daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, 3rd Week of the Year, January 31, 2013
Heb. 10:19-25, Ps. 23, Mark 4:21-25

"Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, though his flesh ..." (Heb. 10:19-20).

This is God's plan for our salvation, that we be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ poured out in sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Through this sacrificed blood we have access to enter into the sanctuary; that is, into the presence of God. We have a new way to enter through the veil, and this new way is the flesh of Jesus Christ offered in sacrifice on the cross to the Father.

This is God's mission in the world that he carries out through his Son for our salvation. Our mission, as his Church, is to be sent by the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit to the entire world to proclaim and preach this salvation in Jesus Christ to all the peoples and cultures of the world and in all human languages. We carry out this mission because Jesus sent us to go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15), and because this is the very mission of God himself for the salvation of the world. We leave to the mercy of God those whom we cannot reach, but our part is clear. It is to make disciples of all peoples, baptizing them with water, and teaching them all that Christ has taught us (Matt. 28:19-20).

This is God's mission in the world, it is the mission of the Church, and it is our mission as Christians. We are to give all the opportunity to know that Jesus Christ is their Savior that saves them by his death on the cross. All should have the opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ for the relief of their conscience, for the sure forgiveness of their sins, and for freedom from the resulting guilt that cripples the spirit and depresses the heart-even in small things. God wants everyone to have the chance to hear and accept this salvation, which is what man most needs. Every person of every culture needs this, and God offers it to all, giving us the mission to bring it to them through our preaching and sacramental ministry.

God does not want us to just commend nonbelievers to his mercy and leave it at that. Rather he has given us a participation in his own mission so that all might have the opportunity to enter into the fullness of grace and salvation that he has revealed to the world in his Son, that they may know his word in the scriptures, experience it in the sacraments, live in fellowship with other believers, and worship God together in his Church. We are happy that God is merciful, but he does not want us to make his mercy an excuse for abandoning the mission that he has given us as the followers of his Son. Those we cannot reach, we leave to his mercy, while we try to reach all we can, so that they might have the fullness of this salvation in this present life and in the life to come.

When we preach God's plan, God's mission in the world, we must preach it in a clear way so that all will understand. We should clearly preach that it is the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ sacrificed on the cross that gives us entry into the presence of God. We say: Christ was sacrificed in punishment for our sins instead of us, dying instead of us the death that is the punishment for sin (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12), thus propitiating the necessary and holy divine wrath of the Blessed Trinity against all sin and expiating sin, making perfect reparation and satisfaction for it, thus justifying all who believe in him.

Thus we are justified by faith alone, not by our works, and not by faith and works (Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9). Only the work of Christ on the cross justifies us; and our faith receives it. Then we grow in holiness through our works, which prove that we have true faith that justifies us.


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