Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time


In their ministry of the forgiveness of sin, pastors do not exercise the right of some independent power. For not in their own name but in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit do they forgive sins. They ask, the Godhead forgives. The service is enabled by humans, but the gift comes from the Power on high.1


The physician’s art, according to Democritus, heals the diseases of the body; wisdom frees the soul from its obsessions. But the good Instructor, Wisdom, who is the Word of the Father who assumed human flesh, cares for the whole nature of his creature. The all-sufficient Physician of humanity, the Savior, heals both body and soul conjointly. “Stand up,” he commanded the paralytic; “take the bed on which you lie, and go home”; and immediately the paralytic received strength.2


He charged the man to perform an action of which health was the necessary condition, even while the patient was still praying for a remedy for his disease.… It was our Lord’s custom to require of those whom he healed some response or duty to be done.3


Take up your bed. Carry the very mat that once carried you. Change places, so that what was the proof of your sickness may now give testimony to your soundness. Your bed of pain becomes the sign of healing, its very weight the measure of the strength that has been restored to you.4


You have been a paralytic inwardly. You did not take charge of your bed. Your bed took charge of you.5


Hearing the words does not suffice for salvation; accepting it in faith is necessary, and holding it firm. After all, what benefit was God’s promise to those who received it, but did not receive it faithfully, trust in the power of God or, as it were, associate closely with God’s words?6


I am speaking of that order of tears which belongs to those who shed tears unceasingly both night and day. Whoever has found the reality of these things truly and accurately has found it in stillness. The eyes of such a man become like fountains of water for two years’ time or even more, that is, during the time of transition: I mean, of mystical transition. But afterwards you enter into peace of thought; and from this peace of thought you enter into the rest of which St. Paul has spoken, but only in part and to the extent that nature can contain it. From that peaceful rest his intellect begins to behold mysteries. And thereupon the Holy Spirit begins to reveal heavenly things to you, and God dwells within him and raises up the fruit of the Spirit in you. And from this he perceive dimly … the change nature is going to undergo at the renewal of all things.… When you enter into that region which is peace of the thought, then the multitude of tears is taken away from you, and afterwards tears come to you in due measure and at the appropriate time. This is, in all exactness, the truth of the matter as told in brief, and it is believed by the whole church.7


He wants to make clear three rests mentioned in the divine Scripture: first, the seventh day, on which God finished creating; second, the land of promise; and third, the kingdom of heaven. He provides proof of this from the inspired testimony: If there is no other rest (he is saying), why on earth does he also urge those in receipt of the second kind not to harden their hearts, threaten punishment and make mention of those who spurned the second kind? He cites them in order, and firstly the rest on the seventh day.8


  1. THE HOLY SPIRIT 3.18.137.  Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (p. 26). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. CHRIST THE EDUCATOR 1.4.  Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (pp. 26–27). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. ON THE CHRISTIAN FAITH 4.5.54–55.  Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (p. 27). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. HOMILY 50.6.  Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (p. 27). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. ON THE PSALMS 41.4.  Oden, T. C., & Hall, C. A. (Eds.). (1998). Mark (Revised) (p. 27). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. INTERPRETATION OF HEBREWS 4.  Heen, E. M., & Krey, P. D. W. (Eds.). (2005). Hebrews (p. 59). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. ASCETICAL HOMILIES 14.  Heen, E. M., & Krey, P. D. W. (Eds.). (2005). Hebrews (p. 60). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  8. INTERPRETATION OF HEBREWS 4.  Heen, E. M., & Krey, P. D. W. (Eds.). (2005). Hebrews (pp. 60–61). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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