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May 15, 2018

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Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Twelve (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 15) declares the fruit of “justice”: “Those who do justice will live in the presence of

the Lord.” For Christians “justice” means living up to the identification with Christ that Baptism gave us.

 

Genesis 13: 2-18 shows us Abram seeking peace and good relationships with his nephew Lot. Abram and Lot were coming into conflict over grazing rights. So Abram told Lot to choose whatever territory he wanted:

 

Let there be no strife between you and me… for we are kindred… If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.

 

Our baptismal consecration as priests commits us to community. This is a commitment to “common unity” in mind and will and heart. As “priests in the Priest” we have to put unity ahead of personal preferences, and be determined to resolve all conflicts through understanding and love, avoiding all violence in word or act.

 

This is why the consecration to be “priests in the Priest” is also a consecration to be “victims in the Victim.” The victim Christ offered was his own body. If we are priests because we are “in Christ,” then for the same reason we have to sacrifice ourselves for others, giving our bodies “in him” for the life of the world.

 

This is what we declare and commit ourselves to in the Eucharistic Prayer when, in union with Jesus “lifted up” in the first elevation we join him in saying, “This is my body, given up for you.”

 

We live out this offering on a daily basis through ministry, but the prerequisite for ministering with Christ and in Christ is that we be willing to be crucified by others. We must be determined to persevere in unity and love, no matter what we lose or suffer.

 

“Those who do justice will live in the presence of the Lord.” We could focus on “justice” only as the opposite of “injustice,” and see it as something to fight for. But the justice of Christ requires us to suffer any and all injustices rather than violate his great commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” To be united with Jesus as prophet and king we have to be united with him as priest. This means we must love as he loved when he offered himself for the unjust on the cross.

 

This is the great “stumbling block” in Christianity, an ideal almost impossible to accept. But Jesus tells us in Matthew 7: 6-14 “Enter through the narrow gate… For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” He knows that “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given.” Jesus tries not to “throw pearls before swine” or to challenge us beyond our capacity. But this is the only way to life. It is the only way to live and minister as priests.[1]

 

 

Initiative: Be a priest. Value unity and love above all things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Initiative: Be a priest. Value unity and love above all things.

 

 

 

[1] Compare with Matthew 19:11, 26; John 6:60.

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