MONDAY AFTER THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT
GOSPEL. ST. JOHN ii, 13-25.
(Clearing of the Temple. Veronica s Towel.)
At that time: the Pasch of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple them that sold oxen and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when He had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, He drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also, and the oxen, and the money of the changers He poured out, and the tables He over threw. And to them that sold doves He said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of My Father a house of traffic. And His disciples remembered that it was written: The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up. The Jews therefore answered, and said to Him: What sign dost Thou show unto us, seeing Thou dost these things? Jesus answered, and said to them: Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said: Six and forty years was this temple in building, and wilt Thou raise it up in three days? But He spoke of the temple of His body. When therefore He was risen again from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this, and they believed the Scripture, and the word that Jesus had said. Now when He was at Jerusalem at the Pasch, upon the festival day, many believed in His name, seeing His signs which He did. But Jesus did not trust Himself unto them, for that He knew all men, and because He needed not that any should give testimony of man: for He knew what was in man.
Consider, O Christian soul, how severely our Lord punishes the irreverence that was committed in His house. He treated very mildly persons that had sinned in other respects. Think of Magdalene, the adulteress; and Peter who denied Him. But with a scourge He punishes those that desecrate His temple. By his impious behavior, the irreverent person, so to say, strikes God in the face; whereas the devout worshiper, by his reverence and devotion delights the countenance of God, procures for himself the divine favor, edifies his neighbor and encourages him to do good. How then will God punish the giver of scandal, who dishonors and profanes the temple of an immortal soul, the temple which has been consecrated by the precious body and blood of Jesus Christ.
With what love and reverence do the holy women accompany Jesus on His way to Mt. Calvary, and how richly does He reward them. With what joy did the rich and illustrious Seraphia (who from that on was called Veronica, that is true image) fill her afflicted Savior, as she forced her way through the rough crowd, and falling down before her Savior, Whose face was covered with sweat and blood, presented Him with a towel upon which she received, as a reward, the impress of His bloody and thorn-crowned head.
Strive, O Christian soul, that the countenance of Jesus may always look upon you graciously when you adoringly kneel before It in the house of God, and that you may be a source of joy to God and a source of edification to your neighbor by your reverent behavior in church.
LET US PRAY.
Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that, keeping with devotion the sacred annual observances, we may please Thee both in body and mind.
O Jesus, how often have we offended Thee by transgressing the first, second and third commandments? And how often, from the days of our childhood, have we deserved Thy severe punishment for our irreverence in Thy house, and for our profanation of the temple of our soul. We sincerely repent of these sins, and we beseech Thee, by the reverent sympathy of Veronica, to cancel these sins and to enlighten our soul by the merciful grace of Thy sacred countenance. Amen.