by Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN:
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ISAIAH 50:4-7 FIRST READING
(“The Lord is my help, therefore I am not disgraced.”)
- From where did the well-trained tongue come? To whom has he given it, and for what reason has he been given a well-trained tongue? Isaiah 50:4
- When and what does he open that you may hear? Isaiah 50:4
- What has he not done? Isaiah 50:5
- What happens to those who rebel? 1 Samuel 12:15
What did the servant do to those who beat him and plucked his beard? Isaiah 50:6
From what did he not shield his face? Isaiah 50:6, Matthew 26:67 and 27:30
- Who is the servant’s help, and how has he set his face? Isaiah 50:7
- What does the servant know? Isaiah 50:7
Personal – When do you hear the Lord speaking to you? What is he saying to you? In what way, by using a well-trained tongue, do you rouse the weary in your own household? Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you how you can train your tongue.
THIRD DAY READ PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11 SECOND READING
(“Jesus Christ is Lord.”)
- What must be your attitude? Philippians 2:5
- Of whom was he in the form? Philippians 2:6
- Who is Christ? John 1:1, 14
- What was something at which he did not grasp? Philippians 2:6
- Rather, of what did he become empty and why? Philippians 2:7, 2 Corinthians 8:9
Of what did he take the form, and in whose likeness was he born, and of what was he known to be? Philippians 2:7
- What two things did he do in verse 8 of Philippians 2?
- For what reason did he do the above two things? Hebrews 2:14, 17
- Because he humbled himself and accepted death on the cross, what two things did God do for him? Philippians 2:9
- What must every knee do, in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, at the name of Jesus, and what must every tongue proclaim? Philippians 2:10-11
- What does this tell you beyond a doubt? Acts 2:36
- For whose glory is this proclaimed (Philippians 2:11), and what will happen to you if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead? Romans 10:9
- Who gives you the power to say “Jesus is Lord?” 1 Corinthians 12:3
Personal – In what way is your attitude that of Christ? In what way have you humbled yourself? What cross have you obediently accepted? Read Mark 8:34 and meditate on this.
FOURTH DAY READ LUKE 22:14-23:56 GOSPEL
(“Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.”)
- When Jesus took his place at the table what did he tell his disciples he was eager to do, what did he say about the cup, and what did he do and say with the bread and the cup? Luke 22:14-20
- Who did Jesus say was at table with him, what did he say about him, and about what were the disciples debating? Luke 22:21-23
- About what were the disciples arguing, what did Jesus say to them, and how did he say he was among them? Luke 22:24-27
Personal – In what ways do you show others that you are a servant?
- Who did Jesus say stood by him in trials, and what did he say would happen to them? Luke 22:28-30
- What did Jesus say Satan has demanded, what did Jesus do so their faith would not fail, what did he tell them to do, and what did he say to Peter? Luke 22:31-34
- What did Jesus tell his disciples to do now in contrast to what they were doing? What did he say about the scripture, and what was his reply to the disciples “Look, look, there are two swords?” Luke 22:35-38
- When Jesus and the disciples went to the Mt. of Olives, what did he say to them. Withdrawing from them what did Jesus say to his Father, what strengthened him, and what was happening to him? Luke 22:39-44
- How did Jesus find his disciples and what did he tell them? Luke 22:45-46
Personal – In what way have you failed to stay awake when someone you know was hurting?
- How did Judas betray Jesus, what did Jesus say to him, what was the disciples response, and what did Jesus do and say? Luke 22:47-53
- After they led Jesus away to arrest him what happened to Peter, when did Peter remember the word of the Lord, and what was his response? Luke 22:54-62
- How did the men who held Jesus treat him, what did they say to Jesus when they brought him before the Sanhedrin, what was his response, and what was their conclusion? Luke 22:63-71
- What did the assembly say about Jesus, what did Pilate ask Jesus, what did he say about his guilt, and how did the people respond to this? Luke 23:1-5
- Where did Pilate send Jesus, what was Herod’s reaction to seeing Jesus, and why did he react that way? Luke 23:6-8
- How was Jesus treated by Herod, the scribes, chief priest and soldiers, what happened to Herod and Pilate’s relationship that day, and what did Pilate say to the chief priest, rulers, and the people? Luke 23:9-17
Personal – Share a time you have been swayed by popular opinion and gone along with the crowd? Did it turn out to be a good or bad decision?
- What did the people shout, who was Barabbas, what happened to Barabbas, and how many times did Pilate address the people? Luke 23:18-25
- Who carried the cross behind Jesus, who followed after Jesus, and what did Jesus say to them? Luke 23:26-31
- Who was led away with Jesus to be executed, what happened at the place called the Skull, and what did Jesus ask the Father? Luke 23:32-34
Personal – In what way does your life show that you have accepted and received God’s forgiveness for you?
