Scripture: 1st Reading: Is61,1-3,6,8-9; Resp. Psalm: Ps89,21-22,25,27; 2nd Reading: Rev1,5-8; Gosp. Accl.: Lk4,18; Gospel: Lk4,121
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me. God's Spirit in the plenitude of His gifts dwells within my heart. The prophet Isaiah prophesies about the anointed One of God. This anointed One will bring salvation and deliverance to the people whom God had chosen as His own.
The Messiah would bring comfort to those who mourn, garland instead of ashes, gladness instead of mourning, mantle of praise in place of a faint spirit. The Anointed of Yahweh paid a heavy price to free mankind from its sins. He did this by offering His blood and made those who believe in Him into a kingdom of priests to serve His God and Father.
At Nazareth, our Lord proclaimed that the prophecy of Isaiah was being fulfilled in His Person. He was the One the prophet referred about the One who would possess the Spirit of the Lord and anointed to preach the good news to the poor, proclaim release to captives, sight to the blind, liberty to the oppressed, proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
But the Anointed of the Lord will share these attributes with those He would appoint to be the priests of the new and everlasting covenant. He would make them ministers of God.
With these priests, He would make an everlasting covenant. All "who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. "
Today is the birthday of the Sacred Catholic Priesthood. In all Catholic cathedral churches this morning, the priests,united with their bishops, relive the momentous events of the gift of the Catholic priesthood. They meditate on God's unmerited call and choice. They reflect on the immensity of the love and mercy of this God who called them, earthenware vessels that they were, weak and sinful men, to do great things for Him.
The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me. Let us today pray for our priests who serve us and minister to us with their entire lives. They left everything to follow Jesus and be at the beck and call of their fellowmen. The work they have been called to is onerous, the tasks are doubting. Let us therefore pray for our priests. Let us pray for them for the grace of final perseverance.
Today, think of the priest who baptized you so that you could receive new life in Christ. Think of the one who fed you with the body and Blood of our Lord for the first time. Think of that priest who always sat in his confessional every day, waiting to reveal the merciful face of the Lord to His people.
Think of the one who witnessed your marriage and has been with your family ever since. Reflect on the challenges he definitely faced if he had to console the one who is bereaved. Be grateful for such men, their consecration to the service of their Master, their total gift of the self.
As we celebrate the birthday of the priesthood today, pray for your priests. Ask the Lord to grant them the grace of final perseverance. Be close to them. Offer your support and help to the ministry the Master has called them to. May God preserve our priests, precious gifts of God to humanity. May this day be for us priests and people of God, one filled with thankfulness and manifold blessings of the Lord.
Let us pray: "O God, who anointed your Only Begotten Son with the Holy Spirit and made him Christ and Lord, graciously grant that, being made sharers in his consecration, we may bear witness to your Redemption in the world." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.