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

January 13, 2017

Fr. John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO [1]

1st Friday in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 4:1-5,11 ; Mark 3:1-12

THE LETTER TO HEBREWS from the author’s first sentences is a strongly worded document An intensity of purpose that is evident impresses the reader from its first lines. Written to fellow Jews become Christians by an author who felt no need to identify himself by name, seemingly because he assumes his readers will recognize him by his tone and the evident authority he displays as he addresses them.  He warns his readers that many of their ancestors were punished for their infidelity. He cites the words of Scripture that serve as a warning: They shall not enter my rest.”

With this thought he touches on an issue that Our Lord himself addressed in instructing his apostles. He warned them to take care, for  “Many are called but few are chosen.” And he added that they should strive to enter by the narrow gate for broad is the way that leads to perdition. As we read Saint Bernard, we discover this same earnestness that led him to practice strenuous self-denial. Like the author of Hebrews he concentrates on the ultimate goal of our live and striving and remains in good spirits even while practicing a demanding self-denial.

The Gospel passage we have just heard depicts Jesus as the healer who so readily responds to the needs of those who put faith in him. He readily responded to the ills and sufferings of the afflicted and soon became known and much sought after for his willingness to use this gift so freely. He was not deterred by the opposition he encountered for the claims he made to act in God’s name. the Pharisees were convinced that he claimed the power to forgive sins  was blasphemous. AS proof that he was justified to assert he had such power from God, he is judged to be blasphemous. His miraculous healing is proof that God  acts in and through him. How mysterious we humans are in our choices in life.

As we encounter people in our own time who come  to the Abbey yet do not have the true Catholic faith may we be all the more grateful o God for giving us the surpassing gift of trusting in his words and believing the revelation brought by his Son our Savior whom we receive in this Eucharist.