Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 8,21-30

Again he said to them: I am going away; you will look for me and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come. So the Jews said to one another, 'Is he going to kill himself, that he says, "Where I am going, you cannot come?" ' Jesus went on: You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I have told you already: You will die in your sins. Yes, if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. So they said to him, 'Who are you?' Jesus answered: What I have told you from the outset. About you I have much to say and much to judge; but the one who sent me is true, and what I declare to the world I have learnt from him. They did not recognise that he was talking to them about the Father. So Jesus said: When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing of my own accord. What I say is what the Father has taught me; he who sent me is with me, and has not left me to myself, for I always do what pleases him. As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.

 

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Gospel of John keeps us in the temple, where Jesus is continuing his final and decisive confrontation with his adversaries. His listeners still will not accept his testimony about his divine origin. If they were to recognize that he was sent by God, they would have to accept his preaching and change their hearts and lives. In order to stay as they are and avoid changing, they refuse Jesus' preaching and even distort it. This is what happens to us when we refuse to listen to the Gospel - which asks us to reject evil and follow the path of love for Jesus and other people - with an open heart. We do everything to justify ourselves and our choices. When Jesus said that they could not go where he was going, his listeners even thought that he planned to commit suicide. In truth, Jesus was moving on an entirely different level: he was looking up, at his Father from who he had received a plan that embraced all of humanity. Jesus tells them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world." Jesus descended to the greatest depths to bring men and women higher, towards the heavens of God. In reality, there is a great abyss between the way men and women think and God's vision for the world and the whole of humanity. God's dream for the world will be seen clearly at the culmination of Jesus' life: his death on the cross. Those who crucified him considered it a victory. But in truth, the primacy of selfishness, which drags the world down, was defeated on the cross, and God's love, which saves all men and women, was lifted up. While we try to save ourselves at all costs, Jesus dedicated his entire life to saving others, to the point of climbing up on the cross. This is why, even though they cannot understand him, he tells the people, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he." Yes, it is at the moment of his death that we can clearly see who Jesus is and the reason for his incarnation. The first person to understand this was the Roman centurion who was standing under the cross. He saw what Jesus did till the moment he drew his last breath and said: "Truly this man was God's Son!" (Mk 15:39). Even some of those who were present at the temple listened to him and believed. If his words were sufficient for them, then why do we doubt despite the many times the Gospel is announced to us?