Wednesday – First Week – OT1

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Wednesday – First Week – OT1

 

Readings: Heb 2:14-18; Mk 1:29-39.

1/ Reading I: NAB Hebrews 2:14 Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. 16 Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; 17 therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

2/ Gospel: NAB Mark 1:29 On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. 31 He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. 32 When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. 33 The whole town was gathered at the door. 34 He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. 35 Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and those who were with him pursued him 37 and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” 39 So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.


Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, O.P.

I. THEME: Christ is the merciful and faithful High Priest.           

            There is a Vietnamese adage which said, “When you have a sore eye, you shall have compassion for the blind.” Similarly, only parents know how difficult is it to bear and to raise up their childs. When a person passed through suffering and temptation, that person can help those who are in that same situation.

            Today readings concentrate on the topic: Why Jesus must be incarnated and like a human being in all aspects, except sin. In the first reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews explained that the puspose of the Incarnation is for Jesus to have a body to die so that he could destroy human sins and death. It is also for him to be like human beings in all aspects so that he has compassion for human beings and effectively helps them to overcome sufferings and temptations. The Gospel showed that Jesus had compassion for human sickness through his healing of Peter’s mother-in-law and all the sicks in Capernaum who came to him to be healed. He also taught his disciples how to balance a life of prayer and apostolic activities.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “He had to become like his brothers in every way.”

            When expanding Christianity into the Roman and Hellenistic cultures, the Church must explain for the Gentiles two very difficult topics:

            (1) Why Jesus must be incarnated? To the Greeks, God is pure Spirit; there is no matter in Him. They believed that in order for people to be liberated and united with God, they must try to set them free from the prison of the body which is confining their soul so that they also become pure spirits. The Christianity is against their belief in believing that Christ, as God, must be incarnated to save people.

            (2) Why God must be suffered? Both the Jews and the Greeks don’t believe that God must be suffered, only human beings are suffered. A god who is suffered is no longer a god. They reason that if God has no power to overcome suffering, how can He help others to overcome their sufferings? The Christiany also opposes them when said: there is no salvation if God’s Son didn’t die on the cross!

            The author of the Letter to the Hebrews answered these questions as followed:

1.1/ Christ must be incarnated to have a human body: To destroy sins and death, Christ must have a body to die and to redeem sins for human beings. If he doesn’t have a body, how can he die? In the author’s words, “Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham.” Of course, Christ didn’t die forever. He rose from death and became the firstfruit of all those who were raised from death. He is the forerunner who opened up the heaven so that all of his people can also go the same way.

1.2/ Christ must be like a human being in all aspects: The author also recognized the necessary for Christ to be a human being in all aspects, except sin, as he wrote: “Therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” Its purposes are:

            (1) He was really considered as a man: If one is a man, he must be suffered and pass through the death.

            (2) He understands human fate and has compassion for people: If a person doesn’t pass through sufferings and death, that person can’t completely understand and sympathize for those in that situation.

            (3) Moreover, Christ can effectively help those in that situation, “because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.”

            In short, God has authority in both life and death. He can let His Son to be incarnated, suffered, died, and gloriously arisen. There is nothing which is impossible for God.

2/ Gospel: Jesus had compassion for people. He healed all kinds of sickness.

           

2.1/ Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law: Mark reported this event as followed, “On leaving the synagogue he entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.” In Jesus’ three years of missionary, he always had compassion for people, especially the sick and those who suffered. He always healed when they asked, and sometimes, they didn’t even ask for healing.

           

2.2/ Jesus healed many sick people in the town: Mark wrote, “When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.” The reason why they must wait to the evening because the Jewish law prohibits healing in the Sabbath. Later, Jesus healed people even in the Sabbath.

           

2.3/ Jesus prayed to God: “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.”

            (1) The necessity of a prayer life: When he is still praying, Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” After a whole day being busied with teaching and healing, Jesus can still find time to pray with his Father. He sets an example for his disciples. Prayer is important because it nourishes apostolic activities. Jesus’ disciples must find a balance between these two poles.

            (2) God’s kingdom must be expanded through all areas: Jesus told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.”

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:            

            – We must have compassion for people and sympathize with their weakness, sickness, sufferings and sins before we can help them to return to God.

            – We need to keep a balance for our life so that we have time to unite with God through prayer and time to do apostolic and social works.

            – We need to be matured so that we can help ourselves and others, not to completely depend on others’ helps.

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