Memory of the Church

Deel Op

Memorial of Saint Anthony the Abbot (†356). He followed the Lord into the Egyptian desert and was father of many monks. A day of reflection on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Hebrews 3,7-14

That is why, as the Holy Spirit says: If only you would listen to him today! Do not harden your hearts, as at the rebellion, as at the time of testing in the desert, when your ancestors challenged me, and put me to the test, and saw what I could do for forty years. That was why that generation sickened me and I said, 'Always fickle hearts, that cannot grasp my ways!' And then in my anger I swore that they would never enter my place of rest. Take care, brothers, that none of you ever has a wicked heart, so unbelieving as to turn away from the living God. Every day, as long as this today lasts, keep encouraging one another so that none of you is hardened by the lure of sin, because we have been granted a share with Christ only if we keep the grasp of our first confidence firm to the end.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

After drawing a parallel between Jesus and Moses, the author of the Letter links historical Israel with those who form the Christian community, many of whom are of Jewish origin. And he begins by quoting the second part of Psalm 95, which condemns the deafness of God's people during the years of exodus in the desert. Perhaps the author wanted to emphasize that the new people of the disciples have already entered the house of the Lord and therefore they are even more obliged to listen to the Word of God and not to harden their hearts as the Israelites did in Massa and Meriba. In any case, it is from listening to the Gospel that depends on entering the house of the Lord and staying there as family members. For this reason, the author of the Letter asks not to turn away from God, that is from listening to his Word, but also to "exhort us each other every day ... so that no one may be obstinately seduced by sin." There is a great pastoral wisdom in this indication: only an effective daily fraternity guarantees a continuous discipleship. The author addresses the entire community. All "brothers" have the responsibility of being attentive to one another and of worrying above all those who no longer listen to the voice of God. "Pastoral" responsibility does not oblige only "superiors" (13:17); every Christian is invited to keep his eyes open because his brother and sister are not lost. It is not possible, in fact, to be disciples of Jesus on their own or separated from the brothers and sisters: we are disciples only if we listen to the Word of God together. In Scripture it is the same Holy Spirit who speaks and edifies in one body those who listen to him. The continuity of listening makes disciples those who listen. And the "today" of the Letter is daily life illuminated by the Gospel. Thus, we enter "the rest" that the Lord grants to his faithful.