FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION:
FIRST WEEK OF THE YEAR
The weekdays of Ordinary Time take us through the whole letter to the Hebrews. They tell us what is unique about the sacrifice Jesus offered on the cross, and how it changes everything we are. These readings show us how the Liturgy of the Word enhances our understanding of the mystery of redemption celebrated in Mass.
Invitation: To be disciples — “students” — of God’s word, so that his light might change our whole perception of life.
For prayer and discussion: What below helps you love and live your faith?
Hebrews 1:1-6 begins with an exhortation to listen to what Jesus says. His word sustains Christian life the way God’s creative word keeps everything in existence. The influence of God’s guiding words in our life should be as ongoing as the influence of his creative word.
Hebrews 2:5-12: By passing through death Jesus showed that the Life he shares with us is not incompatible with mortality or with the perspective death adds to our experience of life. This means his words will “work” for us.
Hebrews 2:14-18: An added reason to listen to Jesus’ words is that he became “like us in every respect” so that he might know where we are coming from and sympathize with us in our weaknesses.
Hebrews 3:7-14: Jesus promised “rest for our souls,” but on condition that we “hear his voice,” and “harden not our hearts.” We need to “encourage one another daily... so that no one grows hardened by the deceit of sin.” Mass does this.
Hebrews 4:1-11: Others have heard the same words we hear at Mass, but “did not profit them, for they did not receive them in faith.” We have to take God’s words seriously, reflect until we understand them, and do something in response.
Hebrews 4:12-16: The word of God read at Mass is challenging, but we “do not have a high priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.” We believe God’s words are “the source and strength” of Christian life, vigor and renewal. We should be more afraid of ignoring them than of facing their challenge
Do I really believe that in Jesus is all Truth, Goodness and Life, and that by reflecting on his words I can let him give more of his Truth and Life to me?
Do I choose now to read Scripture? How am I going to feel about this decision the next time I pray?
How do I feel while Scripture is read at Mass? When I read it alone? What does this tell me?
Do I expect God’s words to challenge values I grew up with? Do I think about them until I reach decisions? What blocks my response?
Am I afraid to read Scripture? Too busy? Too lazy? If I said “Yes” to any of the above, should I think about that?
Write out your commitment to reading the word of God.