Voices ever ancient, ever new. Lent, Week 5: Wednesday

“I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you.” (John 8:37)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the Gospel proclaimed at Mass today:

“It is also possible for one who happens to be the [biological] seed of Abraham by diligence to become his [spiritual] child. And it is possible, by neglect and poor stewardship, for one to cease to be his seed. There was still hope for them, however, to whom the saying was addressed. Jesus knew that they were the seed of Abraham and saw that they had not yet lost the ability to become children of Abraham. Since it was possible for them to become children of Abraham in addition to being his seed, he said, “If you are the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham.” But just as some are seed of Abraham, so others are really “seed of Canaan, not of Judah,” as Daniel says.

But if, in addition to being seed of Abraham, they had cultivated the seed of Abraham and given it over to greatness and growth, the word of Jesus would have produced great growth in the seed of Abraham. . . . But those who wished to kill the Word and to crush him did not contain his greatness. If any one of us is seed of Abraham and the Word of God does not continue in him still, let him not seek to kill the Word. Let him change from merely being seed of Abraham to becoming a child of Abraham, and he will be able to take in the Word of God, whom he did not have till then.” (Commentary on John, 20)

Enlighten, O God of compassion,
the hearts of your children, sanctified by penance,
and in your kindness
grant those you stir to a sense of devotion
a gracious hearing when they cry out to you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen!