22Jan January 22, 2021 Friday, Week 2 in Ordinary Time

January 22, 2021
Friday, Week 2 in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Hebrews 8:6-13

Mediator of a new covenant

Jesus has now obtained a more excellent ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted through better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need to look for a second one.

God finds fault with them when he says: “The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and so I had no concern for them, says the Lord. This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach one another or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” In speaking of “a new covenant,” he has made the first one obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old will soon disappear.

Responsorial: Psalm 84:8, 10-14

R./: Kindness and truth shall meet

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy
and give us your saving help.
His help is near for those who fear him
and his glory will dwell in our land. (R./)

Mercy and faithfulness have met;
justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
and justice look down from heaven. (R./)

The Lord will make us prosper
and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
and peace shall follow his steps. (R./)

Gospel: Mark 3:13-19

The twelve appointed apostles

Jesus went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons. So he appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.


Called to covenant

Jesus going up the mountain with the twelve chosen to be leaders evokes memories of Moses going up Mount Sinai to receive God’s law and covenant. Even if the epistle to the Hebrews sees the Mosaic covenant as obsolete, the early Christians felt a link between the two covenants. When God made a new covenant with the house of Israel it did not empty the Mosaic law of all meaning, for it is often quoted in the Gospels.

What is obsolete is the spirit of rigidity. The letter kills, the spirit gives life. We try to conform our wills to God’s will, not as slaves but as children, not for seeking reward but to express love and gratitude, not for external show but for inner peace. Even the smallest demand of the law is fulfilled in essence when a Christian lives in a loving spirit.The covenant is lived amid the vicissitudes of human life.

Jesus went up the mountain to select his leadership team. Mountains were a favourable place for prayer and for locating sanctuaries. To find motivation for living the new covenant, we need to value quiet prayer, to find our one security in the Lord. Luke notes how Jesus spent the entire night in a prayer-vigil before choosing the twelve. That scene evokes awareness of God’s presence in our lives, letting Him touch our hearts and motives. This can renew our outlook, and help us to a new covenant, vibrant with the presence of Jesus.

Each is needed

Jesus sent out the twelve he had chosen to share in his work. He sent them out to do what he was doing, to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. He needed the help of others to do the work he had been sent to do.

We are to be his eyes, his ears, his hands, his feet and his voice, continuing his work today. He wants to work in and through us. Each of us has a role to play. The letter to the Hebrews states that in the church everyone is a first-born child and a citizen of heaven. There are no second class citizens in the church. Each is a vital member of Christ’s body uniquely graced by the Lord for his work and mission in the world..

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