21st Sunday in Ordinary Time-by Fr. Dennis
One of the many titles of a Pope is the Vicar of Christ. Vicar is a term that still is used today. It is a person who acts in the place of someone higher in authority. A Parochial Vicar, a regular parish priest, acts in the name of his Pastor. An Episcopal Vicar acts in the name of his Bishop. Since there is no higher authority in the Church than the Pope, this makes total sense: he acts in the name of Jesus Himself. It might also make more sense to know that Kings in the Davidic Dynasty, i.e. from King David on, were called Vicars of Yahweh, they acted on God’s authority.
These Israeli Kings, like all other nations, had their cabinet of ministers. If we think in terms of the present, a country like England might have a Minister of Finance, a Minister of the Interior, a Minister of Transportation, etc. All of these fall under the authority of one person who is called the Prime Minister. This person has the total authority of the King or Queen (that is, in cases where the person on the throne is not just a figurehead). The Kingdom of David was no different. If this sounds far fetched, think of Joseph in Egypt. He held this role, called vizier in Egypt, under Pharaoh. After Joseph interpreted his dream for him, “Pharaoh said to Joseph: “Since God has made all this known to you, no one can be as wise and discerning as you are. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people shall dart at your command. Only in respect to the throne shall I outrank you. Herewith,” Pharaoh told Joseph, “I place you in charge of the whole land of Egypt” (Gen 41:39-41).
copyright 2005 Fr. Dennis