About Today

Deposition of Christ by Luca Giordano [Public domain]

Holy Saturday

“What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.”[1]

Holy Saturday is a day of silence, rest, and prayer. Today God is concealed, which creates a divine pause, stilling our hearts. Traditionally, there are no liturgical celebrations until the Vigil as the Church waits for the return of the Servant. As the people of God, we are asked to enter into Christ’s rest, a form of self-emptying. As Pope Francis said, “Holy Week is not so much a time of sorrow, but rather a time to enter into Christ’s way of thinking and acting. It is a time of grace given us by the Lord so that we can move beyond a dull or mechanical way of living our faith, and instead open the doors of our hearts.”[2][3]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Unknown, The Lord’s Descent into Hell, ed Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas, Vatican.va.
[2] Francis I, March 27, 2013.
[3] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Lent & Holy Week (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977), 94-98.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

The Last Supper by Francisco Ribalta [Public domain]

Holy Thursday

“When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you?’ You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you (John 13:12-15).[1]

Today, while the Lectionary pauses from the Servant songs of Isaiah on Holy Thursday, the Gospel reading from John continues the theme of servanthood. Jesus, knowing his hour has come, gives and performs a new commandment. [2] In the washing of feet and the sacrament of the Eucharist, we see, “the same mystery of a divine expression of love.”[3] Those who believe in Jesus, beginning with Peter and the disciples in the Upper Room, are commanded to do the works that he does; participating in the Divine Supper, serving one another, and seeking to unify the scattered children of God. When they do these things, Jesus promises that He and his Father will come and dwell with them.

Some years ago, Pope Francis told representatives of Orthodox churches and other Ecclesiastical communities: “There is much that we can do to benefit the poor, the needy and those who suffer, and to favour justice, promote reconciliation and build peace. But before all else we need to keep alive in our world the thirst for the absolute, and to counter the dominance of a one-dimensional vision of the human person, a vision which reduces human beings to what they produce and to what they consume: this is one of the most insidious temptations of our time.”[4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version s.v., “John, The Gospel According to.”
[2] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Lent & Holy Week (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977), 202-220.
[3] John Paul II, Homily, April 17, 2003.
[4] Francis I, Address, March 20, 2013.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

The Feast in the house of Simon by Frans Francken the Younger [Public domain]

Wednesday of Holy Week

“And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheek to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced (Isaiah 50:5-7).” [1]

Today we continue our focus on Holy Week and our meditations on the four Servant songs in Isaiah. Monday we heard the Lord announce a chosen Servant, to bring sight and justice to the nations. Tuesday we read about the Savior’s mission to bring salvation to the very ends of the earth. Today’s Servant song shows the agony present in the task. Foreshadowing the Passion, we see a Servant who is suffering and insulted. Despite adversaries and darkness, the Servant remains steadfast. These three texts prepare us for death and the Cross. In the midst of these foreboding premonitions, we are reminded, though, that the Servant is not disgraced and God is ever-present, one with the mission.

In a homily Pope Francis echoed this divine mystery: “Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Jesus does for us on the throne of the Cross. Christ’s Cross embraced with love never leads to sadness, but to joy, to the joy of having been saved…” [2][3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version s.v., “Isaiah, The Book of.”
[2] Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 119-125.
[3] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Lent & Holy Week (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977), 198-203.
[4] Pope Francis, Homily, March 24, 2013.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Ceuta Saints procession 2013 Santos Christ with cross by Mario Sánchez Bueno [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

Tuesday of Holy Week

“And now the Lord says, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord, and my God has become my strength—he says: ‘It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth’” (Isaiah 49:5-6). [1]

Today is Tuesday of Holy Week. This Servant song in Isaiah heralds the divine appointment of the Savior. The Lord says his servant’s mission reaches beyond Israel to all the nations, to the very ends of the earth. The church sees in this a foreshadowing of Jesus’ mission to bring salvation to the whole world. As Pope Francis said in one of his homilies, we share in that mission: “My wish is that all of us, after these days of grace, will have the courage, yes, the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward.” [2][3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Version s.v., “ Isaiah, The Book of.”
[2] Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 121-123.
[3] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Lent & Holy Week (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977), 161-166.
[4] Pope Francis, Homily, March 14, 2013.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Christ cleansing the Temple by El Greco [Public domain]

Monday of Holy Week

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42:1).[1]

Monday of Holy Week’s Old Testament reading speaks of a chosen Savior, a Lord who will be a light to the nations. He will open the eyes of the blind and bring out the prisoners. The passage in Second Isaiah, one of the four Servant songs, foretells of a Savior who cares about justice. Biblical justice highlights what ‘ought to be’ in the kingdom of God.[2] Harmony and equality are virtues this servant of the Lord values. As Pope Francis said in a 2013 address, “There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.” [3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Revised Standard Edition, s.v., “Isaiah, The Book of.”
[2] Ken Wytsma, Pursuing Justice (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 2013), 1-71.
[3] Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 121-123.
[4] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Liturgical Year: Lent & Holy Week (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977), 161-166.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Wednesday of Holy Week

“The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting,” (Isaiah 50:5-6).[1]

This ‘Servant Song’ from Isaiah anticipates the suffering of the Chosen One. We see a Servant who is beaten and insulted. However, despite the darkness, the Servant remains steadfast. This poem prepares us for the upcoming Passion and reminds us that despite suffering, God is always at our side. [2]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
[2] Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66 (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 119-125.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Tuesday of Holy Week

“It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel: I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth,” (Isaiah 49:6). [1]

This ‘Servant Song’ from Isaiah shows the divine appointment of the Servant by God. We hear of his mission reaching beyond Israel to all the nations. The Church sees in this a foreshadowing of Jesus’ mission to bring salvation to the whole world. Because of God’s ample love and ability to reach to the ends of the earth, we sing of salvation and witness in diverse servanthood. [2]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
[2] Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66 (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 121-123.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

About Today

Calvario by Felipe Pablo de San Leocadio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Good Friday

“See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted…Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; Like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth…But it was the Lord’s will to crush him with pain. By making his life as a reparation offering, he shall see his offspring, shall lengthen his days, and the Lord’s will shall be accomplished through him,” (Isaiah 52:13, 53:7,10).

Today is Good Friday. A spirit of glory marks this day against a backdrop of death and suffering. The fourth and final Suffering Servant song, cited above, prefigures Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. The Servant breaks the hold of sin and death with silence, gentleness, and vulnerability. This is the Lord’s will for his Servant and his will for his people. [1][2][3]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD

[1] Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
[2] Adrian Nocent, OSB, The Easter Season (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1977), 64-93.
[3] Walter Brueggemann, Isaiah 40-66 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998) 141-150.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible © 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved. The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States. The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use only in the United States. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2022 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Liturgy of the Hours for December 06