Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Last year, on the way to a Steubenville conference, our bus came across a one car accident. Having been newly ordained, I was able to anoint the mother and one of the children on the scene (the father and the other two children were okay but in shock). It was a really traumatic moment in my life as I felt a sense of sorrow for the family who were experiencing a crisis as they sat on the side of the road. At the same time I felt alone. I had the burning question: where was God? Two days later when I went to process the whole accident in prayer I asked Him straight up, "Where were you? Why was I alone in that horrible scene?" And His reply was simple: "You were not alone. That family was broken and they needed healing. So I sent my Son IN YOUR PRIESTHOOD to bring them that healing."
The priesthood- what an amazing thing. We have the beautiful gift of taking bread and wine and by our mere words and the power of the Holy Spirit, that bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Wow. But we should not forget the purpose of it all. The Old Testament priesthood is not unlike ours. In fact we know that to a certain extent we follow many similar rituals: we enter a sanctuary, we pray psalms and other prayers on behalf of the people, most importantly we offer sacrifice to take away sins. The difference is that the Old Testament priests offered animal sacrifice (pigeons, goats, oxen, etc) to appease God's justice. The other major difference is that only those of the tribe of Levi were to be priests; their priesthood was passed down generationally. For our part we offer bread and wine. Comparatively it may seem a bit lame, but significantly ours is so much better. Reason: Jesus Christ. (Mic drop.) He, both Man and God, offered Himself to atone for our sinfulness thus rendering the old sacrifices unnecessary. The reason we use bread and wine is because He told us to do it (and it is usually a good idea to listen to the God of the universe). Yet it goes deeper than that! It was to fulfill the Old Testament priest. As mentioned the Old Testament priest was part of a lineage but Christ was here to break that and in fact He heartens back to the book of Genesis where the mysterious figure of Melchizedek is introduced. Even in Genesis not much information is given about him except that he blessed Abraham (meaning he had authority as a king) AND he offered bread and wine as a sacrifice (showing he was a priest)!! This is crazy significant because although he may have been an earthly king he was also a priest who offered sacrifice to God. So when Jesus offers the sacrifice of Himself, He does so as king and priest and thereby establishes a new priesthood in Himself so that no longer do we have to offer sacrifice of animals but He offered Himself once for all.
All this is to say that the priesthood, established by Christ, is a continuation of His priesthood so where the priest goes Christ goes, what the priest prays Christ prays. So much so that when the priest prays those words over bread and wine those elements become His body and blood and by us receiving them in faith, we too are transformed into His body and He prepares us for eternal life with Him. What a gift!
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Have you ever thought that God might be calling you to serve in a specific way as a priest or in religious life? Talk to God about His will for you.
How have you experienced Christ's love for you through a priest?
At baptism we all were given the call to be priest, prophet and king. How can you use your call to bring Christ to others?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Your will be done."
"God is with me."
"In the priest, I see Christ."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with Lord bear fruit in you today?
How have you seen Christ through a priest? Take a moment today to write him a note letting him know of how he has changed your life. Then take a moment to pray for all priests.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Fr. Sean Grismer, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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