Thursday, 4 June 2020

Faith Movement: Christ, Eternal High Priest

Today I’ve been asked to offer Mass for the Faith Movement,
as the first of a series of such Faith Masses,
to seek to spiritually hold us together
when the lockdown has been keeping people very physically separated.
Today is the feast of ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Eternal High Priest’,
A feast so new that it’s not in your ‘new’ 2011 Missals.
And as soon as I thought of this feast,
I thought how it seems to parallel MY existence this past months.
And, in another way, teaches an important part of the laity’s role in this lockdown.

The Lord Jesus is our High Priest, away in heaven, offering sacrifice for us.
I, as a priest in the lockdown, have been away from my people for over 2 months.
But I’ve still been praying for my people,
I’ve still been offering the sacrifice of the Mass for my people.
And you, in Faith, are hopefully aware that we are Faith priests
keep you very much in our pastoral focus,
in our concerns, in our prayers, in our offerings.
We’ve been offering sacrifice for you,
even when physically isolated in the lockdown.
It would be EASY TO THINK that that isn’t really very important, b
ut today’s feast reminds us that IT IS.
It’s important that sacrifice is offered for the people.
Sacrifice needs to be offered for a number of reasons.

First, to glorify God.
The world was made to give glory to God (CCC 293).
Man in particular, glorifies Him, in a way the plants and animals cannot:
The glory WE are called to offer Him is that of rational beings,
of beings who can love,
of beings who can CHOOSE to offer themselves back to Him who gave them life.
The worship and glory we offer, sadly, is far from adequate.
But, in Christ, the Word made flesh, there is one who can, as one of us, offer fitting glory to the Father.

Second, to offer sacrifice for sin.
The Lord Jesus, the eternal Word of the Father, has taken flesh and made Himself a sacrifice for sin.
To quote Revelation, He is the sacrificial Lamb who forever stands as if slain, (Rev 5:6),
offering Himself for us.

Third, to intercede for the people.
Again, our intercessory prayers, like our worship and our reparation, are not adequate:
We forget to pray for others,
We are half-hearted when we pray for others.
In today’s feast we recall that there is One who does not forget,
who is not halfhearted,
who is totally committed to the cause of being our priest.

In the Bible, we read of the importance of the role of prayer,
of sacrifice,
of the priest.
When Moses and Aaron interceded for the people, great things happened:
The waters of the Red Sea parted;
The Israelites were victorious in battle against the Amalekites who would have wiped them out;
And, when the anger of God was such that He would have destroyed the people He had rescued from Egypt because of their fickleness and sin, the priestly prayer of Moses spared them.

We know of priesthood in our state of sin and fallenness:
We are weak;
We need someone to speak out FOR us.
As part of the Faith Movement,
we might well speculate that our human nature,
as social beings,
would still have called for us to have a representative,
a ‘priest’ to sacrifice for us
-priesthood isn’t just about sin.

There is one in heaven who intercedes for us continually, Christ our Eternal High Priest.
Today’s feast day ISN”T JUST about Him, alone in heaven.
There are two other aspects:
First, The ministerial priesthood, sharing in His sacrificial role.
As I started by referring to us isolated lockdown priests doing for you.
Second, the common priesthood of the faithful.
The laity also, truly, are called upon to share in this role
of priestly intercession,
for the needs of the world,
Of priestly worship,
being that part of God’s creation that can offer Him rational loving praise.

When you can’t get to Mass,
When you can’t get to confession,
When you can’t join with others in worship, physically,
You CAN unite yourself spiritually.

The image of The Lord Jesus, AWAY from us as our priest in heaven,
Away from us,
yet one we are called to unite ourselves to,
This is an image that can remind us of the value of what we do
-even in the lockdown.
A priestly people,
uniting themselves with Him,
even when He and His sacraments seem far away.

No comments: