FIRST READING (Exodus 32:7-14)
The Lord said to Moses, “Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’”
And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people; now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make a great nation.”
But Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does thy wrath burn hot against thy people, whom thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, `With evil intent did he bring them forth, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou didst swear by thine own self, and didst say to them, `I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.’”
And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.
GOSPEL (John 5:31-47)
At that time: Jesus said to the Jews, If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true. You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. Not that the testimony which I receive is from man; but I say this that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
“But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father has granted me to accomplish, these very works which I am doing, bear me witness that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent.
“You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
“I do not receive glory from men. But I know that you have not the love of God within you.
“I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
“How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
“Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; it is Moses who accuses you, on whom you set your hope. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
FURTHERMORE . . .
In Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit God gave us the full and final revelation of Himself. His Being now for us is the First Reality, incomparably more evident than all the transient phenomena of this world. We sense His divine presence both within us and without: in the supreme majesty of the universe, in the human face, in the lightning flash of thought. He opens our eyes that we may behold and delight in the beauty of His creation. He fill our souls with love towards all mankind. He indescribably gentle touch pierces our heart. And in the hours when His imperishable Light illumines our heart we know that we shall not die. We know this with a knowledge to prove in the ordinary way, but which for us requires no proof, since the Spirit Himself bears witness within us . . .
. . . For us, Christians, Jesus Christ is the measure of all things, divine and human. “In Him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead” (Col 2:9) and of mankind. He is our most perfect ideal. In Him we find the answer to all our problems, which without Him would be insoluble. He is n truth the mystical axis of the universe. If Christ were not the Son of God, then Salvation through the adoption of man by God the Father would be totally incomprehensible. With Christ man steps forward into divine eternity.
(Archimandrite Sophrony (1896 -1993) in “His LIfe is Mine”, pp 22-23, 31)
PRAYER (From the Coptic Liturgy of St Basil – 4th century)
Lord our God, great, eternal, wonderful in glory,
who keepest covenant and promises
for those that love thee with their whole heart;
who art the life of all,
the help of those that flee unto thee,
the hope of those who cry unto thee;
cleanse us from our sins, secret and open,
and from every thought displeasing to thy goodness,
cleanse our bodies and souls,
our hearts and consciences,
that with a pure heart and a clear soul,
with perfect love and calm hope,
we may venture confidently and fearlessly
to pray unto thee.