Season of Lent

First Sunday of Lent
Second Sunday of Lent
Third Sunday of Lent
Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare)

Season of Passiontide

Passion Sunday
Palm Sunday


Liturgical Commentary

Directly after His baptism, Jesus prepared Himself for His public life by a fast of forty days in the hilly desert which extends from Jericho to the mountains of Judaea. It was there that Satan, wishing to know if the son of Mary was really the Son of God, tempted Him (Gospel).

As in the case of Adam, he first of all addressed himself to the senses. The Saviour was hungry and the tempter suggested to Him that He should turn the stones into bread. In the same way he tries to make us give up our fastings and mortifications during these forty days of Lent. This is the lustful desire of the flesh.

The devil has promised our first father that he would become like unto God: he sets Jesus upon a pinnacle of the temple and invites Him to cast Himself down that He might be borne up by the Angels and so acclaimed by the multitude. He tempts us also by pride, which is opposed to the spirit of prayer and to meditation on the word of God. This is the pride of life.

Finally, as he had promised to Adam a knowledge which should equal that of God and make him to know all things, Satan assures Jesus that he will give Him dominion over all things if He will fall down at his feet and worship him. The devil in the same way seeks to bind us likewise - "Brethren be sober vigilant, because your adversary the devil goeth about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, whom resist ye steadfast in the faith".

Mass Readings

INTROIT. He shall call upon Me, and I will hear him; Iwill deliver him, and glorify him; I will fill him with length, of days. He that dwelteth in the help of the Most High shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. Glory be to the Father.

COLLECT. 0 God who dost every year purify Thy Church by the Fast of Forty Days: grant unto this Thy family that what things they strive to obtain at Thy hand by abstinence, they may turn to profit by good works. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE. II Cor. vi. 1-10. Brethren: We exhort you that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For He saith: In an acceptable time have I heard, thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time: behold, now is the day of salvation. Giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves, as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost; in Charity un-feigned, in the word of truth in the power of God; by the armor of justice on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastised, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing, and possessing all things.

GRADUAL. God hath given His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

TRACT. He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. He shall say to the Lord: Thaou art my protector and my refuge: my God, in Him will I trust. For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters, and from the sharp word. He will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust. His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night. Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark, of invasion or of the noonday devil. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee. For he hath given His angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee in all Thy ways. In their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk, and Thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon. Because he hoped in Me I will deliver him: I will protect him, becausehe hath known My name. He shall cry to Me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation. I will deliver him, and I will glorify him: I will fill him with length of days, and I will show him My salvation.

GOSPEL. Matt. iv. 1-11. At that time: Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry. And the tempter coming, said to Him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written: Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, and set Him upon the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written: He hath given His angels charge over Thee, and in their hands shall they bear Thee up, lest perhaps Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the devil took Him up into a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, satan, for it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left Him; and behold Angels came and ministered to Him.

OFFERTORY. The Lord will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust: His truth shall compass thee with a shield.

SECRET. We solemnly offer the sacrifice of the beginning of Lent, beseeching Thee, O Lord, that while we refrain from carnal feasting, we may likewise abstain from harmful pleasures. Through our Lord.

COMMUNION. The Lord will overshadow thee with His shoulders: and under His wings thou shalt trust: His truth shall compass thee with a shield.

POSTCOMMUNION. May the holy oblation of Thy Sacrament refresh us, 0 Lord, and purifying us from our old life, make us pass: on to the fellowship of Thy saving Mystery. Through our Lord.


Liturgical Commentary

The station at Rome is at the Church of St. Mary in Dominica, so called because formerly the Christians gathered together there on Sunday, in the house of the Lord (Dominicum). It was one of the Roman parishes in the fifth century.

The ordinations of the Saturday in Ember Week began in olden days in the evening, and finished on Sunday morning. That is the reason that we have the same Gospel on both days. It shows us the Transfiguration of Jesus. It is a model of what the forty days' penance, kept after the example of Christ, of Moses and of Elias, should produce in our souls at the Feast of Easter, when the Church will celebrate the triumph "of the Son of Man risen from the dead" (Gospel).

May the sight of the grandeur of Jesus transfigured prepare us for the contemplation shortly of the humiliations of His Passion.

Mass Readings

INTROIT. Remember, O Lord, Thy bowels of compassion and Thy mercies, which are from the beginning of the world, lest at any time our enemies rule over us: deliver us, O God of Israel, from all our tribulations. To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed. Glory be.

COLLECT. O God, who seest that we are wholly without strength in ourselves: keep us both inwardly and outwardly; that we may be protected from all adversity and made pure in mind from every evil thought.

EPISTLE. I Thess. iv. 1-7. Brethren: We pray and beseech you in the Lord Jesus, that as you have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so also you would walk that you may abound the more. For you know what precepts I have given to you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from fornication; that every one of you should knowhow to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles, that know not God; and that no man overreach, nor circumvent his brother in business; because the Lord is the avenger of all these things, as we have told you before, and have testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto sanctification in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL. The troubles of my heart are multiplied; deliver me from my necessities, O Lord. See my abjection and my labor, and forgive all my sins.

TRACT. Give glory to the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. Who shall declare the powers of the Lord: who shall set forth all His praises ? Blessed are they that keep judgement and do justice at all times. Remember us, O Lord, in the favour of Thy people; visit us with Thy salvation.

GOSPEL. Matt. xvii. 1-9. At that time: Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: and He was transfigured before them. And His face did shine as the sun, and His garments became white as snow. And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias, talking with Him, Then Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here; if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him. And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said to them: Arise and fear not And they, lifting up their eyes, saw no one, but only Jesus. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of Man be risen from the dead.

OFFERTORY. I will meditate on Thy commandments which I have loved exceedingly: and I will lift up my hands to Thy commandments, which I have loved.

SECRET. Favorably regard, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord, these present sacrifices, that they may profit us both unto devotion and salvation. Through our Lord.

COMMUNION. Understand my cry: hearken to the voice of my prayer, O my King and my God: for to Thee will I pray, 0 Lord.

POSTCOMMUNION. Grant, We humbly beseech Thee, Almighty God, that those whom Thou refreshest with Thy Sacraments may serve Thee worthily by a life well pleasing to Thee. Through our Lord.


Liturgical Commentary

This sanctuary, built by Constantine on the Tiburtine Way, contains the tomb of the celebrated deacon, the great martyr of Rome. Enlarged and enriched in the course of the ages, it has always been much visited by the faithful. The high Altar is reserved for the sole use of the Pope; it is one of the five patriarchal basilicas of Rome.

To-day we see Jesus in open conflict with Satan. He throws him to the ground, disarms him and expels him from the body of one possessed. As He Himself explains in a parable (Gospel), Satan believed himself secure in his empire, like the strong and well-armed man who defends the entrance of his house, but the Son of God, stronger than the fallen angel, came and took from him his unjust conquest, and we become His. Also we should during Lent, which is a time when the struggle against the old man is more intense, "live as children of the light, performing actions good, just and true" (Epistle).

Mass Readings

INTROIT. Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord: for He shall pluck my feet out of the snare: look Thou upon me, and have mercy on me, for I am alone and poor. To Thee, 0 Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, 0 my God, I put my trust: let me not be ashamed, Glory be to the Father,

COLLECT. We beseech Thee, Almighty God, look upon the desires of Thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of Thy Majesty, to be our defence. Through our Lord.

EPISTLE. Ephes. v. 1-9. Brethren: Be ye followers of God, as most dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God, for an odor of sweetness. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you, as becometh saints; nor obscenity, nor foolish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose: but rather giving of thanks. For know ye this and understand, that no fornicator, nor unclean, nor covetous person, which is serving of idols, hath inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the anger of God upon the children of unbelief. Be ye not therefore partakers with them. For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light: for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and justice, and truth.

GRADUAL. Arise, 0 Lord, let not man prevail: let the Gentiles be judged in Thy sight. When mine enemy shall be turned back, they shall be weakened and perish before Thy face.

TRACT. To Thee have I lifted up my eyes, who dwellest in heaven. Behold as the eyes of servants are on the hands of their masters. And as the eyes of the handmaid are on the hands of her mistress: so are our eyes unto the Lord our God, until He have mercy on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.

GOSPEL. Luke xi. 14-20. At that time: Jesus was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb; and when he had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke, and the multitudes were in admiration at it; but some of them said: He casteth out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. And others tempting, asked of Him a sign from heaven. But He seeing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall; and if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say, that through Beelzebub I cast out devils. Now if I cast out devils by Beelzebub, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges. But if I by the finger of God cast out devils, doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his court, those things are in peace which he possesseth; but if a stronger than he come upon him, and overcome him, he will take away all his armor wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils. He that is not with Me, is against Me and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest; and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. And it came to pass, as He spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to Him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But He said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.

OFFERTORY. The justices of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts, and His judgments are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb: for Thy servant keepeth them.

SECRET. May this victim, O Lord, we beseech Thee, cleanse us from our sins; and sanctify the bodies and minds of Thy servants for the celebration of this sacrifice. Through our Lord.

COMMUNION. The sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest, where she may lay her young ones: Thine altars, 0 Lord of hosts, my King, and my God; blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, they shall praise Thee for ever and ever,

POSTCOMMUNION. Mercifully absolve us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all guilt and danger, since Thou dost admit us to be partakers of this great Mystery, Through our Lord.


Liturgical Commentary

St. Helena, mother of Constantine lived on Mount Coelius in a palace known as the house of Sessions. She transformed it, in order to keep therein important relics of the true Cross, into a sanctuary which became the Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem. Hence the Introit, Communion and Tract speak of Jerusalem, which St. Paul in the Epistle compares to Mount Sinai.

Just as the Sunday of Gaudete or "Rejoice" comes in the middle of Advent to excite us with holy joy courageously to continue our diligent preparation for the Feast of Christmas, so the Sunday of Laetare or "Be glad" offers us a rest in the middle of the Lenten observance.

"Rejoice, be thrilled with joy," says the Introit, for, dead to sin with Jesus during Lent, we are soon to rise again with Him through confession and Paschal communion. Wherefore the Gospel tells us of the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and fishes, symbols of the Eucharist.

Mass Readings

Introit: Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together, all you that love her. Rejoice with joy, all you that have been in sorrow, that you may exult and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. I rejoiced at the things they said to me; we shall go into the house of the Lord. Glory be

Collect: Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we who for our evil deeds justly deserve to be punished, may, by the comfort of Thy grace, mercifully be relieved.

Epistle: Galatians iv: 22-31Brethren: It is written that Abraham had two sons, the one by a slave girl, and the other by a free woman. And the son of the slave girl was born according to the flesh, but the son of the free woman in virtue of the promise. This is said by way of alle gory. For these are the two covenants: one indeed from Mount Sinai, bringing forth children into bondage, which is Agar. For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, which corresponds to the present Jerusalem, and is in slavery with her children. But that Jerusa lem which is above is free, which is our mother. For it is written, "Rejoice thou barren, that does not bear; break forth and cry, thou that doest not travail; for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that has a husband." Now, we, bre thren, are the children of promise, as Isaac was. But, as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the spirit -- so also it is now. But what does the scripture say? "Cast out the slave girl, for the son of a slave girl shall not be heir with the son of a free woman." Therefore, brethren, we are not children of a slave girl, but of the free woman -- in virtue of the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free.

Gradual: I rejoiced at the things they said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. Let peace be in thy strength, and abundance be in thy towers.

Tract: They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Sion. He shall not be moved forever, that dwelleth in Jerusalem. Mountains are round about it, so the Lord is round about his people, from henceforth, now and forever.

Gospel: John vi: 1-15. At that time, Jesus went to the other side of the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And there followed Him, a great crowd, because they witnessed the signs He worked on those who were sick. Jesus, therefore, went up the mountain, and sat there with His disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near. When, therefore, Jesus had lifted up His eyes, and had seen that a very great crowd had come to Him, He said to Philip, "Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" But He said this to try Him, for He knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not enough for them, that each one may receive even a little." One of His disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to Him, "There is a young boy here who had five barley loaves and two fishes; but what are these among so many?" Jesus then said, "Make the people recline." Now, there was much grass in the place. The men, therefore, reclined, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves, and when He had given thanks, distributed them to those reclining; and likewise the fishes, as much as they wished. But, when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather the fragments that are left over, lest they be wasted." They therefore gathered them up; and they filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. When the people, therefore, had seen the sign that Jesus worked, they said, "This is, indeed, the Prophet, who is to come into the world." So when Jesus perceived that they would come to take Him by force and make Him king, He fled to the mountain, Himself alone.

Offertory: Praise ye the Lord, for He is good. Sing ye to His name, for He is sweet. Whatsoever He pleased, He has done in heaven and in earth.

Secret: Look down mercifully upon these sacrifices, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that they may lead to our devotion and salvation.

Communion: Jerusalem, which is built as a city; a compact unity -- there did the tribes go up; the tribes of the Lord, to praise His name.

Postcommunion: Grant, we beseech Thee, O merciful God, ever to celebrate with sincere worship, and receive with faithful hearts Thy holy mysteries, of which we continually partake.


Liturgical Commentary

To-day'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 baptised; 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 realised. And the Jews, who ought to have recognised 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.

Mass Readings

Introit: Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause against an ungodly nation. Deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man, for Thou art my God and my strength. O send out Thy light and Thy truth. They have led me, and brought me unto Thy holy hill, even unto Thy tabernacles. Judge me.

Collect: We beseech Thee, almighty God, mercifully look upon Thy family, that by Thy great goodness it may be governed in body, and by Thy protection be preserved in mind.

Epistle: Hebrews ix: 11-15 Brethren: When Christ appeared as high priest of the good things to come, He entered once and for all through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands (that is, not of this creation), nor again by virtue of the blood of goats and calves , but by virtue of His own blood, into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For, if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkled ashes of a heifer, sanctify the unclean unto the cleansing of the flesh -- how much more will the blood of Christ, who, through the Holy Ghost, offered Himself, unblemished, unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And this is why He is a mediator of a new covenant, that whereas a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the former covenant, that they who have been called may receive eternal inheritance according to the promise, in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Gradual: Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies. Teach me to do Thy will. My deliverer, O Lord, from the angry nations; Thou wilt lift me up above those that rise up against me. From the unjust man Thou wilt deliver me.

Tract: 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: John viii: 46-59 At that time, Jesus said to the crowds of the Jews, "Which of you will convict me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear is that you are not of God." The Jews th erefore in answer said to Him, "Are we not right in saying that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?" Jesus answered, "I have not a devil, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet, I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks and who judges. Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone keep my word, he will never see death." The Jews therefore said, "Now we know that Thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets, and Thou sayest, `If anyone keep my word, he will never see death.' 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 who glorifies Me, of whom you say that He is your God. And you do not know Him, but I know Him. And if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be like you, a liar. But I know Him and I keep His word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he was to 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 came to be, I am." They therefore took up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out from the temple.

Offertory: I will confess to Thee with my whole heart. Render to Thy servant. I shall live and keep Thy words. Enliven me according to Thy word, O Lord.

Secret: May these offerings, we beseech Thee, O Lord, loosen the bonds of our wickedness, and procure for us the gifts of Thy mercy.

Communion: This is My Body, which shall be delivered for you: This chalice is the new testament in My Blood, saith the Lord: do this, as often as you receive it, in commemoration of Me.

Postcommunion: Draw near to us, O Lord, Our God, and by Thine unfailing help, defend those whom Thy mysteries have refreshed


Liturgical Commentary

To-day's liturgy expresses by two ceremonies, the one giving an impression of joy, the other of sorrow, the two aspects under which the Church considers the Cross. The first is the blessing and the procession of palms. All through it bursts forth a holy gladness, which allows us, after twenty centuries, to revive the grand scene of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Then follows the Mass, in which the chants and lessons relate exclusively to the sorrowful recollection of the Passion of the Saviour.


At Jerusalem, in the fourth century, on this Sunday was read, in the very place where it had taken place, the Gospel narrative which shows Christ acclaimed as King of Israel and taking possession of His capital, Jerusalem being in fact only an image of the kingdom of the heavenly Jerusalem.

Then a bishop, mounted on an ass, went to the summit of the Mount of Olives to the Church of the Resurrection, surrounded by the crowd, who carried palms and sang hymns and antiphons.

This ceremony was preceded by a lesson from the passage in Exodus relating to the departure from Egypt. The people of God which had camped under the shadow of the palm trees, near the twelve fountains where Moses promised them the manna, figure the Christian people who cut branches from the palms and bear witness that their King, Jesus, comes to deliver souls from sin by bringing them to the baptismal font and by nourishing them with the Eucharistic manna.

The Church of Rome in adopting this use about the eleventh century appears to have added to it the rite of the blessing of the palms, whence the name of Palm Sunday. In this blessing the Church asks for those who dwell "in the houses where palms are kept" "safety of soul and body." "God" she adds, "by a wonderful order of His Providence, has been pleased to use these material things as a sign of his wonderful plan for our salvation", for "these branches of palms signified the victory which was to be gained over the prince of death, and the branches of olive proclaimed the abundant overflowing of the divine mercy."

"The dove, indeed, announced by a branch of olive peace to the earth; "and the favours that God multiplied on Noah on coming out from the ark, and on Moses Who left Egypt with the children of Israel, are a symbol of the Church" "who goes to meet Christ with good works," "works bearing boughs of righteousness." The procession of Christians who, palms in hand and the song of hosanna on their lips, acclaim each year throughout the world, through all generations, the royalty of Christ, is composed of all the catechumens, of the public penitents and of the faithful whom the sacraments of Baptism, of the Eucharist and of Penance are about to make co-partners, at the Easter feasts, of Him Who is gloriously triumphant. "Seeing indeed by faith this event and its meaning, we beseech Thee, 0 Eternal God, that what we Thy people do outwardly we may accomplish inwardly, becoming victorious over the devil."

That is what the procession which stops at the door of the church represents. A few of the choristers have entered the church. Their chanting alternates with that of the clergy : on one side are represented the "angelic choirs," and on the other the soldiers of Christ still engaged in the strife of battle, who acclaim in turn the King of Glory. Soon the door opens, after the subdeacon has knocked on it thrice with the staff of the cross: thus does the Cross of Jesus open heaven to us, and the procession proceeds into the church as the elect will one day enter with Christ into everlasting glory. Let us religiously keep in our home a branch of blessed palm. This sacramental will obtain graces for us by virtue of the prayer of the Church, and will proclaim our faith in Christ, the conqueror of sin and death.


The Blessing of the Palms used to take place at S. Maria Maggiore, which at Rome represents Bethlehem, where He Whom the Magi proclaimed "King of the Jews" was born. The procession went from this church to St. John Lateran. It was in this basilica that the Station was formerly held: dedicated to the Holy Saviour, it reminded one of the Passion which the Mass puts before us.

The triumph of the Saviour must be preceded by "His humiliation unto death, even the death of the cross" (Epistle), which will serve as a model to us "so that, imitating the example of His patience, we may become partners in His resurrection" (Collect). Every Parish Priest celebrates Mass for the welfare spiritual and temporal of his Parishioners.

The Blessing of Palms

Antiphon: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. O King of Israel; Hosanna in the highest!

Collect: O God, whom to love above all is righteousness, multiply in us the gifts of Thine ineffable grace; and since in the death of Thy Son Thou hast given us the hope for those things in which we believe, grant us through His resurrection to attain the end for which we long. Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, one God, world without end.

Epistle: Exodus xv: 27; xvi: 1-7 In those days the children of Israel came into Elim, where there were twelve fountains of water, and seventy palm trees, and they encamped by the waters. And they set forward from Elim, and all the multitude of the children of Israel came into the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai: The fifteenth day of the second month after they came out of the land of Egypt. And all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. And the children of Israel l said to them, "Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat over the flesh pots and ate bread to the full. Why have you brought us into this desert, that you might destroy all the multitude with famine?" And the Lord said to Moses, "Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you. Let the people go forth, and gather what is sufficient every day, that I may prove them; whether they will walk in my law or not. But the sixth day, let them provide for the next; let it be double what they are wont to gather every day." And Moses and Aaron said to the children of Israel, "In the evening you shall know that the Lord hath brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord."

Gradual: The chief priests and the pharisees gathered a council and said, "What are we to do, for this Man does 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, called Caiphas, being the high priest that year, prophesied, saying, It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. From that day, therefore, they devised to put Him to death, saying, "and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation."

On mount Olivet He prayed to His Father, "Father, if it may be, let this chalice pass from Me. The Spirit, indeed is willing, but the flesh weak: Thy will be done. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation. The Spirit, indeed is willing, but the flesh weak: * Thy will be done.

Gospel: Matthew xxi: 1-9. At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, and came to Bethpage, on the Mount of Olives, He sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone say anything to you, you shall say that the Lord has need of them." Now all this was done that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, "Tell the daughter of Sion: Behold thy king comes to thee, meek and seated upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of a beast of burden." So the disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. And they brought the ass and the colt, laid their cloaks on them, and made Him sit thereon. And most of the crowd spread their cloaks upon the road, while others were cutting branches from the trees, and strewing them on the road. And the crowds that went before Him, and those that followed, kept crying out, saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Increase, O God, the faith of them that mhope in Thee, and mercifully hear the prayers of Thy suppliants. Let Thy manifold mercy descend upon us, and let these branches of palm or olive trees ; be blessed. And as in a figure of the Church, Thou didst multiply Noah going forth out of the ark, and Moses going out of Egypt with the children of Israel, so may we go forth with good works to meet Christ, carrying palms and branches of olive trees, and enter through Him into eternal joy. Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth for ever and ever. Amen.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
V. Lift up your hearts.
R. We have lifted them up to the Lord.
V. Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
R. It is meet and just.

It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should, at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O Holy Lord, Father almighty, and everlasting God. Who dost glory in the assembly of Thy saints. For Thy creatures serve Thee, because they acknowledge Thee as their only creator and God; and Thy whole creation praises Thee, and Thy saints bless Thee. For, with fearless voice, they confess that great name of Thine only-begotten Son before the kings and powers of this world. Around whom the angels and archangels, the thrones and dominions stand; and with all the army of heaven, sing a hymn to Thy glory, saying without ceasing:

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

We beseech Thee, O Holy Lord, Father almighty, and everlasting God, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to bless ; and sanctify ; this creature, the Olive tree, which Thou hast caused to shoot forth from the substance of wood, and which the dove, returning to the ark, brought in its mouth. May all who receive it receive protection of soul and body, and may it become, O Lord, a saving remedy and a sacred sign of peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who with Thee ... world without end. Amen.

Let us pray.

O God, who dost gather what is dispersed, and dost preserve what is gathered together; who didst bless the people who went forth to meet Jesus, bearing branches of palm; bless ; likewise these branches of palm and olive, which Thy servants receive faithfully in honor of Thy name. May those who dwell in whatever place they are brought obtain Thy blessing, find all adversity removed, and be protected by Thy right hand; those who have been redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son . . world without end. Amen.

Let us pray.

O God, who, by a wonderful order and disposition, hast been pleased to manifest the dispensation of our salvation even by means of things insensible; grant, we beseech Thee, that the devout hearts of Thy faithful may profitably understand what is mystically signified, when on this day the multitude, taught by a heavenly illumination, went forth to meet their Redeemer, and strewed branches of palm and olive at His feet. The branches of palms, therefore, signify His triumphs over the prince of death; and the branches of olive proclaim the coming of a spiritual unction. For that blessed company of men understood that these things were then prefigured; that our Redeemer, compassionating human miseries, was about to fight with the prince of death for the life of the whole world, and, by dying, to triumph. For which cause, they dutifully ministered such things as signified in Him the triumphs of victory and the riches of mercy. And we also, with full faith, retaining this as done and signified, humbly beseech Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, that in Him and through Him, whose members Thou hast pleased to make us, we may become victorious over the empire of death, and may deserve to be partakers of His glorious resurrection. Who liveth . . . world without end. Amen.

