“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
SATURDAY, April 3rd Mk. 15: 46-47 “So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.”
Introductory Points… followed by MEDITATION POINTS BY FR. ED BROOM, OMV
Where was Jesus on Holy Saturday?
- On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb in prayer and fasting, meditating on His Passion and Death, on His Descent into Hell, and awaiting His Resurrection.
- We pray this in the Apostles Creed: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead.”
- From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
CCC 636: By the expression “He descended into hell”, the Apostles’ Creed confesses that Jesus did really die and through his death for us conquered death and the devil “who has the power of death” (Heb 2:14).
CCC 637. In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead Christ went down to the realm of the dead. He opened heaven’s gates for the just who had gone before him.
CCC 635. Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him – He who is both their God and the son of Eve. . . “I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.” (Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday)
Where was the Mary on Holy Saturday?
- Fr. Ed Broom reminds us that certainly the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, was reliving all that Jesus suffered for love of mankind, but for love of each one of us individually—a precious soul to be saved from eternal death!
- According to the mystic Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich, late Friday night the angels accompanied Mary along the entire Way of the Cross reliving His Passion and death, with the angels pointing out to Mary the places where Jesus’ precious Blood fell to the ground so Mary could gather it up.
- Fr. Ed also reminds us of the teaching of the Church that from His death and burial on Good Friday until His Resurrection Easter Sunday morning, the unfailing Faith of the Church resided in one person, the Blessed Virgin Mary!
MEDITATION POINTS FOR HOLY SATURDAY:
Christ did His part to save us, now we have to do our part – daily conversion of life! There are Two Meditations to choose from as an Examination of Conscience to help us better imitate Christ by growing in virtue so as to attain eternal life: 1) Characters in the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV 2) Stations of the Cross by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV.
I. CHARACTERS IN THE PASSION OF THE LORD JESUS by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen presented the meditation of the Passion of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in more than one way. Two of the most noteworthy ways that Sheen presented the Passion of Christ were the following: 1) A profound meditation and reflection on “The Seven Last Words of Jesus from the Cross.” 2) Sheen also presented a masterpiece depicting the Characters in the Passion of Christ. Sheen portrays the different attitude, profile, virtue or vice of the many people who were involved in the Passion, suffering and death of Jesus on the cross.
“The Characters in the Passion of Christ” can definitely serve as a means for an excellent examination of conscience for each and every one of us. Most certainly, we will be able to discover and identify ourselves with many of the characteristics of the characters in the Passion—some positive and worthy of praise, others negative and worthy of repudiation.
Therefore, let us enter with courage into the Passion of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by both meditating on and contemplating the characters or persons who were involved in the Passion and death of Our Lord. Hopefully, we will be deemed among the loyal friends of Jesus, those who brought deep consolation to His wounded and bleeding Heart!
We will choose some of the characters in the Passion of Christ. Our short essay is not exhaustive but will give us at least a taste of the wide gamut of personalities of those who were present at the death of Jesus; it will portray different attitudes that will touch us in many ways and quite possibly motivate us to conversion!
CHARACTERS IN THE PASSION OF THE LORD JESUS.
1. KING HEROD. Jesus was shuffled to the presence of King Herod and his court. In the presence of this King, Jesus never opened His mouth to the questions of King Herod. This wicked King represents a sensualist, a Hedonist, a man given over to the desires of the flesh. Jesus would not open His mouth because He would have only been mocked, derided and ridiculed all the more. To these types of people Jesus would assert: “Do not throw your pearls to the swine.” Today there are many sensual, hedonistic people who have given themselves over totally to the desires of the flesh! Jesus said to Nicodemus: “The flesh profits nothing; it is the spirit that gives life.” (Jn. 3: 6)
2. PONTIUS PILATE. This Roman Procurator represents many today. Basically, Pilate represents the typical coward. Claudia, his wife, had a dream of the innocence of Jesus. Pilate discarded this element of truth. He wanted to please the crowd. Pilate was a “people pleaser more than a God pleaser!” How often do we act and react so as to please people, so as to be liked and applauded to our detriment for rejecting God’s will and doing what is pleasing to the Lord. Often human respect goes beyond respect for God!
3. PHARISEE, SCRIBES AND SADDUCEES. Many of those who rejected Jesus and clamored for Jesus’ condemnation represent intellectual pride. These were the intelligentsia— the educated and Biblically erudite group. They were the spiritual know it alls!!! Confronted with a humble, less-educated carpenter from Nazareth who was like a magnet attracting countless masses by His words and deeds, was too much for them. Really it was their intellectual pride and their envy that blinded them from being able to see, recognize and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior! How many people today are blinded from knowing and accepting the Truth due to intellectual pride.
