Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 4:1-5,11 + Psalm 78 + Mark 2:1-12
January 18, 2013
“Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest….” [Hebrews 4:11]
We proclaim as our Responsorial refrain, “Do not forget the works of the Lord!” Psalm 78 refers to God’s works in salvation history, on behalf of Israel. However, the First Reading speaks of His works in creation history: “his works were accomplished at the foundation of the world. For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner….”
An even more significant contrast is between God’s “works” and His “rest”. We’re taught as children to observe “rest on the Sabbath” in imitation of God’s “rest” on the “seventh day”. Those of us who are middle-aged have no problem with observing this in the form of a Sunday nap! But is that the type of rest God enjoyed on the “seventh day”? If not, how exactly can God rest?
Two American authors, in their book ‘Holy People, Holy Land’, ask whether human beings are the summit of God’s works of creation. “No”, they reply, the “pinnacle of creation is nothing other than God’s own rest.” In fact, “God’s ‘rest’ is his supreme holiness, his infinite wisdom and being. God’s ‘rest’ is himself.”
Creatures are created for God, not for ourselves. While we set aside Sundays for the unique “Sabbath rest”, each and every day you need to give some time to “the promise of entering into his rest” through the communion with God we call prayer, our earthly foretaste of Heaven.