- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

February 3, 2017

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO [1]

4th Friday of Ordinary Time
Hebrews 13: 1 – 8: Ps 27; Mark 6: 14 – 29

In an earlier passage the author of Hebrews writes: “…persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.” St. Benedict puts it this way: “Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.” In today’s passage from Hebrews the author lists the ways of being “fixed on Jesus” or “preferring nothing whatever to Christ.”

He writes of brotherly love, hospitality, mindfulness of the imprisoned, of the ill-treated, mindfulness of self, of the sacredness of marriage and then he writes: “Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have.” Immediately he adds this truth from God Himself: “I will never forsake you or abandon you.”

Obviously, there is a connection between love of money or inordinate attachment to anything or anyone and the truth of God’s faithfulness. Could it be that the author inspired by God is telling us that any inordinate, possessive attachment finds its roots in the fear that God will not be enough or the fear that God will not be faithful? It seems so.

If so, then there is a kind of certainty about undue attachments, of whatever kind, that compensates for the uncertainty about God.

The journey of “keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus” or “preferring nothing whatever to the love of Christ” is the life-long journey of conversion. It is the journey of coming to know self, our deepest self – its lights, its darknesses and bring them to prayer in humble gratitude or heartfelt contrition.

Without this desire, then the journey of conversion is wishful thinking. Without this daily desire, then our eyes are not really fixed on Jesus nor do we in all reality want to prefer the love of Christ. If so, then we are no better than the Herod or Herodias of today’s Gospel – people given to self first.