— Saint Agatha —
Ordinary Time Week 4: Thursday

“No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just made perfect and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:22-24)

In commenting on these verses from today’s First Reading, Saint John Chrysostom writes:

“From the first, therefore, the Israelites were themselves the cause of God’s being manifested through the flesh. Let Moses speak with us, and “Let not God speak with us.” They who make comparisons elevate the one side more that they may show the other to be far greater. In this respect also our privileges are more gentle and more admirable. For they are great in a twofold respect, because, while they are glorious and greater, they are more accessible. This he says also in the epistle to the Corinthians, “with unveiled face,” and “not as Moses put a veil over his face.” They, he means, were not counted worthy as we are. For of what were they thought worthy? They saw “darkness, gloom”; they heard “a voice.” But you also have heard a voice, not through darkness but through flesh. You have not been disturbed, neither troubled, but you have stood and held discourse with the Mediator.

And in another way, by the “darkness” he shows the invisibleness. “And darkness,” it says, “was under his feet.” Then even Moses feared, but now no one. The Son is near to God, but not as Moses. There was a wilderness, here a city. “And to innumerable angels.” Here he shows the joy, the delight, in place of the “darkness” and “gloom” and “tempest.” “And to the assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all.” They did not draw near but stood afar off, even Moses, but “you have come near.” Here he makes them stand in awe by saying, “And to a judge who is God of all,” not of the Jews alone and the faithful, but even of the whole world. “And to the spirits of just men made perfect.” He means the souls of those who are approved.” (On the Epistle to the Hebrews, 32)

May the Virgin Martyr Saint Agatha
implore your compassion for us,
O Lord, we pray,
for she found favor with you
by the courage of her martyrdom
and the merit of her chastity.
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