Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Reflection for the 8th Week in Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – The Priesthood of the Faithful

We are all priests. Did you know that? Most of us, of course, aren't the kind of priests who say Mass, preach, hear confessions, or anoint the sick. Those tasks belong to an ordained priesthood of a different quality. But average, everyday Christians are called to be priests, too, for when we were baptized, we were given a share in the priesthood of Christ. We became part of the priesthood of the faithful.

What do we, as priests, do then? We offer sacrifice. That's what all priests do. But we sacrifice in a way specially designed for our status as lay people. We offer to God our prayers and penances, our joys and sufferings, our thoughts and words, our rest and our activity. Even more, we offer up our very selves. We give ourselves to God as living sacrifices, obedient, trusting, and loving. We serve God faithfully, and we serve our neighbors for love of God. We offer God everything we have and everything we are, and when we do so, God gives Himself back to us, His priests, and makes us channels of His love and grace to everyone around us.

Friday – Jesus in the Temple

Take a moment to picture the scene in today's Gospel. Jesus enters the Temple, and He doesn't like what He sees. The courtyard is filled with merchants selling sacrificial animals and money changers proclaiming the latest exchange rates. The whole place looks far more like a busy, noisy marketplace than a quiet, reverent house of prayer.

Filled with zeal, Jesus proceeds to correct the problem. He overturns the booths of the merchants and money changers and drives them out. He stops people from carrying items through the Temple (as if it were merely another route home rather than God's dwelling). “Is it not written,” He asks, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples? But you have made it a den of thieves.”

The Jews were shocked by Jesus' behavior, but He didn't care. The Temple was supposed to be all about God, not money.

This reading has important applications to our own lives and actions. First off, it nudges us to examine our own behavior in Church. Are we prayerful and reverent when we enter God's Church and come before the Tabernacle? Do our behavior and appearance at Mass show our respect for God and our appreciation of the great gifts He has given us in the Word and Sacrament? Do we allow our worldly interests to crash into our devotion and worship? Do we really see God's Church as a house of prayer?

Second, Jesus sometimes has to clean out our hearts and minds in the same way He cleaned out the Temple. He wants to overthrow the sinful tendencies and worldly thinking that fill us. He wants to cleanse us that we may be prayerful, reverent temples of the Holy Spirit. Will we allow Him to drive out everything in us that is not worthy of Him? Will we let Him help us to turn our full attention to God and welcome Him into our freshly cleansed hearts and minds?

Saturday – Thirsting

“My soul is thirsting for You, O Lord my God.” Come and fill me with Your love.
“My soul is thirsting for You, O Lord my God.” Come and teach me Your ways.
“My soul is thirsting for You, O Lord my God.” Come and meet me in the sacraments.
“My soul is thirsting for You, O Lord my God.” Come and greet me in Your word.
“My soul is thirsting for You, O Lord my God.” Come and drench me in Your mercy.
“My soul is thirsting for You, O Lord my God.” Come and wrap me in Your arms.
“My soul is thirsting for You, O Lord my God.” Come and prepare me to be with You for all eternity.

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