2nd Friday in Ordinary Time, Yr. 1, also Feast of St Sebastian and St Fabian, January 20, 2023|
Heb 8:6-13; Ps 85:8, 10-14; Mk 3:13-19
We continue with our theme this week of a high priest. In the letter to the Hebrews, the high priest, once again, is Jesus. But in this case, the writer is reminding the Hebrews of the promise from Jerimiah (Jer 31), that the old days are over, and a new covenant is coming. This new covenant, is the one of love, the one instituted by Jesus Christ. This promise of the new covenant, however, while it does replace the old, the promise that God will be our God, and we His people, still stands. It just becomes part of the new covenant, the one Jesus brought to us and preached; the one of love. I always like to remind everyone that the Beatitudes also did not replace the 10 Commandments, but Jesus improved upon the 10 Commandments by adding mercy and love. This is the effect of Jesus’ new covenant, the one of love.
In order to accomplish the task of teaching everyone about His new covenant, Jesus needed help. Of course, He could have done it on His own, but He needed people to help spread the word so they would take ownership of the message. Sort of like empowering them to do their job. As the Scripture says, the 12 disciples represent the 12 tribes of Israel, which are representative of the old covenant. It is time to end the old covenant and begin the new covenant of the Church. The new covenant, which we will hear more about in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we hear from Jesus that it is time to flush out the old, and bring in the new.
Today is also the Feast of Saint Sebastian, Martyr, and Saint Fabian, Pope, and Martyr. Seeing that I have a grandson named Sebastian, it is fitting that I mention him. Sebastian was an officer in the imperial guard under Diocletian (r. 284-305). Once it was found out that Sebastian was a Christian, Diocletian sentenced him to death (d.c. 288). He was first shot by archers, but survived and was nursed back to health by Irene, the widow of Martyr St. Castulus. After Diocletian overcame the shock of seeing Sebastian survive, he once again sentenced him to death, but this time by clubbing. St. Sebastian is traditionally seen in paintings and sculptures with arrows. St. Sebastian, pray for us!