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A Kingdom of Priests: Reflection on the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time


First Reading: Exodus 19:2-6

Psalm: Psalm 99(100):2-3,5

Second Reading: Romans 5:6-11

Gospel Acclamation: John 10:27

Gospel: Matthew 9:36-10:8

If your diocese celebrates Corpus Christi this Sunday instead of the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, please click here to be taken to a reflection written by Dr Scott Hahn on this great feast, Corpus Christi!

We are back in the book of Exodus this Sunday, chapter nineteen, and the Israelites have left Egypt and are camped in the wilderness of Sinai. God says this to Moses: “Say this to the House of Jacob, declare this to the sons of Israel, ‘You yourselves have seen what I did with the Egyptians, how I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself. From this you know that now, if you obey my voice and hold fast to my covenant, you of all the nations shall be my very own for all the earth is mine. I will count you a kingdom of priests, a consecrated nation.’”

It’s still a very early time in Israel’s knowledge of God and their relationship with Him. God is still revealing Himself to them (He doesn’t even finish till Jesus reveals Him fully through Himself. See CCC 65-73). God promises them that they will be a nation of priests to minister on behalf of the rest of the world and bring salvation to them through themselves.

Of course, after the great sin of the golden calf, Israel proved themselves incapable of this task and so God needed to keep working and revealing Himself and this is why we have a subsequent covenant with David and then another (finally definitively) in Jesus Christ.

In our Gospel this Sunday, we see the beginning of the fulfilment of this Kingdom of priests when Jesus chooses His twelve Apostles, the Church’s first priests.

All of the people who are baptised into the New Covenant are baptised into the threefold office that Christ Jesus undertook Himself: Priest, Prophet, and King (cf. CCC 783-786). This priestly role that we inherit through our Baptism in Christ (cf. Romans 6:3) is what calls us to offer sacrifice on behalf of others and to evangelise.

Our role as prophets (people who speak on behalf of God) is to announce and preach the Good News where the soil is fertile to do so. If it’s not yet fertile to preach with words, our good works are always a good beginning until we can proclaim the name of Jesus.

Our royal role as kings calls us to serve. Jesus is the King of kings but He exercised His Kingship by serving: “For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many,” (Mark 10:45).

In St Paul’s letter to the Romans in our Second Reading, St Paul explains just how merciful God is that while we were still sinners, then it was that God gave His life for us in Christ. It was not when we finally came to deserve it (that still hasn’t happened) but when we didn’t deserve it at all! In fact, it was when we least deserved it that redemption came: When we nailed God to a cross.

This Sunday, at the Table of the Lord, the same table that Jesus Himself presided over in the upper room at the Last Supper, we will be fed by the same supernatural Bread by the same Priest, Prophet, and King that fed the twelve Apostles. The Bread that is His Body and the Wine that is His most precious Blood. Through this participation, we will be further united to Christ and to his Priestly, Prophetic, and Royal roles that we might all the better sacrifice, proclaim, and serve.

See you next week on Seeking the Word!

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