Priesthood: A calling to forgiveness and mercy…
(CUSA) The Los Angeles Archbishop’s reflected this week on the living image of Christ that is the priest.
These remarkes are excerpted from his homily at the Mass for the Ordination to new priests for the Archdiocese, held on May 30 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. —Ed.
ARCHBISHOP JOSE GOMEZ—
(Angelus) – What a great day! It is such a joy for me and for all of us to be here today for this beautiful celebration as the family of God in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Every priest is a living image of Jesus Christ. And every ordination is a sign of his final promise — that he will be with us until the end of the age.
My brothers, Jesus Christ has called you by name. Jesus has spoken to your hearts and he has called each of you in a special way to be his friends — to follow in his footsteps; to make his path the path of your life.
Jesus has called you to share in his priesthood and continue his mission. We heard those beautiful words from the Gospel:
I have called you friends, because I have told you everything that I have heard from my Father.
Dear brothers, today you are consecrated in his holy Name. Consecrated to act in his place, and with his power — for the redemption of the world.
You are not ordained for a mission that is limited to the boundaries of a parish or even this archdiocese. You share in the universal mission of salvation that Christ entrusted to his Church.
Through your ministry, the living waters of God’s grace and love will continue to flow like an invisible river through our times and through our lives. Through your ministry, the sacrifice of praise will be offered on his holy altar — and on the altar of every heart that believes.
So my brothers — a beautiful adventure awaits you.
Jesus Christ came to serve and he calls you to serve as he served — to love one another as he loves us.
You are his face in the world! You are the image of Jesus! That is a theological and spiritual reality. It also gives you a practical responsibility.
When people see you, they will be looking for Jesus. That means you need to be humble and gentle, patient and kind, generous and open.
The priest needs to “be Jesus” for others. The priest needs to act as Jesus would act — giving himself to others with the loving heart of a servant; praying for people and interceding for them; showing everyone God’s mercy and compassion.
And my dear brothers, you are becoming priests at a great moment in the Church!
In God’s Providence, the first full year of your priesthood will be carried out in the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, called by the Holy Father Pope Francis.
Pope Francis says that God’s mercy is “the beating heart of the Gospel” and the mission of the Church.
So in your ministry you are called to be men of mercy. As the pope tells us over and over — God our Father never tires of being merciful. And as his priests, you are the face of his mercy in the world.
In everything you do — try to bring God’s tenderness and mercy to the people you meet. Wherever you are, try to make the mercy of God real and present.
I pray that in your priestly ministry you will always remember these simple and beautiful words from Pope Francis: “Imitate the Father who never tires of forgiving.”
So my dear brothers and sisters, let us pray for our brothers as they get ready to receive this great sacrament that will configure them to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, who came in mercy to seek the lost and to carry them home to the Father who loves them.
And let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of the Angels, to watch over our new priests. And may she help many more young men hear the voice of Jesus, calling them to his priesthood.