Every priest stands daily
They counsel the troubled.
They hear confessions.
They baptize, marry, anoint, and bury.
They teach and preach.
They have strengths and they have flaws.
They sometimes accomplish, sometimes stumble, and sometimes fall.
But the image that begins today's first reading (Hebrews 10:11-18) reminds us what is at the heart of ministerial priesthood.
Every priest stands daily at his ministry,
offering frequently those same sacrifices...
The sacred writer, of course, is referring to the priesthood of the old covenant, commenting on the ineffectiveness of the animal sacrifices celebrated therein.
But (Christ) offered one sacrifice for sins,
and took his seat forever at the right hand of God;
now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool.
For by one offering he has made perfect forever
those who are being consecrated.
The role of the ministerial priesthood in Christ, in the new and everlasting covenant, is to make Christ's unique and unrepeatable sacrifice - offered once for all - present anew in a very real and special way, doing what he commanded us to do in remembrance of him.
Thus, every priest stands daily at his ministry, uniting himself and the people by the grace of God with that uniquely perfect offering, that one infinitely efficacious sacrifice, of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that takes away the sins of the world.
Sometimes, amid the mundane details of Church life as well as concerns about many serious matters, we can lose touch with this fundamental reality of ministerial priesthood and of our communal worship.
We need to appreciate this gift and we need to encourage those who serve as priests among us: that they may serve faithfully in their daily work and most especially in their standing at the altar.
We need to pray for our priests and for the communities of faith gathered with them.
We need to encourage and pray for young men to hear and answer the call to join this service of God and his people.
We need to give thanks to God always and everywhere for the gift of his Son whose one sacrifice exceeds the riches of the universe.
We need to give thanks also for the sacrament that makes that one sacrifice present specially present at the hands of a priest - unworthy, as all men are - standing daily at his ministry.