Skip to comments.Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 01-13-2021, Memorial of St. Hilary of Poitiers
Posted on 01/12/2021 11:24:07 PM PST by Cronos
Liturgical Colour: Green.
|First reading||Hebrews 2:14-18 ©|
|Psalm 104(105):1-4,6-9 ©|
|Gospel||Mark 1:29-39 ©|
The readings on this page are from the Jerusalem Bible, which is used at Mass in most of the English-speaking world. The New American Bible readings, which are used at Mass in the United States, are available in the Universalis apps, programs and downloads.
You can also view this page with the Gospel in Greek and English.
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|English: Douay-Rheims||Latin: Vulgata Clementina||Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)||Aramaic NT: Peshitta|
|29.||And immediately going out of the synagogue they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.||Et protinus egredientes de synagoga, venerunt in domum Simonis et Andreæ, cum Jacobo et Joanne.||και ευθεως εκ της συναγωγης εξελθοντες ηλθον εις την οικιαν σιμωνος και ανδρεου μετα ιακωβου και ιωαννου||ܘܢܦܩܘ ܡܢ ܟܢܘܫܬܐ ܘܐܬܘ ܠܒܝܬܗ ܕܫܡܥܘܢ ܘܕܐܢܕܪܐܘܤ ܥܡ ܝܥܩܘܒ ܘܝܘܚܢܢ ܀||.29|
|30.||And Simon's wife's mother lay in a fit of a fever: and forthwith they tell him of her.||Decumbebat autem socrus Simonis febricitans : et statim dicunt ei de illa.||η δε πενθερα σιμωνος κατεκειτο πυρεσσουσα και ευθεως λεγουσιν αυτω περι αυτης||ܘܚܡܬܗ ܕܫܡܥܘܢ ܪܡܝܐ ܗܘܬ ܒܐܫܬܐ ܘܐܡܪܘ ܠܗ ܥܠܝܗ ܀||.30|
|31.||And coming to her, he lifted her up, taking her by the hand; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.||Et accedens elevavit eam, apprehensa manu ejus : et continuo dimisit eam febris, et ministrabat eis.||και προσελθων ηγειρεν αυτην κρατησας της χειρος αυτης και αφηκεν αυτην ο πυρετος ευθεως και διηκονει αυτοις||ܘܩܪܒ ܐܚܕܗ ܒܐܝܕܗ ܘܐܩܝܡܗ ܘܡܚܕܐ ܫܒܩܬܗ ܐܫܬܗ ܘܡܫܡܫܐ ܗܘܬ ܠܗܘܢ ܀||.31|
|32.||And when it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all that were ill and that were possessed with devils.||Vespere autem facto cum occidisset sol, afferebant ad eum omnes male habentes, et dæmonia habentes :||οψιας δε γενομενης οτε εδυ ο ηλιος εφερον προς αυτον παντας τους κακως εχοντας και τους δαιμονιζομενους||ܒܪܡܫܐ ܕܝܢ ܒܡܥܪܒܝ ܫܡܫܐ ܐܝܬܝܘ ܠܘܬܗ ܟܠܗܘܢ ܐܝܠܝܢ ܕܒܝܫܐܝܬ ܥܒܝܕܝܢ ܘܕܝܘܢܐ ܀||.32|
|33.||And all the city was gathered together at the door.||et erat omnis civitas congregata ad januam.||και η πολις ολη επισυνηγμενη ην προς την θυραν||ܘܡܕܝܢܬܐ ܟܠܗ ܟܢܝܫܐ ܗܘܬ ܥܠ ܬܪܥܐ ܀||.33|
