Thứ Bảy, 31 tháng 3, 2012

TUẦN THÁNH : TÌM HIỂU NGHĨA CHỮ SINH THÌ


Tuần Thánh: Tại sao người Công Giáo hiểu Sinh Thì là chết mà không phải là sống?
Kinh sách Công GiáoViệt Nam có một từ ngữ gây nhiều thắc mắc. Đó là từ Sinh Thì. Trong khi người Việt nói chung hiểu Sinh Thì là lúc sống thì người Công Giáo Việt Nam lại hiểu Sinh Thì là lúc chết. Bài viết này nhằm góp phần giải thích tại sao người Công Giáo hiểu Sinh Thì là chết.

Từ Sinh Thì xuất hiện rất sớm trong các văn bản Công Giáo. Các Thánh Truyện là tác phẩm được soạn vào năm 1646 có ít nhất là 30 lần tác giả đã dùng từ Sinh Thì và theo Philipphê Bỉnh trong Truyện Annam Đàng Ngoài Chí Đàng Trong, tác giả sách này là một vị Hòa Thượng theo đạo Công Giáo. Ngắm 15 Sự Thương Khó Đức Chúa Giêsu được sáng tác từ thời cha Đắc Lộ, cũng có từ Sinh Thì. Ngắm thứ 13 viết: “Đoạn thì gục đầu xuống bên Đức Mẹ đứng, như giã Đức Mẹ vậy mà linh hồn cực trọng ấy ra khỏi xác liền Sinh Thì.” Vậy từ Sinh Thì theo nghĩa thông thường của dân gian khác với ý nghĩa của người Công Giáo thế nào?

Hầu hết các từ điển tiếng Việt như Việt Nam Tự Điển của hội Khai Trí Tiến Đức, Từ Điển Hán Việt của Đào Duy Anh, Đại Từ Điển Tiếng Việt do Văn Hóa Thông Tin xuất bản năm 1999, không có từ Sinh Thì, chỉ có từ Sinh Thời , Sinh Tiền hay Sênh Tiền. Cả ba từ đó đều có nghĩa là lúc còn sống của một người nay đã qua đời.

Ngược lại, các từ điển do người Công Giáo viết như Đại Nam Quấc Âm Tự Vị của Huỳnh Tịnh Paulus Của, Tự Điển của Pigneau de Béhaine cuối thế kỷ XVIII, Từ điển của Génibrel cuối thế kỷ XIX, Dictionarium Anamitico –Latinum của Đức Giám Mục AJ. L. Taberd xuất bản năm 1838 và trong nhiều văn bản Công giáo khác như Thánh Giáo Yếu Lý, Kinh Cầu Bảo Đàng Cho Kẻ Rình Sinh Thì, Ngắm 15 Sự Thương Khó Đức Chúa Giêsu, đều có từ Sinh Thì và được hiểu là chết.

Tại sao lại có sự mâu thuẫn này trong khi Sinh Thời chỉ là tiếng đọc trại của Sinh Thì. Thì đọc trại ra Thời để tránh tên húy vua Tự Đức là Nguyễn Phúc Thì (
阮福蒔). Vậy lý giải làm sao để người Công Giáo hiểu Sinh Thì là lúc chết?

Trước hết hãy giải thích ý nghĩa Sinh Thì theo nghĩa thông thường. Sinh
là tiếng Hán Việt như sinh kế, dưỡng sinh, sinh sống. Về mặt chữ Nôm, từ Sinh trong Hán Việt cũng như Sinh trong tiếng Nôm đều viết giống nhau và có nghĩa gần như nhau. Trong tiếng Nôm từ Sinh có các nghĩa (1) Đẻ: mẹ sinh con. (2) Ra đời. (3) Kiếp sống (4) Tạo ra. Như vậy Sinh Thì hay Sinh Thời theo nghĩa Hán Việt có nghĩa là lúc đang sống.

Tuy nhiên, các từ điển do người Công Giáo viết, từ Sinh Thì được định nghĩa như sau?

1. Tự Điển Việt Bồ La của A. de Rhodes giải thích từ Sinh Thì:

-sinh: lên (ascendo: is)

-sinh thì: giờ lên (ascensus hora)

-đã sinh thì: đã chết (iam mortuus est).

