Central Idea: God makes each one of us very important. Doctrine: The ministerial and general priesthood of Christ in the Church. Practical Application: Living the royal priesthood of Christ as a layperson.
For Lectionary 141, click here.
Central Idea: God makes each one of us very important
Reading 1 Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4
How long, O LORD? I cry for help
but you do not listen!
I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not intervene.
Why do you let me see ruin;
why must I look at misery?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and clamorous discord.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
if it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.
The rash one has no integrity;
but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.
- Because God loves the persons he creates, he gives us real power, so that what we do really matters for good or ill.
- This love and power are part of the importance God gives us.
- God won’t take that power away from us even through we misuse it.
- The Prophet Habakkuk cannot understand why God allows him and the Chosen People to experience violence, ruin, and misery.
- Yet the evil exercise of power has natural consequences: “The rash one has no integrity” and will die.
- Why is it appropriate to call evildoers “rash”? A person who does evil thinks he can get away with it. Yet God is omnipresent–he is everywhere; and God is omniscient–he knows everything; and God’s law for man is written in the human heart–it is inescapable.
- And in a similar way, “the just one, because of his faith, shall live.”
Responsorial Psalm Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
“Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works.”
- As the Lord says through Habakkuk “the just one, because of his faith, shall live.”
- Part of justice is giving God what is due to him, that is, the proper acts of religion. The just man lives as a creature of God with cheerful obedience and renders to Him grateful thanksgiving, sorrow for sins, glad adoration, and trusting petition.
- Through Divine Revelation, the just one also learns he is one of the people of God, even a child of God.
Reading 2 2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14
I remind you, to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.
So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,
nor of me, a prisoner for his sake;
but bear your share of hardship for the gospel
with the strength that comes from God.
Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me,
in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit
that dwells within us.
- The words St. Paul wrote to Timothy, whom Paul had made a bishop, apply also to us, because the laity share in the priesthood of all the faithful.
- This is also part of the importance that God gives to each Christian.
- Through the waters of Baptism and the imposition of hands in Confirmation, we too have been given a spirit, not “of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control” so that we can bear our “share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.”
- Like Timothy, our norm, too is “the sound words” that we hear from the Sacred Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church. That “rich trust” is the Deposit of Faith.
Gospel Lk 17:5-10
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied,
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
“Who among you would say to your servant
who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field,
‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’?
Would he not rather say to him,
‘Prepare something for me to eat.
Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink.
You may eat and drink when I am finished’?
Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?
So should it be with you.
When you have done all you have been commanded,
say, ‘We are unprofitable servants;
we have done what we were obliged to do.’”
- Faith is assent to Divine Revelation. Christ, who is the fullness of Divine Revelation, is saying that with an operative faith, that is, a faith we act on with the help of grace, we will accomplish things that seem amazing to us, even impossible.
- Our work is to contribute to the goal of “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth.” This is part of the importance that God gives to each Christian.
- Despite the importance of our work, we have no grounds for getting puffed up with pride for anything we accomplish in Christ. When we do whatever we ought, we are just doing our duty.
- Even when we freely give whatever we have out of love (which is objectively the best we can do), we are still just doing our duty as followers of Christ. In other words, the duty of the follower of Christ is to love our neighbor with a sacrificial love.
- The duty of the Christian plowman is to plow fields and to love his neighbor. The duty of the Christian shepherd is to shepherd sheep and to love his neighbor. They duty of a Christian student is to study and to love his neighbor. And so on.
- The connection between the two parts of this gospel–increase our faith and serve Christ–is, if we want a stronger faith we should dedicate ourselves to doing God’s will.
Doctrine: Two participations in the one priesthood of Christ
- Catholics know there is a ministerial priesthood, consisting of bishops and priests, through which Christ “unceasingly builds up and leads his Church,” and which is “transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders” (CCC 1547).
- Some Catholics may not know there is also a common priesthood of all the faithful that the ministerial priesthood serves (CCC 1547), making every member of the Church a priest through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation (CCC 1546).
- “The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king” (CCC 1546). The laity exercise the common priesthood of the faithful by offering up their lives and work, by living and proclaiming the truth, and by carrying out all the requirements of justice (CCC 898-913).
- In other words, Christ gives us a share in his work. He makes our activity to be part of his activity.
- The common priesthood is exercised “by the unfolding of baptismal grace—a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit”; the ministerial priesthood serves the common priesthood by directing that “unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians” (CCC 1547).
- In other words, Christ gives us the means by which we share in his priesthood: grace.
- We are priests, prophets, and kings! See the great importance God gives us.
Practical Application: Living the royal priesthood of Christ as a lay person
- The laity live the priesthood of Christ by offering all the circumstances and events of our lives to God with the intention that they conform to the will of God.
- “For all their works, prayers, and apostolic undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body, if they are accomplished in the Spirit—indeed even the hardships of life if patiently born—all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord.” (CCC 901)
- The sacrifice we offer to God is our lives. At the Offertory of the Mass we can say to Our Lord, “I offer you this week.” And you can add who you would like to offer it for.
- The laity live the prophetic role of Christ by evangelization, both by “the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life” (CCC 905).
- Our good example of doing the right thing (“carrying out all the requirements of justice”) is a powerful proclamation in itself. The other proclamation is to speak of God to those around us.
- If our lives are good, our actions give our words about Christ authenticity. And faithfulness to Christ is the reason we try to make our lives good.
- The laity live the royal role of Christ through self-mastery and helping conform society to the demands of the Gospel through justice (CCC 908 ff.).
- In our kingship, our first subject must be ourselves. Then as good kings and queens, we fulfill all or responsibilities. We live out justice and charity.
The Homiletic Directory suggests these additional themes for this week’s readings:
- CCC 153-165, 2087-2089: faith
- CCC 84: the deposit of faith given to Church
- CCC 91-93: the supernatural sense of faith