On behalf of Fr. Chris and Fr. Michael, I would like to thank you all for the prayer of blessing you offered us at Mass last weekend for World Priest Day, and for the little notes you scribbled to us on your way out of church. These simple gestures remind us of the great love and prayers that surround us through each one of you. God speaks to us most powerfully through you and your daily witness to faith in the midst of the many challenges you face.
It is no secret that this has been a difficult time to be a priest, just as it has been a difficult time to be a Catholic. At times one can look at the Church and give in to a spirit of discouragement. What all of you did this weekend was to remind us of the beauty of our vocation as priests, to let us know that you appreciate our service, and to encourage us to take courage and be faithful in living out our call. We know that “you have our back,” as the saying goes.
It is also good to remind ourselves about why we remain in the Church. It really comes down to one person: Christ himself. We believe that he founded it. He gave us the sacraments, especially the sacrament of his body and blood. He upholds it with his Holy Spirit. We are members of his mystical body through it. He also scourges, humbles, and purifies it. We cannot walk away from him or our spiritual home.
I sometimes harken back to the passage in John’s gospel where Jesus talks about his flesh being real food and his blood being real drink. This scandalized many of his followers. John writes that, “As a result, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?’ Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” (John 6: 66-69)
So I give thanks for all of you faithful of Holy Redeemer Parish. Christ is present in all of you and we feel his love through all of you. You remind us of why we feel joy in being Holy Cross priests. It is our privilege to serve him in all of you. We are here to encourage each other on our journey of faith, and we know that the Lord, whom we love above all things, always journeys with us.
Yours in Christ,