Translation of the Holy Gospel According to John
At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes 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 dishonored 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. They took up stones therefore to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.
From St. Antony of Padua’s Sermon for the Fifth Sunday in Lent
A Sermon Against the Ungrateful: Am I become a wilderness to Israel?
They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself and went out of the Temple. (Jn 8:59)
The Jews resorted to stones, that they might stone him who is the Corner Stone, who in himself joined together the two walls (the Jewish people and the Gentiles) who were opposed. The Jews imitated their fathers’ malice, and wanted to stone the Lord of the prophets, just as their fathers had stoned Jeremiah in Egypt. The Lord himself said:
You are the sons of them that killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of you fathers. (Mt 23:31)
Morally. False Christians, children of another (the devil), have lied to God and violated their Baptismal covenant. As far as they can, every day they stone, with the hard stones of their sins, their Lord and father Jesus Christ, after whom they are called Christians they try to kill him- that is, his faith. They are like the offspring of the vulture, who let their father die of hunger; not like the offspring of the crane, who expose themselves to death for their father’s sake, when the falcon attacks him. They form a ‘six’ around him and protect him, so that he cannot be hunted. Our father, like a needy poor man, knocks at the door for us to open to him and give him a crust of bread, if not a meal:
I stand at the gate and knock. If any man shall hear my voice and open to me the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me. (Ap 3:20)
We degenerates, like vulture’s children, let our father die of hunger, so that he complains through Jeremiah:
Am I become a wilderness to Israel, or a lateward springing land? Why then have my people said: We are revolted, we will come to thee no more? Will a virgin forget her ornament, or a bride her stomacher? But my people have forgotten me days without number. (Jr 2:31-32)
The Lord is no wilderness, or late-yielding land which produces little or no fruit. He is the paradise of the Lord, a land of blessing in which whatever we sow we reap a hundredfold.
Why then do we miserably depart from him and forget him for so long a time? The soul, Christ’s Bride, a virgin in faith and love, cannot forget her ornament, the divine love with which she began. She cannot forget her stomacher, the pure conscience in which she stands secure. Beloved brothers, let us be like the offspring of the crane. If necessary, let us expose ourselves to death for our father’s sake, for the faith of our father. In this ageing world, soon to perish, let us refresh him with good works, lest perchance it happens to us that Jesus hid himself and went out of the Temple. It is for this reason that from this Sunday, named after the Passion of the Lord, the “Glory be to the Father” is omitted from the responsories; although it is not entirely silent yet, because the Lord has not yet been betrayed into the hands of his enemies.
Let us pray then, and with tears beseech the Lord Jesus Christ, that he hide not his face from us, nor go out of the temple of our hearts. May he not accuse us of sin in his judgement, but pour upon us grace to hear his word carefully. May he give us patience when we suffer injury, and free us from eternal death. May he glorify us in his kingdom, that with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob we may see the day of his eternity. May he grant this, to whom be honour and power, dignity and dominion, for ever and ever. Let all the Church say: Amen.