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To: NYer
2 posted on 03/24/2004 6:44:04 AM PST by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: Desdemona
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)

For: Wednesday, March 24, 2004

4th Week of Lent

From: John 5:17-30

The Cure of a Sick Man at the Pool at Bethzatha (Continuation)

[17] But Jesus answered them, "My Father is working still, and I am
working." [18] This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill Him,
because He not only broke the Sabbath but also called God His Father,
making Himself equal with God.

Christ Defends His Action

[19] Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do
nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing; for
whatever He does, that the Son does likewise. [20] For the Father
loves the Son, and shows Him all that He Himself is doing; and greater
works than these will He show Him, that you may marvel. [21] For as
the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives
life to whom He will. [22] The Father judges no one, but has given all
judgment to the Son, [23] that all may honor the Son, even as they
honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the
Father who sent Him. [24] Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My
word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life; he does not come
into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

[25] "Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when
the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will
live. [26] For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted
the Son also to have life in Himself, [27] and has given Him authority
to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. [28] Do not marvel
at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear
His voice [29] and come forth, those who have done good, to the
resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection
of judgment.

[30] "I can do nothing on My own authority; as I hear, I judge; and My
judgment is just, because I seek not My own will but the will of Him
who sent Me."


17-18. "My Father is working still, and I am working": we have already
said that God is continually acting. Since the Son acts together with
the Father, who with the Holy Spirit are the one and only God, our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, can say that He is always working. These
words of Jesus contain an implicit reference to His divinity: the Jews
realize this and they want to kill Him because they consider it
blasphemous. "We all call God our Father, who is in Heaven (Isaiah
63:16; 64:8). Therefore, they were angry, not at this, that He said
God was His Father, but that He said it in quite another way than men.
Notice: the Jews understand what Arians do not understand. Arians
affirm the Son to be not equal to the Father, and that was why this
heresy was driven from the Church. Here, even the blind, even the
slayers of Christ, understand the works of Christ" (St. Augustine, "In
Ioann. Evang., 17, 16). We call God our Father because through grace
we are His adopted children; Jesus calls Him His Father because He is
His Son by nature. This is why He says after the Resurrection: "I am
ascending to My Father and your Father" (John 20:17), making a clear
distinction between the two ways of being a son of God.

19. Jesus speaks of the equality and also the distinction between
Father and Son. The two are equal: all the Son's power is the
Father's, all the Son does the Father does; but they are two distinct
persons: which is why the Son does what He has seen the Father do.

These words of our Lord should not be taken to mean that the Son sees
what the Father does and then does it Himself, like a disciple
imitating his master; He says what He says to show that the Father's
powers are communicated to the Son through generation. The word "see"
is used because men come to know things through the senses,
particularly through the sight; to say that the Son sees what the
Father does is a way of referring to all the powers which He receives
from Him for all eternity (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, "Comm. on St. John,
in loc.").

20-21. When He says that the Father shows the Son "all that He Himself
is doing", this means that Christ can do the same as the Father. Thus,
when Jesus does things which are proper to God, He is testifying to His
divinity through them (cf. John 5:36).

"Greater works": this may be a reference to the miracles Jesus will
work during His lifetime and to His authority to execute judgment. But
THE miracle of Jesus was His own resurrection, the cause and pledge of
our own (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20ff), and our passport to supernatural
life. Christ, like His Father, has unlimited power to communicate
life. This teaching is developed in verses 22-29.

22-30. Authority to judge has also been given by the Father to the
Incarnate Word. Whoever does not believe in Christ and in His word
will be condemned (cf. 3:18). We must accept Jesus Christ's lordship;
by doing so we honor the Father; if we do not know the Son we do not
know the Father who sent Him (verse 23). Through accepting Christ,
through accepting His word, we gain eternal life and are freed from
condemnation. He, who has taken on human nature which He will retain
forever, has been established as our judge, and His judgment is just,
because He seeks to fulfill the Will of the Father who sent Him, and He
does nothing on His own account: in other words, His human will is
perfectly at one with His divine will; which is why Jesus can say that
He does not do His own will but the Will of Him who sent Him.

