Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 2:5-12 + Psalm 8 + Mark 1:21-28
January 15, 2013
“Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them ‘brothers’….” [Hebrews 2:11]
This year the Church proclaims the Letter to the Hebrews at weekday Mass during the first four weeks of Ordinary Time. Meanwhile, the Gospel passage will come from Mark for the first nine weeks of Ordinary Time (though Lent and Easter will interrupt these weeks). The First Reading and Gospel passage at weekday Mass are not meant to correspond to each other. Each runs on its own track, so to speak.
During these weeks of hearing from Hebrews and Mark, we notice a contrast. The lofty language of Hebrews soars above the plain prose of Mark, the shortest of the four Gospel accounts, and the boldest portrait of Jesus. St. Mark the Evangelist records far more of Jesus’ actions (such as miracles) than of His teaching. The lion symbolizes Mark’s Gospel account because Mark portrays Jesus as a bold and courageous person of action.
Today’s First Reading bridges the gap between Hebrews’ lofty portrayal of Jesus and Mark’s down-to-earth portrait. In what theology calls the “divine condescension”, it’s the height from which the Son descended not just to the level of our humanity, but to the assumption of all human sin, that reveals the depth of God’s love for sinful man. In this loving condescension, by which we are brothers and sisters of Jesus, we can enter into His death and therefore also into His Resurrection.