Friday 20 March 2020
First Reading – John 7:53 – 8:11
53 Then they all went home, 8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Second Reading – Origen’s commentary on the Gospel of John
How Jesus Himself is the Gospel.
The foregoing inquiry into the nature of the Gospel cannot be regarded as useless; it has enabled us to see what distinction there is between a sensible Gospel and an intellectual and spiritual one. What we have now to do is to transform the sensible Gospel into a spiritual one.
For what would the narrative of the sensible Gospel amount to if it were not developed to a spiritual one? It would be of little account or none; any one can read it and assure himself of the facts it tells — no more. But our whole energy is now to be directed to the effort to penetrate to the deep things of the meaning of the Gospel and to search out the truth that is in it when divested of types. Now what the Gospels say is to be regarded in the light of promises of good things; and we must say that the good things the Apostles announce in this Gospel are simply Jesus. One good thing which they are said to announce is the resurrection; but the resurrection is in a manner Jesus, for Jesus says: John 11:25 I am the resurrection. Jesus preaches to the poor those things which are laid up for the saints, calling them to the divine promises. And the holy Scriptures bear witness to the Gospel announcements made by the Apostles and to that made by our Saviour. David says of the Apostles, perhaps also of the evangelists: The Lord shall give the word to those that preach with great power; the King of the powers of the beloved; teaching at the same time that it is not skilfully composed discourse, nor the mode of delivery, nor well practised eloquence that produces conviction, but the communication of divine power. Hence also Paul says: I will know not the word that is puffed up, but the power; for the kingdom of God is not in word but in power. And in another passage: 1 Corinthians 2:4 And my word and my preaching were not persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power. To this power Simon and Cleophas bear witness when they say: Luke 24:32 Was not our heart burning within us by the way, as he opened to us the Scriptures? And the Apostles, since the quantity of the power is great which God supplies to the speakers, had great power, according to the word of David: The Lord will give the word to the preachers with great power. Isaiah too says: How beautiful are the feet of them that proclaim good tidings; he sees how beautiful and how opportune was the announcement of the Apostles who walked in Him who said, I am the way, and praises the feet of those who walk in the intellectual way of Christ Jesus, and through that door go in to God. They announce good tidings, those whose feet are beautiful, namely, Jesus.
O God, take away from me the heart of stone and give me a human heart, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and enjoy you, for Christ’s sake. Amen