Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday of the First Week of Lent


GOSPEL. ST. JOHN v, 1-15.

(Curing of a Man sick for Thirty-eight Years. Jesus before Caiphas.)

At that time there was a festival-day of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered waiting for the coming of the water. And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under. And there was a certain man there, that had been eight-and-thirty years under his infirmity. Him when Jesus had seen lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, He saith to him: Wilt thou be made whole? The infirm man answered Him: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. For whilst I am coming, another goes down before me. Jesus saith to him; Arise, take up thy bed and walk. And immediately the man was made whole; and he took up his bed and walked. And it was the Sabbath that day. The Jews therefore said to him that was healed: It is the Sabbath, it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed. He answered them: He that made me whole, He said to me: Take up thy bed and walk. They asked him therefore: Who is that man who said to thee: Take up thy bed and walk? But he who was healed knew not who it was. For Jesus went aside from the multitude standing in the place. Afterwards Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him: Behold thou art made whole; sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee. The man went his way, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him whole.

Christian soul, if you are living in a state of lukewarmness, you resemble the sick man in the gospel. For a long time the lukewarm Christian remains sick, and he has no zeal for the service of God and the welfare of his soul. Just as zealous as he is in the gratification of his sinful inclinations and passions, so lukewarm is he in the practice of virtue; he prays, but with no attention; he performs some good work perhaps, but with carelessness. He emerges, perhaps, from a state, which God compares with lukewarm water; but pleasure, selfishness, and vanity drag him back into the old condition: Only in the waters of virtue, of penance, and by the frequent and worthy reception of the sacraments can you be cured from this disease, O Christian soul, if you are lukewarm.

O what has the tepidity of so many souls cost our suffering Savior! Behold Him standing before Caiphas. Contemplate that bitter enemy of Jesus, the abuse of your Savior, the contradiction of the witnesses, and the indescribable, mute patience of your Lord; a silence which must make every lukewarm conscience tremble, when one recalls the words of Jesus: "Would that thou wert warm or cold, but because thou art lukewarm, I will spit thee out of my mouth."


Be merciful, O Lord, to Thy people, and as Thou makest them devoted to Thee, mercifully refresh them with kind assistance.

Never permit us to fall into the sad state of lukewarmness, O suffering Jesus. As Thou didst the man that was sick for thirty-eight years, so convert all lukewarm souls to Thee, that we may all serve Thee zealously and that we may be always pleasing to Thee. Amen.

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