This post is also available in: Français
IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE PASSION AND DEATH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
Reading from the Holy Gospel
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ
I - From the Cenacle to Gethsemani
(Saint Matthew 26:30-35; Saint Mark 14:26-31; Saint Luke 22:39; Saint John 18:1)
After saying these things, Jesus recited the hymn of thanksgiving; then He departed and went, according to His custom, beyond the torrent of Cedron towards the Mount of Olives.
Then He said to the Disciples who were following Him:
“This very night I will be a scandal to you, and all of you will fall away; for it is written, ‘I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go before you into Galilee.”
Peter exclaimed, “Even though everyone would be scandalized because of You, I will never be scandalized!”
“This very night,” replied Jesus, “before the cock crows twice, you will have denied Me three times. Amen I say it to you.”
But Peter protested all the more vehemently, “Even if I should have to die with You, I will not deny You!”
And they all said the same thing.
II - Gethsemani
(Saint Matthew 26:36-46; Saint Mark 14:32-42; Saint Luke 22:40-46; Saint John 18:1)
Beyond the torrent of Cedron there was a villa with a garden called Gethsemani. Jesus entered it with His Disciples. Since He often went there to pray with them, the place was known to Judas, who betrayed Him.
Then Jesus said to His Disciples, “Sit down here, while I go a little farther to pray. And you pray also, that you may not enter into temptation.”
He took with Him only Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, James and John; and He began to be filled with dread and aversion, sadness and anguish.
“My soul is sad, even unto death,” He said. “Wait here and watch with Me.”
And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and kneeling down with His face to the ground, He began to pray that if it were possible, the coming hour might pass from Him.
“Father,” He said, “if it is possible, and all things are possible to You, let this cup pass away from Me. Yet Your Will be done, and not Mine!”
He interrupted His prayer to go to His Disciples, and found them sleeping, overcome by sorrow.
“Simon, you are sleeping!” He said to Peter. “Could you not then watch one hour with Me?”
And speaking to the other two, He said, “What! You are sleeping! So you could not watch one hour with Me! Rise, watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation; for though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.”
Again He went away and resumed the same prayer, saying, “My Father, if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your Will be done!”
He came again to His Disciples and found them still sleeping; their eyes were heavy with sleep and they did not know what they were answering Him.
Having left them, He went back and prayed a third time, saying the same words again:
“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me! Yet not My Will, but Yours be done!”
He had fallen into an agony and His prayer became more and more pressing. A sweat came over Him like drops of blood, running down upon the ground. And an Angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him.
He returned to His Disciples a third time.
“Sleep on now,” He told them, “and take your rest! But enough, the hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man will be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! He who is to betray Me is near!”
III - The traitor
(St. Matthew 26:47-50; St. Mark 14:43-45; St. Luke 22:47-48; St. John 18:3)
While He was still speaking, Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, came into sight. He was accompanied by a band of soldiers. In addition, the High Priests, Pharisees, Chief Priests, Scribes and Elders of the people had sent their attendants with lanterns, torches and weapons. All around seethed a great crowd, armed with swords and clubs.
Now the traitor had given them this sign:
“The One I kiss, that is He! Lay hold of Him and take your precautions to lead Him away.”
Judas came forward, then went hurriedly up to Jesus and said to Him, “Hail, Master!”
And he kissed Him.
“Friend,” Jesus said to him, “for what purpose have you come? Judas! You betray the Son of Man with a kiss!”
IV - The arrest
(St. Matthew 26:50-56; St. Mark 14:46-52; St. Luke 22:49-53; St. John 18:4-12)
Knowing all that was to come upon Him, Jesus stepped forward and said to the attendants, “Whom do you seek?”
“Jesus of Nazareth!” they shouted.
He answered, “I am He!”
Standing with them was Judas, who betrayed Him.
As soon as Jesus said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell over backwards.
Jesus asked them again, “Whom do you seek?”
“Jesus of Nazareth!” they repeated.
“I have told you: I am He,” Jesus replied. “Since I am the One you seek, let these men go.”
Thus was fulfilled the word which He Himself had spoken: “Of those whom You have given Me, I have not lost one.”
The men of the cohort came forward at once, set hands on Jesus and held Him fast.
Sensing what was about to happen, those around Him cried out, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
And without waiting for the answer, Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it out of the scabbard, struck an attendant of the High Priest with it and cut off his right ear. The attendant’s name was Malchus.
“Let that man come here,” said Jesus.
And He touched his ear and healed him.
Jesus then said to Peter, “Put your sword back into the scabbard, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword. Must I not drink the cup that the Father has given Me? Or do you believe that I cannot entreat My Father, and He will immediately furnish Me with more than twelve legions of Angels? But how would the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that this is the way it must be?”
Then, turning to the throng, in whose midst were some of the Chief Priests, Temple Guards and Elders, He said to them, “You have come out to seize Me with swords and clubs as if I were a robber. Yet I sat daily with you in the Temple to teach, and you did not lay hands on Me. But now, this is your hour, this is the reign of the power of darkness.
“Now, all this was done to fulfill what is written in the Prophets.”
Then the men of the cohort, their Commander and the attendants of the Jews fell upon Jesus and bound Him.
