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The Third Sunday Before Advent
Jonah 3.1-5, 10
Hebrews 9.24-28
Mark 1.14-20

‘Once, only once, and once for all.’ The hymn that starts thus withdraws with the left hand some of what it gives with the right, hinting that Christ’s unique sacrifice is still somehow present in the eucharist. This is understandable: every time we stress the uniqueness of Jesus, we risk making him distant, or even irrelevant. All Christian systems of thought have to cope with this question.

But we shouldn’t tone down Hebrews’ insistence on the one-offness of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Hebrews isn’t about the eucharist, but about that upon which the eucharist (and everything else) is based. The letter, like the whole New Testament, assumes a Jewish world-view: the story of Israel, in both its sequence and its smaller elements, is the story of how the one true God is dealing with the ruin of humanity, embracing the whole world with forgiveness and hope...

Taken from Twelve Months of Sundays Year B by N T Wright


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