Saturday, July 21, 2012

'What are you prepared to do?' (Sunday homily)

Two things in the Gospel I noticed.

First: the Lord said to the Apostles, you need rest. 
Sometimes priests need rest--
and it’s good to have the boss himself tell you that!

Second: even then, folks kept coming; and the Lord took care of them.

I didn’t become a priest for short hours or big pay.

When I talk to men about the priesthood--
and maybe you’ve noticed,
I encourage most of the boys and men I talk to,
to think about the priesthood--
and the rest I talk to about being deacons!

But when I talk to you guys about it,
sometimes guys say, “sounds hard!”

It can be. So what?

Some of the guys will say, “oh, I’m not worthy.”

You’re right. I’m not worthy either.
When Simon Peter met the Lord, that’s what he said too.

It’s worth noting what’s going on in this passage--
because it explains something about being a priest.

All these folks kept coming. All the Apostles were busy.
But the reason was Jesus Christ.
That’s what drew them. 

The priest exists to bring Christ to people.
People honor a priest because they honor Christ. 

I often think about the day the Lord entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. 
Think of it from the donkey’s perspective: “wow, they really like me!”
No--it was who he was carrying!
That’s a priest.

Now, a deacon plays that role--but since deacons are usually married,
they have the challenge of what comes first.

This is one reason priests don’t marry.
When I get that call at 3 am, I don’t  have to decide:
go to the hospital, or watch my children?

Or, I can put it this way. When someone asks me,
what do you think about priests being married,
I say, “I’m amused that you think my life would be easier
if I had a wife and children.”

As I mentioned, I am always encouraging boys and men
to think about the priesthood.
I’m always encouraging women to consider the religious life.
I love being a priest--
and I’d never be here if I hadn’t opened my heart to the idea. 

But most of us won’t take that path.

And yet folks are still pressing in--they are looking for Christ.

You’re not a priest; but you’re a Christian!

What are you prepared to do to bring others to Jesus Christ?

Your children; your family; your neighbors and coworkers.

It’s not as though we can afford to take it easy.
Our society is not a place flourishing with the Christian Faith.
It’s becoming a desert, thirsting for God.

Sheep without a shepherd.
What are you prepared to do?


Jackie said...

Thanks Father! I needed a homily today - as mine was in Italian!!

Rosanne said...

If you were married and got a call to go to the hospital at 3am, your spouse would watch the children. Peter and most of the other apostles had spouses and children and they managed, you could too. When did Jesus ever say priests must be celibate? He never did and it is a sin to disallow priests who marry to confer sacraments when millions of people are going without sacraments for lack of sufficient numbers of priests. We have twice as many catholics per priest today as we had in 1970-this is the greatest sin in the catholic church today to kick out priests who marry during a critical shortage of priests.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Rosemary -- it is not hard to imagine a scenario where the spouse is not home; people do take business trips, for example.

Our Lord was celibate himself and he commended celibacy, as did St. Paul. The Lord didn't compel celibacy but then neither does the Church; you do realize that priests in the non-Roman branches of the Church can marry? Even so, it has always been true that married priests must be married prior to ordination.

There is no injustice when a priest, who chose to embrace celibacy, is no longer able to function as a priest as a result of marrying.

There are many good reasons the Roman branch of the Catholic Church adopted celibacy early on.