At that moment His Disciples, all together, abandoned Him and fled. A certain young man who was there, wrapped only in a linen cloth, wanted to follow Jesus. The attendants seized him but he escaped, leaving the cloth in their hands.
V - Jesus before Annas
(St. Matthew 26:57-58; St. Mark 14:53-54; St. Luke 22:54; St. John 18:13-16, 19-24)
They led Jesus to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiphas, the High Priest of that year.
Simon Peter had followed Jesus at a distance, and so had another Disciple. Now, that other Disciple, who was known to the High Priest, had entered with Jesus into the palace courtyard. Peter had remained outside, standing at the gate. So the Disciple known to the High Priest went out, spoke to the portress and brought him in.
The High Priest questioned Jesus concerning His Disciples and concerning His Teaching.
“I have spoken publicly to the world,” answered Jesus. “I have always taught in the synagogues and in the Temple, where all the Jews gather, and I have said nothing in secret. Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard Me; they know what I have said.”
Hearing this reply, one of the attendants on duty slapped Jesus and shouted at Him, “Is that the way You speak to the High Priest?”
“If I have spoken evil,” said Jesus, “bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken well, why do you strike Me?”
Annas ordered that Jesus be led in His chains to Caiphas, the High Priest. He was the very one who had given the counsel to the Jews: “It is expedient that one man should die for the people.”
VI - Jesus before Caiphas
(St. Matthew 26:59-66; St. Mark 14:53, 55-64)
All the Priests, the Scribes and the Elders of the people had gathered together in the house of Caiphas.
Now the Chief Priests and the entire Council were seeking false witness against Jesus, that they might put Him to death, but they found none. Indeed, many had made false depositions, but their evidence was conflicting.
The last two who came forward bore witness in this way:
“We heard Him say, ‘I am able to destroy this Temple built by human hands, and after three days rebuild another, not built by human hands.’”
However, their assertions did not agree.
Then the High Priest, rising up in their midst, wanted to question Jesus himself.
“Have You no answer to the things that are laid to Your charge by these men?” he asked Him.
Jesus remained silent and answered nothing.
The High Priest then asked Him this question: “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One? Tell us! I adjure You by the living God!”
“You have said it, I am!” answered Jesus. “And I declare to you: One day you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power of God and coming upon the clouds of heaven.”
Then the High Priest tore his garments, crying out, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?”
And they all answered, “He is liable to death!”
VII - Peter denies Our Lord
(St. Matthew 26:58, 69-75; St. Mark 14:54, 66-72; St. Luke 22:55-62; St. John 18:17-18, 25-27)
It was cold. The servants and attendants had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and were huddled around it, some sitting, some standing, warming themselves. Peter was seated in their midst warming himself, waiting for the outcome of the case.
The maidservant of the High Priest, who was the portress, came in. Having noticed the Apostle who was warming himself, she came up to him and scrutinized him.
“Here is one who was with the Nazarene,” she said.
Then, looking him straight in the face, she said, “Yes, you were with Jesus of Galilee!”
Peter denied it before them all, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him! I do not know… I cannot understand what you are saying!”
Then he left the courtyard and went to the vestibule; but as he arrived there, another maid noticed him and cried out to the attendants, “This man certainly was with Jesus of Nazareth!”
A moment later a servant encountered him and said, “You, too, are one of them!”
At that moment the cock crowed.
Peter returned to the fire, standing and warming himself again.
“Were you not one of His Disciples?” the attendants asked him.
And a second time, he denied it with an oath: “No, I tell you, no! I do not know the man at all!”
About an hour later the bystanders said to him, “Surely you are one of that group, for you are from Galilee: your speech betrays you!”
One of the attendants of the High Priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, also accused him, saying, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”
Again Peter denied it, and he began to curse with repeated oaths and protestations, “No,” he said again, “I do not know that man! I do not know what you mean!”
And the cock crowed a second time.
Jesus passed by at that very moment, and turning around, He looked upon Peter.
Then Peter remembered the words that the Lord had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”
He left, and once outside, he wept bitterly.
VIII - Insults of the servants and attendants
(St. Matthew 26:67-68; St. Mark 14:65; St. Luke 22:63-65)
And Jesus was taken to the dungeon for convicts.
Then those who were charged with guarding Him made a game out of beating Him. They spat in His face, blindfolded Him and kept slapping Him, saying, “Prophesy, O Christ! Who is it that struck You?”
In a word, they subjected Him to all kinds of insults, reviling Him with loathsome blasphemies.
O Sacred Head surrounded
1. O sacred Head, surrounded
By crown of piercing thorns!
O bleeding head, so wounded,
Reviled and put to scorn!
Death’s pallid hue comes o’er Thee,
The glow of life decays;
Yet angel-hosts adore Thee,
And tremble as they gaze.
2. I see Thy strength and vigor
All fading in the strife,
And death, with cruel rigor
Bereaving Thee of life.
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying,
Oh turn Thy face on me.
3. In this Thy bitter Passion,
Good Shepherd, think of me
With Thy most sweet compassion,
Unworthy though I be:
Beneath Thy cross abiding
For ever would I rest,
In Thy dear love confiding,
And with Thy presence blest.