January 19, 2013 - Saturday of the First Week In Ordinary Time

Hebrews 4:12-16
Psalm 19:8-10, 15
Mark 2:13-17

Our readings today proclaim: we are not on our own. Our religion is not just Judaism with some updated rules. We have received grace in place of grace. We are told that "the word of God is living and effective." We worship the Word of God who is the Son of God. Some people believe that the Bible is full of difficult rules. So it is. Some people believe that the message of Christianity is that we must be perfect. Indeed we must. Yet these truths cannot be separated from the fact that the Word of God is not only the printed word, the words which we have just heard, but also a person, a Savior. And our Savior is not “unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.” Our Savior loves us. We cannot be good enough, but he is. “So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”

What does this all mean? It means that when we begin trying to live the good life, we make some progress. We find that we can stop sinning, sometimes. Then we hit a wall. We are confused why some sins will not go away. We are confused why some weaknesses remain despite our desire to be rid of them. We pray that God will take away this thorn in the flesh, whatever our weakness is. But he will not. He will not help us to become creatures who can get along without him. This would be very bad for us. We would end up as pure as angels but as proud as devils. God will, however, give us our daily bread. The help we need, today, when we ask for it, today. For his power is made perfect in weakness.

When Jesus called Levi, he might have followed out of curiosity that day. He might have followed for awhile on his own strength. But we know that he followed Jesus through the Cross and to his own martyrdom. This was not done on his own strength. We are weak. There is help out there: not mere suggestions or encouragement, not a one-time fix that will make us independent, but a fire that burns within us so long as it is constantly fed by the Word of God: in reading, in hearing, in Mass, in prayer, in Confession, in the Eucharist. In short, in every priceless possession given to the Church by Our Lord.