Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tested in Every Way

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.  So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.  Hebrews 4:15-16

“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  Jesus heard this and said to them, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.  I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”  Mark 2:16B-17

Some religions make their supreme being inaccessible – a name which cannot even be uttered.  Not so our faith.  Our confident access to God is made possible by the priestly work of Jesus right here as an earthy human being.  From the cold nativity of his birth to the lonely cross of his execution, Jesus was the bridge between heaven and earth to make possible our ability to “approach the throne of grace.”
Our “high priest” is head and shoulders above everyone who calls themselves a high priest.  However, his work is not accomplished by mingling with his priestly peers.  Jesus accomplishes his work – as we see in today’s Gospel – only by eating with the tax collectors and sinners. 

The lesson for us is to do the same – our work should not be focused on those who are already saved.  A national Cursillo leader once remarked, “We have to fish outside the bowl.” 
Pope Francis provides another vivid example for us to stand with the poor in his trip to the Philippines.  Rather than spending his time with the rich and powerful, here is an account of an episode in this trip detailed by the National Catholic Reporter:
“Braving pouring rain and 60-mile an hour winds to stand with those most affected by a typhoon that left thousands dead and millions homeless, Pope Francis said Saturday he did not know what he could say to address their pain.
"I don't know what to say to you," said the pontiff in a strikingly heartfelt and personal homily at a Mass in Tacloban, an area some 500 miles southeast of the Philippines capital that was struck hardest by 2013's Typhoon Haiyan.
"Many of you lost part of your families," the pope continued, setting aside his prepared English text for the occasion to speak in his native Spanish. "All I can do is keep silence. And I walk with you all with my silent heart."
The Pope is walking with people who have been “tested in every way.”  They survived the typhoon and this trip is marked by another massive storm.  However, he reminds them to turn to Jesus on the cross for hope. 
Evincing the pain of those who suffered so much from the event, Francis he had come to Tacloban "to tell you that Jesus is Lord" and that he "never lets us down."
"Father, you might say to me, 'I was let down because I've lost so many things, my house, my livelihood; I have illness,'" said Francis.
"It's true if you would say that," he continued. "And I respect those sentiments. But Jesus is there nailed to the cross and from there he does not let us down."
"For this we have a Lord who is capable of crying with us, who is capable of walking with us in the most difficult moments of life," said Francis.

How can you walk with the poor this weekend in how you eat, live, shop, play and work?  

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