June 10, 2009 – Wednesday, Week 10
2 Corinthians 3:4-11 / Psalm 99 / Matthew 5:17-19
What Paul says about the ministries will always find realization in the Church. God uses weak human instruments to manifest his power and will. We may have various talents, but these are gifts from God. The good we do is really the work of God. This is true of any disciple, but takes on a special significance for those in ordained ministries. The minister of the new covenant should not worry about titles or the esteem of men. I knew a wonderful old priest who was honored by the bishop in being named a Monsignor. The poor fellow graciously accepted the tribute but seemed embarrassed by the attention he was receiving. He insisted afterwards on being called “Father” and refused to use his ranking. He told us that the word FATHER meant more to him because he saw himself as a spiritual father for his sons and daughters among the People of God. He preferred to serve others over being served. He found satisfaction in the intimacy of his spiritual relationship which reflected something of God’s fatherhood to his people. Through the vocation of holy orders, no matter if called “Father” or “Reverend” or “Pastor” or “Monsignor”, it is not the letter or label that matters, but the spirit. These men are given a special character upon their souls, configuring them in a unique way to Christ. They are empowered to forgive sins; to celebrate the sacrifice of the Mass; to consecrate the Eucharist; and to anoint for healing with the oil of the sick. They are special servants of the Spirit. This Spirit gives life to a new people who are granted rebirth and grace. Salvation comes through the Jews. It is a glorious story. But, how that history culminates in Christ and the Church is even more wonderful.
The Gospel admits to no breech between the old law and prophets with the new dispensation of Christ. Rather, Christ and his saving work is the fulfillment of all that was promised. The Church is that holy mountain, that new Zion or Jerusalem, the “breaking in” of the kingdom of God into our world. His ministers or priests obediently extend the ministry of Christ around the world and through the centuries.
Ministers of the new covenant offer worship in “spirit and truth”. Jesus makes possible our approach to the Father. As the Psalm says, “Extol the LORD, our God, and worship at his footstool; holy is he!” If God could answer his Jewish priests who offered the fruits of the earth, think how much more he will respond to those who offer the oblation of his Son. “Extol the Lord, our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for holy is the LORD, our God.”