By Fr.Felix (African Times Guest Writer)
A Reading from the Epistle to the Hebrews (12:18-19, 21-28).
In this final section of the Letter the excitement is tangible. The
comparison is being made between the two covenants, the one made on
Mount Sinai by Moses and the other made on Mount Zion by Jesus the high
priest and mediator.
In the former the whole accent was on the awe and majesty of the scene
and the danger of death for anyone who came too close, the frightening,
noisy confusion; even Moses himself was afraid. In the latter all is
peace and celebration, with millions of angels gathered for the
festival, and everyone is a first-born son, supremely valuable as
individuals. This is the prospect to which everyone is looking forward.
This sums up the two main themes of the Letter, the theme of
pilgrimage, the ineffectual pilgrimage to Mount Sinai at the time of
the desert wanderings, contrasting with the pilgrimage to the heavenly
Jerusalem. The overall theme of the Letter, however, is the
ineffectiveness of the sacrifices of the Old Law, contrasting with the
supreme efficacy of the priesthood and blood of Christ.
The purpose of the Letter is to liberate the Hebrew priests from their
hankering after the sacrifices of the Old Law. In this summing up, that
priesthood and the ineffective sacrifice of Moses is not even mentioned
in the contrasting excitement of the approach to God, the welcoming
supreme Judge, and to Jesus, the mediator who brings the new covenant
of supreme and lasting value.