Christ offered [sacrifice] once to take away the sins of many.

With its references to Old Testament sacrifices and its theological commentary, the Letter to the Hebrews can be a challenging read. But at its heart, Hebrews focuses our attention on Jesus’ greatest act of love: when he offered himself for the sins of the whole world. Hebrews acts as a megaphone announcing, “Look at how much Jesus loves you!”

In today’s first reading, we hear that Jesus’ ministry and sacrifice far surpass those of the Old Testament. It tells us that only Jesus, the Son of God, could accomplish the complete forgiveness of our sins that the former sacrifices pointed to. Even more, Jesus didn’t offer his sacrifice in a physical sanctuary like the Temple. Rather, he entered heaven itself! And best of all, Jesus continues to pray for us in heaven, where he constantly makes intercession “before God on our behalf” (Hebrews 9:24).

On this day when many of us pray for the protection of unborn children, we can draw hope from this passage. Jesus, our compassionate high priest, offered himself for every sin, including abortion. How he must suffer over every lost child! How he must grieve for every woman who feels alone or thinks she has no other option but to end her pregnancy! That’s why he endured the shame of the cross: to win forgiveness for every sin, no matter how grievous.

Even now, Jesus stands before his heavenly Father interceding for us. He is offering mercy and healing to every family wounded by abortion. He is pouring out grace for every man or woman who feels alone as they consider the future of their unborn child. And he is interceding for each of us, that we might meet the needs of every child and every parent. Let’s join him in praying that God’s kingdom would come—so that there will be no more abortion or poverty or hunger or violence. May God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

“Jesus, you take away every sin! Have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

Hebrews 9:15, 24-28
Psalm 98:1-6
Mark 3:22-30


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