The Letter to the Hebrews is the source of the Second reading at Sunday Mass from now (the week of the 27th Sunday in Ordinary TIme) until the last but one Sunday of this liturgical year.
The reading on Sunday offers a meditation on salvation won through the Incarnation of God and the faithful life of Jesus.
We see in Jesus one who was for a short while made lower than the angels and is now crowned with glory and splendour because he submitted to death; by God’s grace he had to experience death for all mankind.
As it was his purpose to bring a great many of his sons into glory, it was appropriate that God, for whom everything exists and through whom everything exists, should make perfect, through suffering, the leader who would take them to their salvation. For the one who sanctifies, and the ones who are sanctified, are of the same stock; that is why he openly calls them brothers.
The suffering of Jesus began, at least with his birth. In the image above there is the sense of excitement at the revelation of the child announced by angels, born in David’s city. Maybe there is also a sense of premonition of the crowds that would gather around Jesus at the end of his earthly life, jeering and mobbing and abusing him.
Jesus endures all for us. There is the wonder. The Incarnation can sometimes be reduced to an intellectual, theological puzzle. How can two into one go? How can God who is no thing and is from before all time take flesh and be constrained in time? This things will always stretch our minds. What stretches our heart: is that this was done for us. (NB Including all those who he calls sisters!)
- Pray that we might know our dignity as children of God
- Pray that we may more fully accept the leadership of the only Son of God.
Detail of sculpture of the 3rd Joyful Mystery, Hill of Apparitions, Medjugorje. (c) Allen Morris, 2015.