O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. BCP 230
John 8:48-59 The Message
The Jews then said, “That clinches it. We were right all along when we called you a Samaritan and said you were crazy—demon-possessed!”
Jesus said, “I’m not crazy. I simply honor my Father, while you dishonor me. I am not trying to get anything for myself. God intends something gloriously grand here and is making the decisions that will bring it about. I say this with absolute confidence. If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to look death in the face.”
At this point the Jews said, “Now we know you’re crazy. Abraham died. The prophets died. And you show up saying, ‘If you practice what I’m telling you, you’ll never have to face death, not even a taste.’ Are you greater than Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you think you are!”
Jesus said, “If I turned the spotlight on myself, it wouldn’t amount to anything. But my Father, the same One you say is your Father, put me here at this time and place of splendor. You haven’t recognized him in this. But I have. If I, in false modesty, said I didn’t know what was going on, I would be as much of a liar as you are. But I do know, and I am doing what he says. Abraham—your ‘father’—with jubilant faith looked down the corridors of history and saw my day coming. He saw it and cheered.”
The Jews said, “You’re not even fifty years old—and Abraham saw you?”
“Believe me,” said Jesus, “I am who I am long before Abraham was anything.”
That did it—pushed them over the edge. They picked up rocks to throw at him. But Jesus slipped away, getting out of the Temple.
God illumines us with that love which has no need of us and which sustains us even though many of us, considering our inclination to evil, may rightfully be considered his enemies. Our sins, as long as we are in this world, do not ever make Him so wrathful that he ceases to do us good. Indeed, the more distance our sins put between us and God, the more insistent His call to us not to turn our backs on Him. He loves us and will not ever leave off doing us good. He does so in so many ways that the creature may well ask: Who am I that God has no concern but me?
— Catherine of Genoa
Prayer of Response
Lord, you are good and surely you are the lover of humanity. Even while on earth you loved those who tried to kill you and did not cease doing good to them. Your holy love knows no bounds and for that we are eternally grateful. Glory to you, Jesus Christ! Burn your endless love within our hearts during this time of fasting. Teach us to walk in righteousness during the fast so that we may not forsake you during our feasting. Help us to wholly love you and worthily magnify you with your All-Holy Father and the Ever-Good and Life-Creating Spirit. Amen.