purified, praising priests
"He will purify the sons of Levi." —Malachi 3:3
Two days before Christmas, the Church reads to us from Malachi the prophet. Malachi prophesied to priests, calling them to greater holiness and leadership in worship and instruction (Mal 1:6; 2:1, 6-7). Malachi foretells that priests, that is, "the sons of Levi," will be refined in fire "like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord" (Mal 3:3).
Zechariah was a priest (Lk 1:5). He was struck mute because of his disbelief in God's good news to him (Lk 1:20). When Zechariah the priest obeyed God's prophecy, his mouth was opened and he began to praise God (Lk 1:63-64). This purified, praising priest had a great impact on all who saw him, as they all reverenced God (Lk 1:65-66).
Though ordained priests are called to purification and greatness before Christmas, religious and lay Christians, including parents, are not off the hook. Parents share a baptismal priesthood (Catechism, 1546; 1 Pt 2:5, 9) and are in that sense "priests" of their domestic church, their home (see Catechism, 1666). God is purifying all baptized Christians. All are called to submit to God's purification and open their mouths to proclaim God's praise (Ps 51:17).
Ordained and baptismal priests, let God purify you right now, even if it's painful and inconvenient. These last two days before Christmas are perhaps the busiest time for a priest, but purification and praise are high on God's Christmas list.
Prayer: Father, I surrender my Christmas plans to You. Use me any way You will so that many will glorify You this Christmas.
Promise: "Suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord Whom you seek." —Mal 3:1
Praise: "O Emmanuel, King and Lawgiver, Desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God."
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 19, 2005
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