Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 1st, 2015)

Our first scripture for today is an excerpt from the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy. The Book of Deuteronomy continues the story of the Israelites exodus in Egypt and nomadic sojourn in the wilderness. It details how the God of Israel prepared his people to return to the lands of their ancestors after many years of dreadful slavery and exile.

Moses was appointed by God to be the leader of the Israelites during this difficult period of time. Today’s excerpt from the Book of Deuteronomy gives us Moses’ answer to the queries of the Israelites as to what kind of leader God will appoint to be their leader after Moses.

Moses answer is basically that the Israelites should hope that God places them under the leadership of someone who is truly a servant of God, who teaches in fidelity to God’s commandments, and speaks, not on his behalf, or on behalf of political constituents or causes, but on behalf of God.

In other words, the Israelites will truly know that one of their leaders is a servant of God when that person is a lot like Moses himself. And what was Moses like? The qualities that he manifested are the qualities the people should desire in their leaders- the foremost of which is Moses’ fidelity to God.

Several times I have remarked in my preaching the Church reads the Old Testament as a means of understanding her own identity and mission. The Church is created by Jesus Christ to be the new Israel and the baptized are the new Israelites. The story of Israel in the Old Testament continues in the Church and illuminates the reality of the Church even in this present moment in time.

Thus, the spiritual question provoked by this text is “what kind of leaders do we desire for the Church”? Do we want the leaders that Christ wants and who are above all, faithful to him, or worldly leaders whose fidelity is to their constituents and their causes and only secondarily (if at all) to the Lord?

God-given leaders like Moses are demanding and difficult, but they lead us to the where the Lord wants us go and compel us to be the people that God wants us to be. God-given leaders are not chief executives or politicians or celebrities or branch managers for corporation church dressed in religious garb. The word they speak is not the word of the procedural manual or the op-ed piece, or of political flattery, but the word of God in Christ- and his word is repent and believe in the Gospel.

The witness of the Bible is clear that God will often oblige us in terms of our desires when it comes to our leaders- if we desire leaders who are servants of God, he will send them to us; if we desire leaders who are servants of our worldliness, he will send them to us.

The harsh lesson of the Bible in terms of leaders is that we often get the leaders that we desire, and therefore the leaders that we deserve.

St. Paul takes a difficult, counter-cultural position in regards to a quality that he believes is important for those who aspire to leadership in the Church- this quality is a willingness to eschew marriage in favor of a celibacy.

This willingness, to remain celibate for the sake of Christ, is for St. Paul, a sign that a person truly has what it takes to meet the demands of the Church’s mission- which are, let’s be honest, demanding, not just in some things, but in everything.

St. Paul’s difficult, counter-cultural position is as controversial today as it was centuries ago.

The Apostle Paul knows that what he proposes cannot be imposed, but must be accepted freely, with a full understanding of the implications of such a decision and the reality of its sacrifice.

Celibacy for the sake of Christ and the mission of the Church has always been a “sign of contradiction” to the world. Don’t think for a moment that ours is the first generation to fret about it or protest it.

Though difficult and demanding, the expectation and the witness to these expectations manifested by the men and women, who agree to remain celibate for Christ, can serve a clarifying purpose in terms of how we understand the Church- that Christ did not assemble a management team for a faith-based corporation, but called disciples and asked these disciples to give up everything that the world considered to be valuable or reasonable and in refusing these things, give their lives totally over to him.

Christ, who was from the beginning of his revelation a “sign of contradiction” to the world, in no way indicated that his followers would be “signs of affirmation” to the world- but they would confound it, just as he did.

St. Paul is saying that Christ’s expectation is not just idealism, and it may not be for everyone, but it is a very real, very urgent, and very necessary practice of the Church’s faith in Christ.

In his Gospel, we heard about how the Lord Jesus was confronted by an evil spirit, in of all places, a holy place, a sanctuary dedicated to the purposes of God!

Dark powers insinuate themselves into the Church for they lurk in all our refusals of Christ. Let’s face it: Christ most often tells us what we would rather not hear and compels us to go where we would not go. He tells us to repent. He offers us mercy, but insists that if that mercy is to mean anything at all then we have to accept responsibility for our actions and change our lives. He overturns our expectations of justice and wants more from us than our admiration for his teachings or a superficial commitment to his way of life.

How many times have we met Christ’s invitations with the answer “no”?

