hired hand, or any other person who is not the shepherd, and to whom the sheep do not belong. They abandon the sheep as soon as they see the wolf coming; then the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep. This is because the hired hand works for pay and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father. Because of this, I give my life for my sheep.
“I have other sheep which are not of this fold. These I have to lead as well, and they shall listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock, since there is one shepherd.
“The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down freely. It is mine to lay down and to take up again: this mission I received from my Father.”

REFLECTION:
READ: Our gospel reading for today talks about the Good Shepherd for every year the “Good Shepherd” is the theme of the liturgy of the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Specifically the gospel stresses the courage of the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. The second reading tells us of the great gift of life that God has given to the world. The Father does not wait for the day of our death to give us this life; He gives it to us now. And giving up one’s life is necessary for the fullness of life to be revealed. The first reading describes the case of Christ, the true Good Shepherd, the stone rejected by the builders which has become the cornerstone.
REFLECT: If we are doing our work or tasks with the expectation of being affirmed and given a reward, we are not really following Christ. How do you lay down your life for your friend? How do you accompany the people entrusted in your care?
PRAY: Sometimes, I almost give up when amidst doing good I am persecuted. I almost run away from my family or community because I am not affirmed and appreciated. You let me experience worthlessness to make me humble. You make me weak so I will be strong. Thank You, dear Lord, for all the lessons learned. Amen.
ACT: Go and say thank you to your boss for running well the affairs of your office. Say, “I love you or I am sorry” to people guiding you, your parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents.

 CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.
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Email: ccfi@claretianpublications.com / cci@claret.org
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Posted at 04/19/2015 12:44 AM | Updated as of 04/19/2015 12:46 AM

Ps 4:2, 4, 7–8, 9
Lord, let your face shine on us.

3RD SUNDAY OF EASTER
Psalter: Week 3 / (White)

1st Reading: Acts 3:13–15, 17–19

Peter said, “The God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus whom you handed over to death and denied before Pilate, when even Pilate had decided to release him. You rejected the Holy and Just One, and you insisted that a murderer be released to you. You killed the Master of life, but God raised him from the dead and we are witnesses to this.
“Yet I know that you acted out of ignorance, as did your leaders. God has fulfilled in this way what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer.
“Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.“

2nd Reading: 1 Jn 2:1–5a
My little children, I write to you that you may not sin. But if anyone sins, we have an intercessor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Just One. He is the sacrificial victim for our sins and the sins of the whole world.
How can we know that we know him? If we fulfill his commands.
If you say, “I know him,” but do not fulfill his commands, you are a liar and the truth is not in you. But if you keep his word, God’s love is made complete in you. This is how we know that we are in him.

Gospel: Lk 24:35–48
The two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made himself known, when he broke bread with them.
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood in their midst. (He said to them, “Peace to you.”) In their panic and fright they thought they were seeing a ghost, but he said to them, “Why are you upset, and how does such an idea cross your minds? Look at my hands and feet, and see that it is I myself! Touch me, and see for yourselves, for a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have!” (As he said this, he showed his hands and feet.)
Their joy was so great that they still could not believe it, as they were astonished; so he said to them, “Have you anything to eat?” And they gave him a piece of broiled fish. He took it, and ate it before them.
Then Jesus said to them, “Remember the words I spoke to you when I was still with you: Everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
And he said, “So it was written: the Messiah had to suffer, and on the third day rise from the dead. Then repentance and forgiveness in his name would be proclaimed to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.

REFLECTION:
READ: The first reading describes that to experience new life in the risen Christ, one has to go through repentance, acknowledging ignorance or weaknesses and turning away from sinfulness. This is affirmed in the second reading as it invites not to commit sin and to follow the truth who is Jesus himself. The gospel gives us an example of a journey of faith as it narrates how the apostles came to believe in the risen Christ who entered into God’s glory. A journey that we must also traverse so that death will no longer be a dreadful experience.
REFLECT: Belief in the Lord’s resurrection impels us to radically change our way of thinking and living. However, there are still many among us who call themselves Christians and keep living as if Christ had never risen. They remain in their old selves and living in want and meaninglessness. How do we live as Easter people? Are we professing our faith in the risen Lord in words and in deeds?
PRAY: Lord, oftentimes we stumble and fall in our journey because of our confusions and experience of meaninglessness. Make us strong and firm in our faith in you as we traverse the path of uncertainties; surprise us with your loving and comforting presence when we are attacked by disbelief for You are the way, the truth and the life! Amen.
ACT: Be the source of hope and life of your family or community today by doing good works of charity. Stop gossiping! Listen to the problems of your children. Understand and give affirmation to the effort of your father or mother.

ccfi@claretianpublications.com / cci@claret.org
Website: http://www.claretianpublications.com

The 8th World Autism Awareness Day celebrations and Light-It-Up Blue Ceremony held last Monday, April 6, 2015 at the Music Hall of SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City. SM Cares Program on Disability Affairs, in partnership with Autism Hearts Philippines, host the local observance of the event with the Theme: Employment: The Autism Advantage.

The event inform the public of the importance of World Autism Awareness Day and employers of the prospects of hiring more individuals with autism.

 

 

SM Cares Program Director for Disability Affairs Bien C. Mateo, and  Fashion Designer and Textile Technologist Anthony Cruz Legarda, express that the program focused on the advantages of hiring young people with autism.
Every year, autism organizations around the globe celebrate World Autism Awareness Day to create better understanding of the lives of people with autism and their families.

Autism Hearts Foundation Director Ms. Solinda Bautista and National Council on Disability Affairs Executive Director Ms. Carmen Zubiaga, expresses hope and optimism that with continued work on informing the public about autism and the potentials of people with autism.

The 8th World Autism Awareness celebration hopes for job prospects for people with autism  and more opportunities would open up for them.

 

As affirmation of the relevance of this event, the UN estimates that more than 80% of adults with autism remain unemployed despite their potential.

“Research suggests that employers are missing out on abilities that that people on the autism spectrum have in greater abundance than ‘neurotypical’ workers do – such as, heightened abilities in pattern recognition and logical reasoning, as well as a greater attention to detail,” it stated.

The hurdles that need to be overcome to unleash this potential include: a shortage of vocational training, inadequate support with job placement, and pervasive discrimination.
The event hosted by news anchor TJ Manotoc, also feature the Filipino Fashion Arts Autism Benefit, where designs by four children with autism will be brought to life in a fashion show by Filipino-American designer Anthony Legarda.

https://instagram.com/p/1Ijnb8MJYy/
(https://instagram.com/msmyrnz/)

Two of the country’s most notable designers, Anna India Legaspi and Anthony Cruz Legarda took time to teach and guide selected number of young people with autism to paint on piña cloth.  Their finish products will then be exhibited via the Filipino Fashion Arts Autism Benefit Project for the whole world to see.

Present during the event were four of the five individuals selected to perform the task led by Best Buddies ambassador and Unilab Employee Vico Cham, Nick Huang, Ralph Sy and Nina Bantoto (she was not able to attend the program).

After a parade at the Mall of Asia compound, the event culminates at the Globe, where we’re join by other countries in “lighting it up blue” in honor of every individual and family affected by autism.

A project made possible through the Autism Hearts Foundation in cooperation with the Unilab Foundation.

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of children and adults, who are affected by autism, so they can lead full and meaningful lives.

Re-blogged and Photos: Arts Travel Magazine

THE GREAT COMEBACK

Key Takeaway In This Sunday’s (April 5,2015) Gospel: Easter Sunday –
John 20:1-9

THE GREAT COMEBACK

Christians all over the world contemplated on the sufferings of Jesus Christ this week. One of the cornerstones of the faith — Christ’s ultimate sacrifice — sealed the spiritual salvation of mankind. The religious and the pious commemorate this in a complex set of rituals capped by Easter Sunday, a glorious celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

Easter signifies mankind’s opportunity to rise above its sins and be born again in God’s state of grace. (Let’s leave the theological ramifications of this event to the theologians who can best explain them.) It reminds us of our mortal lives, our humanly plight and the divine salvation, which we need if we want to complete the meaning of our existence.

PHOENIX RISING. A myth that perpetuates a similar theme would be the phoenix, a fabled species of bird, which meets its fate in a conflagration, only to rise again from its ashes.

FOUR SEASONS. There are, of course, numerous other stories, parables and myths that drive home the message of a rebirth or a resurrection. The ancient sages found the cycle of life in many aspects of nature. Even the seasons have been attributed the ability to be reborn; spring heralds new life from the dead of winter.

The lesson is a powerful antidote to those who have found life devoid of, well, life; those who have plumbed the depths of despair and have lost all hope.

The concept of resurrection is not just about coming back to life; it is COMING BACK TO LIFE IN A BETTER FORM. After resurrection, Jesus revealed himself as divine with His eventual ascension to heaven.

