The mission of Jesus is defined by his very name: God Saves. That is the name ordained from on high, and scripture records both Mary and Joseph getting the same memo:
You are to name him Jesus. Luke 1:31 and Matthew 1:21
Today we are reminded that we can always turn to Jesus, the perfect priest, the eternal intercessor who is always ready to save those who approach God through Him.
God, in an act of sheer goodness, freely created us to share in his beatitude. And despite our having spurned Him by an act of defiance, God never abandons us no matter the depths to which we may sink or the extent we go in defying Him. Rather, He always draws close to us seeking communion. He desires to be known by us! In the days of old, He raised up prophets and in the fullness of time, He sent His only begotten Son as our Savior and Redeemer.
Melchizedek was the ancient king of Salem (Jerusalem) who blessed Abraham; he was both a priest and a king. He is a type of Christ, but Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of God’s oath regarding the priesthood. For He is God’s only begotten Son, the perfect priest, holy, innocent, blemishless and sinless, higher than the heavens, the mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises. Unlike men ordained to the priesthood, Jesus has no need to make atonement for sins since he shares their nature in all things but sin. The sacrifice of His body is offered once and for all and since the institution of the priesthood on Holy Thursday, all priests stand ‘in persona Christi’. They minister in a shadow and copy of the heavenly sanctuary, which is presided forever by the Lamb of God.
Why did God become man? Firstly, to save us, but secondly, to sanctify us. And to aid us in this endeavor, He instituted His Church, and set up a hierarchy that enables us mortals to discover God’s plan for us. Christ painstakingly formed 12 apostles and sent them out in the Great Commission, which resounds through the world and through the ages until it strikes a chord even in our hearts.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age. Mat 28:19 – 20
I am grateful for the men and women religious who strive to do just that. They are indispensable aids and abettors for nothing less than our salvation. We are blessed more than we know it, to be ministered by these souls who have sacrificed their own dreams and aspirations, choosing God’s will above their own. May God bless them abundantly and supply the graces they need as they strive faithfully to follow His commandment.
Good News for Modern Man
And finally, my dear brothers and sisters, the mission trickles down to us, the laity. This is our clear and present mission. God seeks bold apostolic and missionary witnesses to the Good News that will bind up human brokenness and give us strength for the journey. We are urged on by the love of Christ to proclaim the surpassing goodness of the Gospel to all corners of the world. The Catechism proposes three ways of achieving this.
All Christ’s faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 3)
With the grace from Christ, our high priest, and the aid of the Spirit, let us redouble our efforts in the New Year to make God’s kingdom present by word and deed and above all, through fervent worship and prayer, relying on the intercessions of our eternal High Priest, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.