Grace to you!
We begin a new week in the Church’s liturgical calendar. It is the first of the thirty-four weeks called Ordinary Time of the Year. The weeks of the Ordinary Time are those that do not fall within Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter seasons.
In this week, we reflect on the first readings in our daily liturgy. The readings are centered on The Letter to the Hebrews. This beautiful inspired letter, with thirteen chapters, whose precise authorship is debated by scholars, bears the mark of an early witness of the Christ who is vast in Greek and Jewish cultures. He is one who is pretty knowledgeable about Old Testament Scripture. His style seems to suggest that of a person trained in the rabbinic tradition.
The central objective of the letter was to show the superiority of Christ and the New Covenant he established through his priesthood over the Old Testament priesthood and covenant (The Navarre Bible Commentary, p. 11. See also W. Leonard, 1953, p. 1153). Reading the text, one sees someone writing to new converts to Christianity. Those believers may have been persecuted and looking for words of encouragement to keep the faith. As one reads the letter, one sees a combination of words of encouragement, sometimes moral and doctrinal teachings, crafted with scripture analysis in the style of the rabbis.
Without in anyway going through the biblical background of the Letter, which belongs to biblical scholars, I would share with you some of the ideas that jump out at me as I gleaned through the pages of this text.
When I prayerfully read and reread Hebrew 1:1-6, the words hit me with renewed insight. I see the sovereignty of Christ declared with unequalled emphasis. Christ’s eternal being with the Father right from creation was highlighted: “through whom also he [God] created the world” (Heb 1:2). Christ is also presented as the true reflection of God’s glory and is of divine nature. “He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power” (Heb 1:3).
Thus, believers are not to see the Lord Jesus Christ as a superior heavenly angel that came to minister to our needs just as Archangel Michael who does spiritual battle for us, or Archangels Raphael or Gabriel, etc. Rather, Christ is God. He is above the angels, the only begotten Son of God. “Having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs” (Heb 1:4).
In this we see right away the central place of Christ in the letter. Believers in Christ have to be reassured that their faith isn’t in vain. Hang in with Christ and you are solidly established in the heavenly promise. Discipleship in this faith is following Christ all the way.
The call of the first four apostles in the Gospel of Mark 1:14-20, captures how this discipleship looks. It is to follow the Lord. It is to listen to Christ and follow his lead. Many times, it requires to let go of certain things—things that stand in the way—so as to follow the way of the Lord.
The tension that exists between your faith and the daily temptations and trials you face should inspire in you the courage that flows from the one in whom you believe. Hold on to this faith. Christ in whom you trust is your loving God. His promises would not fail. They will come to pass if you trust him as your Lord and Savior.
Follow Christ. You are much more better off to keep faith and follow in the Lord’s footsteps.
Praying for the grace of steadfastness. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday Week 1 Ordinary Time: Heb 1:1-6; Mk 1:14-20]
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.