4. THE CROWD OR MULTITUDE WATCHING JESUS. Many in this group are symbolic of the group of the CURIOUS!!! Many people look for novelty, innovations, fads and new modes to titillate and scintillate their curiosity. How perilous for those who live only for the pleasure and fireworks of the moment. How true the saying: “Curiosity killed the cat!”
5. CRUCIFY HIM!!! Then there are those in the world who actually have a mortal hatred for Jesus, for God and all that pertains to God. The Sadducees and chief priests below the cross, and the crowd before Pilate cried out: CRUCIFY HIM! There exists today a growing number of individuals who call themselves ATHEISTS! Who cultivate a diabolic hatred for Jesus and all that pertains to God. Their numbers in the modern world continue to grow!
6. SIMON OF CYRENE. Returning from the fields and work, Simon of Cyrene was compelled to help Jesus to carry the cross. At first, Simon resisted and sought to avoid carrying the cross. But once he accepted the carrying of the cross, not only did he conform himself to this task, but he enjoyed helping Jesus carry the cross. Maybe this is you and me: at the outset we flee from the cross, but once accepted the yoke is easy and the burden is light.
7. VERONICA. This valiant woman broke through the crowd and wiped the Sacred Face of Jesus with her veil. Jesus recompensed Veronica by allowing the impression of His Holy Face to be impressed on her veil. Are we courageous enough to go out of our way to help those who are suffering and in need?
8. THE EXECUTIONERS—WHO NAILED JESUS TO THE CROSS. Although this may be painful to accept, every time we give consent to committing a mortal sin, then in a real sense we are responsible for the Crucifixion of Jesus, the nails penetrating His hands and feet. However, by making a good Confession we extract the nails and allow the Risen Jesus to walk!
9. THE SOLDIERS BENEATH THE CROSS—DICE! Then, as Jesus hung on the cross in mortal agony, there were the soldiers beneath the cross shooting dice to see who could claim the garments of Jesus. These, with many in the crowd who were watching, represent an attitude of INDIFFERENCE OR APATHY. The Book of Revelation forcefully condemns this attitude in these earth-shaking words: “You are neither hot nor cold—I wish you were—but you are lukewarm. I will vomit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3: 15) Sad to say, there are huge numbers of so called Catholic-Christians who manifest an attitude of coldness, indifference, apathy, and lukewarmness towards the Lord, the Sacraments, and the Church. Perhaps, we belong to this group! If so, time to change!
10. THE BAD THIEF. Despite the good example of Jesus and His most noble example of mercy and compassion, the bad thief ends his life by cursing Jesus. He also had the good example of the conversion of his companion thief! Still, he died with a cold, callous and cruel heart! There are those who, despite the many graces sent to them by God, simply become more hardened and callous. May God save us!
11. THE GOOD THIEF. On the other side of the coin, next to Jesus on the cross we encounter the Good Thief! He ends his life by repenting and begging Jesus for mercy. Always ready to forgive and express mercy, Jesus opens Heaven to this repentant thief with these most consoling words: “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” And as Sheen reminds us: “And he died a thief because he stole Heaven.” Salvation is possible even until the last moment to those who repent!
12. THE CENTURION WHO PIERCED THE SIDE AND HEART OF JESUS. This Centurion—Roman soldier after piercing the Sacred Heart of the dead Body of Jesus that hung on the cross, believed! He said: “Truly, this man was the Son of God!” The Blood and water that gushed from the Heart of Jesus can be an infinite source of conversion and salvation!
13. MARY MAGDALENE. After having lived a sinful life of promiscuity, Magdalene was converted by the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There at the foot of the cross, hugging the cross with disheveled hair, Magdalene shows her true love and devotion to Jesus. Sheen stated that Magdalene represents the true PENITENT! All are called to repent and believe. Perhaps there is some of the Magdalene in us???
14. SAINT JOHN THE BELOVED. Once again Sheen depicts Saint John as he stands underneath the cross as representing the PRIESTHOOD! A priest can be defined as a victim who offers prayers and sacrifices in reparation for sins and sinners. Jesus, the spotless Victim, hangs from the cross. Saint John stands with Mary at the foot of the cross, offering Jesus to the Eternal Father for the salvation of sinners and humanity. May priests imitate Saint John the Evangelist!
15. OUR LADY. There are many titles that can be attributed to Mary. However, Sheen calls Mary, as she stands at the foot of the cross for those long three hours, INNOCENCE! We all nailed Jesus to the cross by our sins. Mary, the INNOCENT ONE who never sinned, offers Jesus to the Father for the salvation of all of humanity.
