daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, 4th Week of the Year, February 03, 2011
Heb. 12:18-19, 21-24, Ps. 47, Mark 6:7-13

"You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel" (Heb. 12:22-24).

Through the blood of Jesus Christ poured out in sacrifice to the Father on the cross for us, we can now draw near with confidence to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of our hope, the final goal of our life on earth. "For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls ... sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God" (Heb. 9:13-14). This blood now gives us confidence, because it is the blood of the only Son of God, incarnate only once in all of history for the whole world, sacrificed to the heavenly Father to pay our debt of punishment due for our sins. His blood was poured out instead of ours to pay our debt for us. Because of the outpouring of this blood, God forgives our sins and frees us from our sense of guilt, which depresses us. This gives us access even now to the heavenly Jerusalem, our ultimate goal and eternal dwelling place with God if we are saved. We can draw near even now to the new Jerusalem, "for our citizenship is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20 NKJV). "For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come" (Heb. 13:14). "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace" (Heb. 4:16). "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, through his flesh, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience" (Heb. 10:19-22).

This is our situation. Saved by the sacrifice of Christ, we have new access to the heavenly Jerusalem, city of gold and light, homeland of our spirits. This means that even now we can live in the light with a clean and happy conscience by means of the sprinkled blood of Jesus Christ "that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel" (Heb. 12:24). Through his sacrifice, received by faith, we have an anticipation of the glory which awaits us in the future. We can focus on this coming glory and cleanse our life of all that destroys this glory in our souls, distancing ourselves from worldly pleasures and entertainments that pollute our spirits, divide our hearts, and cause us to forget God. Thus one can live by anticipation in the light of the new Jerusalem, and we can share this happiness with others by preaching Christ to them, as did the apostles. Today a monk with a missionary spirit can preach Christ instantaneously and simultaneously in all parts of the world by email and a website without even leaving his cell.


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