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Third Sunday after Easter


– Jesus Christ announces His return to His Father.

Prayer
“A little while and you shall see Me no longer.ˮ

“A little while and you shall see Me no longer.ˮ

We must therefore expect not to see Jesus anymore!…. He Himself tells us: He will go away. He will seem to abandon us. He will leave our soul. He will deliver it up to itself. He will test its fidelity. He wants to know if in all times we will be steadfastly attached to Him… We must therefore prepare ourselves, O my soul! We must now prove to Jesus if it is truly for Him that we love Him. We must know how to support His rigors. We must want to remain alone if it pleases Him to leave us so. We must know how to remain without light, without consolation, without rest, without any other support than the Cross, because the Cross always remains… it remains naked, arid, thorny, tearing… but it is always the Cross. If it were to remain as though it had no strength to support us… Even so, we must not lose courage, we must act, we must continue to die. We must not want to live again when we have chosen to lose our mortal life in order to ensure eternal life. Do you have courage, O my soul? Now is the time to show it.

My God, I am ready for anything… I will always be faithful to You, with Your divine help. I want to endure everything. And please test me with every kind of neglect and affliction, do, Lord… In life and in death I am Yours. I will never abandon You.

“And a little while longer and you will see Me again.ˮ

So He’s coming back, after He left us? He reappears after having hidden Himself from our souls? When He is sure of its faithfulness, He comes back, He does not want to leave it any longer in this cruel uncertainty, in this forsakenness, these pains, in this night where everything is hidden from its eyes, and where it does not see its good Master any more. He returns… He is coming back! His absence is not always the mark that we have lost Him. My soul, take comfort. Maybe Jesus didn’t even walk away. He remains in the depths of our hearts, but so hidden that we no longer see Him, we no longer feel Him, we no longer know what He has become, but He is coming back… This word says it all, it seems to me. You only come back home.

Oh! Does my heart really belong to Jesus? Is it devoted to Him without reservation? Is it only for Him? Does it love only Jesus? Does it deserve Jesus to come back? Is my heart worthy to see Him again?… Oh! I deserve nothing and You give me everything! My heart is unworthiness itself, and Jesus fills it with goodness. At least it doesn’t add ingratitude to its unworthiness. May it finally and undividedly love and return to the God who loved me so much, who supported me with so much mercy…

Epistle

Epistle of Saint Peter, 1 Peter 2, 11-19

Beloved: I exhort you as strangers and pilgrims to abstain from carnal desires which war against the soul. Behave yourselves honorably among the pagans; that, whereas they slander you as evildoers, they may, through observing you, by reason of your good works glorify God in the day of visitation. Be subject therefore to every human creature for God’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors as sent through Him for vengeance on evildoers and for the praise of the good. For such is the Will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Live as freemen, yet not using your freedom as a cloak for malice but as servants of God. Honor all men; love the brotherhood; fear God; honor the king. Servants, be subject to your masters in all fear, not only to the good and moderate, but also to the severe. This is indeed a grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thanks be to God.

Reflection on the Epistle, by M. Poujoulat

This Epistle teaches us that the earth is not the place where we can hope to be happy. It is not ours. Nothing must therefore bind our hearts to it. We must even give to others an example of complete liberation. To despise virtue and to mock it is to act like an infidel. One of the essential duties that religion prescribes for us is submission to princes and those who govern. One of their most indispensable duties is to use their authority to suppress vice and protect virtue. Christian liberty does not make us independent, but frees us from vice and passions. Finally, may the patience that can be glorious to a Christian be not the patience he has in the evils he has been drawn to by his sins, but the patience he has in the evils he suffers unjustly and for the sake of God.

Let us pray – O God, who showest the light of thy truth to such as go astray, that they may return to the way of righteousness : grant that all, who profess the Christian name, may forsake whatever is contrary to that profession, and closely pursue what is agreeable to it. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Gospel

Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to John, Ch. XVI.

At that time: Jesus said to His disciples: “A little while, and you shall see Me no longer; and again a little while, and you shall see Me; because I go to the Father.ˮ Some of His disciples therefore said to one another: “What is this He says to us, ‘A little while, and you shall not see Me, and again a little while, and you shall see Me, and because I go to the Father’?ˮ They kept saying therefore: “What is this ‘little while’ of which He speaks? We do not know what He is saying.ˮ But Jesus knew that they wanted to ask Him, and He said to them: “You inquire about this among yourselves, because I said: ‘A little while, and you shall not see Me; and again, a little while and you shall see Me.’ Amen, amen, I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman about to give birth, has sorrow, because her hour has come. But when she has brought forth the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for her joy that a man is born into the world. And you therefore have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no one shall take from you.

Praise be to Thee, O Christ.

Reflection on the Gospel, by M. Poujoulat

This Gospel teaches us that when we find darkness in the word of God, instead of undertaking to interpret it ourselves, we must receive intelligence from the shepherds. Jesus Christ Himself anticipated the desires of the apostles to instruct them. It must be the same with those who are responsible for leading others. They must forewarn them to help them. In the way Jesus Christ marks the difference between the state of the world and the state of those who truly serve God, to be here in the joy of the world is to be in evil, since this joy will be followed by eternal pain. On the contrary, we will be well compensated one day for a sadness we have had to share in this passing life, when we will possess in heaven a joy that will last forever. Finally, what makes the sadness of the righteous person here is mainly the sadness of being far away from God.

It is right and just, needful, and available to salvation, that mankind should, with all devotion, venerate thee, O Christ! admirable King! as its God and Lord. —This is He, whose being condemned broke the chains that held countless believers in the prison of Limbo, and enrolled them under the Standard of Liberty. This is He, who was shown to the world as the Lion of the Tribe of Juda; and all the earth celebrates, with joy, the defeat of Satan, the lion that destroyed souls. This is He, who permitted his Body to be fastened with nails to the wood of the Cross, that the wicked spirit might know how great is the power he has to fear. When he cried out with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost, the earth shook, heaven trembled, day took flight, the sun was darkened, the stars hid their rays and disappeared. He descended into hell, broke its gates, and filled it with terror. He rose again, and the Angels rejoiced ; let the earth, and they that dwell therein, be glad. It was in this his triumph that was seen what the Prophet had foretold, when he said : I will be thy death, O Hell ! Where, then, is thy victory? For Death could not be destroyed save by Life. Christ having descended to them that were captives of Death, he restored them to Life by his Resurrection, which was thus attested by both the living and the dead.

It is by the Word of God, that we know the mysteries of his Divine Essence, the plan according to which he framed the Creation, the supernatural end he destined for such of his creatures as he endowed with understanding and free-will, the sublime work of redemption by the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, in a word, the means whereby we are to honour and serve him, and attain the end for which we were made.

From the very commencement of the world, God revealed his Word to man; later on, he spoke by the Prophets; but when the fulness of time came, he sent upon the earth his Only Begotten Son, that he might complete this first Revelation. We have seen how, for three years, Jesus has been teaching men, and how, in order that he might make them the more easily understand his words, he has stooped to their littleness. Though his teaching was of the sublimest possible character, yet did he make it so intelligible that no instruction could be compared to his in clearness. It was for this reason, that he made use of simple parables, whereby he conveyed his divine truths to the mind of his hearers. His Apostles and Disciples, who were afterwards to preach his Gospel to the world, received from him frequent special instructions; although, until the accomplishment of the mysteries of his Death and Resurrection, they were slow in understanding his teaching. Since his Resurrection, they are better able to appreciate his instructions, for not only are his words more telling now that he is in the glory of his triumph over death, but the minds of his hearers have become more enlightened by the extraordinary events that have occurred.

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