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Immersed in Christ: January 19, 2021

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Hebrews 6:10-20; Psalm 111; Mark 2:23-28.

“The Lord will remember his covenant forever.”

Hebrews warns us before this reading that we are going to take up things “difficult to explain.” This is the mystery of Christ’s priesthood. Since three readings in a row (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) end with “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek, we know Hebrews will use Melchizedek to explain Jesus.

Saturday the Church told us that the Scriptures read at Mass enable us to respond to the mystery of Christ:

actively with full faith, hope and love,

through prayer and self-giving,

not only during Mass but in our entire Christian life.

We see the readings doing that.

Yesterday’s reading called for “full, active” faith in Jesus as a different kind of mediator. If we accept that he is a priest by nature — and therefore forever — we can have confidence that he is “the source of eternal salvation... having been designated by God a high priest [forever] according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Today’s reading calls us to “seize the hope set before us” so that we will be encouraged to persevere in good works and in “the love we have shown by our service to his holy people.” To continue in “prayer and self-giving.”

We need to “go on showing the same enthusiasm until we reach the ultimate fulfillment of our hope, never growing careless, but taking as our model those who by their faith and perseverance are heirs of the promises.” We need to do this, “not only during Mass but in our entire Christian life.” What will help?

Hope. God made a promise to Abraham and “guaranteed it by oath.” Abraham “believed and received.” And in a sense, we who have believed have already received the fulfillment of the promise in the person of “Jesus, our forerunner,” who has entered “on our behalf” into the presence of God “beyond the veil,” where he is “seated at the right hand of the Father” and intercedes for us as our Mediator, “being made high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

This gives hope. Tomorrow’s reading explains what was so special about Melchizedek.

Hebrews prefaced this reading by saying that the “solid food” of Christian belief is “for the mature.”

Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith toward God, instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands [Confirmation], resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

In other words, catechism instruction is not enough for an adult Christian life. We need to be disciples, “students” of “mystery”; that is, of Truth that “invites endless exploration.” The Church urges us to use the Scripture readings at Mass to spark this by “listening with an inward and outward reverence that will foster continuous growth in the spiritual life.” The Liturgy of the Word is for disciples. It calls us to be students of the mind and heart of God and helps us to answer that call.1

Most of the readings are not difficult to understand. Hebrews is. But all need to be absorbed through reflection and assimilated, made part of our life, through decisions. The “three r’s” of discipleship are: Read, Reflect, Respond.

Meditation: 1. Am I a disciple? 2. How am I seeking beyond basic teaching?

1 Hebrews 5:11 to 6:2 and Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, 1998, nos. 44-48.

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