|34.||And he healed many that were troubled with divers diseases; and he cast out many devils, and he suffered them not to speak, because they knew him.||Et curavit multos, qui vexabantur variis languoribus, et dæmonia multa ejiciebat, et non sinebat ea loqui, quoniam sciebant eum.||και εθεραπευσεν πολλους κακως εχοντας ποικιλαις νοσοις και δαιμονια πολλα εξεβαλεν και ουκ ηφιεν λαλειν τα δαιμονια οτι ηδεισαν αυτον||ܘܐܤܝ ܠܤܓܝܐܐ ܕܒܝܫܐܝܬ ܥܒܝܕܝܢ ܗܘܘ ܒܟܘܪܗܢܐ ܡܫܚܠܦܐ ܘܕܝܘܐ ܤܓܝܐܐ ܐܦܩ ܘܠܐ ܫܒܩ ܗܘܐ ܠܗܘܢ ܠܕܝܘܐ ܕܢܡܠܠܘܢ ܡܛܠ ܕܝܕܥܝܢ ܗܘܘ ܠܗ ܀||.34|
|35.||And rising very early, going out, he went into a desert place: and there he prayed.||Et diluculo valde surgens, egressus abiit in desertum locum, ibique orabat.||και πρωι εννυχον λιαν αναστας εξηλθεν και απηλθεν εις ερημον τοπον κακει προσηυχετο||ܘܒܨܦܪܐ ܩܕܡ ܩܡ ܛܒ ܘܐܙܠ ܠܐܬܪܐ ܚܘܪܒܐ ܘܬܡܢ ܡܨܠܐ ܗܘܐ ܀||.35|
|36.||And Simon, and they that were with him, followed after him.||Et prosecutus est eum Simon, et qui cum illo erant.||και κατεδιωξαν αυτον ο σιμων και οι μετ αυτου||ܘܒܥܝܢ ܗܘܘ ܠܗ ܫܡܥܘܢ ܘܕܥܡܗ ܀||.36|
|37.||And when they had found him, they said to him: All seek for thee.||Et cum invenissent eum, dixerunt ei : Quia omnes quærunt te.||και ευροντες αυτον λεγουσιν αυτω οτι παντες σε ζητουσιν||ܘܟܕ ܐܫܟܚܘܗܝ ܐܡܪܝܢ ܠܗ ܟܠܗܘܢ ܐܢܫܐ ܒܥܝܢ ܠܟ ܀||.37|
|38.||And he saith to them: Let us go into the neighbouring towns and cities, that I may preach there also; for to this purpose am I come.||Et ait illis : Eamus in proximos vicos, et civitates, ut et ibi prædicem : ad hoc enim veni.||και λεγει αυτοις αγωμεν εις τας εχομενας κωμοπολεις ινα και εκει κηρυξω εις τουτο γαρ εξεληλυθα||ܐܡܪ ܠܗܘܢ ܗܠܟܘ ܠܩܘܪܝܐ ܘܠܡܕܝܢܬܐ ܕܩܪܝܒܢ ܕܐܦ ܬܡܢ ܐܟܪܙ ܠܗܕܐ ܓܝܪ ܐܬܝܬ ܀||.38|
|39.||And he was preaching in their synagogues, and in all Galilee, and casting out devils.||Et erat prædicans in synagogis eorum, et in omni Galilæa, et dæmonia ejiciens.||και ην κηρυσσων εν ταις συναγωγαις αυτων εις ολην την γαλιλαιαν και τα δαιμονια εκβαλλων||ܘܡܟܪܙ ܗܘܐ ܒܟܠܗܝܢ ܟܢܘܫܬܗܘܢ ܒܟܠܗ ܓܠܝܠܐ ܘܡܦܩ ܫܐܕܐ ܀||.39|
29. And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
30. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.
31. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.
BEDE. (in Marc. i. 7) First, it was right that the serpent’s tongue should be shut up, that it might not spread any more venom; then that the woman, who was first seduced, should be healed from the fever of carnal concupiscence. Wherefore it is said, And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, &c.
THEOPHYLACT. He retired then as the custom was on the sabbath-day about evening to eat in His disciples’ house. But she who ought to have ministered was prevented by a fever. Wherefore it goes on, But Simon’s wife’s mother was lying sick of a fever.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (v. Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc. c. 1:32) But the disciples, knowing that they were to receive a benefit by that means, without waiting for the evening prayed that Peter’s mother should be healed. Wherefore there follows, who immediately tell him of her.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) But in the Gospel of Luke it is written, that they besought him for her. (Luke 4:38.) For the Saviour sometimes after being asked, sometimes of His own accord, heals the sick, shewing that He always assents to the prayers of the faithful, when they pray also against bad passions, and some times gives them to understand things which they do not understand at all, or else, when they pray unto Him dutifully, forgives their want of understanding; as the Psalmist begs of God, Cleanse me, O Lord, from my secret faults. (Ps. 19:12) Wherefore He heals her at their request; for there follows, And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up.
THEOPHYLACT. By this it is signified, that God will heal a sick man, if he ministers to the Saints, through love to Christ.
BEDE. (in Marc. i. 6, 8) But in that He gives most profusely His gifts of healing and doctrine on the sabbath day, He teaches, that He is not under the Law, but above the Law, and does not choose the Jewish sabbath, but the true sabbath, and our rest is pleasing to the Lord, if, in order to attend to the health of our souls, we abstain from slavish work, that is, from all unlawful things. It goes on, and immediately the fever left her, &c. The health which is conferred at the command of the Lord, returns at once entire, accompanied with such strength, that she is able to minister to those, of whose help she had before stood in need. Again, if we suppose that the man delivered from the devil means, in the moral way of interpretation, the soul purged from unclean thoughts, fitly does the woman cured of a fever by the command of God mean the flesh, restrained from the heat of its concupiscence by the precepts of continence.
PSEUDO-JEROME. For the fever means intemperance, from which, we the sons of the synagoguek, by the hand of discipline, and by the lifting up of our desires, are healed, and minister to the will of Him who heals us.
THEOPHYLACT. But he has a fever who is angry, and in the unruliness of his anger stretches forth his hands to do hurt; but if reason restrains his hands, he will arise, and so serve reason.
32. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.
33. And all the city was gathered together at the door.
34. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.
THEOPHYLACT. Because the multitude thought that it was not lawful to heal on the sabbath day, they waited for the evening, to bring those who were to be healed to Jesus. Wherefore it is said, And at even, when the sun had set. There follows, and he healed many that were vexed with divers diseases.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) Now in that he says many, all are to be understood according to the Scripture mode of expression.
THEOPHYLACT. Or he says many, because there were some faithless persons, who could not at all be cured on account of their unfaithfulness. Therefore He healed many of those who were brought, that is, all who had faith. It goes on, and cast out many devils.
PSEUDO-AUGUSTINE. (Pseudo Aug. Quæst. e Vet. et Nov. Test. xvi.) For the devils knew that He was the Christ, who had been promised by the Law: for they saw in Him all the signs, which had been foretold by the Prophets; but they were ignorant of His divinity, as also were their princes, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Cor. 2:8)
BEDE. (ubi sup.) For, Him whom the devil had known as a man, wearied by His forty days’ fast, without being able by tempting Him to prove whether He was the Son of God, he now by the power of His miracles understood or rather suspected to be the Son of God. The reason therefore why he persuaded the Jews to crucify Him, was not because he did not think that He was the Son of God, but because he did not foresee that he himself was to be condemned by Christ’s death.
THEOPHYLACT. Furthermore, the reason that He forbade the devils to speak, was to teach us not to believe them, even if they say true. For if once they find persons to believe them, they mingle truth with falsehood.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) And Luke does not contradict this, when he says, that devils came out of many, crying out and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God: (Luke 4:41) for he subjoins, And he rebuking them, suffered them not to speak; for Mark, who passes over many things for the sake of brevity, speaks about what happened subsequently to the abovementioned words.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) Again, in a mystical sense, the setting of the sun signifies the passion of Him, who said, As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:5) And when the sun was going down, more demoniacs and sick persons were healed than before: because He who living in the flesh for a time taught a few Jews, has transmitted the gifts of faith and health to all the Gentiles throughout the world.
