Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

GOSPEL. ST. MATT, xii, 38-50.
(The Judgment of Jesus upon the Pharisees, and His Mother and Brethren. The Seizure of Jesus.)
At that time some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Jesus, saying: Master, we would see a sign from Thee. Who answering said to them: An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was in the whale’s belly three days and three nights; So shall the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The men of Ninive shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas here. The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it; because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon here. And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places seeking rest, and finds none. Then he saith; I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he finds it empty, swept and garnished. Then he goes, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation. As He was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold His mother and His brethren stood without, seeking to speak to Him. And one said to Him: Behold Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without seeking Thee. But He answering him that told Him, said: Who is My mother, and who are My brethren? And stretching forth His hand towards His disciples, He said: Behold My mother and My brethren, For whosoever shall do the will of My Father, that is in heaven, he is My brother, and sister, and mother.

What a severe judgment Jesus pronounces on the scribes and Pharisees because they oppose the will of God, and blindly resist His wholesome admonitions! But he calls those His mother and brethren who fulfil the will of God. In fact, the conformity of our will to the will of God has great power over the heart of God, for this submission is the surest sign of love of God. But you also reign over your own heart, O Christian, when you will what God wills, because then you cannot be a slave of wicked propensities and evil passions. Even creatures, the elements, weather, health, sickness and all accidents cannot disturb your peace, if you will what God wills. Contemplate, O Christian soul, your Savior in His capture. He knew all that would happen to Him. He could have fled when the executioners helplessly fell to the ground at the sound of His voice saying: "I am He." The guard and the servants of the Jews seized Jesus and bound Him, all His disciples left Him and fled away. And Jesus willingly and quietly allows all this to happen, because in all things He desired to fulfil the will of His heavenly Father, to become for us a model and example.
Mercifully hear our prayers, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and against all our adversaries, extend the right hand of Thy majesty.
Divine Savior, beloved Redeemer, we beseech Thee grant us the grace to imitate Thee in fulfilling the will of our heavenly Father in the smallest matters and at all times, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, in good fortune and in adversity. Grant that we may never murmur against Thy divine decrees, or become impatient and despondent; and preserve us from the misfortune of unbelief, of obstinacy and despair. In all things, may Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

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