February 4, 2011
Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 13: 1-8
Mark 6: 14-29
The Letter to the Hebrews, a portion of which we just heard, contains two virtues which are, on the one hand, essential for genuine holiness, and on the other hand, very difficult to live. The text in question reads as follows:
Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.
And this passage:
Let your life be free from love of money
but be content with what you have,
for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.
Thus we may say with confidence:
The Lord is my helper,
And I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?
It is not a question of simply “tolerating” or “getting along with others,” so to say. It is really making an effort to recognize the good in others and loving them for that good. In a word: God has created them and us.
Granted that some among us do not live in such a way as to make it easy to love them. In fact, sometimes the opposite seems to be true: they try our patience and strain our charity toward them. Nonetheless, we must persevere in our efforts to treat them as Christ to treat them: with love and forbearance in a spirit of fraternal charity.
A second virtue for true holiness is what may be called an evangelical simplicity of life in the spirit of Christ and the Gospel. Jesus calls us to be satisfied with what is essential.
Every effort must be made to avoid avarice and greed in all of its forms. It is certainly true to say that this way of life is “counter-cultural,” surrounded as we are by those who, by word and example, practice a disordered acquisition of and an inordinate attachment to material possessions.
May the Graces offered to us through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass give us the strength to practice fraternal charity and an evangelical simplicity of life.