I have been thinking about priests today. The scripture passages today stirred me in a way that is quite different than usual. I know the passages apply to me but “pray for priests” is the message that comes to mind and heart today.
Jesus gave everything for me. He came to serve, not to be served and He commanded His disciples to do the same. We expect a lot from our priests and they are tempted as we are but maybe in ways we could not imagine. We need them 24-7. No priest, no Mass. No Mass, no Eucharist. No Jesus, look at the mess our world is in. Matthew Kelly made an interesting comment saying that if he had to live on an island and could only take 5 people, he would make sure one of them was a priest.
St. Paul begins today’s passage from 1 Thessalonians saying “You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery. Working night and day in order not to burden any of you, we proclaimed to you the Gospel of God.” Maybe that is what got me to thinking about priests. What an amazing calling they have accepted to shepherd people like me, a sinner who gets lost too often in my own selfishness.
Then I got to today’s Gospel from Matthew 23 and I thought about what it said in the context of being a priest as Jesus said…
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.
That is a very sobering message for me personally. I cannot tell you how often I have tried to appear holy and knew inside I was not right with God. By the grace of God, I will continue to work to cleanse first the inside of my cup, so that the outside also may be clean. I would ask that we continue to pray for our priests, religious brothers and sisters and all who have been given authority to lead the church. May we also pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. Thank you always for your consideration and prayers.