Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

Deel Op


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Hebrews 2,14-18

Since all the children share the same human nature, he too shared equally in it, so that by his death he could set aside him who held the power of death, namely the devil, and set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. For it was not the angels that he took to himself; he took to himself the line of Abraham. It was essential that he should in this way be made completely like his brothers so that he could become a compassionate and trustworthy high priest for their relationship to God, able to expiate the sins of the people. For the suffering he himself passed through while being put to the test enables him to help others when they are being put to the test.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

For Christians at that time who lived under the nightmare of persecution and suffering, the announcement of having a merciful high priest was great consolation. The passion and death of Jesus has defeated the power of the "devil" and reduced it to impotence. The power of evil could not destroy the Lord's community of "brothers". Jesus had taken upon himself the care of his brothers and sisters: "He does not take care of the angels, but takes care of the race of Abraham" (v. 16). And he does not do it remotely. Instead, he made himself similar in everything to his brothers in order to care for them until the end. And it is for this radical fraternity that he was constituted by the Father as "the merciful high priest". This is the first time that this title is used for Jesus in the New Testament. The author, however, describes Jesus this way not to communicate some kind of distance from people, but describes him in terms of a direct relationship with the Father (Jesus being His son) and of a fellowship with all people. It is in this communion, paid by Jesus with his own death, that renders him the "high priest" full of mercy for Christians and for all humanity. The author writes: "Precisely because he was put to the test and suffered personally, he is able to come to the aid of those who undergo the trial" (v18). He is the "high priest" precisely because of the bond of fraternity he established with the "race of Abraham", that is, with the disciples and all of humanity. In this communion that binds the Father, the Son and the community of disciples we can glimpse the very mystery of the Church understood precisely as a community that prays and is admitted to the presence of God's throne by his high priest, Jesus Christ.