Saturday, September 23, 2006

"Truly this was a son of God"

Priest: And that he would count us worthy to listen to the holy Gospel, let us pray to the Lord God.

Reader: Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Priest: Wisdom. Stand upright. Let us listen to the holy Gospel. Peace to all.

Reader: And to your spirit.

Priest: The reading is from the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Reader: Glory to you, O Lord, glory to you!


At that time, when morning had come, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And having bound him, they led him away and handed him over to Pontius Pilate the governor. Judas, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, repented and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself.’ And flinging down the pieces of silver in the temple he went away and hanged himself. But the chief priests picked up the pieces of silver and said, ‘It is not permitted to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.’ So they conferred together and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. And so that field has been called Field of Blood until today. Then what had been said by the prophet Jeremy was fulfilled, when he said, And the took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one who was prized, whom they prized from the children of Israel, and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord had commanded me. But Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned him saying, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You say so.’ And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders he made no answer. Then Pilate says to him, ‘Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?’ But he did not answer him with s single word, so that the governor was greatly amazed. Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished. They had at the time a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had assembled Pilate said to them, ‘Whom do wish me to release to you? Barabbas or Jesus called Christ?’ For he knew that they had handed him over through envy. But while he was seated on the tribunal, his wife sent to him saying, ‘Have nothing to do with that just man. For I have suffered many things today in a dream because of him.’ But the chief priests and elders had persuaded the crowds that they should ask for Barabbas. Pilate says to them, ‘So what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?’ They say to him, ‘Let him be crucified!’ The governor said, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted even louder, saying, ‘Let him be crucified!’ So Pilate, seeing that he was getting nowhere, but that a riot was starting instead, took water and washed his hands in full view of the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just man. You look to it.’ And the whole people answered and said, ‘His blood be on us and on our children.’ Then he released Barabbas to them, but Jesus he had scourged and handed him over to be crucified. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort round him. They stripped him and dressed him in a scarlet cloak, and having woven a crown of thorns, they placed it on his head and a reed in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They spat on him and took the reed and struck it on his head. And when they had mocked him, they took off the cloak and dressed him in his own clothes and led him away to crucify him. As they went out they found a Cyrenian named Simon; they forced him to carry his cross. At that time, when the soldiers had reached a place called Golgotha, which means place of a Skull, they gave him vinegar to drink mixed with gall. And when he had tasted it he would not drink. But when they had crucified him they divided up his garments, casting lots. And they sat there and watched him. And they placed over his head his written accusation: This is Jesus the king of the Jews. Then they crucified with him two thieves, one on his right and one on his left. While the passers by blasphemed him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days! Save yourself. If you are Son of God, come down from the cross.’ Likewise the chief priests mocked him along with the scribes and elders and Pharisees, saying, ‘He saved others. He cannot save himself. If he is the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross and we will believe in him. He trusted in God, let him now deliver him, if he wants him. For he said, ‘I am the son of God.’ And the thieves who were crucified with him reviled him in the same way. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. But around the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama savachthani?’ That is, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’ Some of those who stood there when they heard this said, ‘This one is calling on Elias.’ And immediately one of them ran and taking a sponge filled it with vinegar and putting it one a reed gave him to drink. But the rest said, ‘Stop, let us see if Elias is coming to help him,’ But Jesus, having once more cried out with a loud voice, gave up the spirit. And behold, the veil of the Temple was rent in two, from the top to the bottom, and the earth was shaken and the rocks were rent, and the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints that slept were raised, and coming out of their graves after his rising they entered the Holy City and appeared to many. But the centurion and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and all that happened, were greatly afraid and said, ‘Truly this was a son of God.’ And there were many women there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him. Among them were Mary Magdalen and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Reader: Glory to you, O Lord, glory to you!


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