The Real Thing

St. Francis de Sales

Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Heb 7: 25b – 8:6; Mark 3:7-12

Deacon Larry Brockman

As our Gospel today clearly demonstrates, Jesus was and is the real thing- God himself.    Jesus healed the sick, cast out unclean spirits, and worked miracles no other earthly man could do.  And Jesus drew crowds from all over the area because of the authority and truth of his message. 

But Jesus’ earthly ministry ended in the self-sacrifice of the perfect God made man on the cross on behalf of all of us.  It was a sacrifice that atoned for all of our sins and earned salvation for all of us.  The proof of our salvation was his Resurrection and his promise of everlasting life to all who believe in him as passed on by the witnesses to his Resurrection.

Paul’s message to the Hebrews this morning was all about the salvation process.  It is a lesson all of us should heed as well.  Paul talks about it in terms of priesthood.  But in Paul’s days, priests attained their priesthood by birth.  According to their law, only those who were descendants of the Levite tribe could be priests.

They offered animal sacrifices year after year in atonement for their sins on the day of atonement.  But these sacrifices were made by imperfect people- people who died and had to be replaced.  And these animal sacrifices obviously could never properly atone for their sins and those of the people before almighty God.  They were just a gesture of humility and sincere intent to be contrite; they were a remembrance according to the law; they were not a messianic or saving event.  And in fact, the Jews are still looking today for their Messiah.   

Paul then points out that Jesus Christ acted as our priest, the perfect priest.  Jesus, who was and is sinless, lives forever and his sacrifice was and is acceptable to the Father.  Just like Melchizidek, Jesus is a priest, a prophet, and a king.   He does not have any of the shortcomings of previous priests.   

Now Jesus Christ wanted us to participate in the salvation he earned for us by providing us with persons who could act as a high priest for him.  And so, he handed on to his apostles the priesthood at the Last Supper.  We provide bread and wine, fruit of the vine and work of our human hands at each Mass.  They symbolize our willing participation in the Mass, our willingness to sacrifice ourselves.  Every time one of our priests offers that bread and wine and consecrates it as Jesus did, then Jesus self-Sacrifice is memorialized and is offered again to his Father on our behalf.  Jesus told us to do precisely that- in memory of him.  We are present as witnesses to that event at each Mass and we partake of the body and blood of Christ to validate our belief.   

That is what is so important about our Mass.  It is not just a forum for worshipping God; an event held in a special place where God’s word is proclaimed and affirmed and where the congregation says to God that they believe in him and praise him.  Of course, the Mass is all of that too.   

But rather, the Mass is a continuation of the salvation event itself.  Because just as Jesus promised, the bread and wine become His real body and blood.  So, the Sacrifice of the Mass is our way of participating in the original offering to the Father.   

Yes, Jesus Christ is the real thing.  And so is the Mass and the Eucharist consecrated by our Priest. 

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.