ORDINARY TIME, Week 2: Thursday

“Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“Jesus now stands “before the face of God interceding for us.” He stands before the altar to offer a propitiation to God for us. As he was about to approach that altar, moreover, he was saying, “I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until I drink it anew with you.” Therefore, he expects us to be converted, to imitate his example, to follow his footsteps, that he may rejoice with us and “drink wine with us in his Father’s kingdom.” For now, because “the Lord is merciful and gracious,” he “weeps with those who weep and desires to rejoice with those who rejoice” with greater feeling than this apostle. And how much more “this one mourns over many of those who sinned before and have not repented.” For we must not think that Paul is mourning for sinners and weeping for those who transgress, but Jesus my Lord abstains from weeping when he approaches the Father, when he stands at the altar and offers a propitiatory sacrifice for us. This is not to drink the wine of joy “when he ascends to the altar” because he is still bearing the bitterness of our sins. He, therefore, does not want to be the only one to drink wine “in the kingdom” of God. He waits for us, just as he said, “Until I shall drink it with you.” Thus we are those who, neglecting our life, delay his joy.” (Homilies on Leviticus, 7.)

Almighty ever-living God,
who govern all things,
both in heaven and on earth,
mercifully hear the pleading of your people
and bestow your peace on our times.
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.

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