January 20, 2017
Friday, Week Two, Year I
Hebrews 8:6-13; Psalm 40; Mark 3:13-19.
We Have Empowered Minds And Hearts
Hebrews tells us that, because of the mystery of his sacrifice
Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, just as he is mediator of a better covenant, founded on better promises.
The promise of the new covenant is new life “in Christ.” Before, God said:
But because we have “become Christ” through dying and rising with him in Baptism, we now share in Jesus’ own act of knowing. His thoughts can be our thoughts, and his desires our desires. This is because the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” is the favor of sharing in the divine life of God. Now God says:
A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone.... I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.
Hebrews quotes the promise of the new covenant that Christ our high priest won for us by his sacrifice:
This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will place my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from least to greatest, says the LORD.
This is the promise of enlightenment. It is the charter of discipleship.
We do not read Scripture like mere human beings reading the words of God. We read like children of the family opening ourselves to words being spoken to us now by our Father, by the Son whose life we share, and by the Spirit poured out in our hearts as God’s “first gift to those who believe.” We have a certain co-naturality with God’s words, because he is already speaking them in our hearts. To reflect on them is to get in touch with what is deepest and truest in ourselves. That is the goal and fruit of meditation. It is the promise of discipleship.
When the Church tells us that “all the faithful without exception:
have a spiritual right to receive abundantly from the treasury of God’s word. and should therefore always be ready to listen gladly to God’s word,
this is affirming our status as children of the Father, “sons and daughters in the Son,” and dwelling places of the Holy Spirit. We should not think of reading Scripture as something “outside” of our normal activities. This is the most normal thing we do! The Bible was written for us; we are designed by nature and empowered by grace to read and understand it. All of us. Without exception. It is our book, our family heritage. Reading Scripture is something we should taken for granted as an expected part of life.
1. Do I read Scripture as a regular part of life?
2. If I do, does it give me a sense of being one of God’s family?
3. If I don’t, whom can I talk to about that?
 Isaiah 55:8-9; Ezekiel 36:26-27.
 Jeremiah 31:33-34.
 Eucharistic Prayer IV. We saw above what the Church believes: “In the liturgy God speaks to his people and Christ is still proclaiming his Gospel.” And: “In the sacred books the Father who is in heaven meets his children with great love and speaks with them” (Vatican II, “Liturgy,” no. 33; “Revelation,” no. 21).
 From the Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, 1998, nos. 44-48.