Thursday of the 3 OT1
Readings: Heb 10:19-25; Mk 4:21-25.
1/ Reading I: NAB Hebrews 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary 20 by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, 21 and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,” 22 let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy. 24 We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. 25 We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.
2/ Gospel: NAB Mark 4:21 He said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? 22 For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. 23 Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” 24 He also told them, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. 25 To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
Written by: Fr. Anthony Tien M. Dinh, O.P.
I. THEME: Jesus is the mediator between God and human beings.
How can people approach God? Is it by a secret knowledge as the Gnosticism believes? Or by the animal’s blood? The Christianity believes that people can approach God only through Christ, the Son of God.
Today readings center around Jesus, he is the mediator between God and human beings. In the first reading, the author compared the curtain in the temple which separates the Holy with the Most Holy places in the temple with the new curtain which is Jesus’ body. Christ tore up the temple’s curtain so that people of all generation and places could approach God through him. In the Gospel, Mark illustrated some of Jesus’ teachings about light, truth, the relationship between giving and receiving, and the proper use of God’s gifts.
1/ Reading I: Christ opened the curtain which separates God and people.
1.1/ The curtain which separates the Holy and the Most Holy places in the temple: To understand the author’s meaning, we must return to the temple’s structure of the Old Testament. To separate the Holy with the Most Holy place where the Ark is placed, a curtain covers from the top to the bottom is created. Its puspose is for people not to see God’s presence. Only the high priest can enter the Most Holy, once a year in the day of Atonement to offer sacrifices for people.
When Jesus gave up his spirit on the cross, all authors of the Synoptic Gospel reported the event “this curtain is torn from the top to the bottom” (Mt 27:51, Mk 15:38, Lk. 23:45). The author of the Letter to the Hebrews commented on this event as following: “Therefore, brothers, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have “a great priest over the house of God.”” Because of Jesus, people can now approach God at any time and in all places.
1.2/ Let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust: Because Jesus cleansed us with his blood and water of Baptism, we are clean from sins so we could approach God with a sincere heart and in absolute trust. Because of Jesus’ death, our sins are taken away and he gives us a hope for eternal life. The author advised, “Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.”
We don’t come to heaven by ourselves, but with our brothers and sisters; so “We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.” Our faith is strengthened by others when we worship together and encourage others to be firm in faith during times of persecution or temptation.
2/ Gospel: The worldly and heavenly reality
In today passage, Mark reported a collection of Jesus’ teachings in many different events. One can recognize this when he compares Mark’s with Matthew’s Gospel. Therefore, we shall analyze each sentence because it has a full meaning in itself.
3.1/ The lamp’s purpose is to shine: Jesus said: “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand?” Everyone understands the use of the lamp is to shine; therefore, one needs to put the lamp on the pole so that it can shine a large area. If the lamp is put on the floor, it can shine only a small area. To put the lamp unfer a bushel is to destroy the purpose of the lamp.
The truth is liken as a lamp; the purpose of the truth is to guide people on the right path. Therefore, people need to learn, to speak and to live according to the truth. People can’t hide the truth though it hurts. To live according to the truth can be ridiculed, hated, persecuted or losing of one’s life; but only the truth can set people free. The martyrs are examples of those who courageously lived according to the truth; they become the light for all people to follow.
3.2/ The truth can’t be hidden: Jesus said: “For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. If any man has ears to hear, let him hear.” People can be indifferent, surpress or destroy the truth; but sooner or later, they must face the truth either in this life or the life to come. Therefore, people must be careful when they live against the truth because they must endure its consequence. Using force can make people to be afraid, but it can’t hide the truth. Moreover, though people can hide the truth from all people, but they can’t hide from God, who can see and understand all secrets in men’s heart.
3.3/ To give out much is to receive much: Jesus taught: “Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” This principle must be the guideline for our life because the result we hope to receive depends on the effort we put out. If we prepare and try hard, we shall receive a better result; and if we don’t prepare or try a little, we shall receive an undesired result. For examples, if one spends much time to study in a special field, he shall have a better knowledge in that field. Similarly, if one spends time to read and to meditate about the readings of that day before he goes to church, he shall understand more when a priest gives his sermon.
2.4/ To properly use God’s gifts: “To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” This is also the living principle for us: we must know how to use time to upgrade our talents; if not, we shall loose what we have. For example, the learning of a foreign language. If we continue to study and to use what we learned from school, we shall master that language someday; but if we don’t, we shall gradually lose all what we had. Same thing can be said with the gift of faith. If a faithful deepens his faith and finds opportunity to live his faith, he shall have a firm faith, nothing can shake his faith; but if that person doesn’t, he can loose the faith he once had.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Christ is the mediator of the new covenant. He brings God to human beings and them to God.
– We must be light for the world by living our life according to the Gospel, so people can recognize our faith and believe in God.
– What we shall receive depending on what we gave out. God and others shall compensate what we sacrificed for them and more. If we selfishly keep everything for ourselves, we will gradually lose what we possess.