St. Fabian, pope & martyr
St. Sebastian, martyr
＊＊＊ 1st Reading ＊＊＊
Hebrews 7:1-3, 15-17
Scripture says that Melchizedek, king of Salem,
Priest of the Most High God, came out to meet Abraham who returned from defeating the kings. He blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.
Let us note that the name Melchizedek means King of Justice, and that king of Salem means king of Peace. There is no mention of father, mother or genealogy; nothing is said about the beginning or the end of his life. In this he is the figure of the Son of God, the priest who remains forever.
All this, however, becomes clear if this priest after the likeness of Melchizedek has in fact received his mission, not on the basis of any human law, but by the power of an immortal life. Because Scripture says: You are a priest forever in the priestly order of Melchizedek.
Ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4
You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
＊＊＊＊ Gospel ＊＊＊＊
Again Jesus entered the synagogue. A man who had a paralyzed hand was there and some people watched Jesus: Would he heal the man on the sabbath? If he did they could accuse him.
Jesus said to the man with the paralyzed hand, “Stand here in the center.” Then he asked them, “What does the Law allow us to do on the Sabbath? To do good or to do harm? To save life or to kill?” But they were silent.
Then Jesus looked around at them with anger and deep sadness because they had closed their minds. And he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was healed. But as soon as the Pharisees left, they met with Herod’s supporters, looking for a way to destroy Jesus.
Again, we are invited by the gospel to reflect on what is more important for us, the following of religious precepts whose reference is the letter of the law, or a relaxed more people-centered understanding of it.
We are sometimes tempted to be rigid and unyielding in our faith because it is easier, than to follow its greater demand to love. For in loving we are called to overcome the boundaries and confines that laws create for the greater good.
Perhaps it’s because we do not trust our capacity to love that we would rather seek refuge in the strict following of the law rather than exploring its loving and liberating aspect that demands we abandon ourselves in the call to love without restraint.