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

February 4, 2017

Fr. John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO [1]

4th Saturday of Ordinary Time
Hebrews 13:15-17; Mark 6:30-34

The Letter to the Hebrews was sent to Church by its author who was keenly aware that they were subjected to persecution. He spoke to them from his own experi9ence, it is clear, of having undergone the stress and disruption of being under stress from society because of his faith. Though various authors of this intriguing writing have been proposed the current opinion of scholars is that he lived and wrote sometime between 60 and 90 A.D. There are reasons to consider this author’s  work to be taken from different homilies he gave on various occasions. What is evident is that he was well acquainted with apostolic teaching and had given much thought to grasping its implications.

An impressive instance of his proclamation stands at the beginning of today’s text that reads as follows: ” Brothers and Sisters, through Jesus let continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.”  While Saint Benedict does not cite these words they certainly express his teaching of the chief  duty of the monk: to praise God in prayer that dominates the monastic day. Our author urges all the faithful to make prayer the atmosphere in which the serious believer lives. In writing this he reminds of Saint Paul’s words that affirm: “in Him we live and move and have our being.”  By these brief opening words we today are confront ed with a challenge that we are to meet every days of our life.

The Gospel from Saint Mark is a variation of this same less taught by Jesus himself and addressed to his chosen apostles after their activity in the ministry he had assigned them “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” But there suddenly develops a crowd that thwarts his plan. He is so moved by sympathy for their spiritual needs that he feels constrained to renounce his preference and to meet the needs of these needy people. Our monastic fathers devised a way of dealing with this kind of interruption of solitude by limiting these activities to a few experienced monks made available at appropriate and limited times.

By fidelity to the spirit  of Saint Benedict’s provisions may we always bear witness as a community to the primacy of prayer and union with God, through Jesus our Savior on behalf of the whole Church and of all persons created by Our God..