Wednesday of week 3 of Ordinary Time – First Reading

Commentary on Heb 10:11-18

We take up from yesterday’s reading where the author continues to show the superiority of Jesus’ single sacrifice over the many sacrifices of the old dispensation.

In the old order, the priest stood day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices which were really ineffectual in taking away sin.

Christ, on the other hand, offered for all time just one sacrifice, not of the fruits of the earth but of himself as a perfect offering in total union with his Father.  Because of this, he now “sits at the right hand of the Father” – his work is complete – and he waits for his enemies “to be made a footstool for his feet”.  The “sitting” of Jesus is contrasted with the Levitical priest who always stood, implying his sacrificing role was never finished.

The waiting period is that between the enthronement of Jesus at his resurrection-ascension and his Second Coming.  The identity of the “enemies” is not specified.  Writing to the Corinthians Paul had said: “He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.  For God has put all things in subjection under his feet” (1 Cor 15:25-27).

In his one offering, Christ has made perfect all those “who are sanctified”.  This is confirmed by the words of Scripture in a passage which the author adapts from Jeremiah, where Yahweh says that he will make a covenant with his people.  “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”  And, using another passage from Jeremiah, he adds: “I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more.”

In a concluding remark, the author says that where there is forgiveness from God, there is no longer any need for further offering for sin.

Again, it is for us to open ourselves totally to the forgiving and healing power of Jesus Christ and to unite ourselves fully with his self-offering.  Let us say together with him, “I have come to do your will, O God.”

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