Saturday of the First Week in Ordinary Time (Year I)
Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 2:13-17
An eye for microscopic detail, a steady hand, and ultra-fine motor skills are required of surgeons in the operating room. Cataract surgery or blood vessel repair demand technical finesse and expertise.
Medicine has advanced by leaps and bounds in the modern era as studies of the most intricate anatomical structures have reached the nanoscopic scale, even to mapping the entire human genome.
A surgeon’s scalpel is a non-living tool that divides living tissue, but the divine scalpel is a “living” (zaó from zóé, divine breath of life) and “active” (energés, energetic) personal being who is all eye and light. Nothing slips from this all-seeing, razor-sharp eye because all things are contained in it.
Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.Hebrews 4:12-13
The “word of God” is first of all Scripture, post-patristic commentators point out, critiquing the Fathers for misapplying the Johannine Logos to Hebrews.1 However, lectio divina (sacred reading) is not only a study of words in a book but encounter with the living God. Receiving the word by ear and heart unites the hearer to the Word himself by divine, energizing grace.
The Spirit of God transports human persons from the word to the Word, from the eye to the “I AM,” and from the ear to the silent Voice in the depths of God.
“What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,1 Corinthians 2:9-10
and what has not entered the human heart,
what God has prepared for those who love him,”
this God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
The sword of the Spirit makes our spirit one with his by cutting away all that is alien to divine grace. Delicate incisions between soul (psuché) and spirit (pneuma), “joints and marrow” of our inner being purify our nature for divine communion. Thoughts, reasonings, intentions, images, forms, dreams, concepts and ideas are all illuminated by the Spirit.
But whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 1 Corinthians 6:17
Now the natural (psuchikos) person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually. The spiritual (pneumatikos) person, however, can judge everything but is not subject to judgment by anyone.1 Corinthians 2:14-15
The human person is the new temple of the Holy Spirit, of the same nature by grace as Jesus the great high priest who has severed the curtain between humanity and the Father.2
From henceforth all children of the Father are one in the Son of God. All are one in the priesthood of Christ:
But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
Untouchables, pariahs, “tax collectors and sinners” are all loved and welcomed by our high priest and humble shepherd.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.Hebrews 4:15-16
1 Examples of this critique can be found in Meyer’s NT Commentary and Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges.
2 Mark 15:38; Matthew 27:51; Luke 23:45; Hebrews 10:19-20.