Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time (1)This is a featured page

January 13, 2011

First Reading:
Hebrews 3:7-14

7 Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith: Today if you shall hear his voice,
8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation; in the day of temptation in the desert,
9 Where your fathers tempted me, proved and saw my works,
10 Forty years: for which cause I was offended with this generation, and I said: They always err in heart. And they have not known my ways,
11 As I have sworn in my wrath: If they shall enter into my rest.
12 Take heed, brethren, lest perhaps there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, to depart from the living God.
13 But exhort one another every day, whilst it is called today, that none of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
14 For we are made partakers of Christ: yet so, if we hold the beginning of his substance firm unto the end


Commentary for the first reading from the Haydock Bible


Ver. 8. This alludes to the 17th chapter of Exodus, where the history of provocations and contradictions of the Israelites is related at large.

Ver. 11. As I have sworn in my wrath:[1] if they shall enter into my rest. But if here implies the same as they shall not. See Mark viii. 12. And that this is the sense here, appears by the 18th verse, where it is expressly said, they should not enter into his rest; i.e. to rest in the land of Chanaan[Canaan], promised to them. (Witham)

Ver. 12. Take heed, &c. Not to imitate their incredulous obstinacy, lest you never enter into the place of eternal rest, by departing from God by sin. (Witham) --- To abandon Christ is to abandon God, since Christ is God. He who denies the Son, believes not the Father, who has wrought so many miracles to sanction his mission. (1 John ii. 23.) It is of little consequence to eternity whether it be the doctrine of faith or the life of faith we reject, if persons are equally lost by either practical or speculative infidelity.

Ver. 13. To day. The duration of the present life may be accounted but a day, which God destines for the trial of our faith and obedience; we ought, therefore, to labour hard during the short time of the present day, that we may live and reign with God for all eternity. We cannot too often entertain this truth in our hearts, if we wish to square our lives after the gospel. The heart of man becomes insensibly hardened to Christian truths, when its natural corruption is not courageously attacked.

Ver. 14. You have already been made partakers of the benefits of Christ, at your conversion and baptism, to the beginning of his substance,[2] by which seems to be understood the faith of Christ. (Witham) --- If to subsist in Jesus Christ, to be washed in his blood, to be animated with his spirit, to be nourished with his flesh, is but a sketch, a seed of that union with him which on a future day is to be effected, how comes it that we are so attached to this earth, how can we hazard for such a mere trifle such immense felicity?



Psalm:
Psalms 95:6-11

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.

R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.


Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”

R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Forty years I was wearied of that generation;
I said: “This people’s heart goes astray,
they do not know my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my anger:
“They shall never enter my rest.”

R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.


Gospel:
Mark 1:40-45

40And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down said to him: If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
41 And Jesus having compassion on him, stretched forth his hand; and touching him, saith to him: I will. Be thou made clean.
42 And when he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean.
43 And he strictly charged him, and forthwith sent him away.
44 And he saith to him: See thou tell no one; but go, shew thyself to the high priest, and offer for thy cleansing the things that Moses commanded, for a testimony to them.
45 But he being gone out, began to publish and to blaze abroad the word: so that he could not openly go into the city, but was without in desert places: and they flocked to him from all sides.

Commentary for the Gospel reading by an ananymous medieval commentator


That is why the leper is cleansed (cf. Mark 1:40) , and this is the third miracle. On bended knee he begged the will of the Lord, who does not will the death of the sinner but that he be converted and live. 136 Our leprosy is the sin of the first man. This leprosy began from the head when he desired the kingdoms of the world. 137 For greed is the root of all evils. 138 Thus, Gehazi pursued the painted ladies, and he was affected with leprosy. 139 Once this is shown to the true priest who offers according to the order of Melchizedek, 140 it is cleansed by the gift. This true priest says, Give alms and all things are clean for you. 141 The text continues and it is one of the passages proper to Mark. 142

That is, Jesus could not openly enter a city, but he was out in desert places, and they came to him from everywhere (cf. Mark 1:45). Certainly Jesus was not made known to all those who in wide-open places serve their own praises and wishes. 143 However, he does show himself to those who, like Peter, go out into the desert places which the Lord chose for prayer and for feeding the people, 144 who forsake the love of the world and who give up everything they possess, so that they may say, The Lord is my inheritance. 145 Indeed the glory of the Lord is made known among those who assemble from all over, that is to say, through rough and smooth, those who do not find anything that may separate them from the love of Christ. 146
____________________
136 Cf. Ezek 18:23. The switch to the OT text, which does not deal with leprosy, is easily done when leprosy is presented as an image of sin, as in the following lines.
137 Cf. Matt 4:8 (?); Greg Reg p. 170 83-106.
138 1 Tim 6:10.
139 Cf. 2 Kings 5:20-27. The transition to Gehazi the leper could have been made directly. But an opportunity to condemn another vice, greed, is availed of. Gregory links avarice with skin disease in his Pastoral Care (pp. 43-44, where he refers to 1 Tim 6:10). Cf. C. Arles Ser 129 p. 531 no. 509. There is difficulty establishing the Latin text here. I have taken the reading "painted females (ladies)" as an allusion to the maidservants of 2 Kings 5:27; Jerome uses the same term gypseas to speak disparagingly of women who "plaster" their faces.
140 Cf. Heb 5:10.
141 Luke 11:41.
142 The commentator says in the prologue that he will pay special attention to the sections proper to Mark, although subsequently he concedes that he will imitate Mark in his brevity.
143 This appears to be an allusion to the attack of Jesus on those who parade their good deeds in public (e.g., Matt 6:5).
144 Cf. Mark 1:36. Also this is perhaps an allusion to Peter's going out to weep, in Luke 22:62. This is taken as a model for all those who need to go out to meet the Lord. Cf. Mark 6:31-44 par.
145 Ps 119:57.
146 Cf. Rom 8:35a.




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