Feast of Priesthood

We enter this week once again into the most sacred time of the Church’s year. This is, for us as Catholics, our “High Holy Days.” Beginning on Sunday, we commemorate Palm Sunday as we prepare to enter more deeply into the Lord’s Passion. We come to that week in which we reflect as a Church on those days that changed the world, those days by which our Lord opens his arms wide on the Cross with an embrace of love, and, by his wounds, heals all humanity.

Make an extra effort this year to attend the Paschal Triduum in your parish beginning with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. The 2011 Third Edition of the Roman Missal speaks about the liturgy of Holy Thursday in this way: “After the proclamation of the Gospel, the priest gives a homily in which light is shed on the principal mysteries that are commemorated in this Mass, namely the institution of the Holy Eucharist, and of the priestly order, and the commandment of the Lord concerning fraternal charity.”

Also there is the symbolic gesture of the washing of the feet. The priesthood is seen as a prestige, an opportunity for power, part of a patriarchy that dominates and that has come to be served, not to serve. The washing of the feet reminds us that priests are called to serve.

The priesthood is a matter of service to Christ and to His bride, the Church. The priest is called to be the chaste spouse to the Church, married, if you will, to the Church, the Bride of Christ.

He is called to be the spiritual father, the one who gives life to his people through his loving service, by being available to people and nourishing them with the Eucharist. He is called to be the divine physician, healing his flock through the sacraments of penance and anointing of the sick. He is called to be head and shepherd, leading and guiding his flock even when the times get tough.

The priesthood is not a job but a way of life, just as any father who cares for his family is always present to the members of that family.

We pray for our priests this Holy Thursday. Pray that they might know in their minds and hearts that they are called to be fathers for us, so that we can grow to our own full stature as sisters and brothers of Christ.

Share this article with a friend.