The 2nd reading on Sunday, the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, spoke of the entirely exceptional ministry of Jesus. He alone, a non-priest according to the Jewish law, was able to achieve everything that the priests of Judaism hoped and prayed for, but could not deliver:
All the priests stand at their duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking sins away. He, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place forever, at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for him. By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying. When all sins have been forgiven, there can be no more sin offerings.
The Christian liturgy is about the offering of sacrifice. But it is about the re-presenting of that once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In our Mass and in all the Sacraments, and in our daily prayer, we present ourselves and our needs along with the remembrance of him.
That remembrance is something deep, alive, active, real, for it is Christ himself alive, active, real – in and for the Church and for the world.
We have nothing else to offer apart from him, for apart from him, even the best we have to offer is puny and passing. But offered in and with him how even our meagre achievements are rendered pleasing to God.
Christ alone is what God offers us.
St John of the Cross put it well, and provocatively:
In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word – and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behaviour but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 65.
The Father gave us his Word, and that Word spoke love, mercy, forgiveness. The Word offers to restore us to the fullness of life.
What an offer to take to our life today.
- Where do you need healing?
- Or hope?
- Or help?
Crucifix, St Gervais, Paris. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.