Day 44: Priestly Garments

Exodus 27:20-21 The instructions called for olive oil to be burned continuously in the sanctuary lamp outside the Tabernacle. In churches and chapels where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved, a sanctuary lamp burns to indicate the Real Presence of Christ in the tabernacle.

Leviticus 20:1-17 This chapter outlines the punishments for false worship and violations against several of the Commandments and exhorts the people to seek holiness. If the call to holiness was already in force with the Jewish people, it is even more incumbent among those baptized into new life in Christ. (CCC 941, 2112-2114)

Ch 20:26 In the Lord’s Prayer when we pray, “hallowed be thy name,” essentially we are asking that the sharing in the divine life effected by Baptism may remain in us and continue to grow in us. Due to our innate weaknesses, we need to ask always for strength to persevere and grow in our union with God. (CCC 2813)

Psalm 119 I have chosen before me: God is the source of all truth, and it follows that those who follow his Law live in the truth.

Your faithfulness endures to all generations: The truth that radiates from God himself is PERMANENT and UNCHANGING. Wisdom is derived from the natural quest to discover God’s will explicitly, revealed in his Law. This wisdom, acquired from diligent reflection on God’s Law, is a true wisdom born of love rather than from prudence of the flesh (cf. Rom 8:6), which is based on selfish cunning and deceit.

Your word is a path: The Church venerates Scripture as the Word of God; along with Tradition as understood by the Church’s teaching authority, it serves as an inexhaustible reserve of theology and spiritual nourishment. Through Scripture and Tradition, one encounters the “mind of Christ.”

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

  • Another link between Sinai and the liturgy of Israel is found in the detailed account of the priestly vestments and clothing.

  • In Exodus 28-29 eight articles of priestly clothing are described in minute detail.

  • What is striking is that this account, which covers everything from underwear to turbans, never mentions footwear.

  • Just as Moses was commanded to take off his shoes before God’s presence, the priests serving in the tabernacle will be standing on holy ground.

  • Indeed, the word “holy” is found throughout the instructions for the ark and its surrounding tent and liturgy, because it is the place where God will be present.

  • The purpose of the tabernacle and its liturgy is to perpetuate God’s presence on Sinai with God’s people wherever they go.

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

  • Here is the beauty of the line in Exodus 27 and 28, the description of what Aaron and his sons should be wearing.

  • They are the Levitical priests

  • The Priesthood could only come from the Tribe of Levi (We will find out why soon….spoiler alert)

  • It is a unique Priesthood

  • The Israelites didn’t DISCERN whether they would be a part of the Priesthood or not

  • They were either born into it or not born into it

  • There is something about the wording that God uses through Moses when it comes to the priestly garments, and even the way they make the garments

  • The wording is very powerful

  • The wording was, “It would be for God’s beauty and for glory”

  • These garments were not made for Aaron and his sons

  • They are for GLORY and BEAUTY

  • Some people see current day priests’ vestments as special garments that highlight the uniqueness or specialness of the priest

  • That is not what they are meant to be

  • They are for GLORY AND BEAUTY

  • They are meant to highlight the BEAUTY OF GOD

  • They are meant to highlight the GLORY OF GOD

  • They are meant to de-emphasize the priest and EMPHASIZE JESUS CHRIST

  • When a priest puts on his vestments, he as an individual is LOST and now, JESUS CAN BE SEEN

  • The vestments are meant to OBSCURE the individuality of the priest

  • The vestments are meant to HIGHLIGHT the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, THE ONE GREAT HIGH PRIEST WHO LIVES FOREVER

  • God tells Aaron and his sons, through Moses, to wear these vestments not because THEY are awesome

  • God tells Aaron and his sons, through Moses, to wear these vestments because GOD IS AWESOME

  • This is for GOD’S GLORY


  • The next time you go to mass and you see the priest in the vestments, or even a bishop and he is wearing the MITRE (bishop hat), that signifies that he is a kind of high priest in the old covenant

  • The MITRE is meant to obscure the individuality of the bishop and highlight the fact that he belongs to something GREATER THAN HIM


  • It is important to note the 12 STONES that the priest would carry over his heart SYMBOLIZED the 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL

  • Every time the High Priest approached the Lord, He wasn’t just approaching as Aaron

  • The High Priest was just approaching God REPRESENTING ALL 12 TRIBES

  • The tribes are meant to be OVER HIS HEART

  • This reveals to us what it TRULY IS to be a priest

  • It is to be a FATHER

  • It is to carry the names of his sons and daughters IN HIS HEART as he approaches the Lord

  • Our names, all of us in the Bible in a Year study, are on Father Mike’s heart

  • Fr Mike is called to be a spiritual Father who has OUR NAMES engraved over his heart

  • Every time Fr Mike approaches the Lord in worship, he is bringing EACH OF US into God’s presence

  • That’s exactly what your pastor does at your home parish, your names are engraved over his heart when he approaches the Lord for worship

  • So keep Father Mike, your pastors, and all religious engraved on your heart when you approach the Lord to worship Him

Prayer by Fr Mike: “Father in Heaven, we give you praise and we thank you for your word. We thank you for this prayer of Psalm 119 because, what you do, Lord God is...this Psalmist is US. On one hand we say, ‘I am faithful to you and you are good.’ On the other hand it is like, ‘Gosh, Lord please time is running out.’ Lord God, thank you. Help us to trust you even when we are at our wits end. Help us to let you shape and form us. Help us give you permission to love us as you know we need to be loved. Help us to do that, Lord God. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”