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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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St. Anthony

Hebrews 6:10-20
Psalm 111:1-2, 4-5, 9-10
Mark 2:23-28

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tie the knot

"Like a sure and firm anchor, that hope extends beyond the veil through which Jesus, our Forerunner, has entered on our behalf." —Hebrews 6:19-20

On the annual Jewish Day of Atonement, the high priest entered into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies in the Temple to atone for the sins of the people. No one except the High Priest could enter "beyond the veil" which separated the Holy of Holies from the people, and even he could only enter that one day a year. The Ark of the Covenant, representing God's special presence, lay inside the Holy of Holies. In the Old Testament, people who touched the Ark or who entered God's presence unauthorized dropped dead (see e.g. 2 Sm 6:7). Thus, the people tied a rope around the High Priest before he entered "beyond the veil," so that if he died, the people could drag him out without risking death. The hope of the people for atonement with God lay with the High Priest attached to that rope.

The author of Hebrews likens an anchor to the High Priest. An anchor is likewise tied to a rope, so the anchor remains attached to the ship and the ship attached to the anchor. The book of Hebrews proclaims that Jesus is our great High Priest. He has entered beyond the veil to make atonement with God on our behalf, for the forgiveness of our sins. Not only that, but upon Jesus' death, that very veil was torn in two, "from top to bottom," that is, by the hand of God and not by the hand of man (Mt 27:51). Jesus has torn open the veil that separated us from God. In Jesus we now have full access to God (Eph 2:18). Alleluia!

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, my Anchor, tie me so securely to You that I might never be able to drift away from You.

Promise:  "God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him by your service, past and present, to His holy people." —Heb 6:10

Praise:  St. Anthony sold his possessions, gave them to the poor (Mt 19:21), and relied on God alone (Mt 6:34).

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 10, 2016

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