16. THE CRUCIFIED JESUS. As Jesus hangs from the cross, we have the clearest depiction of LOVE INCARNATE. Saint Ignatius states that Jesus died on the cross essentially for two reasons: 1) To show us the ugliness of sin; 2) But especially to show us the greatness of His love for us. If you were the only person in the world, Jesus would have suffered all the most gruesome an excruciating details of His Passion and death for love of you and the salvation of your immortal soul!
17. THE ETERNAL FATHER. The film of Gibson, the Passion of the Christ, ends with a huge drop falling from Heaven. Interpretation? It is the TEARDROP OF GOD THE FATHER from Heaven. The Father weeps at the death of His Son and the sins of humanity. But the Father allows the death of His Son for love of us and our eternal salvation!!!
Conclusion, spend ample time meditating upon the Characters in the Passion of Christ. Which of these can you identify your own life with? May the Holy Spirit enlighten your mind to know the truth and the truth will set you free
2. STATIONS OF THE CROSS by Father Ed Broom, OMV
The Stations of the Cross is a book of the love of God for each and every one of us. In it we can find all the virtues that we need to practice to arrive at perfection and to attain eternal life. Let us briefly go through the Stations prayerfully and allow the Spirit of God to move us to love and imitate Jesus.
WE ADORE YOU, O CHRIST, AND WE BLESS YOU, BECAUSE BY YOUR HOLY CROSS YOU HAVE REDEEMED THE WORLD.
I. JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH
- Innocent people today are condemned to death, especially innocent babies in the wombs of their mothers. Do you defend life? Have you been absorbed by the “Culture of Death” mentality?
- Do you judge and condemn people in your life? Jesus says, “Judge not lest you yourself be judged.”
- Is there some of Pontius Pilate in you? He was a people-pleaser more than a God-pleaser. Do you do things for the honor and glory of God or for your own honor and glory: vanity and pride?
- Pilate was a coward. Are you willing to speak up for the truth and live the truth, despite possible criticism?
- Are you a relativist? “What is the truth?” Do you humbly abide by all the truths taught by the Catholic Church?
- Have you ever been falsely accused? How did you take it?
- Have you ever falsely accused anyone else?
II. JESUS CARRIES HIS CROSS
- What is/are your cross/crosses?
- Do you recognize them as gifts from God?
- How do you carry your cross?
- Do you complain about the cross God has given you?
- Are you aware that others have crosses, maybe heavier than yours?
- Do you unite your cross to the cross of Jesus?
- Do you see value in the cross?
- Does suffering have value for you and in the eyes of God?
- Do you understand the cross is related to the Glory?
- Do you run away from the cross?
III. JESUS FALLS THE FIRST TIME
- When do you fall into sin?
- Why do you fall into that sin?
- Are you trying not to fall into that sin?
- Do you know the root causes of your falls?
IV. JESUS MEETS HIS SORROWFUL MOTHER
- Who is Mary for you?
- Do you share your crosses with the Blessed Mother?
- What do you think went on in the Heart of Mary in this encounter?
- Do you have compassion for the suffering people of the world?
- Have you ever felt helpless in certain circumstances of your life?
- Do you turn to Mary in temptations, struggles and stress?
V. SIMON OF CYRENE HELPS JESUS CARRY THE CROSS
- Do you help people carry their crosses?
- Are you a Good Samaritan on the highway of life?
- Are you a Simon of Cyrene?
- Do you make your neighbors’ crosses even heavier? How?
- Who is the person God is asking you to help now?
- Who has been the Simon/Simons who have entered your life?
- Have you thanked God for these many good people God has sent to help you to be where you are now? Are you grateful?
- Do you resist or hold off doing the good God wants you to do?
Vl. VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS
- Do you care about other people?
- Are you at times selfish?
- Are you aware of the Face of Jesus present in your soul through grace?
- Have you disfigured the Face of Jesus in your soul through sin?
- Have you crowned Him with thorns in your soul?
- Are you afraid to look into the Face of Jesus? Why? What have you done? Peter looked into the eyes of Jesus and began his conversion.
- Do you long to see the Face of God in heaven? Really? How much?
- Do you encourage Infant Baptism so as to have the Face of Jesus in a baby’s heart as soon as possible?
- Do you try to avoid sin so as to retain the Face of Jesus in your soul?
VII. JESUS FALLS THE SECOND TIME
- When you fall, do you get up right away?
- Do you get discouraged and depressed after your fall?
- Do you really trust in the Mercy of God?
- Do you believe in the Mercy of God?
- Have you made other people fall into sin by your bad example?
