Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Simbang Gabi 5: The Incarnation and the Priest

DECEMBER 20, 2017

Jesus, I trust in you!

The most awaited moment has at last arrived. It is the fullness of time and at last, God sends his Son into the world to be born of a woman. He sends his Angel Gabriel to a virgin named Mary. The angel acknowledged the Virgin’s blessedness: Hail, full of grace. The Lord is with you. And then he proceeded to reveal the Divine plan of her conceiving and bringing forth into the world the Son of the Most High. It was planned even from the beginning of time, yes, even before the fall of man. God intended to send his Son as man in order to give man a share of the Divine Life. It was the plan that Lucifer resisted and rebelled against. He thought that by seducing Adam and Eve to sin, he could prevent this plan from being fulfilled. But the fall of man even gave God greater reason to pursue the plan of the incarnation.

And so the plan was all set, only one thing was still missing and the angel Gabriel was sent to get it: it was the consent of the Woman who was destined to be his Son’s mother. The Son was willing to descend from heaven. The Holy Spirit was willing to make it happen. All that was needed was for the chosen Woman to say “Yes.” And so it happened. Mary said: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word.” And the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

God elects. God calls. And yet man must respond, “Yes.” This was the story of Mary. This is the story of every priest and consecrated person. We have seen in the past nights that God elects and calls every priest from the people of God. We heard yesterday that God wills to make men his allies and helpers in his work of sanctification. He chooses his men and calls them to follow him. Through Holy Ordination, the Lord will bestow on them the authority to transform bread and wine into his Body and Blood. In other words, the Incarnation will once again take place upon the altar…if only priests would imitate the Blessed Virgin and consent to his will.
When the Virgin said “yes” to God, the Son’s “yes” to the incarnation is enacted by the Holy Spirit. in like manner, the priest who has said “yes” to God’s call is bestowed the power to bring about the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ on the altar. When the priest repeats the words of the Lord upon the bread and wine, the Holy Spirit overshadows the offerings and transforms them into Christ’s body and blood. In a way, Christ obeys the words of the priest and descends upon the altar. Thus, bread is no longer bread but his body and wine is no longer wine but his blood.

St. John Eudes said: “Do you not envision Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of angels and men, Who was subject to His Mother and to St. Joseph on earth, erat subditus illis (Luke 2, 51), actually subjected to the power of His priests? Does He not obey their commands and their words? Does He not hear their voice when they summon Him to come into their hands at the consecration of the bread and wine in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Have they not power over His Mystical Body, which is the Church, over His Holy Spirit, over His grace and His mysteries? Is it not through priests and their ministry that the Holy Spirit is imparted to the faithful, that the treasures of grace are distributed and that the secrets of the eternal mysteries are made manifest? For that very reason Sacred Scripture attributed to them the function of "dispensers of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 4, 1). Above all else, how wonderful is the power of priests over the very Body and Blood of the Saviour! That power not only gives them the right to bring Our Lord down upon the altar whenever they wish or to transport Him from one place to another; it also extends to the point of sacrificing Him every day, and of annihilating Him so far as it is possible to annihilate Him, because sacrifice means the destruction of the object sacrificed. Whoever possesses sacrificial power likewise must have power to destroy what he sacrifices. This is indeed the greatest and most absolute power God Himself can exercise over His creatures, to destroy and annihilate them for His glory.

Thus, God has honored the sovereign Priest, His Divine Son, and all those whom He has called to this holy state of the priesthood.‘’

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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