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

January 18, 2019

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

1st Friday in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 4:1-5; Mark 2:1-12

“Let us be on our guard while the promise of entering into his rest remains” (Heb. 4:1). The promised rest is both spiritual and eternal. After our earthly labor is ended, we will enter into this rest by grace and enjoy it for all eternity with Christ in our heavenly homeland. We are offered the rest of divine blessing while here on earth and the rest of eternal glory in heaven. While on earth, we live in Christ; when our labors are ended, we will reign with Christ in heaven. Each one of us has a part to play in the unfolding of God’s great salvific plan. The Word became Flesh to seek out workmen for his great venture. Because he is constantly on the lookout for people to partner with him, we have no excuse for standing around and doing nothing (CF. Mat. 20:6). This verse from the hymn Come Labor On sums it up.

Come, labor on.
Cast off all gloomy doubt and faithless fear!
No arm so weak but may do service here.
Though feeble agents, may we all fulfill
God’s righteous will.
(Jane Laurie Borthwick)

The gospel reminds us that we have allowed others to carry us long enough. It is time for us to get on our feet, pick up our mat and join the pilgrimage to our heavenly home (CF. Mk. 2:11).” No longer in bondage to weakness and sin, we are called to labor for the building up of the kingdom. A Sabbath rest awaits all who pour themselves out in imitation of Christ. We are yoked to one another. As such, we must encourage one another as we do our part. When our labor is done, we will find a resting place close to the Heart of Christ who is nearest the heart of God. In that sacred repose, our hearts will find sweet converse with Christ and our ears will hear the voice of the Father calling us by name.

Saint Ambrose wrote,”[Christ] took what is mine in order that He might impart to me what is His. He took it not to overturn it but to fill it.” The beloved Son came into the world to seek out and find all who are lost. The role of Jesus, one and only Savior of the world can only be acknowledged in humility and awe. One who ponders God’s Word, will experience the power of the Holy Spirit that is encapsulated in it. The Word is at the heart of creation and recreation. The word is spoken to us by God and takes flesh in us. As the seed of the Word germinates in our hearts, it will make us humble and obedient to the will of God. By the will of the Father and the working of the Holy Spirit, mercy and grace flow from the pierced heart of Christ. It is in Christ that we find forgiveness for our sins and fullness of life. With each new day we get a fuller glimpse of his divine majesty. We await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ when he will be all in all and will present us to the Father in the company of the heavenly host.