Gospels for Holy Week 2018: Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday

Gospel for Sunday 25 March: Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark
(
Mark 14:1-15:47)

Key: N. Narrator.  Jesus. O. Other single speaker. C. Crowd, or more than one speaker.
  N. It was two days before the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread, and the chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by some trick and have him put to death. For they said,
  C. It must not be during the festivities, or there will be a disturbance among the people.
  N. Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper; he was at dinner when a woman came in with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the ointment on his head. Some who were there said to one another indignantly,
  C. Why this waste of ointment? Ointment like this could have been sold for over three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor.
  N. and they were angry with her. But Jesus said,
   Leave her alone. Why are you upsetting her? What she has done for me is one of the good works. You have the poor with you always, and you can be kind to them whenever you wish, but you will not always have me. She has done what was in her power to do: she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. I tell you solemnly, wherever throughout all the world the Good News is proclaimed, what she has done will be told also, in remembrance of her.
  N. Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, approached the chief priests with an offer to hand Jesus over to them. They were delighted to hear it, and promised to give him money; and he looked for a way of betraying him when the opportunity should occur.
  On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was sacrificed, his disciples said to him,
  C. Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the passover?
  N. So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them,
   Go into the city and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him, and say to the owner of the house which he enters, ‘The Master says: “Where is my dining room in which I can eat the passover with my disciples?”’ He will show you a large upper room furnished with couches, all prepared. Make the preparations for us there.
  N. The disciples set out and went to the city and found everything as he had told them, and prepared the Passover.
  When evening came he arrived with the Twelve. And while they were at table eating, Jesus said,
   I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me, one of you eating with me.
  N. They were distressed and asked him, one after another,
  C. Not I, surely?
  N. He said to them,
   It is one of the Twelve, one who is dipping into the same dish with me. Yes, the Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!
  N. And as they were eating he took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them, saying:
   Take it: this is my body.
  N. Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them,
   This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.
  N. After psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them,
   You will all lose faith, for the scripture says: ‘I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.’ However, after my resurrection I shall go before you to Galilee.
  N. Peter said,
  O. Even if all lose faith, I will not.
  N. And Jesus said to him,
   I tell you solemnly, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times.
  N. But he repeated still more earnestly,
  O. If I have to die with you, I will never disown you.
  N. And they all said the same.
  They came to a small estate called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples,
   Stay here while I pray.
  N. Then he took Peter and James and John with him. And a sudden fear came over him, and great distress. And he said to them,
   My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here, and keep awake.
  N. And going on a little further he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, this hour might pass him by. He said:
   Abba (Father)! Everything is possible for you. Take this cup away from me. But let it be as you, not I, would have it.
  N. He came back and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter,
   Simon, are you asleep? Had you not the strength to keep awake one hour? You should be awake, and praying not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
  N. Again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came back and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy; and they could find no answer for him. He came back a third time and said to them,
   You can sleep on now and take your rest. It is all over. The hour has come. Now the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up! Let us go! My betrayer is close at hand already.
  N. Even while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came up with a number of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the traitor had arranged a signal with them. He had said, ‘The one I kiss he is the man. Take him in charge, and see he is well guarded when you lead him away.’ So when the traitor came, he went straight up to Jesus and said,
  O. Rabbi!
  N. and kissed him. The others seized him and took him in charge. Then one of the bystanders drew his sword and struck out at the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear.
  Then Jesus spoke:
   Am I a brigand, that you had to set out to capture me with swords and clubs? I was among you teaching in the Temple day after day and you never laid hands on me. But this is to fulfil the scriptures.
  N. And they all deserted him and ran away. A young man who followed him had nothing on but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the cloth in their hands and ran away naked.
  They led Jesus off to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes assembled there. Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the high priest’s palace, and was sitting with the attendants warming himself at the fire.
  The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus on which they might pass the death sentence. But they could not find any. Several, indeed, brought false evidence against him, but their evidence was conflicting. Some stood up and submitted this false evidence against him,