In all our refusals of Christ, a dark power is at work, and if such powers are at work in us, we should not be surprised if we find them even in holy places, even within the Church.

Whatever shadows lurk in the sanctuaries of the Church, we have brought them in.

These dark powers are dispelled when our “no” to Christ becomes a “yes”.

Today is the day to dispel the darkness, cast out the dark power of your refusals, and bear into this holy place the radiant light of your “yes” to Jesus Christ.

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Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest (January 31st, 2015)

The text we heard proclaimed this morning from the Letter to the Hebrews is for me one of the most poignant in all the scriptures.

There is a tendency to pay lip service to the reality of faith, reducing it to merely a sense of optimism or positive thinking, but none of this is what the Biblical witness presents as faith- faith is an act of trust in God and this trust engenders hope, a hope that endures without certitude of outcome and without emotional consolation. Faith, in other words, is demanding, not easy, it is manifested, not by our will to control, but by our willingness to surrender. Faith necessitates a willingness to make sacrifices, to give, even if it means that we do not receive.

We are mistaken if we equate faith with certitude or treat our faith as if it were a magical power that gives us what we want. Nor is faith the imposition of system or ideology. Instead, faith is a disposition of receptivity to God’s will and purposes, both of which will always exceed our expectations and take us beyond the limits that we would out of fear impose.

The Letter to the Hebrews cites Abraham as the paradigmatic exemplar of what it means to have faith, and emphasizes that there was much that he hoped for, that he did not live to see, and the same was true for his descendants. In fact, we are the recipients of promises in which Abraham believed and made many sacrifices for, but he never lived to see those promises fulfilled. Abraham rejoices in heaven for what we have in Christ received and sees us, indeed the Church, as confirmation of his faith.

The Church is God’s promises to Abraham fulfilled.

Our faith, which is the Church’s faith, is not something self-created out of our ideas or opinions or feelings, instead it is the way of life that comes from our acceptance that what Christ reveals about himself is true and what he promises to us is worth our trust. Our faith, the Church’s faith, is not in ourselves, but in Christ.

Our acceptance of Christ and our trust in him brings about a way of seeing and understanding God as a person who loves us and is active in our lives, from this we come to know that each of us is the result of a thought of God, each of us is willed, each of us is loved and each of us is necessary. Faith in Christ compels us to admit that despite the many challenges of life that it is good that we exist and that life has meaning and purpose- and despite difficulties, is worth living.

In today’s excerpt from the Gospel of Mark, the Lord Jesus manifests his divine power by calming a terrifying storm that threatens to take the lives of his disciples. This text is meant to provoke us to remember the opening of the Book of Genesis, where God overcomes the chaos of the primordial waters at the dawn of creation, manifesting his divine power.

This a display of power, the power of his word, Christ answers the question as to who it is that the winds and seas obey? It is Christ the Lord!

Christ is God, who enters his creation in an extraordinary way, by accepting a human nature and living a real, human life. He does so to confront the chaos imposed on his creation by sin and death, and with the power of his creative word, restores order.

But also, this story from Mark’s Gospel is a presentation of the reality of the Church, storm tossed and seemingly overcome by dark spiritual and worldly powers that rage like a storm against her, paralyzing her disciples with fear.

But Christ resides within his Church, his divine life and presence remains among us seemingly passive, but never in reality so, in the revelation of his Blessed Sacrament.

As long as the Church keeps herself in relationship to Christ in his Blessed Sacrament, despite all the dark powers that rage, she remains secure in faith, abiding in hope, and sustained by love.

Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time (January 29th, 2015)

We are deep into the magnificent, mystical Letter to the Hebrews, a text that has been for the past several days identifying connections between the Israelite temple of the Old Testament and the Church’s temple of the New Testament.

For those who find the Letter to the Hebrews too esoteric, I mentioned last week to think about the content of the text in terms of your experience of the Mass- what the Letter to the Hebrews describes in words, the Mass shows you in ritual, gesture, symbol and Sacrament. The Mass is a living representation of the ideas presented in the Letter to the Hebrews.

Today’s excerpt from the Letter to the Hebrews places an emphasis on the Blood of Jesus, an emphasis that is meant to connect Christ’s Blood to the blood that was offered in the Israelite temple, blood that would be literally sprinkled upon the people as part of the sacrificial ritual. Blood was not for the Israelites simply a biological reality, but a spiritual reality- blood is, according to the Law of Moses “the life”, meaning a divine gift, which belonged to God. Covenants were “cut” in flesh, marked in blood, because flesh and blood represented the most sacred of gifts from God- life itself.

Therefore the Blood of Christ has even deeper significance than that of the blood sacrifices of the Israelite temple, because it is, literally, God’s life, the divine life itself, given by God himself as a means of establishing a covenant, that it, a relationship between God and humanity.

The blood sacrifices of the Israelite temple were merely a symbol of the reality of Christ’s Blood. What the blood sacrifices of the Israelite temple signified or foreshadowed, the Church delivers to us in the sacrifice of the Mass.

The Precious Blood of the Lord Jesus is presented to us as a sign of his covenant (relationship) with us during the Mass. Holy Communion is not communion (relationship) with a symbol of Christ, but with his real, living divine presence, given to us in the Sacrament of his Body and his Blood.

What we receive in the Blessed Sacrament is the divine life and presence of the Lord Jesus. The Blessed Sacrament is not a symbol of Christ or a perfunctory gesture that indicates a vague association with the Church as an institution or as a right that comes to us from ethnicity or culture.

The Blessed Sacrament is essential to the reality of being in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Without it, that relationship lacks his Blood, lacks the living source of Christ’s divine life.

As you can see, we are given an extraordinary gift and opportunity in the Church. God is not at a distance from us nor are we at a distance from God, but we are invited to know Christ personally, share a relationship with him, and to do so in a way that is a matter of his living Body and Blood.

This gift is the light that Christ wants to illuminate the darkness that has enveloped a world that dwells in the sadness of its belief that God is distant or has abandoned us.

It is our mission to bear this light into the world, which means seeking out ways to invite people to share the relationship with the Lord Jesus that we have ourselves.   In fact, the Gospel is clear, if we do not share what we have received from Christ, his gift to us evanesces, dissipates, disappears…

You can’t share something you don’t have- you can’t introduce people to someone you don’t know. You can’t give what you haven’t received.

Do you know Christ? Have you received Christ? If you do and you will be willing to cast his light into the world and share with others the gift you have received.

The purpose of the Church is to introduce people to Christ and prepare those who know him to be his missionaries. Is that the purpose of this parish? Is that the mission that you have accepted?

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Third Sunday in Ordinary Time (January 25th, 2015)

Our first scripture is an excerpt from the Old Testament Book of Jonah.

The Book of Jonah is a comedy, I know that sounds strange, as many might think thank the content of the Bible is at all times grave and most of the time tragic, but the Book of Jonah was written to delight and by delighting soften the impact of its meaning- which was demanding that those who heard it change their minds about matters of great importance.

Jonah is of all the Old Testament prophets the most successful and the most reluctant. Called by God to warn the enemies of Israel, the Ninevites, to repent of their sins or face the fury of God’s wrath, Jonah wants nothing to do with this mission. And so when God tells him to go to the city of Ninevah, he flees in the opposite direction of where God wants him to go.

This provokes God to intervene and deliver the prophet to his appointed destination by employing the oddest and most uncomfortable means possible.

Once in the city, Jonah scarcely utters his word of warning to the people and they all repent- all the cities inhabitants (including the animals!) seek the forgiveness of God.

At this, one would think that Jonah would be a happy man, but he is not. It turns out that he tried to evade his mission in hope that God would have to destroy the Ninevites- after all, they were the enemies of the Israelites and were responsible for terrible crimes against them. Jonah was angry and disappointed that God did not conform to his standards of justice, that God was merciful and willing to forgive what in Jonah’s estimation, indeed what in most people’s estimation, should be unforgiveable.

You might ask what is so hard about the lesson that God is merciful in ways that exceed our expectations. But anyone who has truly been hurt by someone might understand Jonah’s protests. It also might help to understand that the Ninevites in the story are the Assyrians of actual, ancient history. The Assyrian Empire invaded the northern kingdom of Israel in the year 725 BC, and did so with such cruelty and ferocity that 10 of the twelve tribes of the Israelites were destroyed forever, disappearing from history. This makes the ancient Assyrians guilty of what we call genocide.

The Book of Jonah is suggesting that God is willing to forgive the Assyrians for what they had done, if they should seek his mercy and repent.

All this is meant to invoke our memory of the cross of Christ, which is not, as some have made it, simply the death of a good man, who is a victim of political circumstances. The cross of Christ reveals the wickedness that lurks within the human condition, a wickedness so insidious that God would come to us in Christ and offer us his friendship and we in turn, fearing how friendship with God would change our lives, would conspire to have him tortured and killed. And do not protest that you would never do such a thing. We all find ourselves in the revelation of Christ’s cross shouting out to crucify him, or worse, giving consent through our silence.

What does the cross reveal that we deserve from God? Surely not his forgiveness. Surely not his mercy. In fact, that the potential in each of us to refuse God is in all of us, a refusal we see in all the cruelty that is so endemic to our condition, a cruelty we see in the cross, would justice not be served in God bringing the human project to an end?

But in the wake of the cross God reveals the greatest of all possible second chances. He forgives. He is merciful. And his forgiveness, his mercy is undeserved. What he offers to us he insists that we offer to others. He decides, contrary to our narrow conception of justice, not to give us what we deserve, but what we need the most.

This revelation of God’s mercy should be as surprising and as off putting to us as it was to Jonah, and to the disciples of the Lord Jesus after his cross.

The willingness to forgive, even when, especially when, such forgiveness is undeserved, is also one of the characteristics that should set the Christian apart from the rest of the world. The Christians believes that what God in Christ gives to us is meant to be given by us to others- and forgiveness is God in Christ’s greatest gift.

Forgiveness is not just for the Christian an ideal, but a Sacrament of the Church, through which we repent, and seek from God the gift of another chance. Within this Sacrament of Reconciliation we receive God in Christ’s forgiveness in a word that is as real as the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. God wants us to receive this word of forgiveness so that we can offer it to others. That so few desire to hear his word of forgiveness can clearly be correlated to the cruelty, indifference, and pain-filled unwillingness to forgive that afflicts our culture. We cannot offer to others what we ourselves refuse to receive.

The lack of desire to receive God’s word of forgiveness in his Sacrament of Reconciliation also might indicate that many have become presumptuous in regards to God’s mercy, thinking it as something that was deserved and is absolutely guaranteed.

Saint Paul’s insights in the excerpt you heard today from his first letter to the Corinthians really wants to set us straight in regards to any kind of presumption we might be entertaining concerning the mercy of God. The Gospel is clear that God’s mercy can only happen to us if there is repentance, and with repentance comes the desire to live differently. Thus in no way can the revelation of God’s mercy be used as an affirmation of our status quo and further, we can refuse God’s mercy and by our own willfulness and subvert it’s power to save us.

Thus, the mercy of God cannot be employed by us in the way one uses a “get out of jail free” card in the game of monopoly. God’s mercy is an opportunity, and we can resist that opportunity, even lose it. God in Christ offers his mercy, but do we want it? And if we accept it, are we willing to change our lives so that the mercy we have received can become mercy for others?

The decision to repent and accept God’s mercy presses upon us with great urgency- St. Paul insists that we understand this and also that we understand God’s mercy is an opportunity that we can miss.

If we take the mercy of God seriously we know that the stakes are very high in terms of what God is offering and what happens to us both if we accept it, but also if we refuse his gift.

Being a Christian is not like being Irish or being a Democrat. Being a Christian is not a matter of matriculating through faith themed institutions or schools or belonging to a faith-based club. Being a Christian means that you are someone who has accepted the call of Jesus Christ as a call from God himself- and his call is to repent, to change, to live differently. Christ doesn’t just “accept us as we are” for that would truly be a terrible thing. Christ gives us an opportunity, a possibility to change that has the power to make us new.

The reality of being a Christian is displayed dramatically in today’s Gospel, in which the first disciples called by Christ respond by leaving the means of their livelihood and their families behind so as to follow Christ. We are meant to be impressed by their sense of daring and willingness to take a life-changing risk.

If you are not impressed, you are missing the point of the story.

Today’s Gospel is also God’s answer to our question as to what he wants from us and where meaning and purpose for our life will be found. Only when we are able to “drop our nets” that is, give our lives over to Christ, placing ourselves at his service, will we ever know the secret for which we were born.

We may not be asked by Christ to quit our jobs or leave our families so as to follow him (but some of us will!), but the same level of commitment manifested by the disciples in today’s Gospel is expected of every Christian. Being a Christian means that your life belongs to Jesus Christ and that this is evident in what you say and in what you do. To be a Christian means that your life is given over to Christ’s will, to his purposes- it is not about getting what you want from God, it is about giving your life over to God.

God in Christ gives his life for you. Are you willing to give your life to him?

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Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children (January 21st, 2015)

Today, the Bishops of the United States, have asked that the Mass offered today be for the specific intention of the protection of unborn children.

In a statement from the Bishops, they note:

“Over 56 million abortions since the 1973 decision of “Roe vs. Wade reflect the heartbreaking magnitude of what Pope Francis means by a “throwaway culture”.

Just days ago, the Holy Father affirmed the right to life as being inalienable and noted that the right to life as beginning with the unborn and extending to all stages of life. He testified that the Church should be a sanctuary of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death.

Today, the Bishops ask the faithful to offer prayers and acts of reparation for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.

Christians are asked to examine their consciences in regards to their own responsibility for a culture that so often meets the needs of women, children, and families with a hardened heart. What have we done or failed to do to contribute to a culture where human life is so often treated with contempt or indifference. Human life is most vulnerable at its earliest stages and if life has little value at this stage, what real value will it have at later stages? Is human life only valuable to us when it is healthy? Affluent? Independent? Is human life only valuable to us when it is a commodity, when it is convenient?

An examination of conscience is not only meant to engender in us sorrow for sin but also a desire to live differently. How will each of us live differently so that we might manifest for others respect for the dignity of every person, from the moment of their conception until natural death?

In what ways will this parish offer concrete assistance to those who are in need, those who care for those who are vulnerable? What will inevitably be asked of us will be more than just a monetary contribution to a cause, but direct and immediate assistance to people in need. When that opportunity presents itself, will this parish be ready? Better said, how will this parish prepare itself to seek out those who are vulnerable and offer them the help that they need- and do so without hesitation or complaint?

Christians cannot withdraw from their responsibility in regards to participating in the culture. Christ insists that we are his lights, and often it is only our light that holds the darkness at bay. A culture of death can only be countered by a living, active, public culture of life.

The transformation of culture often begins, not with grandiose speeches or political strategies- these types of things are usually swallowed up and rendered ineffectual by bureaucracy and ideological posturing. Instead, the transformation of culture commences with the demand of love being fulfilled in the immediacy of the circumstances of life. Sacrifices made on behalf of kindness and love. Vulnerable life is not protected simply by statements, but by our will to love those who need our help. Someone needs your help, if you they cannot find you, you go out and find them.

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Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr (January 21st, 2015)

Today the Church remembers the witness of the martyr Agnes, a Roman girl, who at the age of 12 was faced with the decision, that none one should have to make, let alone one so young: denying her faith in the Lord Jesus or surrendering her life to torture and death.

She heroically chose torture and death, being killed on this day in the year 309 AD. How could she deny her faith in Christ who had given up his life as a sacrifice for her?

The memory of Agnes’ witness endured and decades after her death a memorial was built to commemorate her witness to the faith. Over the centuries this memorial was enlarged and embellished to become one of the grandest churches in the city of Rome- the Church of Saint Agnes “outside the walls”- called such because it was built outside the ancient walls of the city of Rome.

It is within this Church on January 21st, the day of Agnes execution, that two lambs are presented to the Pope, who blesses the lambs. The lambs suggest the name of Saint Agnes, a play on the word “agnus”, which in Latin means lamb. But more than this, the lambs represent the sacrifice of Saint Agnes, who offered her life as a sacrifice to Christ the Lord.

The wool from these lambs is shorn on Holy Thursday and used to weave the palliums that the Pope bestows on archbishops. The pallium is a circlet of woolen cloth decorated with crosses that is worn by an archbishop as a sign of the dignity of his office, an office he exercises in communion with the Pope.

But more than this, the pallium reminds the bishop who wears it that the apostolic faith owes its life, not to the institutions or any of the trappings of worldly power, but to the witness of the martyrs, who in the words of the Apostle Paul “were willing to die for what they believed”.

We must all be willing to give up our lives in service to Christ the Lord. We may not be asked to accept as our mission torture and death, but we will be asked to make a sacrifice.

What that specific sacrifice will be will be specific to our vocation and differs from person to person, but whatever our sacrifice will be it will be an act of love, a manifestation of fidelity to Christ, and a witness of our hope that Christ the Lord offers us more than anything than the world can give.

The age of the martyrs is not an age of days gone by. We might be afforded the opportunity to practice and profess our Faith in Christ without fear of persecution, but for millions and millions of the Christian faithful, this is not the case.

