Reflection Tuesday Week 3 Year C- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Hebrews 10:1-11; Ps 40:2, 4ab, 7-8a, 10-11 and Mark 3:31-35
Obedience is better than Sacrifice
Christ came into this world to do the will of His Father, not his own will. He demonstrates this in the response he gave to those who came asking him to see his biological parents outside. He also demonstrates this in his life, ministry above all, in his ultimate sacrifice on the Cross.
This is not the sacrifice of the old covenant done repeatedly using blood from goats and bulls. They cannot make perfect. It is devoid of justice. These are mere shadows and are ineffective. They do not bring to spiritual completion those who draw near. But a superior sacrifice offered once and for all in obedience to God his father, by Jesus, washes away our sins, perfect our consciences and the hearts and souls of the believer ( Jer 31:31; Heb 7:19; 10:14), and they sets us free.
The sacrifice of the old covenant is no where a substitute to obedience. This was true for Israel’s prophets- Amos, Micah, Jeremiah etc. Amos said to false worshipers, “I reject the sound of your noise,” He condemned shallow and hallow worship, without ethics and righteousness (Amos 5:21-27). Likewise, for most of the saints!
Jeremiah says no offering is acceptable to God if it is not an expression of loving devotion (Jer 7:21-23). God cannot be bought. Rather, God looks for a covenant of love and a humble heart. And Psalm 40 which the author to the Hebrews quotes explicitly says, “Sacrifice or oblation you wished not, but ears open to obedience….”
In those moments that we are tested and tempted to run the red light, to break those good civil laws or our vows, our covenant with God, or to bend our constitutions, to abandon our faith, not to love, not to forgive those who have offended us, or not to be charitable, not to keep the 10 commandments or the precepts of the Church or not to love as Christ has first loved us- we want to remember that, “obedience is better than sacrifice.”