  C. We heard him say, ‘I am going to destroy this Temple made by human hands, and in three days build another, not made by human hands.’
  N. But even on this point their evidence was conflicting. The high priest then stood up before the whole assembly and put this question to Jesus,
  O. Have you no answer to that? What is this evidence these men are bringing against you?
  N. But he was silent and made no answer at all. The high priest put a second question to him,
  O. Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?
  N. Jesus said,
   I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.
  N. The high priest tore his robes, and said:
  O. What need of witnesses have we now? You heard the blasphemy. What is your finding?
  N. And they all gave their verdict: he deserved to die.
  Some of them started spitting at him and, blindfolding him, began hitting him with their fists and shouting,
  C. Play the prophet!
  N. And the attendants rained blows on him.
  While Peter was down below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s servant-girls came up. She saw Peter warming himself there, stared at him and said,
  O. You too were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.
  N. But he denied it, saying.
  O. I do not know, I do not understand, what you are talking about.
  N. And he went out into the forecourt. The servant-girl saw him and again started telling the bystanders,
  O. This fellow is one of them.
  N. But again he denied it. A little later the bystanders themselves said to Peter,
  C. You are one of them for sure! Why, you are a Galilean.
  N. But he started calling down curses on himself and swearing,
  O. I do not know the man you speak of.
  N. At that moment the cock crew for the second time, and Peter recalled how Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times.’ And he burst into tears.
  First thing in the morning, the chief priests together with the elders and scribes, in short the whole Sanhedrin, had their plan ready. They had Jesus bound and took him away and handed him over to Pilate.
  Pilate questioned him:
  O. Are you the king of the Jews?
  N. He answered,
   It is you who say it.
  N. And the chief priests brought many accusations against him. Pilate questioned him again:
  O. Have you no reply at all? See how many accusations they are bringing against you!
  N. But, to Pilate’s amazement, Jesus made no further reply.
  At festival time Pilate used to release a prisoner for them, anyone they asked for. Now a man called Barabbas was then in prison with the rioters who had committed murder during the uprising. When the crowd went up and began to ask Pilate the customary favour, Pilate answered them
  O. Do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?
  N. For he realised it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over. The chief priests, however, had incited the crowd to demand that he should release Barabbas for them instead. Then Pilate spoke again:
  O. But in that case, what am I to do with the man you call king of the Jews?
  N. They shouted back,
  C. Crucify him!
  N. Pilate asked them,
  O. Why? What harm has he done?
  N. But they shouted all the louder,
  C. Crucify him!
  N. So Pilate, anxious to placate the crowd, released Barabbas for them and, having ordered Jesus to be scourged, handed him over to be crucified.
  The soldiers led him away to the inner part of the palace, that is, the Praetorium, and called the whole cohort together. They dressed him up in purple, twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on him. And they began saluting him,
  C. Hail, king of the Jews!
  N. They struck his head with a reed and spat on him; and they went down on their knees to do him homage. And when they had finished making fun of him, they took off the purple and dressed him in his own clothes.
  They enlisted a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull.
  They offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he refused it. Then they crucified him, and shared out his clothing, casting lots to decide what each should get. It was the third hour when they crucified him. The inscription giving the charge against him read: ‘The King of the Jews.’ And they crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left.
  The passers-by jeered at him; they shook their heads and said,
  C. Aha! So you would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days! Then save yourself: come down from the cross!
  N. The chief priests and the scribes mocked him among themselves in the same way. They said,
  C. He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, for us to see it and believe.
  N. Even those who were crucified with him taunted him.
  When the sixth hour came there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
   Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?
  N. which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me?’ When some of those who stood by heard this, they said
  C. Listen, he is calling on Elijah.
  N. Someone ran and soaked a sponge in vinegar and, putting it on a reed, gave it him to drink, saying:
  O. Wait and see if Elijah will come to take him down.
  N. But Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
  All kneel and pause for a moment.
  And the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The centurion, who was standing in front of him, had seen how he had died, and he said,
  O. In truth this man was a son of God.
  N. There were some women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary of Magdala, Mary who was the mother of James the younger and Joset, and Salome. These used to follow him and look after him when he was in Galilee. And there were many other women there who had come up to Jerusalem with him.
  It was now evening, and since it was Preparation Day (that is, the vigil of the sabbath), there came Joseph of Arimathaea, a prominent member of the Council, who himself lived in the hope of seeing the kingdom of God, and he boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate, astonished that he should have died so soon, summoned the centurion and enquired if he was already dead. Having been assured of this by the centurion, he granted the corpse to Joseph who bought a shroud, took Jesus down from the cross, wrapped him in the shroud and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of Joset were watching and took note of where he was laid.

Gospel for Thursday 29 March: Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper

Now he showed how perfect his love was
(
John 13:1-15)

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.

They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’

When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. 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.’


Gospel for Friday 30 March: Celebration of the Lord's Passion

Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John
(John 18:1-19:42)


Key: N. Narrator.  Jesus. O. Other single speaker. C. Crowd, or more than one speaker.
  N. Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kedron valley. There was a garden there, and he went into it with his disciples. Judas the traitor knew the place well, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, and he brought the cohort to this place together with a detachment of guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons. Knowing everything that was going to happen to him, Jesus then came forward and said,
   Who are you looking for?
  N. They answered,
  C. Jesus the Nazarene.
  N. He said,
   I am he.
  N. Now Judas the traitor was standing among them. When Jesus said, ‘I am he’, they moved back and fell to the ground. He asked them a second time,
   Who are you looking for?
  N. They said,
  C. Jesus the Nazarene.
  N. Jesus replied,
   I have told you that I am he. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go.
  N. This was to fulfil the words he had spoken, ‘Not one of those you gave me have I lost.’
  Simon Peter, who carried a sword, drew it and wounded the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter,
   Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?
  N. The cohort and its captain and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him. They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had suggested to the Jews, ‘It is better for one man to die for the people.’
  Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, went with Jesus into the high priest’s palace, but Peter stayed outside the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who was keeping the door and brought Peter in. The maid on duty at the door said to Peter,
  O. Aren’t you another of that man’s disciples?
  N. He answered,
  O. I am not.
  N. Now it was cold, and the servants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there warming themselves; so Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others.
  The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered,
   I have spoken openly for all the world to hear; I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple where all the Jews meet together: I have said nothing in secret. But why ask me? Ask my hearers what I taught: they know what I said.
  N. At these words, one of the guards standing by gave Jesus a slap in the face, saying,
  O. Is that the way to answer the high priest?
  N. Jesus replied,
   If there is something wrong in what I said, point it out; but if there is no offence in it, why do you strike me?
  N. Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.
  As Simon Peter stood there warming himself, someone said to him,
  O. Aren’t you another of his disciples?
  N. He denied it, saying,
  O. I am not.
  N. One of the high priest’s servants, a relation of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said,
  O. Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?
  N. Again Peter denied it; and at once a cock crew.
  They then led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was now morning. They did not go into the Praetorium themselves or they would be defiled and unable to eat the passover. So Pilate came outside to them and said,
  O. What charge do you bring against this man?
  N. They replied,
  C. If he were not a criminal, we should not be handing him over to you.
  N. Pilate said,
  O. Take him yourselves, and try him by your own Law.
  N. The Jews answered,
  C. We are not allowed to put a man to death.
  N. This was to fulfil the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way he was going to die.
  So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him, and asked,
  O. Are you the king of the Jews?
  N. Jesus replied,
   Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?
  N. Pilate answered,
  O. Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?
  N. Jesus replied,
   Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind.
  N. Pilate said,
  O. So you are a king, then?
  N. Jesus answered,
   It is you who say it. Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.
  N. Pilate said,
  O. Truth? What is that?
  N. and with that he went out again to the Jews and said,
  O. I find no case against him. But according to a custom of yours I should release one prisoner at the Passover; would you like me, then, to release the king of the Jews?
  N. At this they shouted:
  C. Not this man, but Barabbas.
  N. Barabbas was a brigand.
  Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged; and after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him and saying,
  C. Hail, king of the Jews!
  N. and they slapped him in the face.
  Pilate came outside again and said to them,
  O. Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case.
  N. Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said,
  O. Here is the man.
  N. When they saw him the chief priests and the guards shouted,
  C. Crucify him! Crucify him!
  N. Pilate said,
  O. Take him yourselves and crucify him: I can find no case against him.
  N. The Jews replied,
  C. We have a Law, and according to that Law he ought to die, because he has claimed to be the Son of God.
  N. When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased. Re-entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus
  O. Where do you come from?
  N. But Jesus made no answer. Pilate then said to him,
  O. Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?
  N. Jesus replied,
   You would have no power over me if it had not been given you from above; that is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.
  N. From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted,
  C. If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar’s; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.
  N. Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated himself on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was Passover Preparation Day, about the sixth hour. Pilate said to the Jews,
  O. Here is your king.
  N. They said,
  C. Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!
  N. Pilate said,
  O. Do you want me to crucify your king?
  N. The chief priests answered,
  C. We have no king except Caesar.
  N. So in the end Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
  They then took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out of the city to the place of the skull or, as it was called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him with two others, one on either side with Jesus in the middle. Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.’ This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was not far from the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate,
  C. You should not write ‘King of the Jews,’ but ‘This man said: “I am King of the Jews.”’
  N. Pilate answered,
  O. What I have written, I have written.
  N. When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another,
  C. Instead of tearing it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it.
  N. In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled:
  They shared out my clothing among them.
  They cast lots for my clothes.
This is exactly what the soldiers did.
  Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother,
   Woman, this is your son.
  N. Then to the disciple he said,
   This is your mother.
  N. And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.
  After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the scripture perfectly he said:
   I am thirsty.
  N. A jar full of vinegar stood there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said,
   It is accomplished;
  N. and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.
  Here all kneel and pause for a short time.
  It was Preparation Day, and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the sabbath – since that sabbath was a day of special solemnity – the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it – trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth – and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture:
  Not one bone of his will be broken;
and again, in another place scripture says:
  They will look on the one whom they have pierced.
After this, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus – though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews – asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away. Nicodemus came as well – the same one who had first come to Jesus at night-time – and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was near at hand, they laid Jesus there.


Gospel for Saturday 31 March: Easter Vigil

Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, has risen (Mark 16:1-8)

When the sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices with which to go and anoint him. And very early in the morning on the first day of the week they went to the tomb, just as the sun was rising.

They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ But when they looked they could see that the stone – which was very big – had already been rolled back. On entering the tomb they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right-hand side, and they were struck with amazement. But he said to them, ‘There is no need for alarm. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen, he is not here. See, here is the place where they laid him. But you must go and tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him, just as he told you.”’



Gospel for Sunday 1 April: Easter Sunday

He must rise from the dead
(John 20:1-9)


It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.