Laudetur Jesus Christus!
Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Today is the Sunday known as ‘Good Shepherd Sunday.’ This designation comes from our Gospel today, in which Christ is described as the Good Shepherd. This is an image with which we are all familiar.
This is a perfect Sunday for us to consider the importance of Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. Christ is the Good Shepherd, but we must pray to Him to send to the Church more shepherds, after His image, to help guide us into the ways of trust and holiness. In particular, vocations to the priesthood are especially important in the life of Church. Without the priesthood, there would be no Mass, no Eucharist, and no Sacraments. The priest is the image of Christ in the world.
St. Augustine teaches that if he were to enter a room with an angel and a priest, that he would first salute the priest and then salute the angel. St. Augustine’s teacher, St. Ambrose, tells us: “O venerable sanctity of the hands! O happy function of the priest! He that created gave me the power to create Him; and He that created me without me is Himself created by me!”
I encourage every young man in this Church to consider a vocation to the priesthood. Every Catholic young man has the obligation to consider such a vocation. It is a difficult life. It is a life of sacrifice. The priest is often attacked, from without and from within the Church, by faithful Catholics and non-Catholics alike. However, Our Lord suffered similar treatment.
Even with the difficult and sacrificial life, the life of the priest is greatest gift that God can give to a man and to the world. It is the priest who is able, through the grace of God, to transform the bread and wine that he holds in his hands into the Body and Blood of the Lord. It is the priest, through the words of Absolution and the Sign of the Cross, who is able to wash sins away. It is the priest, through the life giving waters of the baptismal font, who is able to infuse grace into souls where grace previously did not exist.
These are extraordinary things that God enables His priests to do for the good of the Church. May we all pray that the Lord send many more shepherds into His Church. May we encourage our young men to consider this divine calling. Finally, may we pray that each and every priest in this world remains close to the Good Shepherd and may have as generous of heart as His. May God Bless you in this week ahead!