Sunday, April 9, 2017

Holy Week Begins: Palm Sunday

Entry into Jerusalem by Giotto, 14th Century, Scrogveni Chapel.

Today is the Sunday that opens Holy Week -- Palm Sunday.  It was on this day that Our Lord, Jesus Christ, ended Jerusalem to great acclaim -- Hosanna Filio David! -- and saw the streets covered with palms at His approach.

The Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 21:1-9, describes the scene thus:
"1 When they were near Jerusalem, and had reached Bethphage, which is close to mount Olivet, Jesus sent two of his disciples on an errand; 2 Go into the village that faces you, he told them, and the first thing you will find there will be a she-ass tethered, and a foal at her side; untie them and bring them to me. 3 And if anyone speaks to you about it, tell him, The Lord has need of them, and he will let you have them without more ado.4 All this was so ordained, to fulfil the word spoken by the prophet: 5 Tell the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy king is coming to thee, humbly, riding on an ass, on a colt whose mother has borne the yoke.  6 The disciples went and did as Jesus told them; 7 they brought the she-ass and its colt, and saddled them with their garments, and bade Jesus mount. 8 Most of the multitude spread their garments along the way, while others strewed the way with branches cut down from the trees. 9 And the multitudes that went before him and that followed after him cried aloud, Hosanna for the son of David, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in heaven above."

These two sites present some splendid historical and cultural details regarding this day:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Palm Sunday

Fish Eaters: Palm Sunday

Holy Week, of course, marks the high point of the entire Church calendar, and culminates with the Sacred Triduum.  For more on this solemn week, you might note:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Holy Week

It is a wonderful occasion to recall the great chant the Gloria laus, presented in this video:

The great liturgical commentator, Dom Prosper Gueranger, comments as follows on Palm Sunday in his Liturgical Year:
"from Dom Gueranger's "The Liturgical Year"
Early in the morning of this day, Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, leaving Mary His Mother, and the two sisters Martha and Mary Magdalene, and Lazarus, at Bethania. The Mother of sorrows trembles at seeing her Son thus expose Himself to danger, for His enemies are bent upon His destruction; but it is not death, it is triumph, that Jesus is to receive to-day in Jerusalem. The Messias, before being nailed to the cross, is to be proclaimed King by the people of the great city; the little children are to make her streets echo with their Hosanna to the Son of David; and this in presence of the soldiers of Rome's emperor, and of the high priests and pharisees: the first standing under the banner of their eagles; the second, dumb with rage.

The prophet Zachary had foretold this triumph which the Son of Man was to receive a few days before His Passion, and which had been prepared for Him from all eternity. ' Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion! Shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold thy King will come to thee; the Just and the Saviour. He is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.' Jesus, knowing that the hour has come for the fulfilment of this prophecy, singles out two from the rest of His disciples, and bids them lead to Him an ass and her colt, which they would find not far off. He has reached Bethphage, on Mount Olivet. The two disciples lose no time in executing the order given them by their divine Master; and the ass and the colt are soon brought to the place where He stands.

The holy fathers have explained to us the mystery of these two animals. The ass represents the Jewish people, which had been long under the yoke of the Law; the colt, upon which, as the evangelist says, no man yet hath sat, is a figure of the Gentile world, which no one had ever yet brought into subjection. The future of these two peoples is to be decided a few days hence: the Jews will be rejected, for having refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Messias; the Gentiles will take their place, to be adopted as God's people, and become docile and faithful.

The disciples spread their garments upon the colt; and our Saviour, that the prophetic figure might be fulfilled, sits upon him, and advances towards Jerusalem. As soon as it is known that Jesus is near the city, the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of those Jews, who have come from all parts to celebrate the feast of the Passover. They go out to meet our Lord, holding palm branches in their hands, and loudly proclaiming Him to be King. They that have accompanied Jesus from Bethania, join the enthusiastic crowd. Whilst some spread their garments on the way, others cut down boughs from the palm-trees, and strew them along the road. Hosanna is the triumphant cry, proclaiming to the whole city that Jesus, the Son of David, has made His entrance as her King.

