FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION:
THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR
The readings for Week Three of Ordinary Time use our deeper understanding of the mystery we celebrate at Mass to encourage us. Our faith assures us we already have what we hope for. We just need to hold on to it by living the divine life that is given to us.
Invitation: To draw hope from our faith and from the example of others who had the same faith and persevered in it, even heroically.
For prayer and discussion: What below helps you love and live your faith?
Hebrews 9:15-28: To understand the Mass we have to understand Jesus as Priest. For that we have to understand the sacrifice he offered on the cross, which the Mass does not repeat but makes present.
Hebrews 10:1-10: Our bibles are pieced together from different partial manuscripts, none completely identical but all in basic agreement. This shows they all came from one original source. Today all serious versions of the Bible are essentially the same, and we can read the one that pleases us, whether “Catholic” or “Protestant.”
Hebrews 10:11-18: In God’s time, “by a single offering Jesus has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” But in our time we are still forming now, through our choices and development, that “perfect man” who is the “end” of creation.
Hebrews 10:19-25: The very humanity that makes us long to see God in all his infinite Truth and Goodness is the “veil” that keeps us from doing so. But Jesus “opened up for us a way,” passing “through the veil” of his own flesh in death. Through the favor of sharing in God’s own divine life (“grace”), we already have essentially the same access to God we will have in heaven.
While in our bodies we can reject God’s life through mortal sin. But if we have him, we have him. And that is what we celebrate at Mass. Hebrews says we should “encourage one another” by coming to Mass, not “absent ourselves from the assembly, as some do.”
Hebrews 10:32-39: To be baptized is to be simultaneously enlightened and enlivened “in Christ.” Being conscious of this in faith, is what gives us hope which. empowers us to love beyond all human bounds. We can afford to give all, because as long as we are in union with Christ we already possess all we can desire.
Hebrews 11:1-19 pinpoints faith as the key to perseverance because it is “confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see.” Our stance toward what we do see is our assurance that we believe in what we don’t see and faith promises us. The more we give up in faith, the more certain we are that we believe. It is worth the price just to know that.
Do I offer Christ at Mass? Do I offer myself with and in him?
During Mass am I aware of being present to: a) the source; b) the summit of my Christian life? What is encouraging in this?
Can I draw hope in Mass from knowing I have already “arrived”?
How do I know my faith is real? What am I risking because of it?.