The phoenix, rising out of the ashes, is transformed into a bird of wondrous visage.

Spring finds the blossoming of shoots and flowers and breathtaking bursts of colors, in contrast to the bleak and gray winter landscape.

Perhaps the very essence of resurrection goes beyond the act of reinventing and renewal that brings back the vitality into living.

Our human frailties, notwithstanding —and we seem to have more than our fair share of inadequacies — we are also blessed with a prodigious capacity for repentance, of self-flagellation, as it were, inflicting upon ourselves a penitential dosage of pain and despair not unlike the bloody display of flagellants who walk the streets of Pampanga scourging their backs with flesh-ripping bits of broken glass and pieces of blunted nails.

What can we learn from the story of Jesus — told and retold many times — that we can apply to our present lives? After more than 2,000 years, we have a distillation of the wisdom and the soul of a person who lived and died for but one sole purpose — TO SAVE MANKIND FROM THE EVIL OF SIN. Jesus was singularly focused on that purpose and unquestionably, totally, sincere in His pursuit.

Perhaps that, more than any other, is the defining principle which, tragically we lack in the way we live — the sincerity and a singular purpose; the true desire to mean what we say.

How sincere was Jesus in His mission to save us from sin? Sincere enough to give up His own life for ours. — the penultimate essence of public service; of living our lives for others.

Our PRAYER: Lord, the resurrection of Jesus Christ has given us new life and renewed hope. Help us to live as new people in pursuit of what is good. Grant us wisdom to know what we must act on, the will to want to act on it, the courage to undertake it, the perseverance to continue to act on it, and the strength to complete it. Amen.

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday, also nown as Black Saturday commemorates the day that Jesus Christ lay in the tomb after his death, according to the Christian bible. It is the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter Sunday.
holy-saturday-global

Holy Saturday commemorates the day that Jesus (sculpture of him pictured above) lay in his tomb after he died. ©iStockphoto.com/Edward Lin

Holy Saturday is the last day of Holy Week and ends the season of Lent. It is also known as the Vigil of Easter. The day is traditionally a time of reflection and waiting. The vigil stems back to when Jesus’ followers spent this day waiting after his crucifixion on Good Friday. It is also known as the day when Roman governor Pontius Pilate instructed guards to be posted at the tomb to prevent Jesus’ followers from removing the body to claim that he had risen from the dead.

Holy Saturday was also known as Great or Grand Saturday, as well as the Angelic Night. It was the only Saturday on which fasting was permitted in the early days of the Christian church. According to some sources, fasting occurred during the entire day or lasted for 40 hours before the Easter Sunday sunrise during the first century CE. This day was a major day for baptisms in the early church. Many churches still hold large services for baptisms on Holy Saturday.

Some people refer to Holy Saturday as Easter Saturday but this is a misnomer, as Holy Saturday is the last day of Lent and the eve of Easter. The Saturday after Easter Sunday is known as Easter Saturday, or Bright Saturday. It is important to note, however, that Holy Saturday is often referred to as Easter Saturday.

 

Scripture Readings for the Holy/Black Saturday

 

Hebrews 4:1-13

Let us fear therefore lest the promise being left of entering into his rest, any of you should be thought to be wanting. For unto us also it hath been declared, in like manner as unto them. But the word of hearing did not profit them, not being mixed with faith of those things they heard.

For we, who have believed, shall enter into rest; as he said: As I have sworn in my wrath; If they shall enter into my rest; and this indeed when the works from the foundation of the world were finished. For in a certain place he spoke of the seventh day thus: And God rested the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again: If they shall enter into my rest.

Seeing then it remaineth that some are to enter into it, and they, to whom it was first preached, did not enter because of unbelief: Again he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time, as it is above said: To day if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

For if Jesus had given them rest, he would never have afterwards spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a day of rest for the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, the same also hath rested from his works, as God did from his. Let us hasten therefore to enter into that rest; lest any man fall into the same example of unbelief.

For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature invisible in his sight: but all things are naked and open to his eyes, to whom our speech is.

  • Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)
Christ Jesus died on the Cross to redeem mankind, to save us from our sins because of his love for us. As recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Holy Bible, Jesus Christ was mocked, scorned, and tortured in the praetorium. He carried his cross up the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem to Calvary, was nailed to the Cross and hung between two common criminals, and suffered an indescribable end, recalled by the Church on Good Friday of Holy Week.
One may meditate on the Passion of Christ by reflecting on his Seven Words on the Cross or by a devotion known as the Way of the Cross.
When religious pilgrimages to the Holy Land ended with military occupation of Jerusalem in the Middle Ages, a popular devotion known as the Way of the Cross arose during Lent retracing the Passion, Crucifixion, and Death of Jesus. The fourteen Stations of the Cross are (1) Pilate condemns Jesus to death; (2) Jesus takes up his Cross; (3) He falls the first time; (4) Jesus meets his sorrowful mother Mary; (5) Simon helps carry the cross; (6) Veronica cleans his face; (7) He falls the second time; (8) Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem; (9) He falls the third time; (10) Jesus is stripped of his garments; (11) Jesus is nailed to the cross; (12) Jesus Christ dies on the cross; (13) He is taken down from the cross; (14) Christ is laid in the tomb.

Here are his Seven Words, the last seven expressions of Jesus Christ on the Cross recorded in Scripture. 

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THE FIRST WORD
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”Gospel of Luke 23:34

Jesus is looking down from the cross just after he was crucified between two criminals. He sees the soldiers who have mocked him, scourged him and tortured him, and who have just nailed him to the cross. He probably remembers those who have sentenced him – Caiaphas and the high priests of the Sanhedrin. Pilate realized it was out of envy that they handed him over (Matthew 27:18, Mark 15:10). But is Jesus not also thinking of his Apostles and companions who have deserted him, to Peter who has denied him three times, to the fickle crowd, who only days before praised him on his entrance to Jerusalem, and then days later chose him over Barabbas to be crucified?
Is he also thinking of us, who daily forget him in our lives?
Does he react angrily? No! At the height of his physical suffering, his love prevails and He asks His Father to forgive! Could there ever be greater irony? Jesus asks his Father to forgive, but it is by His very Sacrifice on the Cross that mankind is able to be forgiven!
Right up to his final hours on earth, Jesus preaches forgiveness. He teaches forgiveness in the Lord’s prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12). When asked by Peter, how many times should we forgive someone, Jesus answers seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). At the Last Supper, Jesus explains his crucifixion to his Apostles when he tells them to drink of the cup: “Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:27-28). He forgives the paralytic at Capernaum (Mark 2:5), and the adulteress caught in the act and about to be stoned (John 8:1-11). And even following his Resurrection, his first act is to commission his disciples to forgive: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:22-23).

 

THE SECOND WORD
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”Gospel of Luke 23:43

Now it is not just the religious leaders or the soldiers that mock Jesus, but even one of the criminals, a downward progression of mockery. But the criminal on the right speaks up for Jesus, explaining the two criminals are receiving their just due, whereas “this man has done nothing wrong.” Then, turning to Jesus, he asks, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). What wonderful faith this repentant sinner has in Jesus – far more than the doubting Thomas, one of his own Apostles. Ignoring his own suffering, Jesus responds with love and mercy in His second word.
The second word again is about forgiveness, this time directed to a sinner. Just as the first word, this Biblical expression is found only in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus shows his Divinity by opening heaven for a repentant sinner – such generosity to a man that only asked to be remembered!
This expression offers us hope for salvation, for if we turn our hearts and prayers to Him, we will also be with Jesus Christ at the end of our lives.

 

THE THIRD WORD
“Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, this is your son.”
Then he said to the disciple: “This is your mother.”
Gospel of John 19:26-27

Jesus and Mary are together again, at the beginning of his ministry in Cana and now at the end of his public ministry at the foot of the Cross. The Lord refers to his mother as woman at the Wedding Feast of Cana (John 2:1-11) and in this passage, recalling the woman in Genesis 3:15, the first Messianic prophecy of the Redeemer, and anticipating the woman clothed with the sun in Revelation 12.
What sorrow must fill Mary’s heart, to see her Son mocked, tortured, and crucified. Once again, a sword pierces Mary’s soul: we are reminded of the prediction of Simeon at the Temple (Luke 2:35) . There are four at the foot of the cross, Mary his Mother, John, the disciple whom he loved, Mary of Cleopas, his mother’s sister, and Mary Magdalene. He addresses his third word to Mary and John, the only eye-witness of the Gospel writers.
But again Jesus rises above the occasion, and his concerns are for the ones that love him. The good son that He is, Jesus is concerned about taking care of his mother. In fact, this passage offers proof that Jesus was the only child of Mary, because if he did have brothers or sisters, they would have provided for her. But Jesus looks to John to care for her.
St. Joseph is noticeably absent. The historic paintings, such as Tondodoni by Michelangelo and The Holy Family by Raphael, suggest Joseph was a considerably older man. St. Joseph had probably died by the time of the crucifixion, or else he would have been the one to take care of Mary. Early Christian traditions and the second-century apocryphal Protoevangelium of James held that Joseph was a widower, and his children by his former wife were the “brothers and sisters of Jesus.”
Another striking phrase indicating Jesus of Nazareth was an only child is Mark 6:3, referring to Jesus: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” Now if James, Joses and Judas and Simon were also natural sons of Mary, Jesus would not have been called the “son of Mary,” but rather “one of the sons of Mary.”

