The Disrobing of Jesus (El Espolio), El Greco, painted 1577-79
Readings (New American Bible, Philippines and USA)
First Reading. Isaiah 52:13-53:12 (RSV Catholic Edition)
Behold, my servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. As many were astonished at him - his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the sons of men - so shall he startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they shall see, and that which they have not heard they shall understand.
Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand; he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
AN CHÉAD LÉACHT Íseáia 52:13-53:12 (Bíobla Mhaigh Nuad ) [Irish language]
Is amhlaidh a bheidh rath ar mo Ghiolla, gheobhaidh sé gradam agus céimíocht agus oirearcas thar cuimse.
Mar a bhí scéin trath ar na sluaite ar a fheiceáil, (bhí sé chomh loite sin ina chuma – ní raibh cruth duine dhaonna air níos mó) is amhlaidh fós a bheidh alltacht ar an iomad ciníocha; fágfar ríthe ina mbalbháin os a chomhair. Óir feicfidh siad rud nach raibh insint scéil air agus breathnóidh siad rud nár chualathas a leithéid riamh: “Cé a chreidfeadh an scéal is clos dúinn, agus neart an Tiarna, cé dó a nochtadh é?”
Amhail bachlóg is ea a d’fhás sé os ár gcomhair a mbeadh a fréamh i dtalamh tirim. Níl cruth ná cumthacht air, dá bhfaca sinne ná scéimh ar bith go mbeadh dúil againn ann; ach é ina dhíol tarcaisne agus tréigthe ag daoine, fear pianta agus seanaithne ag an mbreoiteacht air; a ndála siúd a gclúdaímid ar n-aighthe ina bhfianaise, ba tháir agus ba tharcaisne linn é.
Ní hea! ach ár mbreoiteachtaí a bhí sé a iompar agus ár bpianta, ba iad a thromualach. Sinne, áfach, dar linn gur milleadh é, gur leag Dia lámh air agus go raibh sé cloíte.
Goineadh é as ucht ár gcoireanna, bascadh é as ucht ár gcionta. Airsean a cuireadh an pionós a thug sláinte dúinn agus trína fhearbacha tháinig cneasú orainne.
Sinn uile, amhail caoirigh, bhíomar ar seachrán, gach aon ag dul a bhealach féin. Agus d’aifir an Tiarna airsean ár gcionta go léir.
Fuair sé ainíde agus rinne sé beag de féin, agus níor oscail sé a bhéal. Mar a bheadh uan á chinnireacht chuig an seamlas, mar bheadh caora ina tost os comhair lucht a lomtha, níor oscail sé a bhéal.
Le barr éigin agus le breithiúnas tugadh ar shiúl é; cé atá buartha faoina chríoch? Sea! Teascadh é as tír na mbeo; as ucht ár gcoireanna a ciorraíodh é.
Tugadh uaigh dó i measc na gcoirpeach agus tuama i gcuideachta na saibhre, cé nach ndearna sé éagóir ar aon duine agus nach raibh cluain ná cealg ina bhéal.
Ba thoil leis an Tiarna é a bhascadh le breoiteacht. Má thugann sé a anam in éiric an pheaca, feicfidh sé a shliocht, cuirfidh sé fad lena shaol, agus rachaidh toil an Tiarna chun cinn ina lámha.
“Tar éis saothar a anama, feicfidh sé an solas agus beidh sásamh air. Lena phianta déanfaidh mo ghiolla fíréin de na sluaite, á luchtú féin le hualach a gcionta. Is é sin an fáth a ndáilfidh mé na sluaite air agus roinnfidh sé an chreach leis na tréana, cionnas gur scaoil sé a anam leis an mbás agus gur áiríodh é ar líon na bpeacach, cé go raibh coireanna na sluaite ar iompar aige agus é ag déanamh eadrána ar son na bpeacach.”
Good Friday Reflection by Fr Thomas Rosica CSB, Toronto
The Killing by Edwin Muir (1887-1959)
Edwin Muir was from the Orkney Islands, Scotland. This poem is in The Divine Office, approved for use by the bishops of Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, Scotland.
That was the day they killed the Son of God
On a squat hill-top by Jerusalem.
Zion was bare, her children from their maze
Sucked by the dream of curiosity
Clean through the gates. The very halt and blind
Had somehow got themselves up to the hill.
After the ceremonial preparation,
The scourging, nailing, nailing against the wood,
Erection of the main-trees with their burden,
While from the hill rose an orchestral wailing,
They were there at last, high up in the soft spring day.
We watched the writhings, heard the moanings, saw
The three heads turning on their separate axles
Like broken wheels left spinning. Round his head
Was loosely bound a crown of plaited thorn
That hurt at random, stinging temple and brow
As the pain swung into its envious circle.
In front the wreath was gathered in a knot
That as he gazed looked like the last stump left
Of a death-wounded deer's great antlers. Some
Who came to stare grew silent as they looked,
Indignant or sorry. But the hardened old
And the hard-hearted young, although at odds
From the first morning, cursed him with one curse,
Having prayed for a Rabbi or an armed Messiah
And found the Son of God. What use to them
Was a God or a Son of God? Of what avail
For purposes such as theirs? Beside the cross-foot,
Alone, four women stood and did not move
All day. The sun revolved, the shadows wheeled,
The evening fell. His head lay on his breast,
But in his breast they watched his heart move on
By itself alone, accomplishing its journey.
Their taunts grew louder, sharpened by the knowledge
That he was walking in the park of death,
Far from their rage. Yet all grew stale at last,
Spite, curiosity, envy, hate itself.
They waited only for death and death was slow
And came so quietly they scarce could mark it.
They were angry then with death and death's deceit.
I was a stranger, could not read these people
Or this outlandish deity. Did a God
Indeed in dying cross my life that day
By chance, he on his road and I on mine?
The beginning of The St John Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach, conducted by Masaaki Suzuki with the Bach Collegium Japan.
Pray for the people of Japan, many of whom are still going through their own Good Friday, that they will come to know our Lord Jesus Christ.