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in that day wherein God shall give back to His servants their fleshly bodies, glorified and made spiritual with all the powers of the resurrection life. How little place has the thought of that day in our earth-centred lives; how little do we rejoice in beholding it by faith!
Is it not because we manifest so little gladness in the fact that we have already seen the Lord's day, far more wonderfully than Abraham saw it out of hades? For not merely have we been made to know all the celestial story of the incarnation, but we have also the perpetual embodiment of the fact of the incarnation in our very midst, through the Blessed Sacrament. If that but were to us what it ought to be, like Abraham we should always have glad hearts because we have already seen, and may always see, the day of the Lord.
Third Thought.-Wherein does the strength and the power of the vision lie; the supernatural essence, which makes it so entrancing, so satisfying? It is not hard to learn to love Jesus of Nazareth, the gracious Lord of the Gospels. It is easy to be His friend, easy to secure Him as our friend the most intimate of all friends, if we will-only innocency of life is needed, and true penitence on the part of those who fall. There is something very satisfying in being on
such terms with Him; He never disappoints. But then all the sweetness of that friendship cannot carry one on beyond this world, through those tremendous crises of death and judgment which are so soon to be experienced by every one-unless our Friend, the gentle Christ, be God. "Before Abraham was, I am." What could be more impressive than that? And how re-assuring the consequences which flow from it! My most intimate Friend, to Whom I have learned to take everything, and Who never fails me, is the Almighty; and yet I have no need to be afraid because of that, except I sin. Therefore with what jealous tenacity should every believer guard the truth of our Lord's divinity.
"And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."-St. John ix. 1-3.
Exposition. St. Chrysostom says: "Before, when He healed the paralytic, He said, Behold, thou art made whole, sin no more. They therefore, having understood that he was palsied on account of sin, said, Well, that other was palsied because of his sins; but concerning this man, what wouldest Thou say? hath he sinned? It is not possible to say so, for he is blind from his birth. Have his parents sinned? Neither can one say this, for the child suffers not punishment for the father. As therefore when we see a child evil entreated, we exclaim, "What can one say of this?" What has the child done? not as asking a question, but as being perplexed, so the disciples spake here, not so much asking for information, as being in perplexity. What then
saith Christ. Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents. This He saith not as acquitting them of sins, for He saith not simply, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but addeth, that he should have been born blind-but that the Son of God should be glorified in him. For both this man hath sinned and his parents, but his blindness proceedeth not from that. And this He said, not signifying that though this man indeed was not in such case, yet that others had been made blind from such a cause, the sins of their parents, since it cannot be that when one sinneth another should be punished. For if we allow this, we must also allow that he sinned before his birth."
And again the same father: "In the words, That the glory of God should be made manifest in him, there is another difficulty, if without this man's punishment, it was not possible that the glory of God should be shown. Certainly it is not said that it was impossible, for it was possible, but that it might be manifested even in this man. 'What,' saith some one, 'did he suffer wrong for the glory of God?' What wrong, tell me? For what if God had never willed to produce him at all? But I assert that he even received benefit from his blindness: since he recovered the sight of the eyes within. What were the Jews profited by their eyes? They incurred
the heavier punishment, being blinded even while they saw. And what injury had this man by his blindness? For by means of it he recovered sight. As then the evils of the present life are not evils, so neither are the good things good; sin alone is an evil, but blindness is not an evil. And He Who had brought this man from not being into being, had also power to leave him as he was."
Trench says: "God Who, though not the author, is yet the disposer of evil.—Who distributes that which He did not Himself bring in, and distributes it according to the counsels of His wisdom and righteousness and grace, had willed that on this man should be concentrated more than the ordinary penalties of the world's universal sin, that a more than ordinary grace and glory might be revealed in their removing."
Stier comments as follows: "As regards the present case the Lord denies any specific sin on either side as entailing this penalty; and with such earnest decision as manifests His own superhuman penetration into all its circumstances."
And again: "The works of God here meant are primarily His saving, redeeming works; and if we rightly understand the spirit of the word of Jesus, as well as the spirit of the typical act wherewith He accompanied it, we shall our