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Service Skped from Maroubra 3.00pm E.Daylight Time
The Blue Mountains Franciscan Church
Sermon Preached on Friday 25th March – Feast of the Assumption from Maroubra By Br Andrew.
I requested that our second reading, the Letter to the Hebrews be read after the Passion, since under the circumstances it makes more sense, since it comes after the Death of Jesus, and would have been written but for the events that transpired that definitive Passover period.
I prefer to place things in their context even when it does appear to detract from the occasion. When reading Isaiah we might be forgiven for thinking that here is the perfect prophecy of our Lord’s life and his death towards the end.
There is a hint of Resurrection: 52:13
See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up,
and shall be very high
The correct burial circumstances:
53: 9 They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich,
although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
It seems to describe perfectly the way his people felt about him and the great sacrifice he made for them so that they might be redeemed. Except as we look closely we notice that certain things do not gel, for instance it says “When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;”
Jesus did not remain with us after his death and certainly had no offspring. What we have oncemore is the projection of Christian Theology onto the Old Testament. The Passage is one of several Suffering Servant Passages and personifies the suffering of Israel in the first person singular. We designate them, after the fact, as Messianic prophesies.They might be both depending on your theology.
Flowing into the Psalm, again, it is as though we hear the words of the Man Jesus crying to his Father from the Cross, describing everything, and more that we are about to read in the Passion – yet once again it is a Pslam of David written for another situation. Jewish commentators say: “They are destined to go into exile, and David recited this prayer for the future.” Go to for the full commentary.
The Gospel of the Passion is long and as we read through it we glimpse occasions from the earlier readings that add to our appreciation. In total we experience three readings that grant insight into the last hours of the Word made Flesh. In the Psalm we hear the groanings that his mother and aunt and Mary Magdalene and the others heard as they stood at the foot of the cross as he died. St. Francis of Assisi modelled his Psalm VI on Pslam 22 wherein he places similar words in the mouth of the dying Christ.
Whether we are pedants concerning context or completely Christianise the Old Testament neither can detract from the feelings generated by these readings. Contemplating that one man or one tribe gave himself or itself for the World or a Nation- and the dehumanizing process endured proceeded out of such great love, the fear and the hatred of a Nation against such a man as to blindly crucify God.
“It is better for one man” said Caiaphas.
The Epistle is last because its very presence or existance depended upon the Lord Jesus drinking the cup given to him to drink. Because he drank of it, allowed himself to become the sinless sacrifice another Covenant has been made with those who call ourselves Christian.
Just as was prophesied in Jeremiah 31:33 The Law is in our hearts and written on our minds rather than a thing we have to keep slavishly with the blood of lambs and bulls. It is written on our minds, something we know to be right that we do not have to learn because it is the free gift of God by grace- a new conscience.
We have One, Jesus Christ, in the Sanctuary, who is a human being, like us to interceed for us with God he is the only High Priest we need or want. He himself was the final and perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. No longer is it necessary to ask Priests of any ilk to intercede for us because our Lord and God Jesus Christ is the only intercessor – since the veil in the Temple was torn we access heaven directly through the veil of his torn flesh.
So do not neglect to come together as some do, when you are troubled tell your sins and your fears to one another and ask for forgiveness in the name of Jesus and it will be granted you and God’s peace shall keep you.
Read: Hebrews 10
A Call to Persevere
19 Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.(NRSV)