Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Ultimate Blessing

January 30, 2013

Would we not be greatly blessed were we able to know, to read, the words of Jesus to Paul on the occasion of Paul's RCIA classes taught to him by Jesus.  Imagine the conversation that must have taken place between the two.  Each time I read a part of a letter offered by Paul, I try to put myself in front of Paul with the awareness that these words come from a man who had private lessons with my Lord and Savior.

In yesterday's first reading Paul expressed a reality we should never forget:  Jesus' once and only once sacrifice far exceeded the countless sacrifices offered to Yahweh during Old Testament times.  In those days it was the practice of the priest to offer sacrifices each day, petitioning Yahweh to forgive sins.  These offerings were made with a hope that Yahweh would forgive the sins but there was no guarantee that the evils done were forgiven.  This is the difference with the self-sacrifice of himself in his passion and death that Jesus received the Father's assurance that sins once and for all were forgiven.  No longer OT sacrifices:  Jesus had won salvation for us.

Paul writes that all of us have been made perfect.  How do we know this is true, you might ask of Paul?  He answers by quoting words from Jeremiah where Yahweh makes clear for us that he is making a covenant with us.  He "puts his laws in our minds and writes them in our hearts."  Furthermore Paul recalls words of prophesy written by Jeremiah again, "Their sins and their evil doing I will remember no more."  And so Paul reminds his listeners:  where there is God's forgiveness of past sins because of the supreme sacrifice of his own life for us by Jesus, there is "no longer offering for sin" as in the past.

So what are we to make of this?  Ours is the duty to take the time in prayer and reflection to ponder this saving grace.  Hopefully, then, with our prayer and discovery of Jesus' extraordinary gift, we may come to fully understand the Father's will for us.  Then, with this grace, we can live our lives free from sin and in the peace Jesus earned for us.