PSEUDO-JEROME. But the door of the kingdom, morally, is repentance and faith, which works health for various diseases; for divers are the vices, with which the city of this world is sick.
35. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
36. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.
37. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.
38. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.
39. And he preached in their synagogues through out all Galilee, and cast out devils.
THEOPHYLACT. After that the Lord had cured the sick, He retired apart. Wherefore it is said, And rising very early in the morning, he went out and departed into a desert place. By which He taught us not to do any thing for the sake of appearance, but if we do any good, not to publish it openly. It goes on, and there prayed.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) Not that He required prayer; for it was He who Himself received the prayers of men; but He did this by way of an economy, and became to us the model of good works.
THEOPHYLACT. For He shews to us that we ought to attribute to God whatever we do well, and to say to Him, Every good gift cometh down from above, (James 1:17) from Thee. It continues: And Simon followed him, and they that were with him.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) Luke however says, that crowds came to Christ, and spoke what Mark here relates that the Apostles said, adding, And when they came to him, they said to him, All seek thee. (Luke 4:42) But they do not contradict each other; for Christ received after the Apostles the multitude, breathlessly anxious to embrace His feet. He received them willingly, but chose to dismiss them, that the rest also might be partakers of His doctrine, as He was not to remain long in the world. And therefore there follows: And he said, Let us go into the neighbouring villages and towns, that there also I may preach.
THEOPHYLACT. For He passes on to them as being more in need, since it was not right to shut up doctrine in one place, but to throw out his rays every where. It goes on: For therefore am I come.
PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. (Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.) In which word, He manifests the mystery of His emptying himself, (Phil. 2:7) that is, of His incarnation, and the sovereignty of His divine nature, in that He here asserts, that He came willingly into the world. Luke however says, To this end was I sent, proclaiming the Dispensation, and the good pleasure of God the Father concerning the incarnation of the Son. There follows: And he continued preaching in their synagogues, in all Galilee.
AUGUSTINE. (de Cons. Evan. ii. 19) But by this preaching, which, he says, He continued in all Galilee, is also meant the sermon of the Lord delivered on the mount, which Matthew mentions, and Mark has entirely passed over, without giving any thing like it, save that he has repeated some sentences not in continuous order, but in scattered places, spoken by the Lord at other times.
THEOPHYLACT. He also mingled action with teaching, for whilst employed in preaching, He afterwards put to flight devils. For there follows: And casting out devils. For unless Christ shewed forth miracles, His teaching would not be believed; so do thou also, after teaching, work, that thy word be not fruitless in thyself.
BEDE. (ubi sup.) Again mystically if by the setting of the sun, the death of the Saviour is intended, why should not His resurrection be intended by the returning dawn? For by its clear light, He went far into the wilderness of the Gentiles, and there continued praying in the person of His faithful disciples, for He aroused their hearts by the grace of the Holy Spirit to the virtue of prayer.
St Hilary of Poitiers
“They didn’t know who they were.” This is how Hilary summed up the problem with the Arian heretics of the fourth century.
Hilary, on the other hand, knew very well who he was — a child of a loving God who had inherited eternal life through belief in the Son of God. He hadn’t been raised as a Christian but he had felt a wonder at the gift of life and a desire to find out the meaning of that gift. He first discarded the approach of many people who around him, who believed the purpose of life was only to satisfy desires. He knew he wasn’t a beast grazing in a pasture. The philosophers agreed with him. Human beings should rise above desires and live a life of virtue, they said. But Hilary could see in his own heart that humans were meant for even more than living a good life.
