If you learn nothing else – Homily for Thursday, January 19, 2017

If you learn nothing else

Readings for Today

As a teacher, I have had those moments when trying to make a point I say, “If you learn nothing else …” Usually what that means is that I am trying to make clear the point is important.  You need to pay attention.  This will be on the test.  Write this down.  Learn this.

In the Letter to the Hebrews today, this point is made.  Pay attention, because Jesus is a high priest unlike any other.  The sacrifice will never again be offered over and over.  Christ the High Priest has offered the sacrifice once for all on the cross.  There is no need to do this over and over again,  because no human action can compare to the divine action of the Christ.

This was a particular point of controversy during the Middle Ages, specifically at the Council of Trent.  Some made the claim that by celebrating Mass every day, Catholics were sacrificing Christ over and over again.  But, such is not the case.  At Mass we enter into the one sacrifice of Christ, made once for all.  The word used is anamnesis, a time when we enter into the timeless mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

And so, if you learn nothing else, remember that today you and I are once again invited into the beautiful and divine life of God.  And that is indeed quite important and very beautiful.