The Throne of Grace and Mercy
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 17, 2021
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the son of God, let us hold fast to our profession of faith. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in every way, yet without sin. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace for timely help.
Hebrews 4:14 – 16
Since many of us have lost cherished loved ones and friends, at such times our thoughts naturally turn to the mystery of life after death. What do we find when we pass over into eternity? What lies beyond the veil of death? We can rely on Jesus who created us to give us some of the answers to these questions, even though at present we see only with the eyes of faith.
It was Jesus and Jesus alone who fully passed from heaven to earth when he was born and back to heaven after he died. And he promised to be with us always in other forms! We do well to rely on an eyewitness account of what the world of the future is like, and Jesus provides this. What can we learn from this beautiful passage?
Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses. Jesus was both fully God and fully human. When we remember this, we can realize that when we pray to him, he also fully understands our struggles and trials, our weaknesses and sins, because he has been there. He knows that we cannot see God, and that we were designed to live and dwell with him. Jesus’ answer to our weaknesses and trials is always the cross! He does not always take away our own sufferings, but always offers us his own that we might unite our weakness with his own as an act of love. The supreme symbols of the weakness Jesus took on for love of you and me may be seen when we look at a crucifix or receive the Eucharist. Jesus, then, uses the weakness inherent in human life as a way to unite us with his love.
Jesus sits on a throne of grace and mercy. Jesus is not waiting to throw a book at you on the last day! Some people condemn themselves, it is true, but only if they do not want and choose to reject the mercy of God. The Mass in particular is a fountain of grace, forgiveness and strength for the journey. How could Almighty God reveal himself in a weaker form than bread and wine? He has done this for you alone. And he has promised to forgive every sin we commit, so long as we ask, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Jesus gives us timely help. Sometimes, it does seem as if God’s timing is off, but he really does know what he is doing, and while many things make no sense here, when we are in eternity, even a lifetime of suffering will seem to have passed in a moment. Like many of you, I am anxious to have a nice long face-to-face talk with Jesus, because I have many questions about why things happen the way they do, but until then, we can rely on the fact that everything Jesus permits in our lives is intended to assist us in our journey to heaven, and to help others along the way.