If he didn’t lead a virtuous life, he would suffer from guilt and be unhappy. His soul seemed to cry out that wasn’t enough to justify the enormous gift of life. So Hilary went looking for the giftgiver. He was told many things about the divine — many that we still hear today: that there were many Gods, that God didn’t exist but all creation was the result of random acts of nature, that God existed but didn’t really care for his creation, that God was in creatures or images. One look in his own soul told him these images of the divine were wrong. God had to be one because no creation could be as great as God. God had to be concerned with God’s creation — otherwise why create it?
At that point, Hilary tells us, he “chanced upon” the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. When he read the verse where God tells Moses “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14), Hilary said, “I was frankly amazed at such a clear definition of God, which expressed the incomprehensible knowledge of the divine nature in words most suited to human intelligence.” In the Psalms and the Prophets he found descriptions of God’s power, concern, and beauty. For example in Psalm 139, “Where shall I go from your spirit?”, he found confirmation that God was everywhere and omnipotent.
But still he was troubled. He knew the giftgiver now, but what was he, the recipient of the gift? Was he just created for the moment to disappear at death? It only made sense to him that God’s purpose in creation should be “that what did not exist began to exist, not that what had begun to exist would cease to exist.” Then he found the Gospels and read John’s words including “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God...” (John 1:1-2). From John he learned of the Son of God and how Jesus had been sent to bring eternal life to those who believed. Finally his soul was at rest. “No longer did it look upon the life of this body as troublesome or wearisome, but believed it to be what the alphabet is to children... namely, as the patient endurance of the present trials of life in order to gain a blissful eternity.” He had found who he was in discovering God and God’s Son Jesus Christ.
After becoming a Christian, he was elected bishop of Poitiers in what is now France by the laity and clergy. He was already married with one daughter named Apra.
Not everyone at that time had the same idea of who they were. The Arians did not believe in the divinity of Christ and the Arians had a lot of power including the support of the emperor Constantius. This resulted in many persecutions. When Hilary refused to support their condemnation of Saint Athanasius he was exiled from Poitiers to the East in 356. The Arians couldn’t have had a worse plan — for themselves.
Hilary really had known very little of the whole Arian controversy before he was banished. Perhaps he supported Athanasius simply because he didn’t like their methods. But being exiled from his home and his duties gave him plenty of time to study and write. He learned everything he could about what the Arians said and what the orthodox Christians answered and then he began to write. “Although in exile we shall speak through these books, and the word of God, which cannot be bound, shall move about in freedom.” The writings of his that still exist include On the Trinity, a commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, and a commentary on the Psalms. He tells us about the Trinity, “For one to attempt to speak of God in terms more precise than he himself has used: — to undertake such a thing is to embark upon the boundless, to dare the incomprehensible. He fixed the names of His nature: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Whatever is sought over and above this is beyond the meaning of words, beyond the limits of perception, beyond the embrace of understanding.”
After three years the emperor kicked him back to Poitiers, because, we are told by Sulpicius Severus, the emperor was tired of having to deal with the troublemaker, “a sower of discord an a disturber of the Orient.” But no one told Hilary he had to go straight back to his home and so he took a leisurely route through Greece and Italy, preaching against the Arians as he went.
In the East he had also heard the hymns used by Arians and orthodox Christians as propaganda. These hymns were not based on Scripture as Western hymns but full of beliefs about God. Back at home, Hilary started writing hymns of propaganda himself to spread the faith. His hymns are the first in the West with a known writer.
Some of use may wonder at all the trouble over what may seem only words to us now. But Hilary wasn’t not fighting a war of words, but a battle for the eternal life of the souls who might hear the Arians and stop believing in the Son of God, their hope of salvation.
The death of Constantius in 361 ended the persecution of the orthodox Christians. Hilary died in 367 or 368 and was proclaimed a doctor of the Church in 1851.
In His Footsteps:
In Exodus, the Prophets, and the Gospel of John, Hilary found his favorite descriptions of God and God’s relationship to us. What verses of Scripture describe God best for you? If you aren’t familiar with Scripture, look up the verses that Hilary found. What do they mean to you?
