When you have a new parish priest,
people are often looking to take the measure of him.
What are the things he cares about?
What “agenda” might he have?
So I know people are asking those questions about me!
Today, I’m going to make it easy for you to answer those questions--
because the Scriptures make it easy.
What did Saint Paul say today:
“May I never boast except in the cross of Jesus Christ!”
But that’s not just “my” agenda--it’s our agenda, together.
So, here’s my question for you:
What is the purpose of this parish? Why are we here?
How do we justify asking one another
to share our time, our talents and our treasure?
Same answer: to make Jesus Christ known, here and now.
And I think we are doing that in so many ways.
Archbishop Purcell wanted a Catholic church here as a beacon--
and here we are!
Each year, on Good Friday, of course,
many thousands come here to meet Christ Crucified.
Now, if we develop that further, in light of the Scriptures we heard,
what does that mean?
Well, as both happened to Saint Paul, and to the 72 disciples in the Gospel,
not everyone will receive the message.
That’s why Paul reminds us: it’s Christ crucified!
The measure of our success, as parish,
will never be that everyone likes us,
or likes the message of our Faith.
It happened to our Lord--it will happen to us.
In fact, if we don’t bear “the marks of Jesus” on ourselves--
“the marks” of people’s disagreement or criticism--
then we should ask: have we really been sharing our Faith to the full?
The other thing we might take from the Scriptures
is the importance of inviting others boldly.
You will notice me inviting men and women
to consider a vocation to the priesthood, religious life and the diaconate.
I love being a priest, I’m glad to be here with you,
And I am eager to invite young men--and not so young--
to consider being a priest or deacon!
I’m eager to invite men and women to consider religious life.
If you answer that call, you’ll see happen what the Gospel describes:
God acting powerfully in your life and the lives of others.
While religious and deacons and priests
carry this out in a particularly intense way,
that doesn’t let the rest of us off the hook.
The 72 weren’t all apostles, or priests, they weren’t all religious--
but they were all followers of the Lord.
When you walk of church after Mass, pause and take in the view.
Look at the fields! Look at the harvest, waiting, ready!
And then, I ask you: pray to the Lord of the harvest, and ask:
“Lord, what would you have me do?”
Between now and next Sunday--in order to help with the harvest--
what will you do?