In today’s Gospel reading Our Lord encounters the unbelief of those who follow Him, but are not prepared to follow any farther. The evangelist tells us that “Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray Him.” What a sad knowledge it must have been for Him. May we not be among them. Fortunately, the Twelve Apostles have given up everything to follow Christ and are not prepared to turn back now. Their time spent with Jesus has helped them to grow in thevirtue of faith. St. Peter says, “Master to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
As I look back today on my first year of priesthood, all but the first week of which has been spent here at St. Philip and St. James, I see the biggest growth in my spiritual life. Of course the priesthood is one of many vocations that God may call any of us too, all of which are ultimately a vocation to become a saint. If we truly live our vocation, holiness should naturally follow. But it helps to stand in the presence of the Lord Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, every day at Mass.
The life and work of the priesthood is helping me to grow and it is my desire and hope that it can help you to grow in holiness as well. One of many good books written on the priesthood is one by the title “The Priest is Not His Own.” A priest’s life is lived for the holiness of the people entrusted to him and he grows in holiness through it. This is perhaps most apparent in the fact that other than the Consecration of the Holy Eucharist at Mass, all of a priest’s life is spent celebrating the sacraments for someone else.
It is my desire in life to be as available as possible to help you grow in holiness, whether you find that easy or as most of us do, a struggle. Some of the ways this can happen is through frequent use of the sacraments, such as a frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist at Mass and frequent use of the sacrament of Penance.
I also need your prayers to continue to always be faithful and open to the Will of God and His calling both in the joyful moments and in the difficult moments of living this vocation. Please also pray for many more vocations to the priesthood, especially from our parish. And please know of my unceasing prayers for you to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother.
May God Bless you,