Advent of 2010 really shook my faith. That was the year when the wording of the Mass changed to its current form. When it time for the words of consecration, the older form read, “It will be shed for you and for ALL for the forgiveness of sin.” But now the word ‘ALL’ has been replaced by the word ‘MANY’. I was angry; I thought Jesus died for ALL people, not just MANY people. I remember thinking, “how can the church do this?” Well, A) The Church can do it, B) Scripturally, Jesus actually said ‘MANY’, and C) upon further reflection, it is a true statement. Yes, Jesus died for ALL people and for ALL sins; but MANY people actually accept this gift; therefore this gift of everlasting life is received by not ALL people, but MANY.
You see my mind had to be stretched. Even when I thought I knew everything about Jesus and his church, Jesus challenges my understanding.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is preaching in the temple. The passages before today’s reading, talks about Jesus reading part of the book of Isaiah, where Jesus declares that he is the fulfillment as the anointed one; the Messiah. The Priests and Pharisees feel as though they know everything about scripture and this is hard to accept. That’s where the Gospel today picks up. Jesus is calling them to stretch their minds; to get them out of this mindset where they are stuck and can only go so far. This angers everyone, even to the point where they wish to kill Jesus.
Jesus is calling us to open our hearts, our minds, and our souls to him. He is asking us to stretch our minds, so that we may be open to the fullness of God’s faithfulness. Remember, Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Blessed are those who rely on Christ to lead them. May we be counted as part of the many who are willing to accept Christ’s gifts, by following his example and learning to turn away from our sinfulness.
Let us pray.
Lord God, Open our minds, our hearts, and our souls to you. Give us the grace to be more poor in spirit; that we may rely on you for all of our needs. Help us to decrease so that you may increase. Help those who have been hurt by the Church or the Church’s teaching, and those who may be angry with you; grant them the peace to understand. We pray that you help to expand our minds. Humble us, Lord, by helping us to learn your ways. Help us know you more, to love you more, and to serve you more; and give us the fortitude to glorify you always.
We also pray for the poor, the sick, the suffering, those who are lost, those who are forgotten, and the souls in Purgatory. We ask these things through the intercession of all the angels and saint, especially, your mother as we pray, Hail Mary…