Saturday, January 15, 2011

Confidently Approach the Throne of Grace

January 15, 2011
Saturday of the First Week In Ordinary Time

Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. Hebrews 4:12-13

Some scribes who were Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors and said to his disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" Jesus heard this and said to them (that), "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners." Mark 2:16-17

Deacon Prayer
Lord Jesus, you came to serve, not to be served, form within us your generous spirit; Fill us with your love, that we may love the Father as your love him. Fill us with your compassion, that we may see our brothers and sisters as you see them. Fill us with your courage, that we may give our lives in service to the Church as you gave your life for her. Fill us with that Spirit which will make us preachers of your Word, ministers of your Sacrifice, servants of your Bride, friends of the poor, and the voice of the forgotten. Transform us through your Holy Spirit so that we may transform the world into Your Kingdom of justice and faith. Amen.
Fr. Benedict D. O'Cinnsealaigh,
Director of Diaconate Formation
Archdiocese of Cincinnati

Sharper. Penetrating. Even between the soul and spirit.

Paul paints an extremely vivid picture in today’s selection from the Letter to the Hebrews. Because Jesus lived among frail and sinful humans, he is uniquely able to sympathize which the pressures we face in daily life. Because he has been tested in every way from his time in the desert and on earth, he understands the power of the world and human desires upon us.

Jesus shares these temptations with us. The desire for food to fulfill our basic needs. The thirst for power to influence people and events. The quest to overcome death. Yet while he was tempted, he was unlike us in avoiding temptation and was without sin.

Some of us are better able to avoid sin than others. Which is great. Jesus has penetrated into their soul and spirit more readily than others. Others are attacked by temptation more and need more help. So Jesus puts the priority of his time on working with those who need help the most. Being among the tax collectors and sinners gives Jesus even more opportunity to penetrate into their marrow, to get inside their spirit and soul.

Today, the Church might call this priority a “preferential option for the poor.” But in ancient Palestine, the Pharisees and scribes did not know what to make of this teacher who spent time with sinners instead of in the temple with those who were already acting out their public piety and holiness.

Today in Arlington, Bishop Paul Loverde will preside over the first ordination to the permanent diaconate in more than 20 years. Sixteen men have been in formation over the past five years studying, praying and working to get to this special day.

Bishop Loverde noted in a recent column in the diocese website that “These men fulfill a unique role in our Church by mirroring the image of Jesus as the Divine Servant, Who came not to be served but to serve others.” Please pray for them at the time of their ordination at the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More and continue to support them by your ongoing prayer and encouragement!