The ancient apostolic Churches of the ancient near east have been nearly persecuted out of existence. This has not happened centuries ago, but in the past decade. Christians in China cannot openly practice their faith without fear of reprisals. This is not a holdover from another time, but is happening right now. Christians in Nigeria are harassed, tormented and killed. This is not a matter of history, but of the current moment.

The list goes on and on.

Do we care? Direct aid to our suffering brothers and sisters might be beyond what many of us can offer, but we should, out of respect for what so many Christians suffer, live with a greater sense of appreciation and reverence for our Catholic Faith. Our Faith is not a toy or a hobby, but a way of life. Our Faith is not a private opinion, but a public act of witness. Our Faith is not merely an institution, but the very Body of Christ.

Our Faith is not clubhouse for cocktails and special events- it is a matter of life and death.

On this the feast of Saint Agnes, let us remember her witness, the witness of all the Church’s martyrs, and repent of the ways we so often trivialize the Faith for which so many have been willing to give up their very lives.

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Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time ( January 20th, 2015)

The Letter to the Hebrews testifies that God has revealed a new form of worship in Christ, establishing through Christ a new temple, altar, priesthood and sacrifice.

We experience this new worship in the Mass, which displays to us in ritual, symbol and sacrament what the Letter to the Hebrews describes in a text. In others words, you see in the Mass what you hear about in the Letter to the Hebrews.

Insisting that Christ reveals a new form of worship was not without controversy. If Christ revealed the worship God really and truly wanted, what was the status of other forms of worship? In particular, what was the status of the worship that took place in the Temple of Jerusalem?

The Letter to the Hebrews insists that the worship revealed by Christ brings the worship of the Jerusalem Temple to its fulfillment. The worship of the Jerusalem Temple was intended by God to be a foreshadowing or pre-figuring of the worship revealed by Christ.

Many Israelites found this assertion impossible to accept and argued that the priesthood revealed by Christ was not legitimate, because the legitimate priesthood was exercised only by the ancestors of Aaron and Christ did not meet this requirement.

To counter this argument, the Letter to the Hebrews insists that Christ is a priest “in the order of Melchizedek”. What does this mean? It means that the Letter to the Hebrews is saying that Christ exercises a priesthood more ancient than that of the priests descended from Aaron, and this is the priesthood of Melchizedek.

Who is Melchizedek? He appears in a story told in the Book of Genesis in which the patriarch Abraham, meets the priest-king of Salem, a man by the name of Melchizedek, who offers as a sacrifice of peace, gifts of bread and wine. This priesthood is recognized as legitimate and it pre-exists the priesthood exercised by the descendents of Aaron by centuries.

The Letter to the Hebrews is arguing that the priesthood of the Lord Jesus is even far more ancient than that of the priesthood of Aaron and just as legitimate.

Why should any of this matter to us? Here is something to think about:

There is a tendency to pay lip service to the significance of the Bible, reading and listening to the scriptures at Mass, reverencing the Bible as being important, even sacred, but not engaging the Bible with the requisite attentiveness that would lead to understanding what the Bible is saying and why. The Bible becomes reduced to at best a self-help manual or archaic literature that is interesting, recognized as having cultural value, but otherwise irrelevant.

Because we become used to the Bible meaning so little, we come to think that it doesn’t mean much of anything at all.

What is the Bible for anyway?

The Bible is the means that God uses to introduce us to who the Lord Jesus is and what his mission is all about. The content of the Bible is all about him and through our study of the Bible as a route of access to knowing Christ, we can deepen our relationship with him.

This is why it is important to be attentive to how the Bible presents the Lord Jesus and tells us who he is and what he wants us to do. We might have our own ideas about the Lord Jesus, feelings about him, opinions about him, but none of this introduces us to Christ in the same manner that the Bible introduces us to Christ. In fact, what the Bible has to saw about the Lord Jesus measures and judges our ideas, feelings, and opinions about the Lord Jesus- it doesn’t work the other way around.

Christian spirituality is about getting to know who the Lord Jesus really and truly is. Remember, it is Jesus Christ “who fully reveals man to himself”. If we know Christ, we can become like him, and in becoming like him, we can become everything that God has created us to be.

The Letter to the Hebrews tells us about the kind of priest that the Lord Jesus is. Knowing the kind of priest the Lord Jesus is we better know who the Lord Jesus is- and knowing better who the Lord Jesus is we can better know ourselves, and the way God wants us to worship, and what God wants us to do.

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