Reflection for Tuesday January 15, 2019: 1st Week in Ordinary Time.

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Butterfield, George
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I have always enjoyed reading the Letter to the Hebrews. It is different than the other New Testament writings. I think of the unknown author as a good Catholic. He or she quotes Scripture but often does not know where to find the passage being quoted. The writer says, "someone has testified somewhere...." The following is in the Bible somewhere - I just don't know where it is. I knew an evangelist who used to hold tent meetings. He quoted various scriptures from throughout the Bible and would generally give you, as they would say, "book, chapter, and verse." Once I heard him quote something from John's Gospel and then admit that he had forgotten the verse. After pausing, he said, "Read the whole Gospel of John and you'll run into it." We Catholics know a lot of scripture; we just don't always know where to find the scripture. The writer to the Hebrews is our Bible quoting patron saint.|The author of the Letter to the Hebrews quotes from Psalm 8 which is the psalm for today. It begins with how glorious God is. His name is revered throughout the earth. This being the case, why does God care about human beings? The psalmist says that God is "mindful" of man. He thinks about us; he has us in his mind. He never forgets us. And he goes beyond this; he cares for us. He made human beings a little lower than the angels yet he has crowned us with glory and honor. We are kings. He has made us rulers over his creation. The animals, birds, and fish have all been placed under our feet, a reference to kingship and rule. It simply amazes the psalmist that God would do this for his creatures. He is glorious. Why does he share his glory with lowly humanity?|The writer to the Hebrews quotes this psalm and applies it to Jesus. God has subjected the whole creation to humanity but, at the present, we see the world out of control and not in subjection. Sin has entered the world and messed everything up. Humans are supposed to be kings and rulers but sin has turned them into slaves. So, even though we do not see everything in subjection to humanity, we do see Jesus "crowned with glory and honor." This is what God wants for all of us but we are living below our dignity as the children of God. Jesus is the perfect human. Even though he for a little while is made lower than the angels, he is crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, he tasted death for everyone. He is the very one who created us and intended glory and honor for us but he died so that we might become the men and women we were created to be. He came to bring us to glory, to consecrate us to God. And he does this as one who was made perfect through suffering, as our brother. In fact, even though we are sinners and living beneath our rightful glory and honor, he is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. One of us undid the ancient curse by tasting death for us and then leading us to the glory of human beings fully alive.|In the Gospel we see Jesus setting a man free from the torment of an evil spirit. In the prayer to Saint Michael we ask that the evil spirits that prowl around the world seeking the ruin of souls be cast into hell. Human beings have lived below their dignity as kings and rulers long enough. Jesus simply will not tolerate human beings suffering under the despotic rule of the Evil One. God didn't create us for that. We were made to be crowned with glory and honor. Jesus shows us the way to the dignity that is rightfully ours.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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