Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Gift of the Priesthood

By Rev. Mark Lander
Holy Innocents, Victorville

Over a decade ago, before I was ordained, I spent a summer walking in the footsteps of Jesus. I visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, journeyed down to Egypt, enjoyed the Sea of Galilee from the shore and by boat, and made pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I was in the seminary at the time and this was a splendid opportunity for both retreat and experience of study. Who is this Jesus in whose footsteps I am walking? Who is this Christ who has called me to follow in them?

The above questions have continued to guide me in my understanding of the priesthood and the gift that it is not only for myself but also for those with whom I come in contact. God became man, and people today long for a chance to encounter God, just as they did when he walked upon the earth. When our Lord ascended to heaven, he gave his apostles the very authority and power that he had in his ministry. This is an awesome gift to consider, one which demands not only gratitude but heartfelt humility.

And while I am thankful for the vocation and gift which I enjoy, I cannot let a sense of false humility blind me to the reality that the priesthood remains a gift to all of God’s People. When I bless a couple when they voice their vows of marriage, or I tell a child the words of the Father, “you are my beloved son” when I baptize him; when I bless a house placing it under God’s care when the owners fear other spiritual forces, or when I assure a despairing youth that she is indeed Forgiven; when I visit a dying grandmother in her home surrounded by her family, or anoint a young adult, confident of the Lord’s healing; when I preach God’s Justice tempered with Mercy, and when I say the words of our Savior, “This is my Body…This is the cup of my Blood,” then I am reminded that it is not I who act, but rather the Lord Jesus. I can think of no greater gift that God has given the world; he has given himself.

1 comment:

  1. I am grateful that this is the year of the priest...For our priests need pray always.... We need to do our part by dressing properly when we go to mass..Need to go to confession on a regular basis. and evangalize for our faith...and when we receive Jesus realize we are a tabernancle


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