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Full lections can be read here.
Based on the Readings as Set, and with the Alternative Gospel
First Reading (Isaiah 50:4-9a)
Isaiah envisions the Lord’s obedient Servant under assault: enduring insults, spitting and striking. He is determined not to flinch or waver from his conviction that the Lord is his help and vindication. In such light his adversaries fade into insignificance.
Under serious affliction from all those around him, the Psalmist is driven to tears, misery and extreme physical weakness. In spite of these attacks in which even his life is in danger, he remains confident that the Lord will deliver him.
Second Reading (Philippians 2:5-11)
St. Paul encourages the Philippians to be like Jesus who, although divine, humbled himself and endured a demeaning death. In the end, he was exalted by God to be Lord over all, with every knee in heaven and earth bowing before him.
Gospel (Matthew 26:14-27:66)
Matthew’s account of Jesus’ last hours, from the Last Supper through to his death, is marked by a strong sense of fulfilling God’s plan. Jesus finally submits to his destiny willingly, refusing to exercise his power as the Son of God. His innocence sharply contrasts the malice of his foes.
Alternative Gospel (Mathew 27:11-54)
Matthew’s account of Jesus’ Passion, from the trial before Pilate through to his death highlights the tension and misunderstanding over his being “King of the Jews”. The jealousy of his foes and Pilate’s weakness form a stark contrast with the centurion’s recognizing him as God’s Son.
- Divine vindication of the innocent may take an unexpected form
- The servant of God is to be humbly obedient, leaving any vindication or exaltation in the hands of the Lord.
- Obedience to God can lead to insults and even persecutions and death
- Jesus proves himself to be the Suffering Servant of Israel’s expectations
SCRIPTURE SENTENCE (BAS, Canada)
Christ became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name. Philippians 2.8–9
COLLECT OF THE DAY (BAS, Canada)
Almighty and everliving God,
in tender love for all our human race
you sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take our flesh
and suffer death upon a cruel cross.
May we follow the example of his great humility, and share in the glory of his resurrection;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN