Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO 
4th Thursday in Ordinary Time
1 Kings 2: 1-4, 10-12; Mark 6: 7-13
In today’s first reading, we heard David’s great legacy to his son Solomon. “Take courage and be a man. Keep the mandate of the Lord, your God, following his ways and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees.” To be a man means remembering that you were created in the image and likeness of God. As the creator of the universe, God is the source of all that is and the giver of life. One can only live by receiving the gift of life from the hand of the creator. Abundant life comes from participation in God, and we participate in God when we see Him with the eyes of faith and abide in His mercy.
“Take courage and be the person God meant you to be.” These words are extremely important for people living in a society that demands conformity to social mores. The Word in Whom and by Whom the world was created became flesh so that human beings may come to experience an abundant life. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection put David’s words to his son into a fuller context. Jesus said, “I came down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me” (Jn. 6: 38). Put plainly, Jesus can only be the person He is meant to be by doing the will of His Father.
“Take courage and, in the face of all adversity, be single hearted and live in the fear of the Lord.” Only if we live in the fear of the Lord will our hearts come to know the fullness of love that will allow us to run the way of God’s commandments. As we acknowledge ourselves to be beloved children of God, we will find ourselves conformed to the Beloved Son and doing the will of Him Who loves us. If we trust in God’s faithfulness, love and loving-kindness and hold firm to His promises we shall come to know the fullness of life.
“Take courage and repent of your infidelities because the Kingdom of God is close at hand.” The coming of the Kingdom needs to be announced clearly and fearlessly because in Christ we see ourselves for who we really are. Whenever we admit that we are accountable for our sins, we give glory to God who is rich in mercy. When we confess that we have fallen short, we can begin to be the people God created us to be. We cannot attain to our full dignity without first prostrating ourselves before the merciful judgment of God.
“Take courage and invite others to live as children of the Kingdom by crossing the threshold of Mercy.” Having known the mercy God has extended to us, we are commissioned to invite others to open their hearts to God’s healing mercy for them.
There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole;
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin-sick soul.
Sometimes I feel discouraged,
And think my work’s in vain,
But then the Holy Spirit
Revives my soul again.
(Balm In Gilead, Paul Robeson)