Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 15:14-21; Luke 16:1-8)
When baseball player Grant Desme gave up the very real possibility of joining the Oakland Athletics to study for the priesthood, some probably said that he was following a “higher calling.” Priesthood has traditionally been considered a way to serve God in a noble way. Even in St. Paul’s time this was true as he intimates in the reading from his Letter to the Romans today.
Paul writes that in preaching the gospel he is performing a “priestly service.” He doesn’t mean that he is acting like an ordained priest in the contemporary sense but that in facilitating the self-sacrifice of the pagans to Christ, he is serving like an Old Testament priest. The fact that Paul mentions it at the culmination of his letter indicates that he too considers the work a “higher calling.”
The same calling is available to all of us. In responding to the challenge of the New Evangelization, we help others find their way to Christ. This priestly ministry is not foreign or out of character to laypersons. Rather as baptized members of Christ’s body we share in his priestly office.