Knowing the Lord through the New Covenant, 2nd Friday (I), January 20, 2017

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Sacred Heart Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. Sebastian and St. Pope Fabian, Martyrs
January 20, 2017
Heb 8:6-13, Ps 85, Mk 3:13-19

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Today the Letter to the Hebrews cites the Prophet Jeremiah in describing the “new and improved” Covenant that Jesus, the eternal High Priest, would inaugurate. Rather than written on stone, it would be written in our minds and hearts and it would be the means by which we — from the least to the greatest — would “know the Lord.” The reason for this is because in the new Covenant, God himself would enter into us, bringing his “kindness and truth, … justice and peace” to meet within us. God would set up himself, with his law of love, within so that we could align our entire existence to him whispering to us in the inner organ of sensitivity we call the conscience.
  • In the Gospel, we see the fulfillment of what Jeremiah was prophesying when Jesus, after prayer, called the first apostles in order to “be with him” and then so that he could “send them out” with his authority to preach and to heal. He called them to be with him not just on the outside but on the inside so that when he sent them forth definitively after the Resurrection, they could “proclaim the Gospel to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the [Trinity,] teaching them to carry out everything [he] has commanded, knowing that [he] is with [us] always until the end of time.” Jesus would be with the apostles always as they proclaimed, baptized and taught. Baptism would bring people into the new Covenant, the apostles would teach them how to obey the Lord within, and how to rejoice in his risen presence dwelling in us through the Sacraments.
  • The martyrs, like SS. Fabian and Sebastian whom we celebrate today, show us how to keep union with Christ even in the midst of persecution like they did under Decian and Diocletian, respectively. And it was through that union with the risen Christ that they proclaimed the Gospel in a way truly effectively. They show us that nothing in all of Christian, neither persecution, nor distress, nor the sword, nor death, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:31-39), dwelling within.
  • At Mass Jeremiah’s prophecy reaches its greatest earthly fulfillment, as through entering into the “new and eternal Covenant” in Jesus’ blood, Jesus comes to dwell within us, so that we can be with him and together with him be sent out. And he has called each of us by name, like he called the 12, to participate in this mind-blowing reality.

 

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 HEB 8:6-13

Brothers and sisters:
Now our high priest has obtained so much more excellent a ministry
as he is mediator of a better covenant,
enacted on better promises.

For if that first covenant had been faultless,
no place would have been sought for a second one.
But he finds fault with them and says:
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of
Israel and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers
the day I took them by the hand to lead
them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they did not stand by my covenant
and I ignored them, says the Lord.
But this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds
and I will write them upon their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin, saying,
“Know the Lord,”
for all shall know me, from least to greatest.
For I will forgive their evildoing
and remember their sins no more.

When he speaks of a “new” covenant,
he declares the first one obsolete.
And what has become obsolete
and has grown old is close to disappearing.

Responsorial Psalm PS 85:8 AND 10, 11-12, 13-14

R. (11a) Kindness and truth shall meet.
Show us, O LORD, your mercy,
and grant us your salvation.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. Kindness and truth shall meet.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted
and they came to him.
He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles,
that they might be with him
and he might send them forth to preach
and to have authority to drive out demons:
He appointed the Twelve:
Simon, whom he named Peter;
James, son of Zebedee,
and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges,
that is, sons of thunder;
Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus;
Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.