TUESDAY AFTER PASSION SUNDAY
GOSPEL. ST. JOHN vii, 1-13.
(Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles. The Thief on the Right.)
At that time: Jesus walked in Galilee; for He would not walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews feast of Tabernacles was at hand. And His brethren said to Him: Pass from hence, and go into Judea: that Thy disciples also may see Thy works which Thou dost for there is no man that doth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If Thou do these things, manifest Thyself to the world. For neither did His brethren believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them: My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth: because I give testimony of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go you up to this festival day, but I go not up to this festival day: because My time is not accomplished. When He had said these things, He Himself stayed in Galilee. But after His brethren were gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. The Jews therefore sought Him on the festival day, and said: Where is He? And there was much murmuring among the multitude concerning Him. For some said: He is a good man. And others said: No, but He seduceth the people. Yet no man spoke openly of Him, for fear of the Jews.
How it must have grieved the divine Savior that even His kinsmen did not believe in Him, and that He was obliged to attend the feast of tabernacles "as it were in secret." As some said He was a good man, and others said He was a seducer of the people; so the opinions were divided regarding Him even when He was at the portals of death, on the holy cross. The thief on His left did not believe in Him and insulted Him: but he that was crucified on His right, moved by the wonderful silence of Jesus and His prayer for His enemies, accused himself in all humility, saying: "We, in deed, justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds;" and he vindicates the Innocent One with these words: "But this man hath done no evil." Full of contrition he implores: "Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy kingdom." Learn from this, O Christian soul, the virtue of brotherly correction, when your neighbor commits a sin. Since "whoever leads back a sinner from his erring ways, he saves his soul and covers a multitude of sins."
But learn also to have a humble knowledge of yourself and to accuse yourself humbly when you have fallen into sin. Pay no attention to the judgment or opinion of the world. When God and His holy name are insulted, when virtue and piety are ridiculed, when the truths of religion and the commandments of Holy Church are despised, then do not be afraid to imitate the undaunted example of the thief on the right hand of Jesus.
LET US PRAY.
May our fasts be acceptable to Thee, O Lord, and having purified us from sin, make us worthy of Thy grace and procure us everlasting remedies.
We praise Thee, O divine Redeemer, on the cross, because by Thy grace Thou didst bestow upon the penitent thief such great power for good in his last moments: Grant that in all situations of life we may confess Thee by word and deed, so that Thou mayest once confess us before Thy Father in heaven, and that Thou mayest lead us to eternal happiness through the merits of Thy bitter passion and cross. Amen.