Let us pray.

O God, who, by an olive branch didst command the dove to proclaim peace to the world: sanctify, we beseech Thee, by a heavenly ; benediction these branches of olive and other trees; that they may be serviceable to all Thy people unto their salvation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray.

Bless, we beseech Thee, O Lord, these branches of palm or olive; and grant that what Thy people this day bodily perform for Thine honor, they may perfect spiritually with greatest devotion by gaining a victory over the enemy and ardently loving every work of mercy. Through our Lord . . . world without end. Amen.

[The Palms are sprinkled with Holy Water and Incensed]

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

O God, who for our salvation, didst send into this world Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, that He might humble Himself for us and call us back to Thee; for whom also, as He came to Jerusalem to fulfill the Scriptures, a multitude of faithful people with a zealous devotion spread their garments together with palm branches in the way. Grant, we beseech Thee, that for Him we may prepare the way of faith, from which the stone of offense and rock of scandal being removed, our works may flourish before Thee with branches of justice, that we may deserve to follow in His footsteps. Who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

[The Palms are distributed]

1. The Hebrew Children bearing branches of olive, went forth to meet the Lord, crying out, and saying: Hosanna in the highest

2. The Hebrew children spread their garments in the way, and cried out, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

O almighty and everlasting God, who didst ordain that our Lord Jesus Christ should sit upon the colt of an ass, and didst teach the multitude to spread their garments or branches of trees in the way, and sing Hosanna to His praise; grant, we beseech Thee, that we too may imitate their innocence, and deserve to obtain their merit. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

V. Let us go forth in peace.
R. In the name of Christ.

The Procession with the Blessed Palms

Antiphon: Matthew xxi: 1-3, 7, 8, 9. When our Lord drew nigh to Jerusalem, He sent two of His disciples, saying: Go ye into the village that is over against you; And you shall find an ass's colt tied, on which no man has ever sat: * loose it and bring it to Me. If any man shall question you, say: * The Lord wanteth it. They untied and brought it to Jesus, * and laid their garments upon it, and He seated Himself on it. Others spread their garments in the way; others cut branches from trees; * and those who followed cried out: Hosanna! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: * Blessed be the reign of our father David! Hosanna in the highest! * O Son of David, have mercy on us!

Antiphon: John xii: 12, 13. When the people heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches, * and went out to meet Him: And the children cried out, saying: * This is He who is come for the salvation of the people. He is our salvation, * and the redemption of Israel. How great is He * whom the thrones and the dominations go out to meet! Fear not, O daughter of Sion: behold thy king cometh to thee * sitting on an ass's colt, as it is written. Hail, O King, creator of the world, * who art come to redeem us!

Antiphon: Six days before the solemnity of the Passover, * when our Lord was coming into the city of Jerusalem, The children met Him, * and carried palm branches in their hands; And they cried out with a loud voice saying: * Hosanna in the highest! Blessed art Thou who art come in the multitude of Thy mercy. * Hosanna in the highest!

Antiphon: The multitude goeth out to meet the Redeemer with flowers and palms, * and payeth the homage due to a triumphant conqueror. Nations proclaim the Son of God; and their voices rend the skies in the praise of Christ: * Hosanna in the highest!

Antiphon: Let us join in faith with the angels and children, singing to the conqueror of death: * Hosanna in the highest! A great multitude that was met together at the festival cried out to the Lord: : Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: * Hosanna in the highest!

Mass Readings

Introit: O Lord, keep not Thy help far from me. Look to my defense. Deliver me from the lion's mouth, and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns. O God, my God, look upon me; why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins. O Lord, keep not....

Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, who didst will that out Savior should take upon Him our flesh and suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of His great humility; mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of His patience, and also be made partakers of His resurrection. Through the same our Lord....

Epistle: Philippians: ii: 5-11. Brethren: Have this in mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who though He was by nature God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be clung to, but emptied Himself, taking the nature of a slave and being made like unto men. And appearing in the form of man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross. Therefore God also has exalted Him and has bestowed upon Him the name that is above every name, [Genuflect] so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Gradual: Thou hast held me by my right hand; and by Thy will Thou hast conducted me, and with Thy Glory Thou hast received me. How good is God to Israel, to those of an upright heart! but my feet were almost moved, my steps had well-nigh slipped: because I was jealous of sinners, seeing the prosperity of sinners.

Tract: O God, my God, look upon me; why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins. O my God, I shall cry by day, and Thou wilt not hear; and by night and it shall not be reputed as folly in me. But Thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel. In Thee our Fathers have hoped. They have hoped and Thou hast delivered them. They cried to Thee and they were saved. They trusted in Thee, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and not a man; the reproach of men and the outcast of the people. All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn; they have spoken with their lips and wagged their heads. He hoped in the Lord. Let Him deliver Him. But they have looked and stared upon me. They divided my garments amongst them, and upon my vesture they cast lots. Deliver me from the lion's mouth, and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns. Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him; all ye, the seed of Jacob, glorify Him. There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come; and the heavens shall show forth His justice. To a people that shall be born, which the Lord has made.

