ORDINARY TIME, Week 3: Friday

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense.” (Hebrews 10:35.)

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

“In the next place, having praised them, he says, “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.” What do you mean? He did not say, “you have cast it away, and recovered it.” Rather he tended more to strengthen them when he says, “you have it.” For to recover again that which has been cast away requires more labor, but not to lose that which is held fast does not. To the Galatians he says the very opposite, “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you,” and he says this with good reason, for they were more indifferent and needed a sharper word. These, however, were more faint-hearted, so that they rather needed what was more soothing. “Therefore do not throw away,” he says, “your confidence,” so that they were in great confidence toward God. “Which has,” he says, “a great reward.” “And when shall we receive them?” someone might say. “Behold! All things on our part have been done.” Therefore he anticipated them on their own supposition, saying in effect, if you know that you have in heaven a better substance, seek nothing here. “For you have need of endurance,” not of any addition to your labors, that you may continue in the same state, that you may not throw away what has been put into your hands. You need nothing else but to stand as you have stood, that when you come to the end, you may receive the promise. “For,” he says, “you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised.” You have need of one thing only, to bear with the delay, not that you should fight again. You are at the very crown, he means. You have borne all the combats of bonds, of afflictions; your goods have been spoiled. What then? Henceforward you are standing to be crowned. Endure this only—the delay of the crown. Oh, the greatness of the consolation! It is as if one should speak to an athlete who had overthrown all and had no antagonist and then was to be crowned but could not show up for the ceremony in which the president of the games comes and places the crown upon him. Instead, he is so impatient that he wishes to go out and escape, as though he could not bear the thirst and the heat. He then also says, so as to hint in this direction: “Yet a little while and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry.” For lest they should say, “And when will he come?” he comforts them from the Scriptures. For thus also when he says in another place, “salvation is nearer,” he comforts them, because the remaining time is short. And this he says not of himself but from the Scriptures. But if from that time it was said, “Yet a little while and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry,” it is plain that now he is even nearer.” (On the Epistle to the Hebrews, 21.)

Almighty ever-living God,
direct our actions
according to your good pleasure,
that in the name of your beloved Son
we may abound in good works.
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