2. Từ điển Dictionarium Anamitico Latinum của Đức Giám Mục Taberd xuất bản năm 1838, trang 444, giải thích Sinh Thì là Fato Concedere nghĩa là chết.

3. Đại Nam Quấc Âm Tự Vị của Huỳnh Tịnh Paulus Của ấn bản 1895-1896 trang 912 định nghĩa Sinh Thì: chết.

4. Trong các kinh sách của người Công Giáo, từ Sinh Thì nếu được đặt trong ngữ cảnh bản văn, phải hiểu đó là một động từ và có nghĩa là chết. Ví dụ: trong Ngắm 15 Sự Thương Khó Đức Chúa Giêsu, ngắm thứ 15 có đoạn: “Khi xác Chúa Giêsu còn trên Thánh Giá thì có một người các quan lấy đòng mà đâm cạnh nương long Đức Chúa Giêsu phải trái tim, bấy giờ máu cùng nước chảy ra, song le, khi ấy xác Đức Chúa Giêsu chẳng có đau vì đã sinh thì”.

Tại sao các vị thừa sai đã dùng từ Sinh Thì để chỉ ý nghĩa chết?

Giải thích vấn nạn này, trước hết ta phải trở về với phong tục của người Trung Hoa cũng như Việt Nam. Khi một người chết, người ta tránh nói từ Chết mà dùng từ Qua Đời, Tạ Thế, hay Quá Vãng. Trong Anh ngữ cũng vậy, thay vì từ To Die: chết, người ta dùng từ To Pass Away: chết.

Đối với các bậc vua chúa, người Trung Hoa cũng như Việt Nam không nói từ Chết, hay Qua Đời mà dùng từ Thăng Hà hay Băng Hà. Sách Lễ Ký có câu: Thiên tử tử viết băng, chư hầu viết hoăng
天子死曰崩, 諸侯曰薨 (Khúc lễ hạ). Dịch nghĩa: Vua chết gọi là "băng", vua chư hầu chết gọi là "hoăng". Trong văn chương Phật Giáo, người ta cũng dùng chữ Thăng để chỉ ý nghĩa chết. Người Phật Giáo thường dùng cụm từ: Cầu cho hương hồn được Siêu Thăng Tịnh Độ hay Siêu Sinh Tịnh Độ có nghĩa là cầu cho linh hồn người chết được thoát khỏi cuộc sống trần thế, tới cõi cực lạc. Như vậy người Việt Nam đã dùng từ Thăng: đi lên, bay lên để chỉ sự chết.

Vậy Thăng Hà và Băng Hà là gì? Thăng
: từ Hán Việt có nghĩa là lên, đi lên, bay lên. Hà : xa, phương xa. Vậy nguyên nghĩa Thăng Hà là bay lên phương xa. Theo từ điển Hán Việt của cụ Thiều Chửu, Thăng Hà có ba nghĩa: (1) bay lên trời. (2) vua chết. (3) xa lánh trần tục. Còn Băng Hà thì Băng có 4 nghĩa: (1) Lở, sạt, sụp. (2) Hủy hoại. (3) Mất, diệt vong. (4) Chết. Theo từ điển của cụ Thiều Chửu, hay các từ điển Hán Việt khác, Thăng Hà hay Băng Hà: đều có nghĩa là vua chết.

Tại sao người Đông Phương lại quan niệm chết là Thăng tức bay lên cao. Người Đông Phương quan niệm Sinh Ký Tử Quy: Sống là tạm bợ, chết là đi về: về Thiên Giới, về Cõi Trên. Do vậy người Việt cũng như người Tàu quan niệm khi chết hồn lìa khỏi xác gọi là hồn Thăng. Trong tín ngưỡng đồng bóng của dân gian, người ta cũng dùng từ Hồn Thăng. Hồn Thăng tức hồn đi ra khỏi xác người lên đồng. Quan niệm này chính cha Alexandre de Rhodes cũng xác nhận khi Ngài chú thích từ Sinh Thì: "Chúng tôi mượn cách nói đó của người bên lương để chỉ ý nghĩa sự chết của người Ki tô hữu như đi lên với Thiên Chúa."

Nhưng tại sao các Linh Mục thừa sai lại không dùng từ Thăng mà lại dùng từ Sinh để chỉ sự chết, khiến gây ra rắc rối về ý nghĩa? Nếu xét về cách đọc của người Việt, tức giọng Hán Việt, thì từ Sinh
và Thăng hoàn toàn đọc khác nhau. Nhưng nếu theo cách đọc của người Tàu, tức giọng Bắc Kinh, hai từ này đọc giống nhau. Từ Sinh và Thăng đều được đọc là Sheng tức Sinh trong tiếng Việt. Hai từ này, nói theo kiểu xưa, là đồng âm dị nghĩa. Như vậy, ta có thể kết luận rằng Thăng Thì = Sinh Thì = Giờ Chết = Hồn ra khỏi xác.

Vấn nạn đặt ra là tại sao trong kinh sách viết cho người Công Giáo Việt, các nhà truyền giáo không dùng từ Thăng mà lại lắt léo mượn cách đọc của người Tàu đọc chữ Thăng là Sheng tức Sinh để chỉ sự chết?

Chưa có tài liệu nào trả lời cho vấn đề này mà chỉ có những suy luận: Có thể trong thời gian đầu, các giáo sĩ trước khi đến Việt Nam truyền giáo thường phải kinh qua Trung Quốc nên họ đã có thói quen đọc Thăng thành "sheng" tức Sinh. Do vậy, khi đến Việt Nam và khi phải sáng tác kinh sách cho người Việt, các ngài đã dùng từ Sinh Thì để chỉ giờ chết của chúa Kitô. Về phía giáo dân, hay các linh mục bản xứ, chắc hẳn thời đó cũng có nhiều vị uyên thông chữ nghĩa, thấy từ Sinh Thì không được ổn cho lắm, nhưng vì vốn có có tâm lý tôn trọng bề trên nên họ đã không phản đối. Do vậy, ngày nay người Công Giáo Việt Nam có riêng từ Sinh Thì để chỉ lúc linh hồn lìa khỏi xác, tức là chết.

Một câu hỏi khác cũng được đặt ra là tại sao khi diễn tả sự chết của Chúa Kitô trên Thánh Giá các nhà thừa sai không dùng các từ ngữ đơn giản và dễ hiểu như Viên Tịch, Tử, Qua Đời, Chết mà lại dùng từ Thăng. Câu trả lời là các Ngài đã triệt để áp dụng tinh thần hội nhập văn hóa trong vấn đề diễn tả sự chết. Như đã nói trên, người Tàu cũng như người Việt dùng từ Thăng Hà hay Băng Hà để chỉ vua Chúa chết. Đối với Chúa Kitô, người Công Giáo coi Ngài là Chúa Cả, là Vua Trên Hết Các Vua, nên các nhà truyền giáo đã gọi việc Chúa chết là Thăng. Và có lẽ các Ngài đã phải quanh co đọc Thăng là Sheng tức Sinh để tránh việc bắt chước tín ngưỡng đồng bóng đã dùng chữ Hồn Thăng. Thời xưa, những gì có dính líu đến các tín ngưỡng không phải của Công Giáo đều không được chấp nhận. Cụ thể như việc thờ cúng tổ tiên.

Cũng có lối giải thích khác cho rằng chết đúng là thời gian sống, là Sinh Thì vì hiểu theo nghĩa thần học Công Giáo: chết là khởi đầu cho cuộc sống mới mà ngôn ngữ thần học gọi cách lạc quan ngày chết là ngày giờ sinh ra: Dies Natalis để được sống trên cõi trường sinh. Tư tưởng đó được diễn tả trong bài hát Kinh Hòa Bình của Linh Mục nhạc sĩ Kim Long "Chính lúc chết đi là khi vui sống muôn đời", hoặc câu Kinh Thánh: "Thật, Thầy bảo thật anh em, nếu hạt lúa gieo vào lòng đất mà không chết đi, thì nó vẫn trơ trọi một mình; còn nếu chết đi, nó mới sinh được nhiều hạt khác".(Gioan 12,24)

