Sunday, March 29, 2009

Passion Sunday

The Gospel: John 8:46-59.

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, hears the words of God. Therefore, you hear them not, because you are not of God. The Jews, therefore, answered and said to him; Do we not say well that you are a Samaritan, and have 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 seeks and judges. Amen, amen, I say to you, if any man keep my word he shall not see death for ever. The Jews, therefore, said: Now we know that you have a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets: and you say: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Are you greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead? Whom do you make yourself? Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing: it is my Father that glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. And you have not known him; but I know him; and if I should say that I know him not, I should be like 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 then said to him: You are not yet fifty years old; and have you 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 bid himself, and went out of the temple.

On the Gospel of the Day.


A Christian’s whole life should be a season of abstinence and trial; abstinence by separating himself from all worldly pleasures, and trial by humble resignation to suffering and grief. After death, if such has been our life, we will celebrate a perpetual Easter in heaven, and know a day of consolation and rejoicing without end. Oh, then you will be satisfied with having fasted in Lent and mortified your passions; with having borne your cross with patience, and suffered many griefs for the love of Jesus.


Why did not the Jews believe the words of Jesus, for a master is worthy of belief, whose doctrines are pure and whose life is irreproachable? The doctrine of the Son of God was holy; he preached the truth to them, and confirmed it by wonderful miracles, and nothing could be found more holy than his life. Why, then, did they not believe his word and reject his doctrines? Because they were, like Satan and the rebellious angels, haughty and desired not to learn anything from a man whom they looked on as an inferior. They hated him because he reproved their vices and chided their hypocrisy and were filled with envy on seeing the people listen with attention to his discourses and applaud his miracles. Behold the causes of their incredulity! We do not desire to submit our spirits to the mysteries of truth, and our judgment to the direction of God, because one is incomprehensible to human reason and the other displeasing to nature. We have wicked heart, which corrupt the understanding and turn us away from the contemplation of eternal truths. We have passions which render the spirit blind and delude our minds. These are the causes which prevent our believing the Word of God, and being converted to him!


"He that is of God hears the words of God." Who are you? Where did you come from? Where are you going? What will become of you? Are you one of the saved or are you a reprobate? Judge yourself by the sentiments with which you receive the Word of God, by the pleasure you take in hearing it, by the care you take to preserve it, by the obedience you show it, by your fidelity in putting it into practice. You are not of God if you take no pleasure in hearing his Word.


"I honor my Father, and you have dishonored me," said our Lord to the Jews. Don’t you also deserve this reproach? Don’t you dishonor Jesus and betray his interests? Might he not address himself to you in the words of the Prophet: "I have brought up children and exalted them, and they have despised me?" You dishonour God by your sinful life and actions, your scandalous words, and your unfaithfulness to a profession or vocation which should make your life more regular and holy. Why, oh Christian soul, will you dishonour so good a Master? When will you begin to honor him?

Resolution: I will thoroughly examine my conscience to determine where I stand in the sight of God and I will prepare myself for a thorough Easter Confession. Moreover, I will do this even if I have no mortal sins to confess so that I may obtain the graces of the sacrament without which I cannot grow in grace. If I have not confessed in a long time I will take special care in my examination.

Prayer: My beloved and merciful Jesus, in the past I have not loved thy Word and have not lived it. Have mercy on me and forgive me for I am truly sorry and heartily repent of having offended thee. Nevermore will I offend thee for the time to come. Grant that I may love thee always who art all good and worthy of all my love. Mary, Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners, help me fulfill my resolution.

By a Member of the Society of Jesus, edited and amended by J. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.

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