Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Friday, September 25, 2009

This weeks Sunday Scriptures from the Catholic Spirit

This week, Deacon Joseph Jiang of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, MO gives a reflection on this Sunday's Mass readings

There is a difference between the saints and us, but not much. The difference is that they will what God wills in little things.

Today, we recognize that difference in Moses, a man with great courage and faith, a shepherd called to lead the house of Israel, and a mediator chosen to enter into divine intimacy with the Lord, not for himself but rather for the house of Israel. He knows for what purpose he has been called; therefore, he is not selfish, but rather desires everyone of the house of Israel to share in his spirit and take part in his relationship with God.

Moses has tasted the joy and peace of doing God’s will, and he makes this wish: “Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!”

It doesn’t mean that it is easy to do God’s will or mediate his will to the house of Israel. There are times when the Israelites wanted to kill Moses after he had made known God’s will to them, which was contrary to theirs. In doing God’s will persistently, Moses gives himself more and more to God, and he is drawn closer and closer to him. Even his face shines like the sun so that he has to cover it up with a veil. In doing God’s will, Moses also brings the house of Israel closer to God.

What a perfect image for our priest. In his faithfulness to his priestly vows, to celebrating the Eucharist and other sacraments, and to a life of prayer, we could say that his face also shines like the sun, the holiness of the priesthood of Christ manifesting itself in him. Through Christ, the priest lifts up his parish family to God. What a blessing and gift.

Moses wants each one of the Israelites to share his spirit so that they may also discern the will of God, so that the house of Israel can truly be a house of God.

An image for the parish

What a perfect image for our parish community.

The Lord wills his priests to lift us up before him, and he commands his priests to feed us with himself. But the Lord also wants us to walk with his priests to meet him in prayer, in the Eucharist, in the confessional and to discern his will for us in our daily lives.

In willing what God wills for us, we not only become closer to him, we also bring our parish community, and those who are struggling or suffering, closer to him. We need this genuine support from our priests, each other and our parish community in this difficult time for our nation and world, so that we may be protected from making decisions that harm ourselves and others, especially the most vulnerable and unborn.

In this spirit of unity and charity, our parish community can truly be a house of God and a genuine school of prayer, “where the meeting with Christ is expressed not just in imploring help but also in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplation, listening and ardent devotion, until the heart truly ‘falls in love’” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter at the Close of the Jubilee year, “Novo Millennio Ineunte,” 33).

As our parish community becomes a genuine school of prayer, each one of us will benefit. We will become closer to Christ, and our heart will be transformed to a heart of love, commitment, understanding and a heart for others. Even more so, we may become a source of strength and healing for those who are struggling and suffering, for those who are searching for the meaning of their lives in the midst of our secularized and materialized world, and for our society.

Deacon Joseph Jiang is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary. He is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and his teaching parish is St. John the Baptist in New Brighton.