Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Spy Wednesday
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Today is Holy Wednesday, also called Spy Wednesday, as we draw closer to the end of Lent and the beginning of the commemoration of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord. Today we are especially aware of Judas Iscariot, who told made final preparations for the betrayal of the Lord to the Jews.

Judas brought about the Passion of Jesus. The eleven faithful disciples called Jesus "Lord", but what does Judas call Him? Judas calls him "rabbi" meaning "teacher". After 3 years of seeing Jesus heal, perform miracles, and raise the dead, Judas only calls Him "teacher". Judas allowed Satan to enter his heart. The above image shows the devils propelling forward Judas' diabolical plans.

Dom Gueranger writes in his monumental work, The Liturgical Year: "Such is the impious scheme devised on this day, within the precincts of the temple of Jerusalem. To testify her detestation at it, and to make atonement to the Son of God for the outrage thus offered Him, the holy Church, from the earliest ages, has consecrated the Wednesday of every week to penance. In our own times, the fast of Lent begins on a Wednesday; and when the Church ordained that we should commence each of the four seasons of the year with fasting, Wednesday was chosen to be one of the three days thus consecrated to bodily mortification. On this day, in the Roman Church, was held the sixth scrutiny, for the admission of catechumens to Baptism. Those about whom there had been previous doubts were now added to the number of the chosen ones, if they were found worthy. There were two Lessons read in the Mass, as on the day of the great scrutiny, the Wednesday of the fourth week of Lent."

Introit Phil. 2:10, 8 & 11; Psalm 101:2

In the name of Jesus let every knee bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; for the Lord became obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. Therefore our Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. Ps 101,2 O Lord, hear my prayer: and let my cry come unto Thee. – In the name.

Collect

Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we who are continually afflicted by the reason of our excesses, may be delivered through the passion of Thine only-begotten Son. Who with Thee.

Lesson (Isa. 62:11; 63:1-7)

Thus saith the Lord God: Tell the daughter of Sion: Behold thy Saviour cometh: behold his reward is with him, and his work before him. Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bosra, this beautiful one in his robe, walking in the greatness of his strength? I, that speak justice, and am a defender to save. Why then is thy apparel red, and thy garments like theirs that tread in the winepress? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the Gentilesthere is not a man with me: I have trampled on them in my indignation, and have trodden them down in my wrath, and their blood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my apparel. For the day of vengeance is in my heart, the year of my redemption is come. I looked about, and there was none to help: I sought, and there was none to give aid: and my own arm hath saved for me, and my indignation itself hath helped me. And I have trodden down the people in my wrath, and have made them drunk in my indignation, and have brought down their strength to the earth. I will remember the tender mercies of the Lord, the praise of the Lord for all the things that the Lord hath bestowed upon us.

Gradual (Ps. 68:18,2,3)

Turn not away Thy face from They servant, for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. V. Save me, O God, for the waters are come in even unto my soul: I stick fact in the mire of the deep, and there is no sure standing.

Collect

God who willed that Thy Son should undergo for us the ignominy of the cross to deliver us from the power of the enemy: grant to us Thy servants, that we may obtain the grace of His resurrection. Through the same Lord.

Lesson (Isa. 53:1-12)

In those days, Isaias said: "Who a hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

"And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him: Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not.

"Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

"He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth. He was taken away from distress, and from judgment: who shall declare his generation? because he is cut off out of the land of the living: for the wickedness of my people have I struck him.

"And he shall give the ungodly for his burial, and the rich for his death: because he hath done no iniquity, neither was there deceit in his mouth. And the Lord was pleased to bruise him in infirmity: if he shall lay down his life for sin, he shall see a long-lived seed, and the will of the Lord shall be prosperous in his hand. Because his soul hath laboured, he shall see and be filled: by his knowledge shall this my just servant justify many, and he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore will I distribute to him very many, and he shall divide the spoils of the strong, because he hath delivered his soul unto death, and was reputed with the wicked: and he hath borne the sins of many, and hath prayed for the transgressors."

Tract (Ps. 101:2-5, 14)

O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my plea be heard. V. Turn not Your face away from me; in my day of distress incline Your ear to me. V. Whenever I call to You, answer me quickly. V. For my days are vanishing like smoke, and my bones are dried up as though in an oven. V. I am withered as grass and my heart is shriveled up; I have forgotten to eat. V. You will arise and have mercy on Sion, O Lord, for it is time to pity her.

