Monday, January 21, 2019
Today, in Mercy, our reading from Hebrews describes Jesus as the perfect high priest. Through the Father’s call, Jesus took on our imperfect nature and transformed it by his life, death and Resurrection. In the Eucharist, Jesus left us a living memorial of this transformation so that we might participate in its saving mystery.
Paul’s “perfected priest” is patient because his own weakness humbles him. He does not take honor upon himself, but receives it humbly from God.
Jesus, the model of this priesthood,
… in the days when he was in the Flesh,
… offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
The perfection of Christ’s priesthood was accomplished through suffering and obedience. This is how Jesus teaches us to live in reverence and humble service.
As I read and pray with this scriptural understanding of priesthood, I pray for our Church. The catastrophic scandals involving our priests and leaders have deeply shaken the faith of many Catholics, including my own.
Many of us are frustrated by the continued refusal of our Church to open itself to new models of priestly service which are grounded in mutuality, inclusivity and simplicity.
The accretions of institutionalization, hierarchical camouflage, and sexist rationale have mitigated the Church’s credibility to touch the lives of ordinary people, especially our emerging adults.
In our Gospel, Jesus talks about an old cloak that needs a patch to make it whole again. He talks about new wine that must be captured and preserved in new wine skins. For me, he is talking about our Church which must be continually renewed and transformed.
May our present suffering and confusion be transformed by our humble obedience to God’s call – just as the high priest of our first reading was perfected.
Let us pray today for our good Pope, bishops, theologians and spiritual leaders – and for the whole People of God – that we may hear and respond.
Music: Even Death on a Cross ~ Jason Silver