- What did the rulers say, what did the soldiers call out to him, and what was inscribed above him? Luke 23:35-38
- What did each of the criminals hanging there with Jesus say, and what did Jesus tell the one? Luke 23:39-43
- At noon what happened to the veil in the temple, what did Jesus say before he breathed his last, what did the centurion and the people say and do? Luke 23:44-48
- Where were his acquaintances including the women, who was Joseph, and what did he do? Luke 23:49-53
- What day was it, what was about to begin, what did the women do, and what was the commandment they observed? Luke 23:54-56
Personal – Since last year what change has taken place in you life as a result of what Jesus has done for you?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24
(“They have pierced my hands and my feet.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
The source of strength and courage for all suffering, trial, and tribulations is the suffering and death of our divine Lord Jesus Christ. We need to hold fast to Him when the world closes in with its assault, rejection, and abandonment. He not only has traveled this same road before the saints of old, but He travels it today constantly waiting to be with us in our suffering.
Jesus’ suffering and death opened the road to heaven for all, even though many refuse the gift. He gave up everything for us, and He bestowed us with love, trust, hope, respect, and eternal life. In return, He was spat upon, ridiculed, beaten, jeered, scourged and mocked. He finally was executed when He was nailed to a cross on Calvary between two criminals.
This is a day of reflection as we are about to enter Holy Week. Let us not forget the actions and the words of this suffering servant of Isaiah. We need to reflect on how quickly the crowd changed from adoring Him to jeering Him. He had taken up a cross for us, and we must remember that we too are called to carry a cross for someone else. Sometimes we think our cross is too heavy, or that it is unfair to bear such a heavy cross. Dying to self and putting the needs of others first is our daily cross. How heavy is your cross compared to Christ’s? How is your Calvary compared to Jesus’ Calvary?
Paul tells us that our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5). He describes putting on the attitude of a servant rather than that of a king. Jesus, though being God, did not demand his rights and privileges of royalty. He deliberately set them all aside and had taken on the role of a servant. There lies the incredible formula of a successful leader. Jesus led by serving all of us. He showed us that by putting others first and by being humble are the only ways a person can become a real leader. The sheep followed the shepherd because they trusted him. People will follow a leader if they know that he has their welfare at heart.
Jesus showed us everything of God’s character in human terms. He was obedient even unto death, and the type of death he chose for Himself was extremely painful. Jesus is the perfect role model for us in the world today. How many times do you demand your rights when you are being treated less than fairly? The name of Jesus should bring to every Christian person the name of a person who willingly died so that all people could be free, and He died for us absolutely knowing that we are sinners (Romans 5:8).
Jesus voluntarily laid aside His divine rights, privileges, and position out of love for His Father. We, too, are called to lay aside our rights and privileges for our oppressed brothers and sisters in the holy name of Jesus.
Today’s gospel is lengthy and very powerful. It reveals the emotions of the powerful and the lowly. We see Jesus at the Last Supper eagerly waiting for it to begin. He has mixed feelings of joy and sadness, because a betrayer was sitting among a group of very close friends. We see pride and greed being displayed in the question, “Who among them was the greatest?” And the Master knew He was to be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver.
The betrayal of Christ by Judas happens and Jesus is arrested in the dark of night. He is ridiculed, humiliated, tortured, and was denied, rejected and abandoned by his closest followers. He faced the mockery of a trial and his friends and family became unfriendly towards Him. Nevertheless, He was not alone in that His Father was with Him and in Him. He was strengthened and enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
He was humiliated and whipped by the soldiers and dragged through the howling mob to a hill called Golgotha which means Skull. Jesus was flung and nailed onto a cross. The kingdom of God was now about to be inaugurated through His death and the places on his right and left were to be taken by two dying criminals.
Jesus told His two power-hungry disciples, James and John, (Mark 10:35-39) that a person who wishes to be close to Him must be prepared to suffer and die as He did. This message is meant for us even today. The way to the kingdom is the way of the cross. Jesus then manifested to the whole world by being on the cross the core to healing is through forgiveness. Jesus asked His Father to forgive all those who were putting Him to death. This included the corrupt leaders in the church, politicians, soldiers, and even the bystanders who laughed and ridiculed while He was on the cross. God answered that prayer by opening the way to salvation to all sinners including Jesus’ murderers.
Since we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) we have all played a part in putting Jesus to death. The Good News is that God forgives and He gives us a new life through His Son, Jesus. The thief on the right side of Jesus called out to him for forgiveness, and Jesus accepted him and granted the forgiveness to him. This shows that our faith in Jesus is a saving faith, and it is never to late to turn to God. Even in his misery Jesus had mercy on this criminal, and that same mercy is waiting to be granted to us.
The first reading tells us that we are to live in God’s light not our own light. The second reading tells us that Jesus was an obedient servant even unto death on the cross. The gospel reveals forgiveness is the core of healing.
This week, let yourself experience what it really means to forgive. Look around and see in your family, job, or school those whom you need to forgive. Jesus tells us that it is necessary to forgive others just as he has forgiven us. You have the power within yourself through the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4) to hold someone in bondage or you can forgive and give them freedom. The choice is yours, and remember, the truth will set you free (John 8:32).