HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Sunday, 17 April 2016
Beloved brothers, these men, our brothers and sons, are now to be raised to the order of priests. It is true that God has made his entire people a royal priesthood in Christ. But our High Priest, Jesus Christ, also chose some of his followers to carry out publicly in the Church a priestly ministry in his name on behalf of mankind. He was sent by the Father, and he in turn sent the apostles into the world; through them and their successors, the bishops, he continues his work as Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd.
Our brothers have seriously considered this step and are now to be ordained to the priesthood in the presbyteral order. They are to serve Christ the Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd in their ministry which is to make his own body, the Church, grow into the people of God, a holy temple of the Holy Spirit.
They are called to share in the priesthood of the bishops and to be molded into the likeness of Christ, the supreme and eternal Priest. By consecration they will be made true priests of the New Testament, to preach the Gospel, sustain God’s people, and celebrate the liturgy, above all, the Lord’s sacrifice.
You, beloved sons and brothers, are now to be advanced to the order of the presbyterate. You must apply your energies to the duty of teaching in the name of Christ, the chief Teacher. Share with all mankind the word of God, the word of God that you have received with joy. Remember your history, the gift of the word that the Lord has given you through your mother, grandmother — as St Paul said — the catechists and the entire Church. Meditate on the law of God, believe what you read, teach what you believe, and put into practice what you teach.
Let the doctrine you teach be true nourishment for the people of God. Let the example of your life attract the followers of Christ, so that by word and action — word and actions go together — you may build up the house which is God’s Church. In the same way you must carry out your mission of sanctifying in the power of Christ. Your ministry will perfect the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful by uniting it to Christ’s sacrifice, the sacrifice which is offered sacramentally through your hands.
Know what you are doing and imitate the mystery you celebrate. In the memorial of the Lord’s death and resurrection, make every effort to die in sin and to walk in the new life of Christ. Bring the death of Christ within yourselves and walk with Christ in new life. Without the cross you will never find the true Christ; a cross without Christ makes no sense.
When you baptize, you will bring men and women into the people of God. In the sacrament of penance, you will forgive sins in the name of Christ and the Church. Please, in the name of the same Jesus Christ, the Lord, and in the name of the Church, I ask you to be merciful, very merciful. With holy oil you will relieve and console the sick. You will celebrate the liturgy and offer thanks and praise to God throughout the day, praying not only for the people of God but for the whole world.
Remember that you are chosen from among God’s people. Chosen, do not forget that you are chosen! The Lord called you one by one. You are chosen and appointed to act for them in relation to God. Do your part in the work of Christ the Priest with genuine joy and love, and attend to the concerns of Christ before your own.
United with the bishop and subject to him, seek to bring the faithful together into a unified family and to lead them effectively, through Christ and in the Holy Spirit, to God the Father. Always remember the example of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served but to serve, and to seek out and rescue those who were lost.