Saturday, October 10, 2009

God asked the priests to repent first

You can learn so much from a good homily. But it requires that you pay attention. It also requires that Father makes an effort to open up the Scriptures to the faithful.

On Friday, the first reading at the Mass was from Joel 1:13-15; 2:1-2. It goes like this:

Put on sackcloth and lament, you priests; wail, you ministers of the altar.  Come, pass the night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God!  Grain-offering and drink-offering are withheld from the house of your God. Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly.  Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord. Alas for the day!  For the day of the Lord is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain!  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near— a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!  Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, or will be again after them in ages to come. 

Not exactly a very cheery passage, but the Church put it in the readings for a reason.

As it happened so many times in the Old Testament, the people had strayed far away from God and had to repent.  In the homily, the priest pointed out that God asks the priests to repent first.  This is interesting.  Why the priests first?  Because as leaders of the people, the priests have a huge influence on the morals of the people.  As go the priests, so goes the people.

I thought this was very relevant to our current situation, where the clergy needs to get their act together.  It shows that our calls for the repentance of the bishops are very biblical and very well founded.  This growing movement is not rooted in some fanaticism.  It is firmly grounded in Holy Scripture.