GOSPEL. ST. JOHN viii, 46-59.
(The Hidden Savior. Jesus is raised on the Cross.)
At that time Jesus said to the multitude of the Jews: Which of you shall convince Me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe Me? He that is of God heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not because you are not of God. The Jews therefore answered, and said to Him: Do not we say well that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honor My Father, and you have dishonored Me. But I seek not My own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you: If any man keep My word, he shall not see death forever. The Jews therefore said: Now we know that Thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets: and Thou sayest: If any man keep My word, he shall not taste death forever. Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom dost Thou make Thyself? Jesus answered: If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father that glorifieth Me, of Whom you say that He is your God. And you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say that I know Him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know Him, and do keep His word. Abraham, your father, rejoiced that he might see My day. He saw it and was glad. The Jews therefore said to Him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at Him. But Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.
Beginning with today the crucifixes are veiled with the violet color of penance. The holy season of Lent is approaching its end, and the Church busies herself and the hearts of her children with deeper meditation on the bitter passion and death of her divine Spouse.
Although your Savior hides Himself from the obstinate Jews, and the image of the Crucified is veiled to our bodily sight, still you should represent to your soul all the more vividly your Redeemer, Jesus Christ, as He is raised upon the cross. There hangs, O Christian soul, the High-priest and Mediator, who has reconciled the offended Deity with sinful mankind. It is the loving, pain-laden Redeemer, who freed you from the guilt and eternal punishment of sin. On the holy cross hangs the powerful God who has drawn to Himself you and the whole world, while He allows all to participate in His sufferings and also in the fruit of His bitter passion. Christian soul, in your suffering look at His bitter passion; in your poverty look at His privations; in your desolation look at His dereliction; in your persecutions, look at His cross and partake of its fruits in holy Mass and in the sacraments. Then your redeemer will not hide Himself from you, and you will not see death for all eternity.
LET US PRAY.
We beseech Thee, Almighty God, mercifully look down upon Thy family, and grant that by Thy bounty it may be ever guided and protected both in body and soul.
Crucified God and Savior, Jesus Christ, we prostrate ourselves in spirit before Thy holy cross, and adore and thank Thee; for through Thy holy cross thou hast redeemed the world. On the wood of shame, raised between heaven and earth, Thou hast reconciled God with man, Thou hast erased the hand-writing of the condemnation which was threatening us; Thou hast taken it away and attached it to the cross. Praise and thanksgiving be to Thee forever more. May Thy holy cross and passion not be lost for us poor sinners. Amen.