Station at St John before the Latin Gate
Saturday in Passion Week
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.
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)
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. (Collect)
Gospel : John 12 : 10-36
But the chief priests thought to kill Lazarus also: 11Because many of the Jews, by reason of him, went away, and believed in Jesus.
12And on the next day, a great multitude that was to come to the festival day, when they had heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried: Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel. 14And Jesus found a young ass, and sat upon it, as it is written: 15Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy king cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. 16These things his disciples did not know at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things to him. 17The multitude therefore gave testimony, which was with him, when he called Lazarus out of the grave, and raised him from the dead. 18For which reason also the people came to meet him, because they heard that he had done this miracle. 19The Pharisees therefore said among themselves: Do you see that we prevail nothing? behold, the whole world is gone after him.
20Now there were certain Gentiles among them, who came up to adore on the festival day. 21These therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying: Sir, we would see Jesus. 22Philip cometh, and telleth Andrew. Again Andrew and Philip told Jesus. 23But Jesus answered them, saying: The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, 25Itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal. 26If any man minister to me, let him follow me; and where I am, there also shall my minister be. If any man minister to me, him will my Father honour.
27Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause I came unto this hour. 28Father, glorify thy name. A voice therefore came from heaven: I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29The multitude therefore that stood and heard, said that it thundered. Others said: An angel spoke to him. 30Jesus answered, and said: This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. 31Now is the judgment of the world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself. 33(Now this he said, signifying what death he should die.) 34The multitude answered him: We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou: The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man? 35Jesus therefore said to them: Yet a little while, the light is among you. Walk whilst you have the light, that the darkness overtake you not. And he that walketh in darkness, knoweth not whither he goeth. 36Whilst you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light. These things Jesus spoke; and he went away, and hid himself from them.