Thus did God, in His power over men's hearts, procure a triumph for His Son, and in the very city which, a few days later, was to clamour for His Blood. This day was one of glory to our Jesus, and the holy Church would have us renew, each year, the memory of this triumph of the Man-God. Shortly after the birth of our Emmanuel, we saw the Magi coming from the extreme east, and looking in Jerusalem for the King of the Jews, to whom they intended offering their gifts and their adorations: but it is Jerusalem herself that now goes forth to meet this King. Each of these events is an acknowledgment of the kingship of Jesus; the first, from the Gentiles; the second, from the Jews. Both were to pay Him this regal homage, before He suffered His Passion. The inscription to be put upon the cross, by Pilate's order, will express the kingly character of the Crucified: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Pilate, the Roman governor, the pagan, the base coward, has been unwittingly the fulfiller of a prophecy; and when the enemies of Jesus insist on the inscription being altered, Pilate will not deign to give them any answer but this: ' What I have written, I have written.' To-day, it is the Jews themselves that proclaim Jesus to be their King: they will soon be dispersed, in punishment for their revolt against the Son of David; but Jesus is King, and will be so for ever. Thus were literally verified the words spoken by the Archangel to Mary, when he announced to her the glories of the Child that was to be born of her: ' The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David, His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.' Jesus begins His reign upon the earth this very day; and though the first Israel is soon to disclaim His rule, a new Israel, formed from the faithful few of the old, shall rise up in every nation of the earth, and become the kingdom of Christ, a kingdom such as no mere earthly monarch ever coveted in his wildest fancies of ambition.

This is the glorious mystery which ushers in the great week, the week of dolours. Holy Church would have us give this momentary consolation to our heart, and hail our Jesus as our King. She has so arranged the service of to-day, that it should express both joy and sorrow; joy, by uniting herself with the loyal hosannas of the city of David; and sorrow, by compassionating the Passion of her divine Spouse. The whole function is divided into three parts, which we will now proceed to explain.

The first is the blessing of the palms; and we may have an idea of its importance from the solemnity used by the Church in this sacred rite. One would suppose that the holy Sacrifice has begun, and is going to be offered up in honour of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Introit, Collect, Epistle, Gradual, Gospel, even a Preface, are said, as though we were, as usual, preparing for the immolation of the spotless Lamb; but, after the triple Sanctus! Sanctus! Sanctus! the Church suspends these sacrificial formulas, and turns to the blessing of the palms. The prayers she uses for this blessing are eloquent and full of instruction; and, together with the sprinkling with holy water and the incensation, impart a virtue to these branches, which elevates them to the supernatural order, and makes them means for the sanctification of our soul and the protection of our persons and dwellings. The faithful should hold these palms in their hands during the procession, and during the reading of the Passion at Mass, and keep them in their homes as an outward expression of their faith, and as a pledge of God's watchful love.

It is scarcely necessary to tell our reader that the palms or olive branches, thus blessed, are carried in memory of those wherewith the people of Jerusalem strewed the road, as our Saviour made His triumphant Entry; but a word on the antiquity of our ceremony will not be superfluous. It began very early in the east. It is probable that, as far as Jerusalem itself is concerned, the custom was established immediately after the ages of persecution. St. Cyril, who was bishop of that city in the fourth century, tells us that the palm-tree, from which the people cut the branches when they went out to meet our Saviour, was still to be seen in the vale of Cedron. Such a circumstance would naturally suggest an annual commemoration of the great event. In the. following century, we find this ceremony established, not only in the churches of the east, but also in the monasteries of Egypt and Syria. At the beginning of Lent, many of the holy monks obtained permission from their abbots to retire into the desert, that they might spend the sacred season in strict seclusion; but they were obliged to return to their monasteries for Palm Sunday, as we learn from the life of Saint Euthymius, written by his disciple Cyril. In the west, the introduction of this ceremony was more gradual; the first trace we find of it is in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, that is, at the end of the sixth, or the beginning of the seventh, century. When the faith had penetrated into the north, it was not possible to have palms or olive branches; they were supplied by branches from other trees. The beautiful prayers used in the blessing, and based on the mysteries expressed by the palm and olive trees, are still employed in the blessing of our willow, box, or other branches; and rightly, for these represent the symbolical ones which nature has denied us.

The second of to-day's ceremonies is the procession, which comes immediately after the blessing of the palms. It represents our Saviour's journey to Jerusalem, and His entry into the city. To make it the more expressive, the branches that have just been blessed are held in the hand during it. With the Jews, to hold a branch in one's hand was a sign of joy. The divine law had sanctioned this practice, as we read in the following passage from Leviticus, where God commands His people to keep the feast of tabernacles: And you shall take to you, on the first day, the fruits of the fairest tree, and branches of palm-trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God. It was, therefore, to testify their delight at seeing Jesus enter within their walls, that the inhabitants, even the little children, of Jerusalem, went forth to meet Him with palms in their hands. Let us, also, go before our King, singing our hosannas to Him as the conqueror of death, and the liberator of His people.

During the middle ages, it was the custom, in many churches, to carry the book of the holy Gospels in this procession. The Gospel contains the words of Jesus Christ, and was considered to represent Him. The procession halted at an appointed place, or station: the deacon then opened the sacred volume, and sang from it the passage which describes our Lord's entry into Jerusalem. This done, the cross which, up to this moment, was veiled, was uncovered; each of the clergy advanced towards it, venerated it, and placed at its foot a small portion of the palm he held in his hand. The procession then returned, preceded by the cross, which was left unveiled until all had re-entered the church. In England and Normandy, as far back as the eleventh century, there was practised a holy ceremony which represented, even more vividly than the one we have just been describing, the scene that was witnessed on this day at Jerusalem: the blessed Sacrament was carried in procession. The heresy of Berengarius, against the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, had been broached about that time; and the tribute of triumphant joy here shown to the sacred Host was a distant preparation for the feast and procession which were to be instituted at a later period.

A touching ceremony was also practised in Jerusalem during to-day's procession, and, like those just mentioned, was intended to commemorate the event related by the Gospel. The whole community of the Franciscans (to whose keeping the holy places are entrusted) went in the morning to Bethphage. There, the father guardian of the holy Land, being vested in pontifical robes, mounted upon an ass, on which garments were laid. Accompanied by the friars and the Catholics of Jerusalem, all holding palms in their hands, he entered the city, and alighted at the church of the holy sepulchre where Mass was celebrated with all possible solemnity.

This beautiful ceremony, which dated from the period of the Latin kingdom in Jerusalem, has been forbidden for now almost two hundred years, by the Turkish authorities of the city.

We have mentioned these different usages, as we have doneothers on similar occasions, in order to aid the faithful to the better understanding of the several mysteries of the liturgy. In the present instance, they will learn that, in to-day's procession, the Church wishes us to honour Jesus Christ as though He were really among us, and were receiving the humble tribute of our loyalty. Let us lovingly go forth to meet this our King, our Saviour, who comes to visit the daughter of Sion, as the prophet has just told us. He is in our midst; it is to Him that we pay honour with our palms: let us give Him our hearts too. He comes that He may be our King; let us welcome Him as such, and fervently cry out to Him: 'Hosanna to the Son of David!'

At the close of the procession a ceremony takes place, which is full of the sublimest symbolism. On returning to the church, the doors are found to be shut. The triumphant procession is stopped; but the songs of joy are continued. A hymn in honour of Christ our King is sung with its joyous chorus ; and at length the subdeacon strikes the door with the staff of the cross; the door opens, and the people, preceded by the clergy, enter the church, proclaiming the praise of Him, who is our resurrection and our life.

This ceremony is intended to represent the entry of Jesus into that Jerusalem of which the earthly one was but the figure--the Jerusalem of heaven, which has been opened for us by our Saviour. The sin of our first parents had shut it against us; but Jesus, the King of glory, opened its gates by His cross, to which every resistance yields. Let us, then, continue to follow in the footsteps of the Son of David, for He is also the Son of God, and He invites us to share His kingdom with Him. Thus, by the procession, which is commemorative of what happened on this day, the Church raises up our thoughts to the glorious mystery of the Ascension, whereby heaven was made the close of Jesus' mission on earth. Alas l the interval between these two triumphs of our Redeemer are not all days of joy; and no sooner is our procession over, than the Church, who had laid aside for a moment the weight of her grief, falls back into sorrow and mourning.

The third part of to-day's service is the offering of the holy Sacrifice. The portions that are sung by the choir are expressive of the deepest desolation; and the history of our Lord's Passion, which is now to be read by anticipation, gives to the rest of the day that character of sacred gloom, which we all know so well. For the last five or six centuries, the Church has adopted a special chant for this narrative of the holy Gospel. The historian, or the evangelist, relates the events in a tone that is at once grave and pathetic; the words of our Saviour are sung to a solemn yet sweet melody, which strikingly contrasts with the high dominant of the several other interlocutors and the Jewish populace. During the singing of the Passion, the faithful should hold their palms in their hands, and, by this emblem of triumph, protest against the insults offered to Jesus by His enemies. As we listen to each humiliation and suffering, all of which were endured out of love for us, let us offer Him our palm as to our dearest Lord and King. When should we be more adoring, than when He is most suffering?

These are the leading features of this great day. According to our usual plan, we will add to the prayers and lessons any instructions that seem to be needed.

This Sunday, besides its liturgical and popular appellation of Palm Sunday, has had several other names. Thus it was called Hosanna Sunday, in allusion to the acclamation wherewith the Jews greeted Jesus on His entry into Jerusalem. Our forefathers used also to call it Pascha Floridum, because the feast of the Pasch (or Easter), which is but eight days off, is to-day in bud, so to speak, and the faithful could begin from this Sunday to fulfil the precept of Easter Communion. It was in allusion to this name, that the Spaniards, having on the Palm Sunday of 1513, discovered the peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico, called it Florida. We also find the name of Capitilavium given to this Sunday, because, during those times when it was the custom to defer till Holy Saturday the baptism of infants horn during the preceding months (where such a delay entailed no danger), the parents used, on this day, to wash the heads of these children, out of respect to the holy chrism wherewith they were to be anointed. Later on, this Sunday was, at least in some churches, called the Pasch of the competent,, that is, of the catechumens, who were admitted to Baptism; they assembled to-day in the church, and received a special instruction on the symbol, which had been given to them in the previous scrutiny. In the Gothic Church of Spain, the symbol was not given till to-day. The Greeks call this Sunday Baïphoros, that is, Palm-bearing

File:Assisi-frescoes-entry-into-jerusalem-pietro lorenzetti.jpg

It is traditional on this day to read the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew.  As such, I present it here, from Chapters 26 through 27:
"Chapter 26:26 And while they were still at table, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my body. 27 Then he took a cup, and offered thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink, all of you, of this; 28 for this is my blood, of the new testament, shed for many, to the remission of sins. 29 And I tell you this, I shall not drink of this fruit of the vine again, until I drink it with you, new wine, in the kingdom of my Father. 30 And so they sang a hymn, and went out to mount Olivet. 31 After this, Jesus said to them, To-night you will all lose courage over me; for so it has been written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of his flock will be scattered.  32 But I will go on before you into Galilee, when I have risen from the dead. 33 Peter answered him, Though all else should lose courage over thee, I will never lose mine. 34 Jesus said to him, Believe me, this night, before the cock crows, thou wilt thrice disown me. 35 Peter said to him, I will never disown thee, though I must lay down my life with thee. And all the rest of his disciples said the like.

36 So Jesus came, and they with him, to a plot of land called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples, Sit down here, while I go in there and pray. 37 But he took Peter and the sons of Zebedee with him. And now he grew sorrowful and dismayed; 38 My soul, he said, is ready to die with sorrow; do you abide here, and watch with me. 39 When he had gone a little further, he fell upon his face in prayer, and said, My Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass me by; only as thy will is, not as mine is. 40 Then he went back to his disciples, to find them asleep; and he said to Peter, Had you no strength, then, to watch with me even for an hour? 41 Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing enough, but the flesh is weak. 42 Then he went back again, and prayed a second time; and his prayer was, My Father, if this chalice may not pass me by, but I must drink it, then thy will be done. 43 And once more he found his disciples asleep when he came to them, so heavy their eyelids were; 44 this time he went away without disturbing them, and made his third prayer, using the same words. 45 After that he returned to his disciples, and said to them, Sleep and take your rest hereafter; as I speak, the time draws near when the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners.  46 Rise up, let us go on our way; already, he that is to betray me is close at hand.

