Brothers and sisters:
When Christ came as high priest
of the good things that have come to be,
passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle
not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation,
he entered once for all into the sanctuary,
not with the blood of goats and calves
but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls
and the sprinkling of a heifer's ashes
can sanctify those who are defiled
so that their flesh is cleansed,
how much more will the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God,
cleanse our consciences from dead works
to worship the living God.
For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant:
since a death has taken place for deliverance
from transgressions under the first covenant,
those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.
Today is the Feast of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ). And as I listened to this, the second reading of today's Mass, I felt renewed by the new covenant. What stuck out to me the most this time around, was: "how much more will the blood of Christ . . . cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God." Think about that. What are those dead works that must be cleansed from our conscience in order to worship the living God? Today, those dead works were my own sins. Sins I must allow Christ's blood to wash from my conscience, in order that I might fully follow God.
As I contemplated leaving those sins behind, I thought a lesson from this past semester. My youth group and I journeyed to heaven together. Our class topics were about having "Jesus as the Compass" of our lives, serving others, praying, evangelizing to our friends and family, and other things that lead us to Heaven. At the end of the year, many of the kids said their favorite topic was "the suitcase one". The "suitcase one" was a class on sin. In our skit, the girl was trying to take multiple enormous suitcases through security check, onto her plane. She was faced with the decision to either leave those suitcases behind (that she just didn't think she could let go of) or not get on the plane. Our discussion following the skit compared those suitcases to the sins we carry around in our lives. We can accumulate those suitcases by the picking them up in the first place (committing the sin) and by keeping them with us (not asking for forgiveness, not forgiving ourselves, and holding on to them).
At the end of our classes, I asked the kids to write on a piece of paper what they needed to leave behind in order to get on that plane, to follow Christ, to go to Heaven. I took the enormous suitcase (it was HUGE) and laid it open in the front of the room, with a crucifix inside. I challenged the kids to let go of those sins that they needed to eliminate or let go of in their lives. As music was played, I asked that when the kids were ready, that they individually went to place their paper in the suitcase, and say "God, it's me __________, and I'm letting ___________ go and giving it to you."
As I reflect today on what I must leave behind, what "dead works" I need to be cleansed of, I feel renewed by the blood of the new covenant, Christ's blood. I pray that my past sins may truly be dead works. It is through the shedding of His blood that we are cleansed of our sins. And praise the Lord for that!
Today's challenge: Allow my conscience to be cleansed of my dead works so that I may fully worship My Lord!
Happy Feast of Corpus Christi! :D