22. God, being the Creator of the world, is the supreme Judge of all
creation. He alone can know with absolute certainty whether the people
and things He has created achieve the end He has envisaged for them.
Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, has received divine authority (cf.
Matthew 11:27; 28:18; Daniel 7:14), including the authority to judge
mankind. Now, it is God's will that everyone should be saved: Christ
did not come to condemn the world but to save it (cf. John 12:47).
Only someone who refuses to accept the divine mission of the Son puts
himself outside the pale of salvation. As the Church's Magisterium
teaches: "He claimed judicial power as received from His Father, when
the Jews accused Him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of
a sick man. [...] In this power is included the right of rewarding
and punishing all men, even in this life" (Pius XI, "Quas Primas,
Dz-Sch 3677"). Jesus Christ, therefore, is the Judge of the living and
the dead, and will reward everyone according to his works (cf. 1 Peter

"We have, I admit, a rigorous account to give of our sins; but who will
be our judge? The Father [...] has given all judgment to the Son. Let
us be comforted: the eternal Father has placed our cause in the hands
of our Redeemer Himself. St. Paul encourages us, saying, Who is [the
judge] who is to condemn us? It is Jesus Christ, who died [...] who
indeed intercedes for us (Romans 8:34). It is the Savior Himself, who,
in order that He should not condemn us to eternal death, has condemned
Himself to death for our sake, and who, not content with this, still
continues to intercede for us in Heaven with God His Father" (St.
Alphonsus Liguori, "The Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ Reduced To
Practice", Chapter 3).

24. There is also a close connection between hearing the word of Christ
and believing in Him who sent Him, that is, in the Father. Whatever
Jesus Christ says is divine revelation; therefore, accepting Jesus'
words is equivalent to believing in God the Father: "He who believes in
Me, believes not in Me, but in Him who sent Me.... For I have not
spoken on My own authority; the Father who sent Me has Himself given Me
the commandment what to say and what to speak" (John 12:44, 49).

A person with faith is on the way to eternal life, because even in this
earthly life he is sharing in divine life, which is eternal; but he has
not yet attained eternal life in a definitive way (for he can lose it),
nor in a full way: "Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet
appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be
like Him" (1 John 3:2). If a person stays firm in the faith and lives
up to its demands, God's judgment will not condemn him but save him.

Therefore, it makes sense to strive, with the help of grace, to live a
life consistent with the faith: "If men go to so much trouble and
effort to live here a little longer, ought they not strive so much
harder to live eternally?" (St. Augustine, "De Verb. Dom. Serm.", 64).

25-30. These verse bring the first part of our Lord's discourse to a
close (it runs from 5:19 to 5:47); its core is a revelation about His
relationship with His Father. To understand the statement our Lord
makes here we need to remember that, because He is a single (divine)
person, a single subject of operations, a single I, He is expressing in
human words not only His sentiments as a man but also the deepest
dimension of His being: He is the Son of God, both in His generation in
eternity by the Father, and in His generation in time through taking up
human nature. Hence Jesus Christ has a profound awareness (so profound
that we cannot even imagine it) of His Sonship, which leads Him to
treat His Father with a very special intimacy, with love and also with
respect; He is aware also of His equality with the Father; therefore
when He speaks about the Father having given Him life (verse 26) or
authority (verse 27), it is not that He has received part of the
Father's life or authority: He has received absolutely all of it,
without the Father losing any.

"Do you perceive how their equality is shown and that they differ in
one respect only, namely, that one is the Father, while the other is
the Son? The expression `He has given' implies this distinction only,
and shows that all other attributes are equal and without difference.
From this it is clear that He does everything with as much authority
and power as the Father and is not endowed with power from some outside
source, for He has life as the Father has" (St. John Chrysostom, "Hom.
on St. John", 39, 3).

One of the amazing things about these passages of the Gospel is how
Jesus manages to express the sentiments of God-Man despite the
limitations of human language: Christ, true God, true man, is a mystery
which the Christian should contemplate even though he cannot understand
it: he feels bathed in a light so strong that it is beyond
understanding, yet fills his soul with faith and with a desire to
worship his Lord.

Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text
taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries
made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of
Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock,
Co. Dublin, Ireland.
3 posted on 03/24/2004 6:45:41 AM PST by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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To: Desdemona
Homily of the Day

Title: You Only Think You’re Alone!
Author: Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.
Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Isaiah 49:8-15 / John 5:17-30

In the days of King David and his son King Solomon, the Israelites were supremely confident that they were indeed God’s chosen people. Anyone who doubted it need only look at the splendid temple that Solomon built and the elaborate ceremonies and sacrifices that went on there from dawn to dusk, year after year. And then after Solomon’s death came the division of the kingdom, north and south, and later the destruction of both kingdoms, with their populations carried off as captives in strange lands.

How far they had fallen, and how thoroughly alone they felt as they wept at night so far away from home. And worst of all, they knew that their sins had put them there. They deserved their misery, and it seemed as if it would never end. “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me,” was their lament. But it wasn’t true.

The Lord spoke to them, “Could a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” And indeed, the Lord brought them home to their own land, and helped them rebuild their lives.

Sometimes we feel alone and forgotten, and sometimes we deserve it. Whatever the case, the Lord never forgets us and never withdraws from us. Turn your eyes inward to where He lives and where He never leaves. And you will see: You are not alone.

4 posted on 03/24/2004 6:46:45 AM PST by Desdemona (Music Librarian and provider of cucumber sandwiches, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary. Hats required.)
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