The levitical priests were many
because they were prevented by death from remaining in office…
It was fitting that we should have such a high priest:
holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners,
higher than the heavens.
He has no need, as did the high priests,
to offer sacrifice day after day,
first for his own sins and then for those of the people;
he did that once for all when he offered himself.
For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests,
but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law,
appoints a son,
who has been made perfect forever.
Instead of reflecting on the gospel today, which is incredibly beautiful and straightforward, my mind really went to work on the second reading from Paul to the Hebrews.
When the local archbishop has assigned a priest in your parish with whom you relate and see eye to eye, it is such a blessing. This is a time when one often experiences peace and comfort in spiritual growth – it’s a little foretaste of heaven. It is always incredibly sad when a priest like this is transferred to another parish. “Why,” you may ask,”Does God allow this to happen?” We sometimes take the loss personally.
There are a few things that are certain in this life for us all. #1, God never changes. #2 We will all die one day. #3 Everything in this world changes. When I’m experiencing a personal funk, I give myself the same advice I offer others. “If you’re in a bad slump right now, GOOD NEWS, things will get better.” (The flip side of this is: If everything in your life is going great right now, BAD NEWS, it won’t stay that way forever.) EVERYTHING changes except God.
God allows change to force us to grow – to fashion us – to take us out of our comfort zone – to test our principles, our faith. It is painful, but necessary to ready us for His kingdom! We must remember, with regard to all priests, two things: #1 They have heard the call of God for their vocation and they have responded. #2 While they have been anointed and act in “persona Christi” (the person of Christ) in administering the sacraments, they are 100% human – NOT like the one true High Priest, Jesus, who was both 100% divine and 100% human in all things but sin. Priests sin, and make mistakes. This does not at all detract from the sacraments they administer. The Holy Spirit makes sure of that!
In my own family, it has broken my heart how one priest’s human mistake in judgment years ago has resulted in such hurt that this in- law has left the Catholic Church. We mustn’t pin our faith on a person. That gives a human, inclined to sin, way too much power. In being a member of the Catholic Church, we must keep our eyes and heart on Jesus, the perfect priest, our Redeemer – the one that will never let us down.
With regard to our earthly priests – out of respect for their calling and their answer to that call, we must try never to tear them down with our speech. (If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it!) We must PRAY for all of our priests daily. Their vocation, in today’s world, is harder to live faithfully than ever. Let’s support them in prayer.
P.S. Don’t forget to pray for all of the priests who have served you in the past who may now be suffering in purgatory! Here’s a great prayer for the souls in purgatory that Our Lord gave St. Gertrude:
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most precious blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home, and within my family. Amen.