MONDAY OF THE SECOND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Brothers and sisters: Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.
So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,
“You are my Son, today I have begotten you”;
as he says also in another place,
“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up 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 reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
The Lord says to my lord, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The Lord sends out from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your foes. Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day you lead your forces on the holy mountains. From the womb of the morning, like dew, your youth will come to you. The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and people came and said to him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them, can they? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak; otherwise, the patch pulls away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost, and so are the skins; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.”
We begin reading in Hebrews that Jesus is the new high priest. The old high priest offered gifts and sacrifices to atone for the people’s sins standing on one side of the curtain in the Holy of Holies. But Jesus removed the barrier between God and humanity by His sacrifice on the cross. He did not come to destroy the law, but to complete it.
The psalm references the priesthood of Jesus and the gospel connects us to the teaching of the new covenant in Jesus’ blood.
The Pharisees were very strict about their religious acts of prayer, fasting and tithing. As they question Jesus about his followers and their participation in religious fasts, Jesus tells them that the bridegroom is with them. How can they be caught up in spiritual offerings when the fulfillment of the law is standing in their midst? How can it be that the Pharisees do not desire to have a relationship with Jesus and become his follower? They do not see him as their bridegroom.
The new wine of Jesus’ sacrifice is going to be made and it will require a new container. It is not something that can be patched or added onto the old law. The new law of love does not fit with the legalism of old. It requires a new and open vessel or temple in which it may be poured. It requires a vessel that has been born again of water and the Holy Spirit. It is fashioned on the potter’s wheel.
Jesus is the source of our eternal salvation if we only obey him. Let us be sure to listen and obey Jesus today who has paid the debt for our sins.