The Gospel for the Extraordinary Form for Friday of Passion Week is John 11: 47-54. The Douay Version in my missal asks a question in a curious way: “What do we”?
What do we?
Such a miracle (raising Lazarus to life) as this should have drawn forth wonder and praise.
But they make it a reason of plotting against His life.
Then gathered the chief priests and, Pharisees a council, and said, what do we?
But they had no thought of believing.
The miserable men only consulted how they might hurt and kill Him,
Not how themselves might be saved from death.
What do we? For this Man does many miracles. (Augustine)
Him of whose divinity they had received such certain proofs, they call only a man. (John Chrysostom)
This speech is an evidence of their audacity and blindness: of their audacity,
because they testified that He had done many miracles,
and yet thought that they could contend successfully against Him,
and that He would have no power of withstanding their plots;
of their blindness, because they did not reflect that He who had wrought such miracles
could easily escape out of their hands; unless indeed they denied that these miracles were done by Divine power.
They resolved then not to let Him go; thinking that they should thus place an impediment in the way of those who wished to believe in Him, and also prevent the Romans from taking away their place and nation.
If we let Him thus alone, all men will believe on Him, and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
What do we?
It is an excellent question for us. Do we behave as if he is absent or present? Do we behave as if he has divine power or as if he is just one of us?
What do we? Do we treat the unfortunate or the inconvenient as Christ in his distressing disguise, or do we dismiss him?
He has done marvelous things. What do we?
Other translations translate the question differently:
“What do we?” (Douay)
“What are we going to do? (NABRE)
“What are we about?” (Knox)
“What are we to do?” (RSVCE)