From First Vespers last night until the Paschal Vigil, the Gloria Patri is not said after the Asperges on Passion Sunday or the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, Introit, Lavabo and Communion Antiphonal Psalms. In the Office, it is eliminated from some of the Verses and Short Responsories. Jesus is losing his earthly glory. The readings and psalm antiphons reflect this in the Mass and Office. Those who hate him are now plentiful. Those who seek his death are now coming to the fore. It is another stripping away within the liturgy which began on Septuagesima. While our penance continues, the focus is now shifting towards the passion of Our Blessed Lord and his saving work of redemption. Abbot Gueranger writes that:
"During the preceding four weeks, we have noticed how the malice of Jesus' enemies has been gradually increasing. His very presence irritates them; and it is evident that any little circumstance will suffice to bring the deep and long-nurtured hatred to a head."His passion then has begun. His glory is no longer apparent.
For the Mass on the Fifth Sunday according to the Roman Missal of 1962, the Gospel is what it has been for 1600 years and it explains the veiling.
GOSPEL ¤ John 8. 46-59 † A continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John.
At that time Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: Which of you shall convince Me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe Me? He that is of God heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God. The Jews therefore answered and said to Him: Do not we say well, that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honor My Father, and you have dishonored Me. But I seek not My own glory: there is One that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen, I say to you: If any man keep My word, he shall not see death for ever. The Jews therefore said: Now we know that Thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the Prophets: and Thou sayest: If any man keep My word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost Thou make Thyself? Jesus answered: If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing: it is My Father that glorifieth Me, of whom you say that He is your God, and you have not known Him: but I know Him: and if I shall say that I know Him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know Him, and do keep His word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see My day: he saw it and was glad. The Jews therefore said to Him: Thou art not yet fifty years old: and hast Thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at Him: but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.
“He hides not himself in a corner of the temple as if afraid or running into a cottage or turning aside behind a wall or column; but by His Divine Power making Himself invisible he passed through their midst.”
205 God calls Moses from the midst of a bush that burns without being consumed: "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."9 God is the God of the fathers, the One who had called and guided the patriarchs in their wanderings. He is the faithful and compassionate God who remembers them and his promises; he comes to free their descendants from slavery. He is the God who, from beyond space and time, can do this and wills to do it, the God who will put his almighty power to work for this plan.
Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you', and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'. . . this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations."
206 In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH ("I AM HE WHO IS", "I AM WHO AM" or "I AM WHO I AM"), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is - infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the "hidden God", his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men.
207 By revealing his name God at the same time reveals his faithfulness which is from everlasting to everlasting, valid for the past ("I am the God of your father"), as for the future ("I will be with you").12 God, who reveals his name as "I AM", reveals himself as the God who is always there, present to his people in order to save them.
208 Faced with God's fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God's holiness.13 Before the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: "Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips."14 Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."15 But because God is holy, he can forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: "I will not execute my fierce anger. . . for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst."16 The apostle John says likewise: "We shall. . . reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything."
Jesus revealed to the Temple authorities, the leadership of Israel, who He was. He knew Abraham and did so in such a way that they would know with clarity who He was. He hid Himself.
Now, he is in hidden in our churches and chapels only to be unveiled when we recall His Crucifixion -- "ecce lignum crucis," -- "Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the Saviour of the world, come let us adore him." If we hide Him we cannot abide the glory of His saints, therefore, they are also hidden. Christ is shamed. He is humiliated by those whom he came to save. The Jews betrayed Him, we continue to betray Him today.
He declared Himself before all Israel to be the I AM of the Burning Bush; and for this, they would kill Him. They knew what He said, they knew what He meant.
He confessed to them that he was the very Son of God, the very God Himself come to earth.
In the sermon below from 1846 we find an incredible dissertation on Jesus hiding Himself. It is a sermon by an Anglican, but one would be hard-pressed to find a better sermon or homily said today on the subject from a typical Catholic pulpit.
This was a period which lead Bl. John-Henry Newman home.
Would that we could here preaching like this today.
Jesus “hid Himself," as God, in majesty; the majesty of displeasure. "He did not hide Himself," says St. Augustine, "in a corner of the Temple, as if He were afraid; or take refuge in a house, or run behind a wall, or a pillar; but, by His heavenly power making Himself invisible to His enemies, He went through the midst of them." Just before, He had said, "Before Abraham was I Am"; with evident reference to the Name revealed by the Lord to Moses, as recorded in the First Lesson for this morning's service; when He appeared to him in the burning but unconsumed bush, as he was keeping the flock of Jethro, the Priest of Midian, near the base of Mount Horeb. On that occasion, when Moses would have drawn nigh to see that great sight, the Lord forbad his nearer approach, and commanded him to unsandal his feet, because they were standing on holy ground. He, who required this reverence towards an inferior manifestation of Himself, would not permit the rude hand of violence to invade His incarnate glory. He "hid Himself" in the secret depths of His invisible Godhead.