Tuesday of the 3 OT1
Readings: Heb 9:2-3, 11-14; Mk 3:20-21.
1/ Reading I: NAB Hebrews 9:2 For a tabernacle was constructed, the outer one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of offering; this is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies, 11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation, 12 he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
2/ Gospel: NAB Mark 3:20 He came home. Again (the) crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. 21 When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, O.P.
I. THEME: Christ’s immense love for human beings
When people are in love, they do some things which others regard as crazy, such as: waiting for their lover under rain or being ready to die for their lover. To the people who love, they are impelling to express their love. Jesus himself washed his apostles’ foot and told them to wash each other’s foot. He also told them, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13). Not only he said that, but he also carried the cross to Golgotha and died for human beings to show his deep love for them.
Today readings concentrate on Christ’s expressions of love for human beings. In the first reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews compared Christ’s blood, poured out to redeem human sins, with blood of heifer or goat, sprinkled over people in the Old Testament. If the blood of animals can take away human sins, how much more it shall be with the Son of God’s blood! In the Gospel, out of love for people, Jesus and his disciples worked without rest to the point that they have no time to eat. Hearing such news, his relatives went out to look for him because they thought he is out of his mind.
1/ Reading I: Christ’s blood is much more effective than animal’s blood.
1.1/ The tabernacle and Christ’s body: After comparing the priesthood and the sacrifice, the author wanted to compare the place where the high priests offered their sacrifices. The tabernacle, where the high priest offered their sacrifices on the Day of Atonement each year, was built according to the pattern which God revealed for Moses on Sinai Mountain. This tabernacle is only a type of a reality which is greater and more perfected tabernacle, not made by human hands nor belonging to this world, but by God.
(1) The Tabernacle: In the Old Testament, this tabernacle was built according to the pattern which God revealed for Moses. The author briefly describes as follows: “For a tabernacle was constructed, the outer one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of offering; this is called the Holy Place. Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies.” The priests can enter the Holy Place to offer sacrifice weekly; but only the high priest can enter the Holy of Holies, once a year, to offer sacrifices for himself and for people.
(2) The greater and more perfected tabernacle: The author continued, “But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation.” Some scholar said that this tabernacle is Jesus’ body. This isn’t proper because Jesus’ body was conceived and formed by Mary, a human being in this world. The more reasonable explannation is Jesus’ being, a combination of both divine and human nature, as St. Ambrosio said, “The altar represents Christ’s body, and Christ’s body is on the altar” (The CCC quoted Ambrosio, Sacer. 4, 7). If understanding so, Christ is both the High Priest and the sacrifice and the altar.
1.2/ Christ’s blood versus animal’s blood: The author compared the Old Testament’s sacrifices with Jesus’ sacrifice, now he compared the effect of the blood of these two sacrifices. In the Old Testament, the blood are from lamb or goat or heifer; in the New Testament, the blood is from Christ, the Son of God. Christ’s blood can bring for people the following effects:
(1) Lasting redemption: The blood of animal must be poured out every time when people sin. Christ’s blood poured out once and is enough, as he said, “he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”
(2) Forgiving all sins: According to Jewish tradition, the animal’s blood can take away only unintentional sins; the intentional sins can’t be forgiven by any animal’s blood. Christ’s blood can forgive all sins because it is voluntary and love from the Son of God. In the author’s words: “For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.”
2/ Gospel: Jesus and his disciples sacrificed themselves to help people.
2.1/ Jesus’ love for human beings: Mark briefly reported: “Then he went home and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat.”
This thing happened because Jesus and his disciples had a great love for people. If Jesus didn’t want this to happen, he only needed to stop healings or to go to a deserted place. The only reason why this was allowed to happen because of their immense love for people. They joyfully served people and forgot about eating.
2.2/ Jesus’ relatives couldn’t understand what Jesus was doing: Mark continued to report: “when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, “He is beside himself.””
Those who aren’t in love, can’t understand the reason of heart. Jesus’ relatives couldn’t understand how much Jesus love his Father and human beings. To them, Jesus’ life is abnormal and failure because:
(1) He had to be constantly on the road, had no house to live and no job to support his living. To them, one needs to have a house and a job.
(2) He made friends with the poor, the uneducated, the sinners and the sick. To them, one needs to make friend with the rich, the educated and the good to get advance in their life.
(3) He opposed the power of religious leaders, such as: the Pharisees, the scribes, the elders. To them, to do such thing is to face death.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Let us learn what Jesus did, is doing and shall do for us to recognize his immense love for us.
– Not many people want to sacrifice their life for others; may be some shall do for the righteous. Christ died for us when we are still sinners.
– Since Christ loves and sacrifices for us, we can’t be selfish to live only for ourselves, but must love and sacrifice for others as Christ for us.