— Saint Francis de Sales —
Ordinary Time Week 2: Saturday

“But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation...” (Hebrews 9:11)

Origen of Alexandria comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“It ought to be observed that the priest uses certain clothes while he is in the ministry of sacrifices and other clothes when he goes out to the people. Paul, the wisest of the high priests and the most knowledgeable of the priests, used to do this. When he was in the assembly of the perfect or, as it were, placed in the “Holy of Holies,” having put on the robe of perfection, he used to say, “Among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” But nevertheless, after all these things, “going out to the people,” he changes his robe and puts on another one, greatly inferior to that one. And what does he say? “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” You see, therefore, how this most learned priest, when he is among the perfect ones as in “the Holy of Holies,” uses one robe of doctrine. But when “he goes out” to those who are not capable, he changes the robe of the word and teaches lesser things. And he gives to some “milk” to drink as “children,” to others he gives “solid food,” of course, for those who, insofar as they are able, “have their faculties trained to distinguish good from evil.” Thus, Paul knew how to change robes and to use one with the people, another in the ministry of the sanctuary.

But the high priest of high priests, and the priest of priests, is our Lord and Savior, about whom the apostle said, “He is a high priest of the good things that have come.” Hear how first he did these things and so left them for his disciples to imitate. The Gospel refers to this, saying, “In parables he spoke to the crowds, and without parables he did not speak to them. But separately he explained them to his disciples.” You see how he taught that the high priest ought to use certain garments when he went out “to the crowds” and others when he ministered to the experienced and “perfect” in the sanctuary. So we must choose and do, lest Jesus find us so unprepared and bound to the cares of the world that he speaks to us as to the crowds “in parables,” that, “seeing, we may not see, and, hearing, we may not hear.” Rather, let us be worthy to be found among those to whom he says, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.” (Homilies on Leviticus, 4)

O God,
Who for the salvation of souls
willed that the Bishop Saint Francis de Sales
become all things to all,
graciously grant that, following his example,
we may always display the gentleness of your charity
in the service of our neighbor.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen