There’s this ancient understanding of medicine that the healing of a wound is both in the would itself and in what ever caused the wound. This is sort of the background thinking for the second reading from Hebrews. For example the twisted serpents made by Moses for the healing of snakebite is how the ancients thought. Death is destroyed by entering into death, giving one the power to overcome it. The key word is “Expiation” a very heavily loaded theological word; it is the same word used for the ark of the covenant. Unlike propitiation, expiation is a free gift with the expectation of nothing in return. It is not “do ut des” religion, a common heresy among Catholics. The wound of the world is sin, brought about by us humans ourselves. By becoming like us, Jesus enters into the suffering caused by Sin and death. The last big word in the text is “tested.” This test is the great temptation of Adam and Eve, and all of us who follow. This is the temptation to rebel against God and replace God with ourselves.

This reading fits the Presentation theme because it desires the mission of Jesus that is universal and that saves the world. It is a very difficult short passage to translate into short homily. Focus on the mission and its effects is really the point.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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