You are invited to take time to read and contemplate the Church’s daily gospel reading. The reference for each day is below along with a short comment for your reflection.
Perhaps you can find a quiet space, light a candle, keep a moment of silence in order to feel the presence of our Lord deep within you. Then prepare yourself by saying slowly and quietly the following collect from the Sarum Missal:
unto whom all hearts be open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love thee,
and worthily magnify thy holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Now read the Gospel slowly and prayerfully. Savour the words, picture the scene in your mind. Then read the comment and spend a few moments in contemplation. In response you can offer your own prayers. Finish with the Lord’s Prayer and the Grace.
Thursday 2 April: John 8:51-59
“I tell you most solemnly, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” I those words of Jesus we can see something that is beyond our understanding – the eternal hope of all believers. For the world of the unbelief, death is only the hopeless end, but for us who follow Jesus Christ it’s an endless hope and the door of eternity with Him.
Friday 3 April: John 10:31-42
“The Jews fetched stones to stone him, so Jesus said to them, ‘I have done many good works for you to see, works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?’” Reading stories like this one, we can learn that the life of Jesus here on earth was not so safe and pleasant as we might think. Yes, He was followed and admired by many, but also he was constantly in danger. His adversaries wanted to arrest him, flog him, stone him, kill him, etc… Yet in all of this his message was always the same, never changing: I came to give my life for you, I came because I loved you first…
Saturday 4 April: John 11:45-56
“It is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” Caiaphas, the High Priest said those words in the meeting of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Council. And he said it not knowing that he is prophesying. This one man, Jesus Christ, came down from heaven for this one purpose – to save the people, all the people of the world. Dying on the cross and paying the price of our sins and transgressions. Asking nothing in return. How overwhelming is this act of His love.
Palm Sunday 5th April: Matthew 21:1-11
“Tell the daughter of Sion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” An unexpected sign, a king humble and meek. Not something that we would expect from a monarch. A golden crown, a high castle, a long procession and a crowd of servants. This is what we expect when we think of kings. But here we have a king whose throne is on the cross, a king who came to serve and to wash our feet, a king who gave everything to bring us back home, to our heavenly Father. Jesus, the king of eternal glory.
Monday of Holy Week 6th April: John 12:1-11
“Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment.” St Francis de Sales calls Mary the great perfumer ‘la grande perfumeuse’ She’s the one to bring to the Lord the oils and to anoint him in the tomb. She’s the one to adore him and to wait at his feet. St Francis encourages us to follow her example in being ready to wait at the Lord’s feet and to adore him even at the darkest hour.
Tuesday of Holy Week 7th April: John 13:21-33,36-38
“He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.”
“I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.”
It is Judas who’s got the bad press and quite rightfully so. After all it is he who betrayed Jesus. But today’s reading reminds us that Peter, this prominent figure among the apostles, is no different. He betrayed Jesus too. We can make comparisons and talk at length about both of them, but it is not the point of today’s reading. I think above all it shows us clearly that we are all the same. That there is no difference between us. We have all sinned… And we are all in need of his grace, his mercy and his salvation, in the same way.
Wednesday of Holy Week 8th April: Matthew 26:14-25
“The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.” I love this verse. Every time I read it, it makes me stop and think. They prepared a meal for Jesus. They served him and made sure that everything was ready and on time. How often I fail to do it? Hoe often do I fall to serve and prepare everything that Jesus expects me to. It is a good discipline at the end of our day to remind ourselves this sentence, and go through our day with this question. Did I do what Jesus told me to?
Maundy Thursday 9th April: John 13:1-15
“If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.” Another scene that makes us stop, wonder and be ashamed. Ashamed of all those moments when we thought we are better than others. when we refused to help or to serve our neighbour, because it was beneath us. When we said or did something that made the other person feel smaller, less important, less valued. When we rejected someone for any reason or for no reason at all. When we said or did something that hurts others… “You should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example.”
Good Friday 10th April: John 18:1-19:42
“After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said, It is finished; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.” This is the central moment of the history. This is the moment in which everything has changed, once for all. The moment when the Son of God died and by his death he conquered death and hell. He paid the price for our sins and he broke the power of Satan. He saved the human race from corruption of the fall. He brought us back to the Father. He destroyed the powers of darkness bringing the captives free. “It is finished” this short sentence encapsulates it all.
Holy Saturday 11th April: Genesis 1:1-2:2
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, and God’s spirit hovered over the water.” A day of silence, a day of waiting. Christ is in the tomb. We are waiting for the Sunday morning, when we’ll see him alive again and when we’ll shout out the joyful Alleluia! And he is waiting too, to be reunited with us. One of the Church Fathers wrote in his homily, that God loves us so much that he couldn’t wait so long to be reunited with us. Bound by his own word, he couldn’t change it. But he had shortened this time of three days to minimum. The Son of God died at the end of the first day, and has risen at the dusk of the third – which makes it closer to one and a half than three. Now, it’s a beautiful image, and whether it’s right or not, is not so important. What is important, is the love of God that has no end and no limits. And not even time can stop it.