IF GOD WERE YOUR FATHER

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Opening Prayer

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love, according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

— Psalm 51:1-2

TEXT

John 8:39-47 NJB

They repeated, ‘Our father is Abraham.’

Jesus said to them: If you are Abraham’s children, do as Abraham did. As it is, you want to kill me, a man who has told you the truth as I have learnt it from God; that is not what Abraham did. You are doing your father’s work.

They replied, ‘We were not born illegitimate, the only father we have is God.’

Jesus answered: If God were your father, you would love me, since I have my origin in God and have come from him; I did not come of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? Because you cannot bear to listen to my words. You are from your father, the devil, and you prefer to do what your father wants. He was a murderer from the start; he was never grounded in the truth; there is no truth in him at all. When he lies he is speaking true to his nature, because he is a liar, and the father of lies. But it is because I speak the truth that you do not believe me. Can any of you convict me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever comes from God listens to the words of God; the reason why you do not listen is that you are not from God.

 

Read

[Jesus] said not merely, ‘you do his works’ but ‘you do his desires’…and that envy was the cause. For the devil destroyed Adam, not because he had any charge against him, but only from envy…The devil first showed himself to be the father of a lie when he said, ‘In the day that you eat thereof your eyes shall be opened’, and he first used this ploy. For men use a lie not as something proper, but as a thing alien to their nature: but [the devil] employs it as if it were right…

But what if they could not understand? Not to be able here means not to be willing; for ‘You have trained yourselves to be mean, to imagine nothing great.’ They said that they persecuted Him as being themselves zealous for God. On this account, He everywhere strives to show that to persecute Him is the act of those who hate God, and that, on the contrary, to love Him is the act of those who know God…Let us labor a little, that we may rest forever. Do not seize gold, but seize that wealth which shows gold to be but mud.

— St. John Chrysostom, “Homily LIV on John”

 

Prayer of Response

Lord, give us ears to hear your truth. Help us to be attentive to your voice and guide us in orienting ourselves so that we may have you as our sole focus. Let our minds not succumb to the lies of the evil one and turn our hearts toward this world, rather let our focus be on you so that the things of this world may very truly appear as mud when compared to your glory. Amen.

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