Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Watching two of my nephews play at a playground – the 8-year-old ran up a warped wall and tried to get over the top. Suddenly his 4-year-old brother began to yell, “Go K, you can do it, c’mon!!” He was the only person yelling encouragement – the rest of the kids ran up the wall and made their attempt to scramble over without anyone else seeming to notice. But my younger nephew assumed this was a team sport – he saw his older brother struggling, and did everything he could to cheer him on.
I thought of this when I read the last few lines of today’s scripture exhorting the faithful to “provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together… encouraging one another.” There are so many ways that siblings, like all of us, provoke each other in negative ways. Today, who can I encourage to greater faith, hope, and love?
—Catherine Heinhold is the Pastoral Assistant for Ignatian Programming at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. where she facilitates prayer programs and the Young Adult Community.
With great devotion
and new depth of feeling,
I hope and beg, O God,
that it finally be given to me to be the servant
and minister of Christ the consoler,
the minister of Christ the redeemer,
the minister of Christ the healer,
To be able, through you, to help many;
to console, liberate and give them courage;
to bring them light not only for their spirit
but also for their bodies;
and bring, as well, other helps to the soul and body
of each and every one of my neighbors.
I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
—St. Peter Faber, SJ