Word of the day
Reading of the day
A Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews
Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him,
since he lives forever to make intercession for them.
It was fitting that we should have such a high priest:
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners,
higher than the heavens.
He has no need, as did the high priests,
to offer sacrifice day after day,
first for his own sins and then for those of the people;
he did that once for all when he offered himself.
For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests,
but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law,
appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.
The main point of what has been said is this:
we have such a high priest,
who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary
and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up.
Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices;
thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer.
If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest,
since there are those who offer gifts according to the law.
They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary,
as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle.
For God says, "See that you make everything
according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."
Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry
as he is mediator of a better covenant,
enacted on better promises.
Gospel of the day
From the Gospel according to Mark
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.
A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea.
Hearing what he was doing,
a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem,
from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan,
and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd,
so that they would not crush him.
He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases
were pressing upon him to touch him.
And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him
and shout, "You are the Son of God."
He warned them sternly not to make him known.
Words of the Holy Father
Why did the multitude come? What did they need?. Whether this multitude went to Jesus out of “need” or because “some were curious”, the true reason is seen in the fact that this crowd was drawn by the Father: it was the Father that drew the crowd to Jesus. We read in the Gospel that ‘Jesus was moved, because he saw these people as sheep without a shepherd’. Therefore, the Father, through the Holy Spirit, draws people to Jesus. The impure spirits try to impede; they wage war on us. Someone might object: Father, I am very Catholic; I always go to Mass.... But I never have these temptations, thank God!. “No! Pray, because you are on the wrong path!, because a Christian life without temptations is not Christian: it is ideological, it is gnostic, but it is not Christian. When the Father draws people to Jesus, there is another who draws in the opposite way and wages war within you!. Thus Saint Paul speaks of Christian life as a struggle: a struggle every day to win. Therefore, all Christians must make this examination of conscience and ask themselves: “Do I feel this struggle in my heart?”. This conflict between comfort or service to others, between having a little fun or praying and adoring the Father, between one thing and the other?. Do I feel the will to do good or is there something that stops me, turns me into an ascetic?. And also, do I believe that my life moves Jesus’ heart? If I don’t believe this, I must pray a lot to believe it, so that he may grant me this grace. And we ask the Lord to make us Christians who know how to discern what is happening in our hearts and to choose well the path, through which the Father draws us to Jesus. (Santa Marta, 19 January 2017)