Nguyễn Long Thao

Ý CẦU NGUYỆN THÁNG 4


Ý CẦU NGUYỆN THÁNG TƯ
Ý chung : Cầu cho nhiều bạn trẻ biết đón nhận lời mời gọi của Đức Kitô:Xin cho nhiều bạn trẻ biê't đón nhận lời mời gọi của Đức Kitô mà bước theo Người trong tác vụ linh mục và trong đời sông tu trì.
Ý truyền giáo : Cầu cho Đức Kitô phục sinh trở nên dấu chỉ của một niềm hy vọng: Xin cho Đức Kitô phục sinh trở nên dấu chi của một niềm hy vọng thật sự cho những người nam và nữ trong lục địa Châu Phi.

APRIL 01, 2011 - PALM SUNDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD


Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Lectionary: 37



At The Procession With Palms - GospelMk 11:1-10

When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem,
to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives,
he sent two of his disciples and said to them,
"Go into the village opposite you,
and immediately on entering it,
you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat.
Untie it and bring it here.
If anyone should say to you,
'Why are you doing this?' reply,
'The Master has need of it
and will send it back here at once.'"
So they went off
and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street,
and they untied it.
Some of the bystanders said to them,
"What are you doing, untying the colt?"
They answered them just as Jesus had told them to,
and they permitted them to do it.
So they brought the colt to Jesus
and put their cloaks over it.
And he sat on it.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road,
and others spread leafy branches
that they had cut from the fields.
Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out:
"Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!
Hosanna in the highest!"



OrJn 12:12-16

When the great crowd that had come to the feast heard
that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
they took palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out:
"Hosanna!
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,
the king of Israel."
Jesus found an ass and sat upon it, as is written:
Fear no more, O daughter Zion;
see, your king comes, seated upon an ass's colt.
His disciples did not understand this at first,
but when Jesus had been glorified
they remembered that these things were written about him
and that they had done this for him.

At The Mass - Reading 1Is 50:4-7

(phophet Isaia)
The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
that I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
and I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks 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;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Responsorial PsalmPs 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24

R. (2a) My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
All who see me scoff at me;
they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads:
"He relied on the LORD; let him deliver him,
let him rescue him, if he loves him."
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Indeed, many dogs surround me,
a pack of evildoers closes in upon me;
They have pierced my hands and my feet;
I can count all my bones.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
They divide my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.
But you, O LORD, be not far from me;
O my help, hasten to aid me.
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
I will proclaim your name to my brethren;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you:
"You who fear the LORD, praise him;
all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him;
revere him, all you descendants of Israel!"
R. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Reading 2Phil 2:6-11


Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.


GospelMk 14:1-15:471

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
were to take place in two days' time.
So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way
to arrest him by treachery and put him to death.
They said, "Not during the festival,
for fear that there may be a riot among the people."

When he was in Bethany reclining at table
in the house of Simon the leper,
a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil,
costly genuine spikenard.
She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.
There were some who were indignant.
"Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil?
It could have been sold for more than three hundred days' wages
and the money given to the poor."
They were infuriated with her.
Jesus said, "Let her alone.
Why do you make trouble for her?
She has done a good thing for me.
The poor you will always have with you,
and whenever you wish you can do good to them,
but you will not always have me.
She has done what she could.
She has anticipated anointing my body for burial.
Amen, I say to you,
wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world,
what she has done will be told in memory of her."

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve,
went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them.
When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money.
Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
his disciples said to him,
"Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
"Go into the city and a man will meet you,
 
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"'
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there."
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he came with the Twelve.
And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said,
"Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me,
one who is eating with me."
They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one,
"Surely it is not I?"
He said to them,
"One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish.
For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born."

While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, and said,
"Take it; this is my body."
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
"This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them,
"All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be dispersed.
But after I have been raised up,
I shall go before you to Galilee."
Peter said to him,
"Even though all should have their faith shaken,
mine will not be."
Then Jesus said to him,
"Amen, I say to you,
this very night before the cock crows twice
you will deny me three times."
But he vehemently replied,
"Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you."
And they all spoke similarly.
Then they came to a place named Gethsemane,
and he said to his disciples,
"Sit here while I pray."
He took with him Peter, James, and John,
and began to be troubled and distressed.
Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch."
He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed
that if it were possible the hour might pass by him;
he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.
Take this cup away from me,
but not what I will but what you will."
When he returned he found them asleep.
He said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep?
Could you not keep watch for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.
Then he returned once more and found them asleep,
for they could not keep their eyes open
and did not know what to answer him.
He returned a third time and said to them,
"Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
It is enough. The hour has come.
Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.
See, my betrayer is at hand."