Gospel (St. Luke 22:1-71; 23:1-53)

In the Pre-1955 rubrics, the Passion starts with the 1st verse of the 22nd chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke. Starting with the Missal in 1955, and preserved in the 1962 Missal, is the omission of the first 38 verses:

Now the feast of unleavened bread, which is called the pasch, was at hand. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might put Jesus to death: but they feared the people. And Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, one of the twelve. And he went, and discoursed with the chief priests and the magistrates, how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.

And he promised. And he sought opportunity to betray him in the absence of the multitude. And the day of the unleavened bread came, on which it was necessary that the pasch should be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying: Go, and prepare for us the pasch, that we may eat. But they said: Where wilt thou that we prepare? [And he said to them: Behold, as you go into the city, there shall meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water: follow him into the house where he entereth in.

 And you shall say to the goodman of the house: The master saith to thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I may eat the pasch with my disciples? And he will shew you a large dining room, furnished; and there prepare. [And they going, found as he had said to them, and made ready the pasch. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said to them: With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you, before I suffer.

For I say to you, that from this time I will not eat it, till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And having taken the chalice, he gave thanks, and said: Take, and divide it among you: For I say to you, that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, till the kingdom of God come. And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. In like manner the chalice also, after he had supped, saying: This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you.

But yet behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And the Son of man indeed goeth, according to that which is determined: but yet, woe to that man by whom he shall be betrayed. And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife amongst them, which of them should seem to be the greater. And he said to them: The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and they that have power over them, are called beneficent.

But you not so: but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger; and he that is the leader, as he that serveth. For which is greater, he that sitteth at table, or he that serveth? Is it not he that sitteth at table? But I am in the midst of you, as he that serveth: And you are they who have continued with me in my temptations: And I dispose to you, as my Father hath disposed to me, a kingdom; That you may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom: and may sit upon thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren. Who said to him: Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said: I say to thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, till thou thrice deniest that thou knowest me. And he said to them: When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, did you want anything?

But they said: Nothing. Then said he unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword. For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning me have an end. But they said: Lord, behold here are two swords. And he said to them, It is enough.

Judas Betrays the Lord with a Kiss (A Sign of Friendship)

Continuing with verse 39:

And Jesus going out, went, according to his custom, to the Mount of Olives. And his disciples also followed him. And when he was come to the place, he said to them: "Pray, lest ye enter into temptation." And he was withdrawn away from them a stone's cast. And kneeling down, he prayed. Saying: "Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done." And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground. And when he rose up from prayer and was come to the disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow. And he said to them: "Why sleep you? Arise: pray: lest you enter into temptation."

As he was yet speaking, behold a multitude; and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus, for to kiss him. And Jesus said to him: "Judas, dost thou betray the Son of man with a kiss?" And they that were about him, seeing what would follow, said to him: "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?" And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answering, said: "Suffer ye thus far." And when he had touched his ear, he healed him. And Jesus said to the chief priests and magistrates of the temple and the ancients, that were come unto him: "Are ye come out, as it were against a thief, with swords and clubs? When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against me: but this is your hour and the power of darkness."

And apprehending him, they led him to the high priest's house. But Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall and were sitting about it, Peter was in the midst of them. Whom when a certain servant maid had seen sitting at the light and had earnestly beheld him, she said: "This man also was with him." But he denied him, saying: "Woman, I know him not." And after a little while, another seeing him, said: "Thou also art one of them." But Peter said: "O man, I am not." And after the space, as it were of one hour, another certain man affirmed, saying: "Of a truth, this man was also with him: for he is also a Galilean." And Peter said: "Man, I know not what thou sayest." And immediately, as he was yet speaking, the cock crew. And the Lord turning looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, as he had said: "Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny thrice." And Peter going out, wept bitterly.

And the men that held him mocked him and struck him. And they blindfolded him and smote his face. And they asked him saying: "Prophesy: Who is it that struck thee?" And blaspheming, many other things they said against him. And as soon as it was day, the ancients of the people and the chief priests and scribes came together. And they brought him into their council saying: "If thou be the Christ, tell us." And he saith to them: "If I shall tell you, you will not believe me.

And if I shall also ask you, you will not answer me, nor let me go. But hereafter the Son of man shall be sitting on the right hand of the power of God." Then said they all: "Art thou then the Son of God?" Who said: "You say that I am." And they said: "What need we any further testimony? For we ourselves have heard it from his own mouth." And the whole multitude of them, rising up, led him to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying: "We have found this man perverting our nation and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar and saying that he is Christ the king." And Pilate asked him, saying: "Art thou the king of the Jews?" But he answering, said: "Thou sayest it."And Pilate said to the chief priests and to the multitudes: "I find no cause in this man." But they were more earnest, saying: "He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place."

But Pilate hearing Galilee, asked if the man were of Galilee? And when he understood that he was of Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him away to Herod, who was also himself at Jerusalem in those days. And Herod seeing Jesus, was very glad: for he was desirous of a long time to see him, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to see some sign wrought by him. And he questioned him in many words. But he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and the scribes stood by, earnestly accusing him. And Herod with his army set him at nought and mocked him, putting on him a white garment: and sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate were made friends, that same day: for before they were enemies one to another.

And Pilate, calling together the chief priests and the magistrates and the people, Said to them: "You have presented unto me this man as one that perverteth the people. And behold I, having examined him before you, find no cause in this man, in those things wherein you accuse him. No, nor Herod neither. For, I sent you to him: and behold, nothing worthy of death is done to him. I will chastise him therefore and release him."

Now of necessity he was to release unto them one upon the feast day. But the whole multitude together cried out, saying: "Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas": Who, for a certain sedition made in the city and for a murder, was cast into prison. And Pilate again spoke to them, desiring to release Jesus. But they cried again, saying: "Crucify him, Crucify him." And he said to them the third time: "Why, what evil hath this man done? I find no cause of death in him. I will chastise him therefore and let him go." But they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And their voices prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. And he released unto them him who for murder and sedition had been cast into prison, whom they had desired. But Jesus he delivered up to their will.

And as they led him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country; and they laid the cross on him to carry after Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of people and of women, who bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning to them, said: "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that have not borne and the paps that have not given suck.' Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us. And to the hills: Cover us. For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?"

And there were also two other malefactors led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, they crucified him there: and the robbers, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. And Jesus said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." But they, dividing his garments, cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers with them derided him, saying: "He saved others: let him save himself, if he be Christ, the elect of God." And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar, And saying: "If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself." And there was also a superscription written over him in letters of Greek and Latin and Hebrew "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."

And one of those robbers who were hanged blasphemed him, saying: "If thou be Christ, save thyself and us." But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: "Neither dost thou fear God, seeing; thou art under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly: for we receive the due reward of our deeds. But this man hath done no evil." And he said to Jesus: "Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom." And Jesus said to him: "Amen I say to thee: This day thou shalt be with me in paradise."

And it was almost the sixth hour: and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And Jesus crying with a loud voice, said: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." And saying this, he gave up the ghost. [Here pause and kneel]

Now, the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: "Indeed this was a just man." And all the multitude of them that were come together to that sight and saw the things that were done returned, striking their breasts. And all his acquaintance and the women that had followed him from Galilee stood afar off, beholding these things.

The following is sung in the tone of the Gospel as per the pre-1955 Rubrics:

And behold there was a man named Joseph who was a counsellor, a good and a just man, (The same had not consented to their counsel and doings) of Arimathea, a city of Judea: who also himself looked for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus.

And taking him down, he wrapped him in fine linen and laid him in a sepulchre that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid.

Offertory Ps. 101,2-3 

Hear, O Lord, my prayer: and let my cry come to Thee: turn not away Thy face from me.

Secret

Receive, O Lord, we beseech Thee, the gift which we offer, mercifully granting that we may obtain that which we celebrate in this mystery of the passion of Thy Son our Lord. Through the same Lord.

Communion Ps. 101,10,13 & 14 

I mingled my drink with weeping, for having lifted me up Thou hast thrown me down, and I am withered like grass; but Thou, O Lord, endurest forever: Thou shalt arise and have mercy on Sion, for the time is come to have mercy on it.

Post Communion

Grant to our mind, almighty God, that by the temporal death of Thy Son, represented in these adorable mysteries, we may trust that Thou hast given to us eternal life. Through the same Lord.


Tenebrae

See if you can watch and/or attend the traditional Spy Wednesday Tenebrae Service. FishEaters writes:  "Today and during the Sacred Triduum, the Matins and Lauds of the Divine Office are often sung in a haunting service known as the Tenebrae service ("tenebrae" meaning "shadows"), which is basically a funeral service for Jesus. During the Matins on Good Friday, one by one, the candles are extinguished in the Church, leaving the congregation in total darkness, and in a silence that is punctuated by the strepitus meant to evoke the convulsion of nature at the death of Christ. It has also been described as the sound of the tomb door closing. During the Triduum, the Matins and Lauds readings come from the following day's readings each night because the hours of Matins and Lauds were pushed back so that the public might better participate during these special three days (i.e., the Matins and Lauds readings heard at Spy Wednesday's tenebrae service are those for Maundy Thursday, the readings for Maundy Thursday's tenebrae service are from Good Friday, and Good Friday's readings are from Holy Saturday's Divine Office)."

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