The WORD in Other Words by Fr Benigno Beltran SVD (Philippines)
19th Sunday Ordinary Time, Wis 18:6-9, Heb 11:1-2, 8-19 or 11:1-2, 8-12, Lk 12:32-48 or 12:35-40
In today‘s Gospel, Jesus promises us that upon his return, he will honor those who have been faithful — the Master, upon seeing that the house was well cared for, will turn around and serve the servants. Of course he already did this during the Last Supper, when “he took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist,” in order to wash his disciples‘ feet (Jn. 13:3-5). We have to become servants like he did if we are to remain faithful to his commandments.
We are accountable to the Lord upon his return. When we serve God faithfully, we store up for ourselves treasure in heaven. God cares what we do with his gifts, and when Jesus will come again, he will honor those who have served him faithfully.
The whole community of believers is a priestly people because Christ has made of the Church “a kingdom of priests for his God and Father” (Rev. 1:6). The faithful exercise their priesthood through their participation, according to each one‘s state of life, in Christ‘s mission as priest, prophet and king. We are supposed to be the servants of all.
However, although every person baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit shares in the common priesthood of the People of God, there are those called specifically to the ministerial priesthood. Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time. and so it is also called the sacrament of apostolic ministry. As we celebrate today the feast of st. John Mary Vianney, the patron of diocesan priests, we especially pray for all those in the apostolic ministry — bishops, priests and deacons.
The redemptive sacrifice of Christ is unique, accomplished once for all in the sacrifice of the Cross. This sacrifice is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice. The one priesthood of Christ is made present through the apostolic ministry. Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers (Heb. 8:4). The common priesthood of all the faithful and the ministerial priesthood of bishops, priests and deacons participate in each own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ, who came to serve, not to be served.
As we celebrate the feast of St. John Mary Vianney, let us pray for all believers, all called to be servants. Let us pray especially for all deacons, priests and bishops so that they can serve the Church more faithfully by building up the People of God and leading them towards eternal life.