HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 2ND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR I.
THEME: WHAT SHOULD MODERN DAY PRIESTS OFFER?
BY: Benedict Agbo (Rev Fr)
Heb 7: 25 – 8: 6, Mk 3: 7 – 12.
The New Testament Priesthood is a covenant that is enacted on better promises. It is a priesthood that looks onto the merits of Christ – the ideal high priest. Such is the high priest that met our needs; holy, innocent and uncontaminated. He has no need to offer sacrifices everyday since his power to save is absolute. He did it once and for all when he offered himself on the altar of the Cross. Yet every priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices. Hence the necessity to have something to offer. As Moses was warned to work on the design that was shown him on the mountain, so is every priest today warned to operate according to the priestly standards /paradigm of Christ. Our question then is: ‘What should modern day priests offer?’
The responsorial psalm quickly provides the answer: In the scroll it is written for me to do your will, Ps 40: 8, Heb 10: 6. So, the real pattern is the offering of self (will) not for a priest to attempt a repeat of Calvary for his congregations’ prayers to be forcefully answered by God. We need an open ear, fresh song, new heart and new sense of justice. The most wonderful thing that has ever happened in history is that Jesus has given us the mass in which we can make his offering our own, Lk 22: 20. When he said: ‘Do this in memory of me’, he did not mean ‘Go repeat what I did at Calvary’ but use the mass as a moment of this spiritual recapitulation. The mass is the sacrament of sacraments, the offering of offerings. At mass, Jesus Christ continues to act ‘the ideal high priest’ as he did at Calvary without shedding blood again. The death and resurrection of Christ is captured sacramentally at mass every day. He continues to heal us, forgive us and remold us towards sainthood.
As people afflicted in different ways were crowding forward to touch him, modern day Christians should only have Jesus touch them at every mass. ‘The mass’ says Vima Dasan, ‘is the Church at its best’. How I wish both priests and the congregation would understand a little bit of the great mystery behind the mass and the difference will be clear in our spiritual lives. May God bless you today!
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