Monday – Second Week – OT1

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Monday – Second Week – OT1

Readings: Heb 5:1-10; Mk 2:18-22.

1/ Reading I: NAB Hebrews 5:1 Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness 3 and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. 4 No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. 5 In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to him: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you”; 6 just as he says in another place: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” 7 In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; 9 and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10 declared by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

2/ Gospel: NAB Mark 2:18 The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to him and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day. 21 No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. 22 Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”


                                                      
I. THEME: New and old             

            The conflict between new and old thing happens in all places and at all time, whether in polilic, religion, manner, fashion. For examples: monarchy and democracy, Judaism and Christianity, a sincere or respected attitude, a low or high cut dress. Jesus and his disciples must also face the conservative Jews when they bring God’s new revelation for men. The question used to be put out, “Which one is better?”

            Today readings center on the conflict between new and old teachings. In the first reading, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews used the old standards to prove Christ is the new High Priest who can bring God to people and people back to God, because he both has divine and human experience. In the Gospel, Jesus used the question of the old generation to help them to recognize that a new era has dawned; they need to have a new mind to receive his new teachings.

II. ANALYSIS:

 

1/ Reading I: Jesus is the new High Priest.

            Today passage, Hebrews 5:1-10, was arranged by the author according to the cone-shaped structure, with the top is Aaron as the high priest of the Old Testament. The author’s purpose is to demonstrate that Jesus is the High Priest of the New Testament. To achieve this, he used a syllogism: First, he listed out three qualities of a high priest; then he proved that Jesus has these three qualities; and lastly, he concluded that God chose Jesus as the High Priest when He said, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Ps 110:4).

1.1/ Three qualities of a high priest:

            (1) The high priest is represented for all people: “Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.”

                        (2) The high priest sympathizes with all people: “He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people.”

                                    (3) The high priest is chosen by God: “No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.”

1.2/ Jesus is the High Priest:

                                    (3) Jesus is chosen to be the High Priest: “In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to him: “You are my son; this day I have begotten you”; just as he says in another place: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.””

                        (2) Jesus has compassion on people: “In the days when he was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.  Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.”

            (1) Jesus represents all people: “And when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, declared by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”

 

2/ Gospel: Jesus protected his disciples.

2.1/ Why Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast: Fasting is one of three requirements to help people to be better besides praying and giving alms. Therefore, when people saw that Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast, they came to him and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”

            The period of transition between the Old and the New Testament is the time when the Jews increased their fasting and ascetism, not only in the sects but also popular for people as religious works. As said above, fasting, praying and giving alms are considered three main poles of one’s religious life (Tob 12:8). The Book of Judith considered fasting as the way to ask for God’s blessing (Jdt 4:9). John Baptist’s fasting and ascetism in desert is to advertise the simple life and the completely dependence on God.

           

2.2/ Jesus’ answer wants to emphasize two main points:

            (1) The reason for fasting: Fasting must have a clear purpose. Jesus gave the reason why his disciples didn’t fast yet: “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.” Jesus wanted to say that he is the bridegroom and his disciples are the bridegroom’s best friends.

            (2) The time for fasting: There is a certain time for fasting, not all the time. Jesus let people know when his disciples shall fast: “But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.”

           

2.3/ People must have a new spirit to receive the new teaching: Jesus is the center for people to differentiate between the old and the new things. The Pharisees and John Baptist’s disciples represent for the old generation while Jesus and his disciples represent for the new generation. In order to receive Christ’s new teachings, people must have a new spirit to recognize the incompletion of the old doctrines before they can welcome Christ’s new doctrines to help them to be perfected. If they don’t have a new spirit, they shall stubbornly hang on old doctrines and deny Christ’s new doctrines.

            To help them to recognize the importance to have a new spirit, Jesus used two examples which are very familiar with his audience:

            (1) A cloak and a patch: “No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.”

            (2) Wine and wineskins: “Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                

            – Christ is the High Priest of the new and perfect covenant, we should come to him to learn the new teachings from God and ask him to accompanying us.

            – We need to open our mind to welcome new things which come from God and others. A narrow mind and a conservative attitude shall prevent us to advance.

            – We should not easily discard all old things and welcome all new things; but ask God for wisdom to discern: to keep what are old and good, to welcome what are new and good, and to make them better.

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