Great Expectations!


Thursday of the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time

Heb 7: 25 – 8: 6; Mk 3: 7-12

Dc. Larry Brockman


Great Expectations!  Such great expectations from the people that crowded Jesus.  And why not?  For the stories of Jesus great healing powers had spread far and wide.  “If Jesus could do that for others, surely he can do it for me, too”.  That was the sentiment, an air of great expectations.   

Now the Church has paired this Gospel with an interesting scriptural description of the roles of priests and sacrifices.  Why so?  In the Old Testament, priests offered animal sacrifices to the Lord to atone for sins.  They offered the best- lambs and other animals specially selected because they were the most desirable.  As if sacrificing something near and dear would be an acceptable offering to God; and in some way atone for their sins so that favors would be granted by God.  They practiced this because God, acting through his prophets like Moses, prescribed what they were to do and how they were to do it.  And so, it was their expectation that God would keep his end of the bargain, accept their sacrifice, and grant them the favors they sought after the atonement sacrifice.  That was their expectation.   

Now Jesus sacrifice has been described in Old Testament terms as the slaughter of the unblemished Lamb of God- the sacrifice of the human life of God’s only son for the atonement of the sins of Mankind, our imperfections- so that we may all qualify for eternal life.  When our priests re-enact this sacrifice in the Mass, that’s what it is all about.  We re-enact the perfect sacrifice as a reminder, and in Thanksgiving for, the New Covenant- the promise of eternal life for those who accept and believe, so that we can stay directed on the path that the Lord laid out for us in the Gospels.   

When we attend Mass, what are our expectations?  Are they like the people that surrounded Jesus in our Gospel story, people who are expecting that something be done for them.  Or are our expectations more in line with the meaning of the Mass- that we remember what God, through Jesus His son, has done for us so that the reminder brings us into focus of what we need to do to attain the reward Jesus earned for us, eternal life? 

I think that it comes down to this: Trust.  We need to constantly be reminded of the promise of our own everlasting life that the Mass reminds us of, so that our trust in the Lord’s providence for us will override every trial, suffering, and doubt in our lives, trust that God will answer your prayer in his way, his time.  We can be, and do need to be, persistent in our prayer.  So, we should come to Mass often, and pray often.  But our attitude needs to be one of trust, not selfishness.  Unlike the people in the Gospel who crowded Jesus, pressing in on him for an immediate cure, we need to give him space, the space to fulfill God’s plan for us who trust in him.   


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