Friday, 11 June 2010

Year for Priests: Pope Benedict's homily for 11th June 2010

The text of the homily preached by Pope Benedict XVI at the Mass he concelebrated to mark the closing of the Year for Priests can be found here on the Vatican website. As I post, I have not studied it in its entirety, but have been struck by the following two points.

The first is the way in which Pope Benedict refers to the priesthood as a demonstration of the "audacity of God":
The priesthood, then, is not simply “office” but sacrament: God makes use of us poor men in order to be, through us, present to all men and women, and to act on their behalf. This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings – who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead – this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word “priesthood”. That God thinks that we are capable of this; that in this way he calls men to his service and thus from within binds himself to them: this is what we wanted to reflect upon and appreciate anew over the course of the past year. 
The second is the way in which Pope Benedict comments on the scandals of abuses by priests that emerged during and, in a certain sense, have been a feature of, the Year for Priests:
It was to be expected that this new radiance of the priesthood would not be pleasing to the “enemy”; he would have rather preferred to see it disappear, so that God would ultimately be driven out of the world. And so it happened that, in this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light – particularly the abuse of the little ones, in which the priesthood, whose task is to manifest God’s concern for our good, turns into its very opposite. We too insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again; and that in admitting men to priestly ministry and in their formation we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey, so that the Lord will protect them and watch over them in troubled situations and amid life’s dangers. Had the Year for Priests been a glorification of our individual human performance, it would have been ruined by these events. But for us what happened was precisely the opposite: we grew in gratitude for God’s gift, a gift concealed in “earthen vessels” which ever anew, even amid human weakness, makes his love concretely present in this world. So let us look upon all that happened as a summons to purification, as a task which we bring to the future and which makes us acknowledge and love all the more the great gift we have received from God. In this way, his gift becomes a commitment to respond to God’s courage and humility by our own courage and our own humility. The word of God, which we have sung in the Entrance Antiphon of the liturgy, can speak to us, at this hour, of what it means to become and to be priests: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29).
Pope Benedict's homily then goes on to reflect on the texts of the Liturgy for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, particularly Psalm 23.

1 comment:


Kudos to our Holy Father's indepth analysis of this unfortunate situation we found ourselves in, however, he reaffirmed that in God's love we will prevail over the dark forces of the world who are trying to destroy us, including the left-wing media. Our hope is Christ himself.

May God continue to Bless our Holy Father abundantly.