Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 22, 2006 – Blessed Sacrament
In the second reading today we heard words that should be of immense comfort for us Christians. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews has been developing a sustained comparison of Jesus to the Jewish high priest. In performing his duties the ancient priest passed through two veils and brought the blood of the sacrificed animal into the part of the temple known as the Holy of Holies. So too in the Epistle, the essential moment of the sacrifice is when Christ passes through the heavens and brings the blood of his sacrifice before God. On the analogy, the sacrifice of Christ is not complete with his death on the cross but only when by his resurrection and ascension, he comes before God where he consummates his priestly sacrifice.
This is “the great high priest” who has passed through the heavens to make intercession for us before God. (more…)
Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 17, 2009 – St. John’s, Goshen
In today’s New Testament readings, we find statements about Christ that show both his similarity and his dissimilarity to us. In the passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews, we hear first of Christ’s dissimilarity: He is “a great high priest who has passed through the heavens.” In the Old Testament, the high priest passed through the outer parts of the Temple until he reached the Holy of Holies, the innermost part, where he offered the prescribed sacrifice. Christ is our great high priest, who by his resurrection and ascension has entered into the true Temple, the Holy of Holies who is God himself, to whom he has presented his sacrifice of himself on the cross. This is what the author calls “our confession,” to which we ought to “hold fast,” that is, keep permanently in mind as the center of our faith and the ground of our hope. It is the faith that makes us Christians and distinguishes us from all others: the belief that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.
But while this statement shows the greatness and uniqueness of Christ, the author hastens to show his similarity to us: (more…)
29th Sunday of the Year–October 17, 1976–CNR
John Henry Newman once wrote a very beautiful sermon, entitled “Christian Sympathy” (PPS, IV, p. 116-27). In the sermon, Newman attempted to make his congregation appreciate the depths and the extent of their communion with one another, both in the pains and griefs, joys and sorrows, of the old Adam, but also in the repentance and hope, love and promise they all shared in Christ. He complained that we fall so far short of the full communication with one another that should be natural to us, that we leave so many common depths unexplored; and he sought to encourage a deeper, wider, more spontaneous communion of minds and hearts, sympathy and affection.
The sermon was recalled to my mind by the central assertion of our second reading today: “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who was tempted in every way that we are.” (more…)
Last week the University of Dayton honored me by bestowing the Marianist Award on me. I devoted the lecture I gave on that occasion to some autobiographical reflections on how I came to approach ecclesiology the way I do. The text of my lecture will be made available later, but here’s the video of it:
The first period of Vatican II (1962) was its most crucial; by freeing the Council from the narrow channels of the official drafts, it permitted it to expand its vision and eventually to produce texts that represented and encouraged the three goals Pope John set out for the Council: spiritual renewal, pastoral updating (aggiornamento), and the pursuit of Christian unity.
Four major scenes defined the first act of the conciliar drama; for them I have supplied some useful material:
1) Pope John’s opening speech, with my summary
2) the election of members for conciliar commissions
3) the debate and vote on the liturgy
4) the debate and vote on the draft on the sources of revelation.