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Friday, July 15, 2016

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St. Bonaventure

Isaiah 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8
Isaiah 38:10-12, 16
Matthew 12:1-8

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"a kingdom of priests" (ex 19:6; see rv 1:6)

"Have you not read what David did when he and his men were hungry, how he entered God's house and ate the holy bread, a thing forbidden to him and his men or anyone other than priests?" —Matthew 12:3-4

Something greater than what meets the eye was taking place in today's Gospel reading. The hungry apostles were snacking on grain on the Sabbath. The Pharisees (who were working on the Sabbath as self-appointed law enforcement officers) accused the apostles of "harvesting" on the Sabbath, thus violating one of the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:8-11).

Jesus responds by referring to an act of King David, who allowed his warriors to eat the showbread. Only Old Testament priests were allowed to eat this bread (see 1 Sm 21:2-7; Lv 24:5-9). Jesus thus compared His apostles to priests, and allowed them to perform a priestly act! Not only is Jesus defending His accused apostles, He is also defending their upcoming priesthood. He says, "There is something greater here" (see Mt 12:6). Jesus was raising His twelve apostles to be priests. He was transforming the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament into His new covenant priesthood. His apostles would belong to a new, "more excellent" priesthood (see Heb 8:1-6).

Jesus was fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy in today's first reading to put His house in order (Is 38:1). Jesus foretold that His house would be a house of prayer (Is 56:7; Mt 21:13). His house would be "greater than the Temple" (Mt 12:6); it will be His Body, the Church, the new house of God, the new Temple where the mercy and holiness God desires would abound (Mt 12:7-8). Join Jesus. Lay down your life for His Body, the Church.

Prayer:  Father, may all Your children be one (Jn 17:21).

Promise:  "Those live whom the Lord protects." —Is 38:16

Praise:  St. Bonaventure became friends with St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Louis at school in Paris.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 20, 2016

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