Pray for the Church

Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
January 16, 2023

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/011623.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish 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.

heb5_10 priest

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 over the past several years.

Many are frustrated by the continued refusal of some in our Church to open themselves 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 grounded in the truth of the Gospel.

Let us pray that the Church may continue to be transformed by 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 Francs, bishops, theologians and spiritual leaders – and for the whole People of God – that we may hear and respond.


Prayer: In place of a poem today, this beautiful prayer written in 2019 by Rita Thiron, from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions

Prayer for the Church

Heavenly Father,
In every age, you have been our refuge. 
Yet again and still, we stand before you 
asking for your protection on your holy Church.

For the victims of abuse and their families, 
pour out your healing and your peace.
For the Bishops of this country, 
inspire their decisions, 
and guide them with your Spirit.

For the thousands of good and faithful priests, 
who have followed your call 
to serve you and your people in holiness,
sustain them by your grace.

For the faithful who are angry, confused, 
and searching for answers, 
embrace them with your love,
restore their trust,
console them with your clear Gospel message, 
and renew them with your sacraments.

We place our Church in your hands, 
for without you we can do nothing.

May Jesus, our High Priest and true compass, 
continue to lead her in every thought and action
 – to be an instrument of justice,
a source of consolation,
a sacrament of unity,
and a manifestation of your faithful covenant.

Grant this through that same Jesus Christ, our Lord, 
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Music: Even Death on a Cross ~ Jason Silver

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