GOSPEL. ST. JOHN vii, 14-31.
(The Teaching and Honor of Jesus. His Second Fall under the Cross.)
At that time: About the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews wondered, saying: How doth this man know letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them and said: My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do the will of Him: he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself. He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, he is true, and there is no injustice in him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why seek you to kill Me? The multitude answered, and said: Thou hast a devil; who seeketh to kill Thee? Jesus answered and said to them: One work I have done; and you all wonder: therefore Moses gave you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers); and on the Sabbath-day you circumcise a man. If a man receive circumcision on the Sabbath-day, that the law of Moses may not be broken; are you angry with Me because I have healed the whole man on the Sabbath-day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment. Some therefore of Jerusalem said: Is not this He Whom they seek to kill? Have the rulers known for a truth that this is the Christ? But we know this man whence He is. Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying: You both know Me, and you know whence I am: and I am not come of myself; but He that sent Me is true, Whom you know not. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He hath sent Me. They sought therefore to apprehend Him: and no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come. But of the people many believed in Him.
How grand and inspiring is the teaching of Jesus! But excellent as it is, His teaching consists chiefly in this that we do the will of God by the faithful observance of the divine commandments and of the precepts of the Church, which is the representative of Jesus Christ on earth; and that we cheerfully perform the particular duties of our state of life. Therein lies our true honor be fore God. All other honor that is not accompanied by the pleasure of God and is not directed towards the honor of God, is no true honor at all. It rests merely on appearances and on the unfair judgment of men; wherefore St. Augustine says: "Many are highly honored in this world who are burning with reproaches in hell." Therefore is patience in suffering for God greater than all joys without God; humiliation borne for God’s sake is greater than all honor without God; shame endured for God is greater than all the vain exaltation of the world; poverty with God is greater than wealth without God.
As we are poor, weak men, and even the just fall seven times, Jesus, our divine Teacher, wished to fall for the second time beneath the cross to encourage us in practicing His doctrines and to prevent us from forgetting His honor. Coming to a large stone on the road leading up to Mt. Calvary, Jesus felt that He was unable to pass it. But the soldiers mercilessly dragged and drove Him on till He fell beneath the cross; nevertheless with supernatural strength He rose again and pressed on His way. Reflect on this, O Christian soul, when you are inclined to be despondent after falling into sin.
LET US PRAY.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that the fasts of this holy observance may procure us an increase of piety in our lives, and the continual help of Thy mercy.
O Jesus, through Thy second fall beneath the cross, permit us not to forget Thy holy teaching; and grant that, on our way of the cross unto eternity, we may always, by word and deed, seek to promote Thy honor which is also our only true honor. Amen.