Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sinai-Calvary-Mass (Daily homily)

We continue to reflect
on the Letter to the Hebrews…

In a paragraph right before today’s reading,
Moses is mentioned.
Then comes what we just heard,
which quotes Psalm 95:
“If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”

All this recall the covenant at Mt. Sinai—
so let’s paint the scene.

Moses led God’s people from slavery, to Sinai,
where we went up and met God;
Moses mediated the great covenant
between God and his People.
God revealed himself, his Law, to Israel,
and gave his unbreakable pledge to his people.

Up on Sinai, God was enshrouded in fire and cloud,
untouchable, terrifying in his power and glory.
The mountain shook at the thunder of his Voice.

In the fullness of time, comes Jesus:
Jesus not only brings God’s Word—
he
is God’s final Word to humanity.

Jesus leads all mankind from slavery to sin;
he is the deliverer, who brings us to God,
for a new and everlasting covenant.

In Jesus, the fearsome, unreachable YHWH
comes down the mountain,
and pitches his tent in our very midst,
becoming our brother!

Moses went up a mountain—Jesus ascended Calvary!

Moses offered animals in sacrifice;
Jesus offered himself as the Lamb of God!

Moses sprinkled the people with the blood of goats;
Jesus pours out his own Precious Blood,
one tiny drop of which would have been sufficient
to save everyone who ever has, or will, exist!

At Sinai, with all the wonders the people beheld,
Moses said: God is in your midst: yield to him;
Don’t harden your hearts!

The Holy Spirit, whose glory enshrouded Sinai
with cloud and fire, says the same to us:
YHWH-Jesus! Hear his Voice!

The Gospel actually connects to this:
it strikes us odd that Jesus keeps saying,
“Don’t tell anyone.”
Here’s why: like the people at Sinai,
they see—but they don’t see.

At Sinai, the people saw the fireworks,
they saw the Manna—“free bread!”—
but missed the reality of God coming to save them;
and the same thing happens in Jesus!

What do people see? A potential new king;
a military leader; a giver of goodies!

They don’t really see: God became man,
to be the priest—and offering!—
of a new and everlasting covenant!

Now lets come right to the present.
We wonder how those folks missed it;
well, here we are, and a greater than Sinai happens here!
we’re the new covenant people—it’s US!

Sinai—Calvary—the Covenant—right here!
The same Spirit comes down, right here!
The Lamb—his Flesh and Blood—offered here!

We are always in danger
of missing the awesome event
that happens before us.
We priests are often tempted
to be minimalistic or rote
in how we offer the Mass.

Holy Spirit: help us not to harden our hearts!

1 comment:

Fr. John Pecoraro said...

Fr. Fox,
I have been reading your posts on Fr. Z site. As a brother priest I wish to lend you my support. I am a new and young pastor as well in TN and am struggling with how to gently turn things around and keep my parish. Often those who want change now don't understand that we as pastors of soul's want to lead our flocks gently not break their necks. My desire is to celebrate Mass ad orientem but also have the faithful there to celebrate with. Thanks for for your sense of balance and wisdom.

Your brother in Christ.

Fr, John Pecoraro