Day 45: Pray for Priests
Exodus 29:1-30 God’s instructions for establishing the priesthood under Aaron, Moses’ brother, involved a special rite of consecration and anointing. The priests of the Old Covenant acted as intermediaries between God and man, praying for the welfare of the people, and offering gifts and sacrifices in atonement for sin. (CCC 436, 1539-1541)
Leviticus 21:1-24 Greater holiness is expected for those who, by virtue of their office, are called to speak and teach in the name of God. The priest, given his position and function, was required to show exemplary holiness and exhibit great respect for ritual purity on behalf of the faithful. These high standards were especially appropriate to the high priest. A habitual life of virtue also has the practical advantage of making remote any danger of scandal. Through the grace of Baptism, everyone is called to share in Christ’s mission of PRIEST, PROPHET, and KING/QUEEN. The ordained minister not only participates in Christ’s redemptive life but also takes the place of Christ in the administration of the Sacraments. (CCC 1544-1551, 1581)
Psalm 119 The sum of your word is truth: God is truth, and his words express his eternal wisdom that can never deceive but lead to everlasting life. Sin entered into the world on account of DISBELIEF IN GOD’S WORD.
Seven times a day...righteous ordinances: The Liturgy of the Hours is comprised of seven times of prayer interspersed throughout the day: the chief hours of Lauds (Morning Prayer) and Vespers (Evening Prayer); the daytime hours of Terce (Midmorning Prayer), Sext (Midday Prayer), and None (Midafternoon Prayer); Compline (Night Prayer); and the Office of Readings, which may be prayed at any time. (CCC 90, 134-141, 215, 2465)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
And I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will be their God.
And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them
I am the Lord their God. (Ex 29:45-46; emphasis added)
Here God himself reveals the purpose of the Exodus: that “I might dwell among them.”
Liturgy and law serve to bring Israel into an intimate relationship with God.
The God revealed in the burning bush and the fiery mountain is going to do the unexpected, he will tabernacle with his people.
The portable tabernacle with its pitched tent enclosing the Ark of the Covenant will allow the awesome presence of God to travel with his people.
Leaving Sinai, Israel will not leave God.
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
Exodus 29 and Leviticus 21 have a deep connection today
Exodus 29 talks about the ORDINATION OF PRIESTS
Leviticus 21 talks about the NEED FOR PRIESTS TO BE HOLY
Please pray for priests all over the world
They are called to be set apart and to honor the one that set them apart, God, and to honor the ones they pray for
One of the things that needs to be reiterated is the fact that not only are the new covenant priests called to belong to the Lord and called to lead the people in worship
They are called to be intercessors who go from the people to the Lord and to go from God back to the people as prophets and priest
They are also called to be HOLY
They are called to live a certain way
So many priests fail to live that way in small ways, and in great ways
We know the big failings, massive sins, and heinous actions of many priests
We also know the small ways that every Christian fails to honor the lord, and to be holy as the Lord God is HOLY
Every Christian is called to be Holy
Let this be a day where we dedicate our prayers to our priests
Not just that we get more priests
But also pray that these priests will be HOLY like our Lord is HOLY
Remember, even priests are broken and are in need of God’s mercy every single day in both small ways and in incredibly large ways
Even priests need the Sacrament of Confession
Pray that priests are like the ones God describes in both Exodus and Leviticus
Psalm 119: “Let my soul live, that I may praise you, and let your ordinances help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; SEEK YOUR SERVANT…..”
Isn’t that the story of each one of us?
We have gone astray in so many ways
So often when we are lost, we don’t know the way home
Even if we technically do know the way, we still don’t CHOOSE the way home unless GOD SEEKS US OUT
We have gone astray so pray that God seeks us out
We have lost our way many times, so pray that God seeks us out
Not just to let us come back, but to actually RACE AFTER US
SEARCH FOR US
BRING US HOME
Let that be our prayer today: Pray for our priests to be holy and Pray for ourselves that God will seek us out and bring us home
The Lord loves you already
He knows your name
He calls your name
He seeks you out
Let Him bring you HOME
Prayer by Fr Mike: “Father in Heaven, we give you praise and we thank you. Thank you so much for your Word. Thank you so much for the gift of the priesthood that you have given not only to the people of Israel, but to the new and eternal priest. The priesthood of Jesus Christ, your son, that you have given to your people. The priest that you have given to the Church as it exists now, and as it exists at its founding when your Son offered Himself for us at the Last Supper and said, ‘Take this all of you, and eat of it this is my Body. Take this all of you, and drink from it. This is the cup of my blood, the cup of the New and Eternal Covenant’. Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you so much. Thank you that you are the Great High Priest. We thank you that you have chosen men among us to extend that work, to share in the mission, to share in the identity, and to share in the ministry of your priesthood. Help us all to draw near to you, as those who are baptized are also made KINGDOM PRIESTS by our baptism. Help us all to lift up our voices, lift up our hearts, and lift up the great sacrifice to the Father in your name, by the power of your Holy Spirit. We make this prayer in your mighty name, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
The consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests to the Tabernacle brings to mind elements of the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders. Through the waters of baptism we are baptized as priests, prophets and kings into the church, a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Just like Aaron and his sons cannot wash themselves or dress in their own garments to be consecrated, we cannot baptize ourselves, but by one who has been validly baptized. Likewise, Bishops, priess, and deacons cannot not ordain themselves, but are ordained by their apostolic predecessors.
The daily offering at the Tabernacle consisting of lambs, a cereal offering and a libation offering, makes me think of the Eucharistic sacrifice offered daily in the Mass. Rather than three separate types of offerings, they converge into one: The Cereal and Libation are substantially changed into the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lamb of God. Also take note of the greek word "poieo" that is used in Exodus 29:38 that translates to "offer" the sacrifice. The same word is used in the New Testament when Jesus institutes the Eucharist, coneying it's sacrificaly nature by instructing his apostles to "do this" (Poeio) or "offer this in remembrance of me."
When the high priest, Caiaphas, accused Jesus of Blasphemy before his crucifixion, he tore his garments in distress, something that we might overlook as we read along. But once we've read that the high priest's garments are holy and is prohibited from tearing them, we realize Caiaphas just violated the very Law he stood behind.
Follow along with Leviticus 21 and a priest's call to holiness, with the standards St. Paul sets forth for Bishops, which Titus 1:7 identifies as "God's stewards"
Psalm 119 contains a passage strikingly familiar to the account of the Garden of Gethsemane.
The very end of Psalm 119 speaks of the one praying as being like a lost sheep, begging for God to find them. Jesus devoted a whole parable to finding his lost sheep.