Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday of the Second Week of Lent

GOSPEL. ST. JOHN viii, 21-29.
(Divinity of Jesus. His Threat and the Obduracy of the Jews Jesus in Prison.)
At that time Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: I go, and you shall seek Me, and you shall die in your sin. Whither I go, you cannot come. The Jews therefore said: Will He kill Himself, because He said: Whither I go, you cannot come? And He said to them: You are from beneath, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore, I said to you, that you shall die in your sins. For if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sin. They said therefore to Him: Who art Thou? Jesus said to them: Even what I told you from the beginning. Many things I have to speak and to judge of you. But He that sent Me is true; and the things I have heard of Him, these same I speak in the world. And they understood not that He called God His Father. Jesus therefore said to them: When you shall have lifted up the son of Man, then shall you know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself, but as the Father has taught Me, these things I speak: and He that sent Me is with Me, and He hath not left Me alone: for I do always the things that please Him.
Jesus declared His divinity solemnly and distinctly before the Jews. One would think that this dreadful threat of the Son of God: "I go, and you shall seek Me, and you shall die in your sin," that this would have penetrated the Jews to the very marrow of their bones, and that they would have been converted for fear of dying in the midst of their sins and of being punished for all eternity.
But behold, O Christian soul, the children of the world at the present day; they live according to the maxims of the world and despise the doctrines of Jesus and the Commandments of His Church,— yet they fondly expect a good death after a sinful life. Are they better than those Jews? Do you perhaps belong to their number? Ask yourself whether your sins are the result of human frailty and ignorance, or are they sins of malice. If they are committed with perfect knowledge and from bad habits, in grievous matters, and you do not correct them, then you will die in your sin.
Behold those Jews. Did they repent? A little later they confined Jesus in a small round vault under the courtroom. During the whole night they allowed Him no rest; they tied Him to a post and abused Him in the most atrocious way; meanwhile He prayed for His tormentors. Early in the morning Caiphas, Annas and the leaders of the Jews gather in a large hall around the poor maltreated Savior of mankind, and, despite the determined opposition of Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea and the other friends of Jesus, they solemnly pronounce upon Him the sentence of death. Such is the result of obduracy in the sin of unbelief. "When you shall have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall you know that I am He," that is, the Son of God, your formidable Judge.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Almighty God, that Thy family, who afflict their flesh by abstaining from food may likewise fast from sin by following righteousness.
O Jesus, through Thy bitter sufferings in the prison, preserve us from the punishment of blind perversion, from eternal death in sin, and from the prison of Thy dreadful judgment of the reprobate. Amen.

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