Saint Hilary of Poitiers, instead of being discouraged by your exile, you used your time to study and write. Help us to bring good out of suffering and isolation in our own lives and see adversity as an opportunity to learn about or share our faith. Amen
This is a caucus thread, closed to hostile comments.
For: Wednesday, January 13, 2021
1st Week in Ordinary Time
Optional Memorial: St Hilary, Bishop and Doctor
From: Hebrews 2:14-18
Jesus, Man's Brother, was Crowned with Glory and Honor Above the Angels (Continuation)
 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil,  and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.  For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham.  Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people.  For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
14. As in the prologue of St John's Gospel (In 1:12-13), "flesh" and "blood" apply to human nature in its weakened condition. Jesus has assumed man's nature: "He has taken it on without sin but with all its capacity to suffer pain, given that he took a flesh similar to sinful flesh; he 'shared therefore in flesh and blood', that is, he took on a nature in which he could suffer and die--which could not occur in a divine nature" (St Thomas, Commentary on Heb., 2, 4).
Christ chose to submit to death, which is a consequence of sin, in order to destroy death and the power of the devil. The Council of Trent teaches that, as a result of original sin, man "incurred the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently incurred death [...] and, together with death, bondage in the power of him who from that time had the empire of death" (De Peccato Originali, Can. 3; cf. Rom 5:12; 6:12-14; 7:5; etc.). To explain this power of the devil, St Thomas comments: "A judge has one kind of power of death: he can punish people with death; a criminal has a different kind of power of death--a power he usurps by killing another [...]. God has the first kind of dominion over death; the devil has the second kind, for he seduces man to sin and leads him to death" (Commentary on Heb., 2, 4).
Addressing Christ and his cross, the Church sings, "O altar of our victim raised, / 0 glorious passion ever praised, / by which our Life to death was rendered, / that death to life might thence be mended" (Hymn Vexilla Regis). The death of Christ, the only one who could atone for man's sin, wipes out sin and makes death a way to God. "Jesus destroyed the demon", St Alphonsus writes; "that is, he destroyed his power, for the demon had been lord of death on account of sin, that is, he had power to cause temporal and eternal death to all the children of Adam infected by sin. And this was the victory of the Cross that Jesus, the author of life, by dying obtained Life for us through that death" (Reflections on the Passion, Chap. 5, 1).
15. Christ has freed men not from physical but from spiritual death and therefore from fear of death, because he has given us certainty of future resurrection. Man's natural fear of death is easily explained by his fear of the unknown and his instinctive aversion to what death involves; but it can also be a sign of excessive attachment to this life. "Because it does not want to renounce its desires, the soul fears death, it fears being separated from the body" (St Athanasius, Oratio Contra Gentes, 3).
The fear of death which some people in the Old Testament had can be explained by their not knowing what fate awaited them, and by the possibility of being completely cut off from God. But physical death is not something to be feared by those who sincerely seek God: "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain," St Paul explains (Phil 1:21). "Don't be afraid of death. Accept it from now on, generously...when God wills it, where God wills it, as God wills it. Don't doubt what I say: it will come in the moment, in the place and in the way that are best sent by your Father-God. Welcome be our sister death!" (St. J. Escriva, The Way, 739).
16. "It is not with angels that he is concerned": the original text says literally "he did not take angels with his hand", " did not catch hold of", "did not take [the nature of angels]"; meaning that Christ took to himself a human nature, not an angelic nature. St John Chrysostom explains the text in this way: "What does he mean by 'take with his hand'; why does he not say 'took on/assumed' but instead uses the expression 'took with his hand'? The reason is this: this verb has to do with those who are in pursuit of their enemies and are doing all they can to catch those who are in flight from them and to seize those who resist. In other words, humankind had fled from him and fled very far, for it says 'we were very far from God and were almost without God in the world' (Eph 2:12). That is why he came in pursuit of us and 'seized us for himself'. The Apostle makes it clear that he did all this entirely out of love for men, in his charity and solicitude for us" (Hom. on Heb., 2).
"This single reflection, that he who is true and perfect God became man, supplies sufficient proof of the exalted dignity conferred on the human race by the divine bounty; since we may now glory that the Son of God is bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, a privilege not given to angels" (St Pius V Catechism, I, 4, 11).
17. This is the first mention of the central theme of the epistle, the priesthood of Christ. Because he is God and man, Jesus is the only Mediator between God and men, who have lost God's friendship and divine life on account of sin; he exercises this mediation as High Priest; his Love saves men by bridging the abyss which separates the sinful stock of Adam from God whom it has outraged.
It first refers clearly to our Lord's human nature: he is in no way different from men (except that he is not guilty of sin: cf. Heb 4:15). "These words mean that Christ was reared and educated and grew up and suffered all he had to suffer and finally died" (Chrysostom, Hom. on Heb., 5). "He partook of the same food as we do," writes Theodoret of Cyrus, "and he endured work; he experienced sadness in his soul and shed tears; he underwent death" (Interpretatio Ep. Ad Haebr., II).
Christ the Priest is able perfectly to understand the sinner and make satisfaction to divine Justice. "In a judge what one most desires is mercy," St Thomas writes, "in an advocate, reliability. The Apostle implies that both things were found in Christ by virtue of his Passion. Mankind desires mercy of him as judge, and reliability of him as advocate" (Commentary on Heb., 2, 4).
Christ's priesthood consists in making expiation by a sacrifice of atonement and a peace-offering for the sins of men: he takes our place and atones on our behalf: "Christ merited justification for us [...] and made satisfaction for us to God the Father" (Council of Trent, De Iustificatione, Chap. 7).
18. Suffering can link a person to Christ in a special and mysterious way. "The Redeemer suffered in place of man and for man. Every man has his own share in the Redemption. Each one is also called to share in that suffering through which the Redemption was accomplished. He is called to share in that suffering through which all human suffering has also been redeemed. In bringing about the Redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the Redemption. Thus each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ" (St. John Paul II, Salvifici Doloris, 19).
Christ's main purpose in undergoing his passion was the Redemption of mankind, but he also suffered in order to strengthen us and give us an example. "By taking our weaknesses upon himself Christ has obtained for us the strength to overcome our natural infirmity. On the night before his passion, by choosing to suffer fear, anguish and sorrow in the garden of Gethsemane he won for us strength to resist harassment by those who seek our downfall; he obtained for us strength to overcome the fatigue we experience in prayer, in mortification and in other acts of devotion, and, finally, the fortitude to bear adversity with peace and joy" (St Alphonsus, Reflections on the Passion, Chap. 9, 1).
A person who suffers, and even more so a person who does penance, should realize that he is understood by Christ. Christ will then console him and help him bear affliction: "You too some day may feel the loneliness of our Lord on the Cross. If so, seek the support of him who died and rose again. Find yourself a shelter in the wounds in his hands, in his feet, in his side. And your willingness to start again will revive, and you will take up your journey again with greater determination and effectiveness" (St. J. Escriva, The Way of the Cross, XII, 2).
The Curing of Peter's Mother-In-Law
 And immediately He (Jesus) left the synagogue, and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.  Now Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told Him of her.  And He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her; and she served them.
Jesus Cures Many Sick People
 That evening, at sundown, they brought to Him all who were sick or possessed with demons.  And the whole city was gathered together about the door.  And He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew Him.
