Every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, "he sat down at the right hand of God," and since then has been waiting "until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet." For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds," he also adds, "I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more." Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Today is Wednesday 30 January, in the third week of Ordinary time.
The St Thomas Music Group sing the Kyrie by Margaret Rizza: Kyrie eleison; Christe eleison:Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy. These imploring words, which have been sung for centuries, are a reminder of the inexhaustible mercy of God, of God’s unfailing compassion and forgiveness.As I listen, I might think for a moment about my need for that forgiveness, and the need, too, for me to show that same forgiveness to others.
Today’s reading is from the letter to the Hebrews.
These words draw a contrast between fruitful and fruitless understandings of how God’s forgiveness works.I might well begin by recognising ways in which I may think I can win God’s forgiveness by my own efforts, and acknowledge the ways I might try to achieve this.
On the other hand, there may be times when I really accept that it is only grateful acceptance of God’s love that sets me free from the self-centredness that sin and guilt embody.What helps me to be aware of and to feel God’s unconditional love for me?
As the passage is read again, listen carefully to the emphasis it puts on forgiveness being a gift from God.
This may be a good time to forget myself for a moment and briefly ask for the grace to show today towards others the forgiveness I know I have received from God.