Having just attended ordinations, I have a few thoughts on the priesthood with today’s readings. Today Jesus says: “I pray for them.” It’s the thing about the priesthood we often forget: the priest, configured by his ordination to Christ, shares in a special way in the intercessory powers of Jesus Christ. It’s good for folks to ask their priest to pray for this or that. A second thought. Today Paul talks to all the priests in Ephesus in our first reading, offering them some mighty good advice. Here’s the reading, meant especially for us priests but also for all–
From Miletus Paul had the presbyters of the Church at Ephesus summoned. When they came to him, he addressed them, “You know how I lived among you the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia. I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me because of the plots of the Jews, and I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public or in your homes. I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus. But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know, except that in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace. But now I know that none of you to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels will ever see my face again. And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.”