Reflection for Saturday January 19, 2019: 1st Week in Ordinary Time.
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Saint Paul knew, when he wrote to the Hebrews, that they could easily resonate with comparisons between the High Priest with whom he and his readers were familiar, and Jesus. Jesus, Paul reminds them, is the Son of God. He is the embodiment of a new, more sympathetic, direct, interaction with God. Jesus is not only the Son of God, but a man who has experienced being one of us; he has been tested by many human trials, but he remains without sin. He is a compassionate God. Paul reassures us through his letter to the Hebrews that even though God can penetrate between the "soul and the spirit" we should confidently approach Him.|Paul's reassuring words to the Hebrews continue to encourage us to feel secure in the presence of God, even though no thought or action is hidden from Him. He is a sympathetic Lord who has mercy for us, and abundant grace to help us with our incessant needs. |The responsorial psalm provides a beautiful segue between Paul's letter to the Hebrews and the Gospel. We need the reassurance that the "perfect, trustworthy, pure, and true" Lord is, in fact, our "rock and redeemer." He will provide an anchor for our faith; he will hold us to Him.|The alleluia may serve as the title for today's Gospel: "The Lord Sent Me to Bring Glad Tidings to the Poor." Mark tells us that Jesus was walking by his beloved Sea of Galilee teaching the crowd. He encountered Levi, the Tax Collector, and asked him to come and eat with him. Other disparate members of the crowd also followed Jesus and Levi. Since the crowd also included scribes who were Pharisees, they characteristically questioned Jesus' choice of table companions. Why does he eat with Tax Collectors (who were notorious for their collaboration with the Romans, and for overcharging the Jews for their taxes), and other sinners? Jesus was not addressed directly, but he heard the questions. He answered with only a few words, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." He brought glad tidings to the poor. Not only the poor in possessions and power, but to those who are poor in spirit, faith, or in support. He is, in short, inviting all of us to be with him; the glad tidings are for all of us, not only to those who consider themselves to be righteous. It is a lesson that we should reexamine in the context of our present life. Are we, like the Pharisees, too quick to judge, condemn, or reject from our society those who do not agree with us, are not from our culture, or may be seen as sinners? We are all sinners, but Jesus loves us. He has called us to love and to accept each other as he has loved us.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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