Then, while he was still speaking,
Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived,
accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs
who had come from the chief priests,
the scribes, and the elders.
His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying,
"The man I shall kiss is the one;
arrest him and lead him away securely."
He came and immediately went over to him and said,
"Rabbi." And he kissed him.
At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
One of the bystanders drew his sword,
struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his ear.
Jesus said to them in reply,
"Have you come out as against a robber,
with swords and clubs, to seize me?
Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area,
yet you did not arrest me;
but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled."
And they all left him and fled.
Now a young man followed him
wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body.
They seized him,
but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

They led Jesus away to the high priest,
and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together.
Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest's courtyard
and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin
kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus
in order to put him to death, but they found none.
Many gave false witness against him,
but their testimony did not agree.
Some took the stand and testified falsely against him,
 alleging, "We heard him say,
'I will destroy this temple made with hands
and within three days I will build another
not made with hands.'"
Even so their testimony did not agree.
The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus,
saying, "Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?"
But he was silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked him and said to him,
"Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?"
Then Jesus answered, "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.'"
At that the high priest tore his garments and said,
"hat further need have we of witnesses?
You have heard the blasphemy.
What do you think?"
They all condemned him as deserving to die.
Some began to spit on him.
They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, "Prophesy!"
And the guards greeted him with blows.

While Peter was below in the courtyard,
one of the high priest's maids came along.
Seeing Peter warming himself,
she looked intently at him and said,
"You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus."
But he denied it saying,
"I neither know nor understand what you are talking about."
So he went out into the outer court.
Then the cock crowed.
The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders,
"This man is one of them."
Once again he denied it.
A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more,
"Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean."
He began to curse and to swear,
"I do not know this man about whom you are talking."
And immediately a cock crowed a second time.
Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him,
"Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times."
He broke down and wept.

As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
"Are you the king of the Jews?"
He said to him in reply, "You say so."
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
"Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of."
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.


Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
"Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?"
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
"Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?"
They shouted again, "Crucify him."
Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?"
They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him."
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, AHail, King of the Jews!"
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.


They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
— which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
"The King of the Jews."
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
"Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross."
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
"He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe."
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
which is translated,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
"Look, he is calling Elijah."
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
"Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
"Truly this man was the Son of God!"
There were also women looking on from a distance.
Among them were Mary Magdalene,
Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.
These women had followed him when he was in Galilee
and ministered to him.
There were also many other women
who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

When it was already evening,
since it was the day of preparation,
the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea,
a distinguished member of the council,
who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God,
came and courageously went to Pilate
and asked for the body of Jesus.
Pilate was amazed that he was already dead.
He summoned the centurion
and asked him if Jesus had already died.
And when he learned of it from the centurion,
he gave the body to Joseph.
Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down,
wrapped him in the linen cloth,
and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.
Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses
watched where he was laid.


OrMk 15:1-39

As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
He said to him in reply, “You say so.”
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
“Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of.”
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?”
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
“Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?”
They shouted again, “Crucify him.”
Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?”
They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.”
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
—which is translated Place of the Skull —
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
“The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
“Look, he is calling Elijah.”
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
“Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
“Truly this man was the Son of God!”




Scripture Study
This Sunday we celebrate Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday as it is popularly known. On this day we commemorate Jesus' triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. There are two readings from the Gospel today. The Mass begins outside, in front of the church, with the reading of a procession Gospel and the blessing of palm branches followed by a procession with palm branches into the church. For this reason it is often called Palm Sunday. There are two choices for the processional gospel in Year B. I have shown the one that will be used at St. Raymond Parish below. The other choice that may be used in many parishes is: John 12:12-16.
NOTES on the Procession Gospel:
* 11:1-6 In this account, Jesus takes the initiative in ordering the preparation for his entry into Jerusalem. The task given to the disciples adds to the mystery of what Jesus is up to. 
* 11:9-10 In Mark, the greeting Jesus receives stops short of proclaiming him Messiah. He is greeted rather as the prophet of the coming messianic kingdom. Contrast this with the words used in Matthew 21:9. 

