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Sunday, March 18, 2018


By:   Fr. Ladis J. Cizik
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Traditional Latin Mass 101...

In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

Passion Sunday designates that day when the Church wants us to focus our attention and meditations on the Passion and Death of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ. It is the beginning of what is known as “Passiontide,” the last two weeks of Lent in which we especially commemorate the sufferings of Christ. Hence, we change from the Lenten Preface (“Praefatio De Quadragesima”) to the Preface of the Holy Cross (“Praefatio De Sancta Cruce”).

Passion Sunday is also known as Judica Sunday” after the first word of the Introit, from Psalm 42, which means “Judge.” Also, it is on this day in the life of Christ that the high priests of the Jews held council to judge Our Lord. Because it would otherwise be repeated, Psalm 42, known as Judica me” (“Judge me”) is omitted from the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar at the Traditional Latin Mass on Passion Sunday. This omission can also be seen as a sign of mourning, as it is also not recited in Traditional Requiem Masses for the dead.

Images of Christ Crucified and statues are traditionally draped with violet in Catholic churches today as an outward sign of the inner sorrow of the followers of Christ. In addition, the violet coverings over the Crucifixes and statues are to remind us of Jesus having hid Himself from the Jews, as noted in today’s Gospel reading: “They took up stones therefore to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the Temple” (Jn 8:59). Jesus would not show Himself in public again until His entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Furthermore, on Passion Sunday, other traces of joy are eliminated from the Liturgy with the “Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto” not being said at the Asperges, the Introit, or the Lavabo. Another reason for the omission of this doxology is that in today’s Gospel reading, by heaping opprobrium upon the Person of the Son of God, the Jews were at the same time also dishonoring the Most Holy Trinity.

In the continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Saint John, Our Lord and God declared His Divinity to the Jews when He said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am” (Jn 8:58).   This calls to mind what God said to Moses at the burning bush, when asked His Name: “I AM WHO AM” (Exodus 3:14). It was at that point that the Jews took up stones to cast at Our Blessed Lord, but as mentioned earlier, Jesus hid Himself for it was not yet His time. Likewise, the images of the Crucifix and of the saints are hidden today.

When Our Lord Jesus Christ told the truth to those who were not of God, He received insults and vilification. In today’s Gospel they called Him a Samaritan, which means unbeliever, and accused Him of being possessed by a devil. Likewise, we are called to share in the Passion of Christ by standing up for the truth of our One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith despite all opposition; despite all ridicule; despite being called names; and even to the point of martyrdom.

Just as Jesus, Who was born a Jew of the Blessed Virgin Mary, found many Jews of His time opposed to the truth; so too can we, as members of the Catholic Church, find many enemies of the truth within our own ranks. There are people who call themselves Catholic who are opposed to the traditional teachings of Christ and the One True Church that He founded. We must stand up to this opposition courageously, as Our Lord and God Jesus Christ did to the point of death.

One of the ways that we help ensure our adherence to the One True Faith handed onto us from the Apostles is by adhering to Church Tradition and traditional Biblical teachings, and by attending the Traditional Latin Mass. The Traditional Latin Mass has its roots going back to Christ at the Last Supper, as well as to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered by Saint Peter the first Pope. For an unchanging Faith, which is true to the original, we attend the venerable and immemorial Traditional Latin Mass.

The Missale Romanum notes that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for Passion Sunday is traditionally offered at the “Station” of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome by the Pope (Statio ad S. Petrum). According to tradition, the faithful journey to one of many designated ‘Station Churches’ in Rome assigned for a particular day of Lent where the Holy Father would offer the Mass. The site of the tomb of Saint Peter reminds all of the grave duty of the Successor of Saint Peter to keep the truth of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith handed onto him shining brightly before all mankind in the same meaning and intent as it was received.

In conclusion, we have the Word of God to strengthen us from Psalm 42 of the Introit, the “Judica me”:

“Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man: for Thou art my God and my strength. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: they have conducted me and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacles” (Ps 42:1-3).

In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

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