THE FOURTH WORD
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34

This was the only expression of Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. Both Gospels related that it was in the ninth hour, after 3 hours of darkness, that Jesus cried out this fourth word. The ninth hour was three o’clock in Judea. After the fourth Word, Mark related with a horrible sense of finality, “And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last” (Mark 15:37).
One is struck by the anguished tone of this expression in contrast to the first three words of Jesus. This cry is from the painful heart of the human Jesus who must feel deserted by His Father and the Holy Spirit, not to mention his earthly companions the Apostles. As if to emphasize his loneliness, Mark even has his loved ones “looking from afar,” not close to him as in the Gospel of John. Jesus feels separated from his Father. He is now all alone, and he must face death by himself.
But is not this exactly what happens to all of us when we die? We too are all alone at the time of death! Jesus completely lives the human experience as we do, and by doing so, frees us from the clutches of sin.
His fourth Word is the opening line of Psalm 22, and thus his cry from the Cross recalls the cry of Israel, and of all innocent persons who suffer. Psalm 22 of David makes a striking prophecy of the crucifixion of the Messiah at a time when crucifixion was not known to exist: “They have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones” (22:16-17). The Psalm continues: “They divide my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots” (22:18).
There can not be a more dreadful moment in the history of man as this moment. Jesus who came to save us is crucified, and He realizes the horror of what is happening and what He now is enduring. He is about to be engulfed in the raging sea of sin. Evil triumphs, as Jesus admits: “But this is your hour” (Luke 22:53). But it is only for a moment. The burden of all the sins of humanity for a moment overwhelm the humanity of our Savior.
But does this not have to happen? Does this not have to occur if Jesus is to save us? It is in defeat of his humanity that the Divine plan of His Father will be completed. It is by His death that we are redeemed. “For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as ransom for all” (I Timothy 2:5-6).

 

“He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.”
I Peter 2:24
 

THE FIFTH WORD
“I thirst.”Gospel of John 19:28

The fifth word of Jesus is His only human expression of His physical suffering. Jesus is now in shock. The wounds inflicted upon him in the scourging, the crowning with thorns, and the nailing upon the cross are now taking their toll, especially after losing blood on the three-hour walk through the city of Jerusalem to Golgotha on the Way of the Cross. Systematic studies of the Shroud of Turin, as reported by Gerald O’Collins in Interpreting Jesus, indicate the passion of Jesus was far worse than one can imagine. The Shroud has been exhaustively studied by every possible scientific maneuver, and the scientific burden of proof is now on those who do not accept the Shroud as the burial cloth of Jesus.
Jesus thirsts in a spiritual sense as well. He thirsts for love. He thirsts for the love of his Father, who has forsaken him during this dreadful hour when He must fulfill his mission all alone. And he thirsts for the love and salvation of his people, the human race. Jesus practiced what he preached:

 

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Greater love has no man than this,
That he lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:12-13

 

THE SIXTH WORD
They put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had received the wine, he said, 
“It is finished;”
and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit.
Gospel of John 19:29-30

John recalls the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb in Exodus 12 in this passage. Hyssop is a small plant that was used to sprinkle the blood of the Passover Lamb on the doorposts of the Hebrews (Exodus 12:22). John’s Gospel related that it was the Day of Preparation, the day before the actual Passover (Pesach in Hebrew, Pascha in Greek and Latin), that Jesus was sentenced to death (19:14) and sacrificed on the Cross (19:31). John continues in 19:33-34: “But when they came to Jesus and saw he was already dead, they did not break his legs,” recalling the instruction in Exodus 12:46 concerning the Passover Lamb. He died at the ninth hour (three o’clock in the afternoon), about the same time as the Passover lambs were slaughtered in the Temple. Christ became the Paschal or Passover Lamb, as noted by St. Paul: “For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed” (I Corinthians 5:7). The innocent Lamb was slain for our sins, so that we might be forgiven. It is now a fait accomplit. The sixth word is Jesus’ recognition that his suffering is over and his task is completed. Jesus is obedient to the Father and gives his love for mankind by redeeming us with His death on the Cross.

 

The above painting is meant to capture the moment.
What was the darkest day of mankind became the brightest day for mankind.

And the Gospels as a group captured this paradox. The Synoptic Gospels narrated the horror of the event – the agony in the garden, the abandonment by his Apostles, the trial before the Sanhedrin, the intense mockery and torture heaped upon Jesus, his suffering all alone, the darkness over the land, and his death, starkly portrayed by both Matthew (27:47-51) and Mark (15:33-38).
In contrast, the passion of Jesus in the Gospel of John expresses his Kingship and proves to be His triumphant road to glory. John presents Jesus as directing the action the entire way. The phrase “It is finished” carries a sense of accomplishment. In John, there is no trial before the Sanhedrin, and gone are the repeated mockeries and scourging. But rather, Jesus is introduced at the Roman trial as “Behold your King!” (John 19:14). Jesus is not stumbling or falling as in the Synoptic Gospels, but the way of the Cross is presented with majesty and dignity, for “Jesus went out bearing his own Cross” (John 19:17).
And in John, the inscription at the head of the cross is pointedly written “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews” (John 19:19). The inscription INRI at the top of the cross is the Latin Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum. The loved ones of Jesus are with Him, and He decisively gives his Mother Mary to the disciple who loved him.
When Jesus died, He “handed over” the Spirit. Jesus remained in control to the end, and it is He who handed over his Spirit. One should not miss the double entendre here, for this may also be interpreted as His death brought forth the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel of John gradually reveals the Holy Spirit. Jesus mentions living water in John 4:10-11 when he meets the Samaritan woman at the well, and during the Feast of Tabernacles refers to living water as the Holy Spirit in 7:37-39. At the Last Supper, Christ announces he would ask the Father to send “another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth” (14:16-17). The word Advocate is also translated as Comforter, Helper, Paraclete, or Counselor. “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you” (14:26). The symbolism of water for the Holy Spirit becomes more evident in John 19:34: “But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.” The piercing of his side fulfills the prophecy in Zechariah 12:10: “They will look on me whom they have pierced.” The piercing of Jesus’ side prefigures the Sacraments of Eucharist (blood) and Baptism (water), as well as the beginning of the Church.

 

THE SEVENTH WORD
Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
Gospel of Luke 23:46

The seventh word of Jesus is from the Gospel of Luke, and is directed to the Father in heaven, just before He dies. Jesus recalls Psalm 31:5 – “Into thy hands I commend my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.” Luke repeatedly pleads Jesus’ innocence: with Pilate (Luke 23:4, 14-15, 22), through Dismas (by legend), the criminal (Luke 23:41), and immediately after His death with the centurion” “Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent” (Luke 23:47).
Jesus was obedient to His Father to the end, and his final word before his death on the Cross was a prayer to His Father.
The relationship of Jesus to the Father is revealed in the Gospel of John, for He remarked, “The Father and I are one” (10:30), and again, at the Last Supper: “Do you not believe I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works” (14:10). And He can return: “I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father” (16:28). Jesus fulfills His own mission and that of His Father on the Cross:

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
So that everyone who believes in him
may not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

REFERENCES
1 The Revised Standard Version of The Holy Bible. Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2005.
2 Bishop Fulton J Sheen. The Seven Last Words – The Message from the Cross. Garden City Books, Garden City, New York, 1952.
3 Pope John Paul II. The Gospel of Life – the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Times Books, New York, March 25, 1995.
4 Ignace De La Potterie. The Hour of Jesus: The Passion and the Resurrection of Jesus. Alba House, Staten Island, New York, 1989.
5 St. Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica, Third Part – The Passion of Christ. Translation by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province, 1920. Christian Classics, Allen, Texas.
6 St. Alphonsus Liguori. The Way of the Holy Cross. Mother of Our Savior Publishing, Pekin, Indiana, 2007.
7 O’Collins, Gerald. Interpreting Jesus. Geoffrey Chapman, London, and Paulist Press, Mahwah, New Jersey, 1983. 

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Then Judas the Iscariot, one (of) his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said,
Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?


He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.


So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial.
You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”


(The) large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.


And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too,
because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.

 

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