Hebrews 10:19-25 “…We
must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should
not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage
Psalm 24: 1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6 “…Who can ascend
the mountain of the LORD or who may stand in his holy place? He whose
hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain...”
Mark 4: 21-25 “…Jesus said, ‘Is a lamp
brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to
be placed on a lamp stand?’...”
St. Angela Merici 1470 (or 1474?)-1540 – after 4 siblings and
both her parents died she went to live with an uncle on the banks
of Lake Como in Northern Italy. She was pious and devoted to
the legend of St. Ursula even then at a young age. She was struck
by the lack of instruction available to the children of the poor,
so she along with others began giving regular instruction on the Faith
to the little girls in the neighborhood. She became a Third
Order Franciscan and later on founded her own secular institute order,
which eventually became the Congregation of the Ursulines. As
a Third Order Franciscan she formed a “support group of sorts
for unmarried women” being joined in the effort by other Franciscan
tertiaries. Teaching especially as it pertained to her
Faith was always of prime importance; today her Ursulines are now
the largest teaching Order in the Church and are active worldwide.
Taken from Butler’s Lives of the Saints and the Saints
of the Day website.
Today’s readings carry some of the same themes as were important to St.
Angela Merici, especially concerning how we are to help carry on the tradition
of teaching the Faith. Listening to the description of her leadership
qualities Angela was also “light” to many. In the first reading
from the letter to the Hebrews, the author encourages us to remember we have
a “great priest (in Jesus) over the house of God, and that we should hold
fast to our confession that gives us hope for he who made the promise is trustworthy.
Just as we live today without Jesus teaching in our midst, the writer of
Hebrews knew it would be hard for the people living back then for they had
not met him in person either. Imagine this super-charged author who
is responding to the Holy Spirit; and he wants us to get fired up too.
We’ve all received that charge we call Grace when we received the sacrament
of Baptism. Our personal access to Jesus is made possible through the
Holy Spirit and all we have to do is call on the Spirit in prayer to help
us to understand today’s readings of encouragement. Then we'll we go
forth sharing the reason for our Joy. Yes, today we are encouraged
for “we must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.
We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but
encourage one another.” (Heb 10:24-25). We may know of a family member
or friend who hasn’t been to a Mass or other church service for a long time.
After praying (for the right words) we might go ask that person to join us
at Mass/church today. Hebrews is calling us to come to the assembly
(the Mass) to be encouraged so that we may become more lively about our
Jesus invites us in His Gospel in Mark to be light, but further instructs
that we should be standing where we can be seen like light seen from a lampstand.
He encourages us to seek out our Faith and let it grow. “For there
is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to
come to light.” (Mark 4:22). And a little further, Jesus says, “To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
We have to consistently reach out to Christ, for He won’t push Himself at
us. When we seek His face more and more grace, more strength will be
given; but if we don’t keep trying to grow in our Faith, then what little
we have will diminish and go away. Let us help each other to be faithful
to a practice of growing in and understanding our Faith. That growth
will produce the kind of fruit Jesus wishes for each of us to love and to
do good works for each other.
Lord, we are the people that long to see your Face. Come Holy Spirit;
be with each one of us as we set out to encourage one another.