- Have you made amends to help them to get up?
VIII. THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM WEEP OVER JESUS
- Have you wept for your sins?
- Have you wept for the sins of your children?
- Have you wept for the sins of your relatives?
- Have you wept for the sins of your nation?
- Are your tears crocodile tears or real tears of sorrow and repentance?
- What does the beatitude, “Blessed are those who weep, for they shall be consoled” mean to you?
IX. JESUS FALLS THE THIRD TIME
- What can you do to avoid the near occasion of sin?
- Do you sin when you are tired and frustrated?
- How can you better cope with weariness?
- Will God always forgive you?
- Why do you refuse to get up right away after your fall?
- Do you pray for sinners, that they will get up and turn to God for mercy?
- Are you concerned for the salvation of the world?
X. JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS
- Are you aware of the stripping of Jesus as related to the sins against purity?
- Are you sorry for your sins against purity?
- Have you repented of them?
- Are you avoiding bad movies? Bad shows? Bad magazines?
- Are you associating with someone who might place you in danger of sins against purity?
- Do you dress modestly at all times?
- Do you speak and act with modesty and decency?
- What about your speech?
- Are you striving for greater purity of heart, mind, body, soul and intention?
- What does the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” mean to you?
XI. JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS
- Try to imagine the nails going through the Hands of Jesus. Nails going through His Feet.
- Are you aware that your sins and mine were the nails that pierced the Hands and Feet of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
- Are people nailing Jesus to the cross even today? How?
- Are you responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus? How?
- What do you think was the greatest pain in the crucifixion of Jesus?
- Are there other Jesus’ being crucified even today in our world? Who are these?
XII. JESUS IS RAISED UPON THE CROSS AND DIES
- Jesus spoke seven times on the cross. Which “word” strikes you most?
- Imagine the Blood of Jesus trickling down to the ground. Do you realize that His Precious Blood was shed for you?
- What do you think were the sentiments of the Heart of Jesus as He hung upon the cross?
- Can you identify with one of the thieves?
- What went on in the heart of the apostle John as he stood beneath the cross?
- What about the Magdalene?
- What was the attitude of the soldiers who threw dice for the garments of Jesus?
- What about the crowd?
- What do you think happened to the centurion under the cross?
- Can you enter into the Sorrowful Heart of Mary in this moment? How did she feel?
- How would you like to die? A martyr? A cancer victim? Suddenly?
- Have you prayed for a happy death?
- Would you be ready to meet your maker now? Why? Why not?
- Why put off conversion when we know not when we are going to die?
XIII. JESUS IS TAKEN DOWN FROM THE CROSS AND PLACED IN THE ARMS OF HIS BLESSED MOTHER
- They took the nails out of the Hands of Jesus. Can you take those nails out, too? How?
- Do you treat the Body of Jesus with respect in Holy Communion?
- How must Mary have felt holding her dead Son in her arms that first Good Friday?
- Can you imagine the bruised, bloody, wounded Body of Jesus?
- How do you receive Jesus into your heart?
- Look at the wounds of Jesus. Are you wounded? Do you bring your wounds to Jesus to be healed by His wounds?
- Do you take your neighbor down from the cross or keep him on the cross?
- What does the saying from Isaiah mean, “By His wounds we are healed.”?
XIV. JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB
- Why did Jesus die?
- Why was Jesus buried?
- You will die and be buried. What does that mean to you?
- Are you really ready to die?
- Mortal sin is death. What does that mean?
- What does the phrase mean, “Bury my sins, O Lord, with You in the tomb.”?
- What went on in the heart of Mary as they buried her Son and they rolled the stone to the tomb?
- How do funerals, burials, cemeteries affect you? Do they speak to you about spiritual realities?
- Do you ever meditate on the 4 Last Things: DEATH, JUDGEMENT, HEAVEN, AND HELL? How often? How about ETERNITY? Forever, and ever, and ever!
- If death is so evident from the news, movies, and just life, why do people avoid thinking about death?
- Do you bury your sins in the Infinite Ocean of God’s Mercy?
CONCLUSION: To meditate in depth on the Passion, suffering and death of Jesus is one of the most powerful means to understand the depth, width, height and enormity of the love God has for you and me. “NO GREATER LOVE HAS A MAN THAN HE LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS.” If Jesus loves me so much, what am I willing to give and to suffer for Him? Love is measured by the willingness to suffer for the loved one.
As you enter the confessional to confess your sins, do so as if this confession will be your LAST!
As you prepare to receive Holy Communion, do so as if the Communion you are about to receive is your FIRST, your LAST, and your ONLY Communion!