Reflecting on the priesthood with a group of priests recently, Pope Francis reminded his brothers in ministry that we are, “Called (by Jesus) to follow Him, to stay with Him, and to bring Him to others.”
Jesus’ call is clear, just as it was to Peter and Andrew, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt 4:20) His call is not only to follow Him but to continue His work, to draw others to Him. It is not a call to privilege, but a call to service. “The son of man did not come to be served but to serve.” (Mark 10:45)
It is also a call to perseverance, to loyalty, to faithfulness. “We priests, too, are immersed in today’s subjectivist culture,” the Holy Father said, “this culture that exalts the ‘I’ to the point of idolatry.” and “can lead to a certain pastoral individualism that is unfortunately widespread in our dioceses.” We must “follow the Lord … not one by one, but together, with our great variety of gifts and personalities; indeed, it is precisely this that enriches the priesthood: this variety in terms of provenance, age, and talents.”
Finally, the Pope reminds us priests that ours is a ministry of going out, of bringing Him to others. We are called to be Christ bearers, missionaries. We are called to be shepherds who bear the smell of their sheep, because we are among them. I like the Holy Father’s image that the Church should be a field hospital to heal those wounded on their journey.
Your priests have answered Jesus’ call, to be his healing hands, to be his forgiving heart, to serve, not be served.
Support them. Love them. Forgive them. Pray for them.
This post is also available in/Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish