Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Simbang Gabi 6: The priest as vessel of Divine mysteries

DECEMBER 21, 2017

Jesus, I trust in you!

Having heard that Elizabeth was pregnant in her old age, Mary immediately went in haste to the house of Zechariah so that she may be of some help to her cousin. But what transpired revealed that something mysterious happened…something which the eye could not see. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, she was filled with the Holy Spirit and the Baby John leaped in his mother’s womb. It was a moment of salvation because as the angel said to Zechariah, “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit in his mother’s womb.” John, who was conceived in original sin, was sanctified by the Holy Spirit on the 6th month of his mother’s pregnancy. Thus, in his mother’s womb, John was liberated from original sin.

The sanctification of John in his mother’s womb could only point out to what was yet invisible to the human eye, and that is the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb. And so, it was not only Mary who went in haste to visit Elizabeth. She brought Jesus whom she carried in her womb. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, acknowledged this when she said: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

The priest also lives in a similar way. As a man consecrated to God, the priest bears in himself the presence of God. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves…” (2 Cor 4:7) The priest may be a human being like other human beings, frail, weak, and sinful. He is so much unlike the Blessed Virgin who is pure and unstained by any sin. And yet, in spite of his sinfulness and weakness, the priest carries with him an anointing that makes the presence of God felt wherever he goes. When our Lord sent his disciples to go in pairs in every town, he admonished them to take nothing with them except the blessing of God: “Take nothing with you…into whatever house you enter, say “Peace be with you!’ If a peaceful man lives there, your peace will rest on him but if not, your peace will return to you.” The presence of a priest should bring about God’s blessings upon a place. He comes in the name of the Lord.

The priest is the conduit of God’s blessings upon the world. As Elizabeth and John were sanctified by the Lord through the Blessed Virgin, so also people are sanctified by the same Lord through the presence of the priest. This is why it is important for a priest to pursue a holy life because he must first be sanctified by the mysteries he bears so that he can sanctify others. Contrary to present opinions that the priest must conform himself to present trends and fashions of the world, he must actually strive to conform himself to Jesus in whose Name he comes. The priest must strive to be a man of the Spirit more than of the flesh. He must strive to be a man of God and not a man of the world. The priest should strive to live a life worthy of his consecration.

Elizabeth was blessed to welcome Mary into her home. But remember that Our Lady did not go to Elizabeth’s house for the adulation. She went there to serve her cousin in the hour of need. In like manner, it may seem unavoidable that the priest be considered a welcome guest in homes and other places. But he goes not for the adulation. He goes to serve. He goes so that he may bring Christ closer to people. He goes to bring Christ’s blessing to them.

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

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