Homily for Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time
One week from today, I will celebrate my 6-month anniversary as a priest, which is kind of hard to believe. Some days I feel like I’m still learning new things about the priesthood while others make me feel like I’ve been a priest for 10 years. I guess that’s what ministry will do to you.
The reason I’m thinking about that today is because our first reading was supposed to be the reading that was proclaimed at my ordination, but because of COVID, things got changed as many of you are aware. But I still have a connection with this passage from Hebrews because it was something that my classmate and I prayed with as we prepared for ordination.
It sums up what the priesthood is supposed to look like. A man called from among the people and made a representative before God who will offer gifts and sacrifice on behalf of the people. But the key parts of this reading that are true for me and true for all priests is that we are still human – we still have our weaknesses, we still make mistakes. But we’re able to continue striving for holiness in the vocation that we have been entrusted with because God is the one who supplies the grace. We don’t take this honor on ourselves. As my best friend said in his homily at my first Mass, it’s a reminder to me that the priesthood isn’t about me. It’s about God and how He is working.
But here’s the important thing about this passage. It isn’t just talking about the sacramental priesthood that I have been called to. It’s also talking about the common, baptismal priesthood that all of us share in.
Every single one of us as Christians has been called by God to be set apart from the rest of humanity. We are entrusted with being representatives before God and to offer gifts and sacrifice in our own ways for others. We are called to be those witnesses that point others to Christ. But that’s not something that we take on ourselves. It is the Lord who has called us to take part in that. He is the one who, despite our weaknesses and failures, continues to call us to be His disciples and to bring others to an encounter with Him. Are we striving for that daily? Are we inviting the Lord into our weaknesses, asking for His grace, and allowing Him to continue to use us as instruments despite those weaknesses? Hopefully that can be a source of reflection and prayer for us today. If there is something holding us back from taking this call to embrace our baptismal priesthood seriously, let’s ask the Lord today for the grace to overcome it.