The Passion: Matthew xxvi: 1-75; xxvii: 1-66 The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. At that time Jesus said to His disciples, "You know that after two days the Passover will be here; and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified."

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered together in the court of the high priest, who was called Caiphas, and they took counsel together how they might seize Jesus by stealth and put Him to death. But they said, "Not on the feast, or there might be a riot among the people."

Now when Jesus was at Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to Him with an alabaster jar of precious ointment, and she poured it on His head, as He reclined at table. But when the disciples saw this, they were indignant, and said, "To what purpose is this waste? for this might have been sold for much and given to the poor." But Jesus, perceiving it, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? She has done me a good turn. For the poor you have always with you, but you do not always have Me. For in pouring this ointment on My body, she has done it for My burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever in the whole world this gospel is preached, this also that she has done shall be told in memory of her."

Then one of the Twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, and said to them, "What are you willing to give me for delivering Him to you?" But they assigned him thirty pieces of silver. And from then on, he sought out an opportunity to betray Him.

Now on the first day of the unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Where dost Thou want us to prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?" But Jesus said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, The Master says, My time is at hand; at thy house I am keeping the Passover with my disciples." And the disciples did as Jesus bade them, and prepared the Passover.

Now when evening arrived, He reclined at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating, He said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray Me." And being very much saddened, they began each to say, "Is it I, Lord?" But He answered and said, "He who dips his hand into the dish with Me, he will betray Me. The Son of Man indeed goes His way, as it is written of Him; but woe to the man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It were better for that man if he had not been born." And Judas who betrayed Him answered and said, "Is it I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "Thou hast said it."

And while they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed and broke, and gave it to His disciples, and said, "Take and eat; this is My Body." And taking a cup, He gave thanks and gave it to them, saying, "All of you drink of this; for this is My Blood of the new covenant, which is being shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins. But I say to you that I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until the day when I shall drink it new with you in the kingdom of My Father."

And after reciting a hymn, they went out to Mount Olivet. Then Jesus said to them, "You will all be scandalized this night because of Me; 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." But Peter answered and said to Him, "Even though all shall be scandalized because of Thee, I will never be scandalized." Jesus said to him, "Amen, I say to thee, this very night, before a cock crows, thou wilt deny me three times." Peter said to Him, "Even if I should have to die with Thee, I will not deny Thee!" And all the disciples said the same thing.

Then Jesus came with them to a country place called Gethsemani, and He said to His disciples, "Sit down here, while I go over yonder and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be saddened and exceedingly troubled. Then He said to them, "My soul is sad, even unto death. Wait here and watch with Me." And going forward a little, He fell prostrate and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou willest." Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And He said to Peter, "Could you not then watch one hour with Me? Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak ." Again a second time He went away and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cup cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done." And He came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And leaving them He went back again, and prayed a third time, saying the same words over. Then He came to His disciples, and said to them, "Sleep on now, and take your rest! Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man will be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go. Behold, he who betrays Me is at hand."

And while He was yet speaking, behold Judas, one of the Twelve, came up and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, that is He; lay hold of Him." And he went straight up to Jesus and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, "Friend, for what purpose hast thou come?" Then they came forward and set hands on Jesus and took Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus, reached out his hand, drew his sword, and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put back thy sword into its place; for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or dost thou suppose that I cannot entreat my Father, and He will even now furnish Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then are the Scriptures to be fulfilled, that thus it must take place?" In that hour Jesus said to the crowds, "As against a robber you have come out, with swords and clubs to seize me. I sat daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not lay hands on Me." Now all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples left Him and fled.

Now those who had taken Jesus led him away to Caiphas the high priest, where the Scribes and the elders had gathered together. But Peter was following Him at a distance, even to the courtyard of the high priest, and he went in and sat with the attendants to see the end.

Now the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin were seeking false witnesses against Jesus, that they might put Him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. But last of all two false witnesses came forward, and said, "This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it after three days." Then the high priest, standing up, said to Him, "Dost Thou make no answer to the things that these men prefer against Thee?" But Jesus kept silence. And the high priest said to Him, "I adjure Thee by the living God that Thou tell us whether Thou art the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus said to him, "Thou hast said it. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter 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, saying, "He has blasphemed; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" And they answered and said, "He is liable to the death." Then they spat in His face and buffeted Him; while others struck His face with the palms of their hands, saying, "Prophesy to us, O Christ! who is it that struck Thee?"

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard; and a maidservant came up to him and said, "Thou wast with Jesus, the Galilean." But he denied before them all, saying, "I do not know what thou art saying." And when he had gone out to the gateway, another maid saw him, and said to those who were there, "This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth." And again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man!" And after a little while the bystanders came up and s aid to Peter, "Surely thou also art one of them, for even thy speech betrays thee." Then he began to curse and to swear that he did not know the man. And at that moment a cock crowed. And Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said, "Before a cock crows, thou wilt deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.

Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel together against Jesus in order to put Him to death. And they bound Him, and led Him away, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate, the procurator. Then Judas, who betrayed Him, when he saw that He was condemned, repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, "I have sinned in betraying innocent blood." But they said, "What is this to us? See to it thyself." And he flung the pieces of silver into the temple, and withdrew; and went away and hanged himself with a halter. And the chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, "It is not lawful for us to put them into the treasury, seeing that it is the price of blood." And after they had consulted together, they bought with them the potter's field, as a burial place for strangers. For this reason that field has been called, even to this day, Haceldama, that is the Field of Blood. Then what was spoken by Jeremias the prophet was fulfilled, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him who was priced, upon whom the children of Israel set a price; and they gave them for the potter's field as the Lord directed me."

Now Jesus stood before the procurator; and the procurator asked Him, saying, "Art Thou the king of the Jews?" Jesus said to him, "Thou sayest it." And when He was accused by the chief priests and the elders, He made no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, "Dost Thou not hear how many things they prefer against Thee?" But He did not answer him a single word, so that the procurator wondered exceedingly.

Now at festival time, the procurator used to release to the crowd a prisoner, whomever they would. Now he had at that time a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said, "Whom do you wish that I release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ?" For he knew that they had delivered Him up out of envy. Now as he was sitting at the judgment-seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that just man, for I have suffered many things in a dream today because of Him." But the chief priests ands the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to destroy Jesus. But the procurator addressed them, and said to them, "Which of the two do you wish that I release to you?" And they said, "Barabbas." Pilate said to the, "What then am I to do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Let Him be crucified!" Now Pilate, seeing that he was doing no good, but rather that a riot was breaking out, took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just man; see to it yourselves." And all the people answered and said, "His blood be upon us and on our children." Then he released to them Barabbas; but Jesus he scourged and delivered to them to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the procurator took Jesus into the praetorium, and gathered together about Him the whole cohort. And they stripped Him and put on Him a scarlet cloak; and plaiting a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed into His right hand; and bending the knee before Him, they mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they spat upon Him, and took the reed and kept striking Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the cloak off Him and put His own garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

Now as they went out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon; him they forced to take up His cross. And they came to the place called Golgotha, that is, the Place of the Skull. And they gave Him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when He had tasted it, He would not drink. And after they had crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots, (to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet, saying, "They divided my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots.") And sitting down, they kept watch over Him. And they put above His head the charge against Him, written, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews."

Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on His right hand and one on His left. Now the passers-by were jeering at Him, shaking their heads, and saying, "Aha, Thou who destroyest the temple, and in three days build it up again, save Thyself! If Thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross! In like manner, the chief priests with the Scribes and the elders, mocking, said, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save! If He is the King of Israel, let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He wants Him; for He said, I am the Son of God." And the robbers also, who were crucified with Him, reproached Him in the same way. Now, from the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. But about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani," that is, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" And some of the bystanders, on hearing this said, "This man is calling Elias." And immediately one of them ran and, taking a sponge, soaked it in common wine, put it on a reed and offered it to Him to drink. But the rest said, "Wait, let us see whether Elias is coming to save Him." But Jesus again cried out with a loud voice, and gave up His spirit.

[A momentary pause]

And behold the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent, and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep arose; and coming forth out of the tombs after His resurrection, they came into the holy city, and appeared to many.

Now when the centurion, and those who were with him, keeping guard over Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, they were much afraid, and they said, "Truly He was the Son of God."

And many women were there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Now when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, Joseph by name, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered the body to be given up. And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock. Then he rolled a large stone to the entrance of the tomb, and departed.

But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre. And the next day, which was the one after the day of preparation, the chief priests and the pharisees went in a body to Pilate, saying, "Sir, we have remembered how that deceiver said, while He was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Give orders, therefore that the sepulchre be guarded until the third day, or else His disciples may come and steal Him away, and say to the people, He has risen from the dead; and the last imposture will be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go, guard it as well as you know how." So they went and made the sepulchre secure, sealing the stone, and setting the guard.

Offertory: My heart has expected reproach and misery; and I looked for one who would grieve together with Me, but there was none: I sought for one that would comfort Me, and I found none; and they gave me gall for My food, and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink.

Secret: Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the offering made in the presence of Thy majesty may procure us the grace of devotion, and effectually obtain for us a blessed eternity. Through our Lord....

Communion: Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, Thy will be done.

Postcommunion: By the operation of this mystery, O Lord, may our vices be destroyed and our just desires fulfilled. Through our Lord....