Jesus Goes To a Lonely Place To Pray
 And in the morning, a great while before day, He rose and went out to a lonely place, and there He prayed.  And Simon and those who were with Him followed Him,  and they found Him and said to Him, "Everyone is searching for you."  And He said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out."  And He went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
34. Demons possess a supernatural type of knowledge and therefore they recognize Jesus as the Messiah (Mark 1:24). Through the people they possess they are able to publish this fact. But our Lord, using His divine powers, orders them to be silent. On other occasions He also silences His disciples (Mark 8:30; 9:9), and He instructs people whom He has cured not to talk about their cure (Mark1:4; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). He may have acted in this way to educate the people away from a too human and political idea of the Messiah (Matthew 9:30). Therefore, He first awakens their interest by performing miracles and gradually, through His preaching, gives them a clearer understanding of the kind of Messiah He is.
Some Fathers of the Church point out that Jesus does not want to accept, in support of the truth, the testimony of him who is the father of lies.
35. Many passages of the New Testament make reference to Jesus praying. The evangelists point to Him praying only on specially important occasions during His public ministry: Baptism (Luke 3:1), the choosing of the Twelve (Luke 6:12), the first multiplication of the loaves (Mark 6:46), the Transfiguration (Luke 9:29), in the garden of Gethsemane prior to His passion (Matthew 26:39), et cetera. Mark for his part, refers to Jesus' prayer at three solemn moments: at the beginning of His public ministry (1:35), in the middle of it (6:46), and at the end, in Gethsemane (14:32).
Jesus' prayer is prayer of perfect praise to the Father; it is prayer of petition for Himself and for us; and it also a model for His disciples. It is a prayer of perfect praise and thanksgiving because He is God's beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased (cf. Mark 1:11). It is a prayer of petition because the first spontaneous movement of a soul who recognizes God as Father is to ask Him for things. Jesus' prayer, as we see in very many passages (e.g. John 17:9ff) was a continuous petition to the Father for the work of redemption which He, Jesus, had to achieve through prayer and sacrifice.
Our Lord wants to give us an example of the kind of attitude a Christian should have: he should make a habit of addressing God as son to Father in the midst of and through his everyday activities--work, family life, personal relationships, apostolate--so as to give his life a genuinely Christian meaning, for, as Jesus will point out later on, "apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
"You write: 'To pray is to talk with God. But about what?' About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and love and reparation. In a word: to get to know Him and to get to know yourself: 'to get acquainted!'" (St. J. Escriva, The Way).
38. Jesus tells us here that His mission is to preach, to spread the Good News. He was sent for this purpose (Luke 4:43). The Apostles, in turn, were chosen by Jesus to be preachers (Mark 3:14; 16:15). Preaching is the method selected by God to effect salvation: "it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21). This is why St. Paul says to Timothy: "Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Faith comes from hearing, we are told in Romans 10:17, where St. Paul enthusiastically quotes Isaiah: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!" (Romans 10:15; Isaiah 52:7).
The Church identifies preaching the Gospel as one of the main tasks of bishops and priests. St. Pius X went so far as saying that "for a priest there is no duty more grave or obligation more binding (to dispel ignorance)" (Acerbo Nimis). In this connection Vatican II states: "The people of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God (cf. 1 Peter 1:23; Acts 6:7; 12:24), which is quite rightly sought from the mouths of priests (2 Corinthians 11:7).
For since nobody can be saved who has not first believed (Mark 16:16), it is the first task of priests as co-workers of the bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all men (2 Corinthians 11:7). In this way they carry out the Lord's command 'Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature' (Mark 16:15) (cf. Malachi 2:7; 1 Timothy 4:11-13; etc.) and thus set up and increase the people of God" (Presbyterorum Ordinis).
Jesus' preaching is not just limited to words: He backs up His teaching with His authority and with deeds. The Church also has been sent to preach salvation and to effect the work of salvation which it proclaims--a work done through the Sacraments and especially through the renewal of the sacrifice of Calvary in the Mass (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 6).
In the Church of God all of us should listen devoutly to the preaching of the Gospel and we all should feel a responsibility to spread the Gospel by our words and actions. It is the responsibility of the hierarchy of the Church to teach the Gospel-- authentically -- on the authority of Christ.
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