Wait, John the Baptist Was a Priest?!

Wait, John the Baptist Was a Priest?!

According to Old Testament law, the service of priests is tied to membership in the tribe of the sons of Aaron and Levi. So John the Baptist is a priest. In him the priesthood of the Old Covenant moves toward Jesus; it becomes a pointer toward Jesus, a proclamation of his mission.

It strikes me as important that in John the whole Old Covenant priesthood becomes a prophecy of Jesus, and so—together with Psalm 118, the highest expression of its theology and spirituality—it points toward him, it makes itself his. A one-sided emphasis on the contrast between the Old Testament sacrificial cult and the spiritual worship of the New Covenant (cf. Rom 12:1) would obscure this connecting line, this inner dynamic of the Old Testament priesthood, which is a path toward Jesus Christ not only in John but earlier too, in the development of priestly spirituality expressed in Psalm 118.

[. . .]

When it is said of John that he “shall drink no wine nor strong drink” (Lk1:15), this likewise aligns him with the priestly tradition. “Concerning the priests who are consecrated to God, it is said, ‘Drink no wine nor strong drink, you nor your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations’ (Lev 10:9)” [. . .] John, who will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (cf. Lk 1:15), lives permanently, as it were, “in the tent of meeting”: he is a priest not only at certain moments, but with his whole existence, and in this way he proclaims the new priesthood that will appear with Jesus.

Pope Benedict XVI Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives

I am perpetually surprised by Pope Benedict’s insights into the story of the Gospel. They are at once stunningly new and yet at the same time they also seem like they should have been blindingly obvious. Of course John was a priest. That’s how the Old Testament priesthood worked. So why did I never put the pieces together before?

Rich stuff to chew on.

I’m going to be posting more of these moments that made me pause.

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  • “Another the same chore will seem to be the Augean stables.”
    But if you tell her the story of the Augean stables, won’t she have fun pretending to be Hercules?

    Great post. I had a few kids like this.

  • This is my Philomena to a T. Today I worked with her to put one thing away before she began another game. For us “one thing” is generally a few dozen very little things, usually shoved into a container of some sort, and then the dress up bin emptied out, etc. Our new policy is that she keeps the many little things that she uses in her really wonderful games in one area of the house. It’s easier for her to clean them up and easier for me to deal with. So, while she’s free to make forts and palaces and play with blocks anywhere, the really intense imaginative stuff involving every single doll or teddy bear has to happen in her room. She hated cleaning up, but it was a lot easier and met with fewer tears than usual.

  • I half joke that I have a touch of OCD but I crave order and cleanliness. So I really have to work hard to let go and let the kids make a mess. Part of my compromise is like Melissa’s.. just keep the living room clean and the playroom can be messy. The problem is that, if things are too messy, I notice the kids don’t want to play there anymore either so we also have the rule that they can play all day but at 4pm it is time to clean up. It isn’t always completely clean before bed but there is a degree to which cleanliness makes things more livable, stress-free and generally pleasing.

    We keep telling the girls to clean up something when they are done with it but it hasn’t sunk in yet. Getting them to put a puzzle, game or book away once they are done with it is our current struggle … oh, and getting them to put the books back on the shelf vertically rather than horizontally so they don’t all come crashing down on someone’s head or foot.

    Despite any mess, Bella does have a wonderfully beautiful way of seeing things though… she must live in a magically magnificent world!

  • This so speaks to me because I am just like Bella and Jeff, my husband, is just like you in this scenario. However, with my kids, I crave order. God really did a funny thing when he gave me a child with autism who has to line things up in just a certain way with no deviation wink. I am trying to loosen up about my kids toys etc (after I had to force myself to crack down when they were little)and trying to let Jeff see that a little disorder is okay. Already Shelby has come to embrace small amounts of disorder in her day and arrangements, could her Daddy be far behind?

  • Oh, heavens. That was me as a kid. I remember not wanting to clean up because I wasn’t done with the thought that the game entailed, and knowing I’d lose it if I tidied.

    I think it’s Nat, now, so questions like “Why did you take out all the envelopes and soak them in the sink?” or “What happened to all my hair ties/the toothpaste/that cushion” are met with, “I was INVENTING!”. And I want him to do it, I just want there to be a magic clean up button to help contain the chaos.

  • After reading your post, I’m smiling in recognition—-so many of my gang have had that same Bella-sense of an activity never being officially finished. One game blurs into the next, or there’s a panicky sense of ‘if I pick this up I’ll never get to play this awesome game of pretend again’—-as if their make-believe games are fragile and might disintegrate into the ether if the props are temporarily removed.

    Sounds like Katherine and I employ similar strategies: we have specific tidy-up times here where everyone pitches in together. Morning chores, afternoon chores, evening chores. The main living areas are clean after breakfast and then fall into immediate disarray during our morning lesson time (courtesy of Huck & Rilla, who mostly play while I do stuff with the older girls). Lunch is haphazard, dishes pile up until our big Afternoon Tidy at 2:30. That’s right before Scott & I switch writing shifts, so I like to leave him with a clean house. smile It all falls apart again before dinner but the big girls do another tidy after we eat, so when I come out from working the living room & kitchen look nice. But the girls’ room, oh my. I can barely look. smile

    But like Katherine I too have noticed the littles stop playing if a space gets too cluttery, so we a big cleaning on Saturdays. Bedrooms, patio (a main play space), hot spots.

    I find dedicated cleanup music helps a lot! Kicks the littles into gear. smile

  • I’m so not good with being consistent about tidy time. I try to do a morning tidy of the dining room and kitchen after breakfast. Then I try to get them to clean up before Dom gets home, but often I lose track of time during our read alouds and look up and boom it’s time to make dinner and I can’t supervise them so it doesn’t happen. SO then we try after dinner and that sometimes works but sometimes they are just too cranky and ready for bed.

    I did get inspired after all your comments and decided to move the toys that had taken up residence in the living room back to the bedrooms. I put the basket of cars and trucks and the box of blocks in the boys’ room and I put the basket of animals and people in the girls’ room. It’s amazing how much that has helped. Half the time they have just played with the toys in the bedrooms rather than drag them out to the living room. And when they have gone to the living room, they have still somehow become less entrenched. And yesterday and Friday when I got up all four kids were sitting in the living room reading books and not making messes with the toys at all. And somehow the bedrooms have also stayed a little tidier. GO figure.

    I like the idea of dedicated clean up music. I haven’t found anything that isn’t too much of a distraction.

    Saturdays are our farmer’s market days in the spring, summer, and fall and that takes up the whole morning and sometimes even part of the afternoon. So it’s not a cleaning day for us. I usually have to just do a light school day in order to do a catch up on cleaning day.