Sunday, March 22, 2015

Passion Sunday, the Finality

Jews attempt to stone Christ.  Leaf from Gospel manuscript, Belgium, c 1170-1175 AD (with thanks to
This post was originally written three years ago.  Today being Passion Sunday it seemed like a good idea to re-publish it.

Christ's word's here are sobering indeed:

The Day the Decision Was Made

It is with the famous Gospel of Passion Sunday that Jesus Christ finally says the fateful words to his persecutors, the words that can give one goose bumps, so powerful and so majestic they are. It was with the speaking of those words that Our Lord’s doom was sealed.

In the great Missal of Dom Gaspar Lefebvre are quoted these thoughts, as a reflection prior to the reading of that Gospel: “Our Lord’s words in this place,” says St Gregory, “are awful indeed. He that is of God heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not because you are not of God.” St Gregory goes on: “There are some who do not even vouchsafe to listen to the commandments of God with heir bodily ears.”

The Missal continues: “It was thus that the Jews acted, for to their words of hate they added acts of enmity, showing that their father was the devil, a murderer from the beginning, nay, a murderer and a liar…All who hate the truth and try to harm their neighbour are the sons of Satan. Obeying his evil suggestions, the Jews hated Him who spoke the truth to them and sought to get rid of Him…Blinded by the divine Light which thus shone in all its brightness before them, they plunged of their own free will into the deepest darkness of error and sought to stone Christ, whom they had dared to accuse of blasphemy.”

It is with these sobering thoughts that we enter into the final days of Lent before the Son of God is to undergo terrible torments. The spine-tingling Gospel of St John for Passion Sunday is worth reading again, as we enter these final sad days:

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 dishonoured 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 for ever. 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 for ever. 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 shall 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.

It was with the uttering of those terrible, final words to them that the Jews decided once and for all to kill Him. The gauntlet had been thrown down to them at last, and they no longer had any doubt as to who He was.

They took up stones therefore to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.

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