FRIDAY AFTER PASSION SUNDAY
GOSPEL. ST. JOHN xi, 47-55.
(The Council of the High-priest, and the Third Word of Jesus on the Cross.)
At that time: The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said: What do we, for this man doth many miracles? If we let Him alone so, all will believe in Him, and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation. But one of them named Caiphas, being the high priest that year, said to them: You know nothing. Neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this he spoke not of himself: but being the high priest of that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation. And not only for the nation, but to gather together in one the children of God, that were dispersed. From that day, therefore, they devised to put Him to death. Wherefore Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews, but He went into a country near the desert, unto a city that is called Ephraim, and there He abode with His disciples.
Against his will, the last high priest of the Old Testament was obliged to prophesy that through the death of the One God-man all men were to be saved. Thus God directs the career of men and uses even the plots of His enemies for the fulfillment of the designs of His infinite wisdom and for His honor and the glory of His kingdom.
Behold, O Christian soul, two deeply afflicted persons standing beneath the cross of Jesus; one, whose feast we celebrate today, is the Mother of the Seven Dolors, the abandoned, loving mother of Jesus, Mary, the Queen of Martyrs; the other is John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, standing alone with Mary beneath the cross. What will become of these two faithful souls, when the crucified One parts from them? Trembling they stand for a long time beneath the cross of the bleeding, silent Redeemer! But suddenly there comes from the cross a word of divine compassion and filial, grateful love: "Woman, behold thy Son! Son, behold thy mother."
Thus the Son of God consoles His afflicted mother and His grief-stricken disciple; to him, and in the person of John, to all of us He entrusts His mother. It remains then for us, like John, to live faithfully in the grace of God, to honor and love the Church of God, and to strive after heaven, as our Lord taught us to pray: "Thy kingdom come." Then Mary will not abandon us in life or in death; and, as our faithful mother, she will defend us against all our enemies.
LET US PRAY.
Mercifully infuse Thy grace into our hearts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that by doing voluntary penance for our sins, we may be punished here, rather than be condemned to punishment for eternity.
O beloved Jesus! we beseech Thee, that Thy dolorous Mother, whose heart was pierced by a sevenfold sword, may be for us a gracious mediatrix and kind mother; so that, like her, we may live in the grace of God as true children of Thy holy Church, and that, under her protection, we may enter the kingdom of Thy eternal glory. Amen.