Tag Archives: worship

The Apostolic Priesthood

It is very critical that Jesus specially commissioned His Apostles to become shepherds to the people, instructing them to not only spread the good news, but to teach, heal and exorcise (c.f. Mk 6:7-8). What we’re seeing here is something wonderful: the birth of the Apostolic Priesthood (see Jer 23:4).

I once had a conversation with a good friend, where I remembered telling her that it is not the individual ‘priests’ that I adore, but the ‘priesthood’. It is the Sacred Office bestowed by Jesus that has survived through the ages which gives me the assurance that the Catholic Church is Apostolic and authentic. I do not go to Church just because a particular priest is charismatic, I go to Church because that’s the way God said we should worship Him; through listening to His Word (c.f. Jn 20:21-23, Mt 16:18-19) and by eating His flesh (c.f. Jn 6:53-58).

Priests can certainly fall into sin like any of us. Sadly, some priests in other parts of the world fall into very grave sins like sexual abuse.

But the Church has always condemned such actions. Sinners can’t escape God’s Justice, but judging is not our business. In fact, the Bible says that teachers of the Faith will be judged with greater strictness (Jas 3:1).

Even the Apostles fell. All of them apart from John, hid in fear during our Lord’s death. Peter denied Jesus and Paul was a murderer. Does that diminish their authority? No. A priest’s individual sins has nothing to do with the authority of their sacred office; that much is truly biblical, as seen from even David’s time; where he did not kill evil King Saul out of respect for God’s appointment of Saul’s kingship. Till now, I am sad that so many still do not understand this.

God chooses His priests, and God chooses sinners to build His church. Without our priests, we are nothing. We would have no Sacraments and no Magisterium to guide us. Let us thus be thankful for our priests!

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The Mass

Something greater than Jonah is here (Mt 12:41b). I remember when I first read John 6:53-58, I was so touched that tears welled in my eyes. The Word of God spoke out so strongly to me, I never knew why I hadn’t read this before:

“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in me, and I in him.” (Jn 6:54-56)

Indeed, this literal understanding of the passage had so much Truth it was difficult to believe! I remembered anxiously checking some historical and external sources because it was too unbelievable. Lo and behold, all of the early Christians from the time of the Apostles believed in this! I resolved there and then to come home to the Catholic Church. I desired strongly to confess my sins just so that I can receive Jesus again at Mass.

The Mass itself is so rich in reality that there are as many valid theological approaches to it as there are to the whole mystery of Christ himself. The Eucharist is part of the great living mountain which is Christ, a mountain that can be approached from all corners of the world at any Mass celebrated throughout the Catholic Church.

The Mass is no religious service. Prayers, rosaries, or singing songs — those are services. These are something that we do for God, similar to the public praise of any religious denomination. But the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist is not precisely in essence done by man at all.

The Mass is heaven on earth. The earthly Masses we celebrate here are mere prefigurements… a foretaste of the heavenly Mass; that which is the Lamb’s Supper. In Heaven, we celebrate the Eternal Union of the Marriage between Christ the Bridegroom and us, his Church and Bride.

However limited our spiritual insights might be as participants, when we are at Mass, Christ will be there. And we believe this through Faith in Jesus’s Words.