Immersed in Christ: January 27, 2021
Wednesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Hebrews 10:11-18; Psalm 110; Mark 4:1-20.
“You are a priest forever, in the line of Melchizedek.”
To understand Hebrews — and the Mass —we have to acknowledge two time frames. In our human one the past is gone and the future has not yet arrived. In God’s time the past, present and future are all one eternal “now.” That is why, in the Mass, the past event of Calvary is truly present now, and we celebrate the future coming of Jesus in triumph as an accomplished fact. In the Rite of Communion we are present at the “wedding banquet of the Lamb.”
At Baptism we entered into the “single sacrifice for sins” that Christ “offered for all time.” We died on the cross in him, rose in him, and were “made perfect” forever. “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Then Jesus “took his seat forever at the right hand of God.” In God’s time.
The key to this is: “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me.”
Jesus “has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances” — its repeated human rituals — that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile [the human race] to God in one body through the cross….”
The glory of God in the “end time” is the fulfillment of God’s plan that Christ should unite everything in heaven and on earth in himself as “gathered up,” “summed up,” “recapitulated,” “brought together” as one body under himself as head. In God’s time the whole body of Christ is already perfect.
What we will see when Jesus comes in triumph is “that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature,” Christ shining through the glorified Church, which is “his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” 1
But in our time we are still forming now, through our choices and spiritual development, that “perfect man” who is the “end” the guiding goal, the perfection and purpose of creation.
Thus we are “perfect” and not perfect. We don’t keep “offering again and again those same sacrifices” to take away our sins or bring about our perfection; in God’s time that is an accomplished fact. In the Mass we keep making present the Sacrifice which accomplished this once and for all so that we might be aware of it: aware of the mystery and goal of our lives, and be encouraged — strengthened in faith, hope and love — to live it out in our time. We celebrate in the Mass the “source and summit” of our salvation, the beginning and the end, Christ’s Sacrifice and the fruit of it, his victory and ours. “By a single sacrifice he has brought us to what is perfect [to “what is the end”] forever.”
To “enter in” to that perfection definitively we simply have to persevere, to hold on to what we have. By Baptism “into Christ’s death” we have “become Christ,” his risen body on earth. All we have to do is be his body, live by the gift of divine life given to us, until “our time” comes to its conclusion and we enter into God’s time forever. “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me.” God sees “the perfect man” now in us who were “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.”
Meditation: 1.During Mass am I aware of being present to: a) the source; b) the summit of my Christian life? 2. What is encouraging in this?
1 Ephesians 1:1-23, 2:15-16, 4:11-13, 5:25-27