The quote in verse 9 is from Psalm 118:26. 
* 11:10 The reference to the Davidic king is from 2 Samuel 7:8-16.
NOTES on First Reading:
* 50:4-11 This is the third of the four "Servant-of-the-Lord" oracles or songs. The others are found in Isaiah 42:1-4; 49:1-7;and 52:13-53:12. 

In this oracle the Servant speaks in verses 4-9 ; while in verses 50:10-11 God reproves the people for not following the Servant. 
* 50:5 The Servant does not refuse the divine vocation. He is eager to obey the Divine Will. 
* 50:6 He willingly submits to insults and beatings. The statement, "Plucked my beard" is probably a reference to a grave insult rather than indicating literal plucking of the beard.
NOTES on Second Reading:
* 2:6 Verses 6-11 are thought by most scholars to be a Christian hymn that Paul quotes at length with some of his own modifications to the lyrics. 
* In verses 6-8 the subject of the short rhythmic lines is Christ while in verses 9-11 the subject is God. It follows the pattern of humiliation and then exaltation. 
* The hymn can be divided into six three-line stanzas or into three stanzas. Additions like "even death on a cross" (8c) are thought by many to be Paul's additions (10c and 11c). 
* Here in verse 6 there is an allusion to Adam's desire to be like God Gen 3:5-6 in contrast to Jesus' self emptying. 
* The language in the original probably owes something to proverbial sayings of the day: "exploit something for one's own (selfish) advantage". That would explain some of the difficulties such as grasping at something he already had and the use of a word elsewhere only attested in the active sense of robbery. 
* 2:7 vv 6 and 7 are commonly taken to refer to the preexistence of the Son and v 8 to the incarnate life making lines 7b and c parallel. It is not absolutely necessary to do so. Vv 6-8 can be taken as two parallel stanzas dealing with Christ's earthly life. See John 17:5; Matt 20:28 
* 2:8 This verse may reflect the language of Isaiah concerning the suffering servant. See Isa 52:13-53:12 especially Isa 53:12. 
* The name referred to is "Lord" which as the common word for God revealed the true identity and nature of the one named. 
* 2-10 The three levels of the universe as recognized by the ancient world are all depicted as under the dominion of the one "Lord" using the language of Isa 45:23. 
* 2:11 "Jesus Christ is Lord" is a common early Christian acclamation 1 Cor 12:3, Rom 10:9. 
The hymn ends with a doxology to the Father in v. 11c.
NOTES on Gospel:
·        14:1-15:47 The Gospel reading this week is much too long for me to attempt to provide a set of verse-by-verse notes. This is OK because it is more important that you hear or read the gospel than it is that you read my comments on it. Even so, I would still like to make a few comments. This relatively long section is generally referred to as the passion narrative of Mark's Gospel. It is the shortest of the passion narratives and it is also the starkest of them. In Mark's passion story, every detail seems to deepen the atmosphere of gloom and the sense of forsakenness that is built around the crucifixion scene. Mark portrays the death of Jesus with whole-hearted sorrow as felt by His followers who didn't understand or expect the final victory that was being won and would be manifested a few days later. Mark's version of the story is straight-forward, stark and simple. In Mark's Gospel, only the soldiers and the hostile crowd are at the foot of the cross. The women are described as "looking on from a distance." The disciples are not mentioned at all as being at the scene. Jesus dies on the hill with only His tormentors present. 

The sections dealing with the passion and death of Christ are not fun portions of the scriptures to read. Left to our own choices very few of us would read them at all. The Catholic Church is a liturgical church which means that we have a set liturgical pattern that moves through fixed cycles. Our liturgy brings us to the consideration of the passion and death of Christ every year at this time. In the course of the three year liturgical cycle we will hear the passion narrative read from each of the synoptic (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) gospels once and the Gospel of John (on Good Friday) three times. 

It is important to think about the death of Jesus because it is not only the price of our salvation but also the beginning of Jesus' exaltation as Lord. This Lordship will be made manifest at Easter but it began on the cross.
·        (St.raymond-dublin.org)
Meditation: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord"
Does the King of glory find a welcome entry in your home and heart? Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing full well what awaited him – betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion. The people of Jerusalem, however, were ready to hail him as their Messianic King! Little did they know what it would cost this king to usher in his kingdom. Jesus' entry into Jerusalem astride a colt was a direct fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah (9:9): Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem. Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, and riding on an ass and upon a colt the foal of an ass. The colt was a sign of peace. Jesus enters Jerusalem in meekness and humility, as the Messianic King who offers victory and peace to his people. That victory and peace would be secured in the cross and resurrection which would soon take place at the time of Passover.
Augustine, the great 5th century church father, comments on the significance of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem:
"The master of humility is Christ who humbled himself and became obedient even to death, even the death of the cross. Thus he does not lose his divinity when he teaches us humility...What great thing was it to the king of the ages to become the king of humanity? For Christ was not the king of Israel so that he might exact a tax or equip an army with weaponry and visibly vanquish an enemy. He was the king of Israel in that he rules minds, in that he gives counsel for eternity, in that he leads into the kingdom of heaven for those who believe, hope, and love. It is a condescension, not an advancement for one who is the Son of God, equal to the Father, the Word through whom all things were made, to become king of Israel.  It is an indication of pity, not an increase in power." [Tractates on John 51.3-4]
Psalm 24 is another prophetic passage which echoes this triumphal procession of the King of glory: Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors!  that the King of glory may come in. Jesus Christ came to bring us the kingdom of God. He is the true King who offers peace, joy, and everlasting life for those who accept his kingship. Does the King of glory find a welcome entry in your heart and home? Do your walls echo with the praise of his glory?
"Lord Jesus, be the King and Ruler of my heart, mind, life, and home. May my life reflect your meekness and humility that you may be honored as the King of glory!"
(Don Schwager)
MINUTE MEDITATIONS 
Prayer is a Blessing
And anyone who has not begun to pray, I beg, for love of the Lord, not to miss so great a blessing. There is no place here for fear, but only desire. –St. Teresa of Avila

— from Help Me Pray

 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?(Isaiah 50:4-7)


And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
The idea of God becoming a man is something that the Christian movement has grappled to explain since the early days of the first Jesus followers. It’s a tough concept to explain in catechism texts, and when we do try to understand it it can still leave us feeling dry and baffled.

But this letter from Paul gives us something better than mere catechism. It breathes human life into the mystery and reveals the divine nature of Jesus that resonates within us as well—a sign that we too share in the divine life of Jesus.

 THOUGH FOR TODAY


FOOTPRINTS
Last night I had a dream. I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord and across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to me, the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of my life flashed before us I looked back at the footprints in the sand.

I noticed that at many times along the path of life, there was only one set of footprints.

I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of my life. This really bothered me, so I questioned the Lord about it.

'Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don't understand why in times when I needed you most, you would leave me.'

The Lord replied, 'My precious child, I love you and I would never, never leave you during times of trial and suffering. When you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you'.

- Author unknown
 
From A Canopy of Stars: Some Reflections for the Journey by Fr Christopher Gleeson SJ [David Lovell Publishing 2003]

April 1
St. Hugh of Grenoble
(1052-1132)

Today’s saint could be a patron for those of us who feel so overwhelmed by all the problems in the world that we don’t know where to begin.
Hugh, who served as a bishop in France for 52 years, had his work cut out for him from the start. Corruption seemed to loom in every direction: the buying and selling of Church offices, violations of clerical celibacy, lay control of Church property, religious indifference and/or ignorance. After serving as bishop for two years, he’d had his fill. He tried disappearing to a monastery, but the pope called him back to continue the work of reform.
Ironically, Hugh was reasonably effective in the role of reformer—surely because of his devotion to the Church but also because of his strong character. In conflicts between Church and state he was an unflinching defender of the Church. He fearlessly supported the papacy. He was eloquent as a preacher. He restored his own cathedral, made civic improvements in the town and weathered a brief exile.
Hugh may be best known as patron and benefactor of St. Bruno, founder of the Carthusian Order.
Hugh died in 1132. He was canonized only two years later.