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

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” (John 8:51)

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

“For what is that death that has come into the world through sin if it is not the last enemy of Christ that will be destroyed? And what is that death that passed to all people because all have sinned if it is not this very death that also reigned from Adam to Moses? Now Moses, that is, the law, continued until the sojourn of our Lord Jesus and ruled by one man’s transgression through that one man, until those who have received the abundance of grace and righteousness should reign in life through the one Christ Jesus. Whoever, then, has kept the word of the Only Begotten and Firstborn of creation will never see this death, since it is the nature of the Word to prevent death from being seen. And this is how we must understand the words “If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” It is as if he who speaks these words had given those who hear them light as a gift and said, If anyone keeps this light of mine, he will never see darkness.” (Commentary on John, 20)

Be near, O Lord, to those who plead before you,
and look kindly on those who place their hope in your mercy,
that, cleansed from the stain of their sins,
they may persevere in holy living
and be made full heirs of your promise.
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!