Saturday in Passion Week
Station at St John before the Latin Gate
The Station on this eve of Palm Sunday is of a comparatively late origin: formerly, the Pope spent a part of the day distributing alms to the poor, and rested in preparation to the tiresome functions of the following days. When later on a Mass was appointed for that day the parts to be sung by the choir were borrowed from the Mass of yesterday.
As Stational church was chosen St. John's before the Latin Gate. Near the place where the Appian Way branches off, forming to the left the Latin Way, it was built on the spot where St. John was, by order of Domitian, plunged into a cauldron of boiling oil. St. John, who with Mary shared the privilege of standing near the Cross, also joined his sacrifice to that of Christ when he gladly accepted martyrdom in the boiling oil.
The Mass sums up all the great mysteries which are about to fill Holy Week.
The Gospel shows us Jesus "the King of Israel" acclaimed by he Jews and some days later "raised from the earth" and crucified. In the few Gentiles who expressed to Philip their desire to see Christ let us foresee the many recruits that the Church is to make among the heathen nations.
Jesus is going to die like the grain of wheat, that He may produce much fruit. For the moment "His soul is troubled", as it will be in the Garden of Gethsemane. But "it is for that He has come", "to glorify His Father". And as a voice from heaven tells us, this glorification will be complete, for "the prince of this world shall be cast out" and the Saviour raised upon a cross and reaching to heaven "will draw all things to Him".
The Saviour here reveals to us His whole heart, which wishes, at the price of such cruel sufferings, to ruin our enemy and secure our salvation.
Finally Jesus speaks of those who refuse to follow Him and who walk in darkness not knowing where they go, and by the mouth of Jeremias He anathematises "those who plot against the just. Their children will be delivered up to famine and their husbands put to death, for an unforeseen enemy will fall upon them and exterminate them" (Epistle). This prophecy was fulfilled. During the siege of Jerusalem the Jews who had not died of famine perished by the sword.
To avoid the effects of divine Justice, let us die to sin and we shall produce much fruit unto eternal life.
Miserere mihi, Domine, quoniam tribulor: libera me, et eripe me de manibus inimicorum meorum, et a persequentibus me: Domine, non confundar, quoniam invocavi te. * In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum: in justitia tua libera me.
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am afflicted: deliver me out of the hands of my enemies and from them that persecute me: O Lord, let me not be confounded, for I have called upon Thee. * In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me never be confounded: deliver me in Thy justice.
(Psalm 30:10,16,18,2 from the Introit of Mass)
Proficiat, quaesumus, Domine, plebs tibi dicata piae devotionis affectu: ut sacris actionibus erudita, quanto majestati tuae fit gratior, tanto donis potioribus augeatur.
May the people prosper who are devoted to Thee by the affection of pious devotion, we beseech Thee O Lord; that instructed by the holy rites they may be made more pleasing to Thy majesty, and more may they abound in excellent gifts.