47 And all at once, while he was speaking, Judas, who was one of the twelve, came near; with him was a great multitude carrying swords and clubs, who had been sent by the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 The traitor had appointed them a signal; It is none other, he told them, than the man whom I shall greet with a kiss; hold him fast. 49 No sooner, then, had he come near to Jesus than he said, Hail, Master, and kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, My friend, on what errand hast thou come? Then they came forward and laid their hands on Jesus, and held him fast. 51 And at that, one of those who were with Jesus lifted a hand to draw his sword, and smote one of the high priest’s servants with it, cutting off his ear. 52 Whereupon Jesus said to him, Put thy sword back into its place; all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Dost thou doubt that if I call upon my Father, even now, he will send more than twelve legions of angels to my side? 54 But how, were it so, should the scriptures be fulfilled, which have prophesied that all must be as it is? 55 And Jesus said to the multitude at that hour, You have come out to my arrest with swords and clubs, as if I were a robber; and yet I used to sit teaching in the temple close to you, day after day, and you never laid hands on me. 56 All this was so ordained, to fulfil what was written by the prophets. And now all his disciples abandoned him, and fled.  57 And those who had arrested Jesus led him away into the presence of the high priest, Caiphas, where the scribes and the elders had assembled.

58 Yet Peter followed him at a long distance, as far as the high priest’s palace; where he went in and sat among the servants, to see the end. 59 The chief priests and elders and all the Council tried to find false testimony against Jesus, such as would compass his death. 60 But they could find none, although many came forward falsely accusing him; until at last two false accusers came forward 61 who declared, This man said, I have power to destroy the temple of God and raise it again in three days.  62 Then the high priest stood up, and asked him, Hast thou no answer to make to the accusations these men bring against thee? 63 Jesus was silent; and the high priest said to him openly, I adjure thee by the living God to tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God? 64 Jesus answered, Thy own lips have said it. And moreover I tell you this; you will see the Son of Man again, when he is seated at the right hand of God’s power, and comes on the clouds of heaven. 65 At this, the high priest tore his garments, and said, He has blasphemed; what further need have we of witnesses? Mark well, you have heard his blasphemy for yourselves. 66 What is your finding? And they answered, The penalty is death. 67 Then they fell to spitting upon his face and buffeting him and smiting him on the cheek, 68 saying as they did so, Shew thyself a prophet, Christ; tell us who it is that smote thee.

69 Meanwhile, Peter sat in the court without; and there a maid-servant came up to him, and said, Thou too wast with Jesus the Galilean. 70 Whereupon he denied it before all the company; I do not know what thou meanest. 71 And he went out into the porch, where a second maid-servant saw him, and said, to the bystanders, This man, too, was with Jesus the Nazarene. 72 And he made denial again with an oath, I know nothing of the man. 73 But those who stood there came up to Peter soon afterwards, and said, It is certain that thou art one of them; even thy speech betrays thee. 74 And with that he fell to calling down curses on himself and swearing, I know nothing of the man; and thereupon the cock crew. 75 Then Peter remembered the word of Jesus, how he had said, Before the cock crows, thou wilt thrice disown me; and he went out, and wept bitterly.

Chapter 27:1 At day-break, all the chief priests and elders of the people laid their plans for putting Jesus to death, 2 and they led him away in bonds, and gave him up to the governor, Pontius Pilate. 3 And now Judas, his betrayer, was full of remorse at seeing him condemned, so that he brought back to the chief priests and elders their thirty pieces of silver; 4 I have sinned, he told them, in betraying the blood of an innocent man. What is that to us? they said. It concerns thee only. 5 Whereupon he left them, throwing down the pieces of silver there in the temple, and went and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests, thus recovering the money, said, It must not be put in the treasury, since it is the price of blood; 7 and after consultation, they used it to buy the potter’s field, as a burial place for strangers; 8 it is upon that account that the field has been called Haceldama, the field of blood, to this day.  9 And so the word was fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Jeremy, when he said, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of one who was appraised, for men of the race of Israel appraised him, 10 and bestowed them upon the potter’s field, as the Lord had bidden me.

