Thirtieth Ordinary Sunday – A
National Priesthood Sunday
Exodus 22: 20-26
1 Thessalonians 1: 5c-10
Matthew 22: 34-40
This is Priesthood Sunday in the United States. It is a day that we, as Catholics, give thanks to Jesus Christ for His gift to us of the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
The second reading today from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians tells us about the effect that the ministry of Saint Paul had on that community. The people had turned from idols to Jesus the Son of God. Paul celebrated the Eucharist with them and ordained some of them as priests. Many of these new converts went out to other areas and did the same thing: proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ and, as His priests, celebrating the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is at the center of our Catholic life. So that we can have access to this great gift of Himself, Jesus gives His ordained priests a share in His own priesthood.
Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders we are doing right now what Jesus did at the Last Supper when He took bread and wine and said, “This is My Body. This is the chalice of My Blood. Do this in memory of Me.” Right here and right now, we are doing this in memory of Him.
Today our seminarian, Nathan Frankart, is with us. He is now a senior – already – at Borromeo Seminary College. After the Prayer after Communion, Nathan will offer us his thoughts on the priesthood as he discerns his own calling. And now I would like to offer a few thoughts of my own.
You who are parents want your children to be successful. That is the mark of being a good parent. But I would ask you as parents – as grandparents – do you see being a priest, a deacon, a sister, or a brother as a successful way for your children and grandchildren to spend their lives? I do. I had other opportunities. I could have entered some other professions, but I am still thankful today that God called me to be a priest.
If I had it to do all over again, forty-five years after being ordained a priest, would I still do it, even knowing what I know today? The answer is, “Absolutely! Yes, I would!”
All of us are ambassadors of Jesus Christ for vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life in the Church. If you know a young person that you think might have that calling, let them know. Tell them you think they have what it takes. Encourage them! Pray for them! I am convinced that some of our future priests, deacons and religious are right here – right here in the pews of our own Saint Joseph and Nativity Parishes.
And so I ask everyone right now to pray along with me for someone in our parishes – for someone who might be here today – who thinks God may be calling them to the priesthood, the diaconate or the religious life. And if God is calling you, listen now: we are praying for you:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph, our patrons, pray for us.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.