Grace to you!
I continue from where we stopped yesterday. Today, I focus on Hebrew 10:11-18 and prayerfully meditate on the once-and-for-all grace of forgiveness from sins the Lord has offered for us.
You may have had the experience of assuring someone beaten down by guilt that their offences are forgiven. It could be your child who did something awful. It could be an employee who violated policy in a terrible manner. They asked for pardon and were assured their request was granted. Yet, they keep begging for mercy, over and over again, for the same violation. If you were the parent or the employer, doesn’t this make one uncomfortable?
It is like what happens when someone go to Confession and repeat over and over again, what they had confessed many times earlier. The priest may say, well, your sins have been forgiven. The people may have even done several penances as satisfaction for their past. Yet, they go back, over and over again re-confessing the same sins.
Although, in many cases, this is a sign of what moral theologians call scrupulous conscience, it isn’t the best response to Divine Mercy.
One thing is certain: The forgiveness of sins which the Lord has accomplished for us on the cross isn’t like the Old Testament practice of the priests such as what The Letter to the Hebrews describes. “Every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Heb 10:11).
The repetition, over and over again, is a pointer to the reality of the ritual’s inability to deal a death blow to sins. As I referenced yesterday, it was just a shadow of “the good things to come,” not the “true form” (Heb 10:1). On our part, to approach the Lord in our spiritual journey with the same mentality of pondering over and over and re-confessing of our sins, could be a sign of lack of trust in what the Lord has done for us. It could be a subtle doubt of God’s grace and mercy for us.
The inspired writer of The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us that what the Lord has done for us is complete, definitive. “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb 10:12-14).
I love the way the Navarre Bible commentary on this verse contrasts the Old Testament priestly practice with the Priesthood of Christ using the imagery of the standingand the seating. It suggests that the “standing of the priests” “was the correct posture for servants and employees.” Whereas what the Lord is described as doing, that is seating at the right hand of God “in addition to conveying the idea of repose and rest, being seated would be equivalent to receiving royal investiture or to exercising authority (cf. Heb 7:26; 8:1) …and special honor” (Navarre, Commentary on The Letter to the Hebrews, 2005, pp. 106-107). The one who atoned for our sins is the one who has the definitive authority to do so. He is the one seated at the right hand of the Father. The security of forgiveness of your sins are assured. It’s firmly established in heaven.
Since this is the case, we, who are blessed with “heavenly good things” of the Lord, are to gratefully accept what the Lord has done for us. It is a settled matter. We aren’t in doubt if our sins have been paid for by the Lord.
We approach God with confidence and receive grace from the Risen Lord. We know that Divine Mercy provided for us in and by Christ, is assured. So, if we sin, we are not to give up hope and be doubtful about God’s forgiveness when we humbly ask for it.
The same is true for our eternal salvation. We are certain about the end goal—heaven. All the means for it, have been provided by the One who died and rose, and is seated as the right hand of the Father, Christ, the Lord.
Approach the Lord, therefore, with confidence in Divine Mercy and grace.
I pray we embrace with grateful hearts what the Lord has done for us. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday Week 3 Ordinary Time: Heb 10:11-18; Mk 4:1-20]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.