11 But Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked him, Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus told him, Thy own lips have said it. 12 And when the chief priests and elders brought their accusation against him, he made no answer. 13 Then Pilate said to him, Dost thou not hear all the testimony they bring against thee? 14 But Jesus would not answer any of their charges, so that the governor was full of astonishment. 15 At the festival, the governor used to grant to the multitude the liberty of any one prisoner they should choose;  16 and there was one notable prisoner then in custody, whose name was Barabbas; 17 so, when they gathered about him, Pilate asked them, Whom shall I release? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? 18 He knew well that they had only given him up out of malice; 19 and even as he sat on the judgement-seat, his wife had sent him a message, Do not meddle with this innocent man; I dreamed to-day that I suffered much on his account. 20 But the chief priests and elders had persuaded the multitude to ask for Barabbas and have Jesus put to death; 21 and so, when the governor openly asked them, Which of the two would you have me release? they said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate said to them, What am I to do, then, with Jesus, who is called Christ? They said, Let him be crucified. 23 And when the governor said, Why, what wrong has he done? they cried louder than ever, Let him be crucified. 24 And so, finding that his good offices went for nothing, and the uproar only became worse, Pilate sent for water and washed his hands in full sight of the multitude, saying as he did so, I have no part in the death of this innocent man; it concerns you only. 25 And the whole people answered, His blood be upon us, and upon our children. 26 And with that he released Barabbas as they asked; Jesus he scourged, and gave him up to be crucified.

27 After this, the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the palace, and gathered the whole of their company about him. 28 First they stripped him, and arrayed him in a scarlet cloak; 29 then they put on his head a crown which they had woven out of thorns, and a rod in his right hand, and mocked him by kneeling down before him, and saying, Hail, king of the Jews. 30 And they spat upon him, and took the rod from him and beat him over the head with it. 31 At last they had done with mockery; stripping him of the scarlet cloak, they put his own garments on him, and led him away to be crucified. 32 As for his cross, they forced a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, whom they met on their way out, to carry it; 33 and so they reached a place called Golgotha, that is, the place named after a skull. 34 Here they offered him a draught of wine, mixed with gall, which he tasted, but would not drink, 35 and then crucified him, dividing his garments among them by casting lots. The prophecy must be fulfilled, They divide my spoils among them, cast lots for my garments.

36 There, then, they sat, keeping guard over him. 37 Over his head they set a written proclamation of his offence, This is Jesus, the king of the Jews; 38 and with him they crucified two thieves, one on his right and one on his left. 39 The passers-by blasphemed against him, tossing their heads; 40 Come now, they said, thou who wouldst destroy the temple and build it up in three days, rescue thyself; come down from that cross, if thou art the Son of God. 41 The chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him in the same way. 42 He saved others, they said, he cannot save himself. If he is the king of Israel, he has but to come down from the cross, here and now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusted in God; let God, if he favours him, succour him now; he told us, I am the Son of God.  44 Even the thieves who were crucified with him uttered the same taunts.

45 From the sixth hour onwards there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour;  46 and about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lamma sabachthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  47 Hearing this, some of those who stood by said, He is calling upon Elias: 48 and thereupon one of them ran to fetch a sponge, which he filled with vinegar and fixed upon a rod, and offered to let him drink; 49 the rest said, Wait, let us see whether Elias is to come and save him. 50 Then Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. 51 And all at once, the veil of the temple was torn this way and that from the top to the bottom, and the earth shook, and the rocks parted asunder; 52 and the graves were opened, and many bodies arose out of them, bodies of holy men gone to their rest: 53 who, after his rising again, left their graves and went into the holy city, where they were seen by many. 54 So that the centurion and those who kept guard over Jesus with him, when they perceived the earthquake and all that befell, were overcome with fear; No doubt, they said, but this was the Son of God.

55 Many women stood watching from far off; they had followed Jesus from Galilee, to minister to him; 56 among them were Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. 57 And now it was evening, and a man came forward, by name Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea, who followed Jesus as a disciple like the rest; 58 he it was who approached Pilate, and asked to have the body of Jesus; whereupon Pilate ordered that the body should be given up. 59 Joseph took possession of the body, and wrapped it in a clean winding-sheet; 60 then he buried it in a new grave, which he had fashioned for himself out of the rock, and left it there, rolling a great stone against the grave-door. 61 When he had gone, there were two who sat on there opposite the tomb, Mary Magdalen and the other Mary with her.

62 Next day, the next after the day of preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered in Pilate’s presence, 63 and said, Sir, we have recalled it to memory that this deceiver, while he yet lived, said, I am to rise again after three days. 64 Give orders, then, that his tomb shall be securely guarded until the third day; or perhaps his disciples will come and steal him away. If they should then say to the people, He has risen from the dead, this last deceit will be more dangerous than the old. 65 Pilate said to them, You have guards; away with you, make it secure as you best know how. 66 And they went and made the tomb secure, putting a seal on the stone and setting a guard over it."

Live well!

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