LENT, Week 1: Friday

“Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)

In commenting on this verse from today’s First Reading, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“I mean, surely I seek nothing else than a mere end of their wickedness and a stop to their evil? Surely I look for no accounting of past deeds if I see them willing to change? Do I not cry aloud each day, “Surely I have no real wish for the death of the sinner as for his conversion and life?” Do I not take every means to snatch from destruction those ensnared in deceit? Surely, after all, if I see them changing I will not hesitate? Surely I do not bring you from non-being for the purpose of destroying you? It is not in vain that I prepared the kingdom and the countless good things beyond description, was it? Did I not also make the threat of hell for the purpose of encouraging everyone by this means also to hasten toward the kingdom?” (Homilies on Genesis, 44)

Grant that your faithful, O Lord, we pray,
may be so conformed to the paschal observances,
that the bodily discipline now solemnly begun
may bear fruit in the souls of all.
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 the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen