10 Joy of the Priesthood Cardinal's Ordination Mass Homily

posted Apr 12, 2018, 9:57 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 12, 2018, 9:57 AM ]
My dear brother priests of our Presbyterium, my dear religious sisters and brothers, relatives of our deacons and those who have come here to participate in this Ordination ceremony, I thank you for joining us in one of the high points of liturgical life in this Archdiocese of Bombay and my dear sons to be ordained priests: Joel, Savio and Joseph.

I can imagine the joy in your hearts this evening, as you entered in solemn procession for this Ordination ceremony. In a few minutes, the Lord will place a seal of acceptance on your desire to serve Him unlimitedly. With this seal, effectively symbolised by the laying on of hands and the formula of consecration,you will become a priest for all eternity: a class set apart, chosen ones. Every day that you live from today should be the living out of this consecration, a greater deepening of this reality. The priesthood, my dearest brothers, is not something that just happens like the flick of a switch, in an instant. The Holy Spirit will indeed come upon you intensely in this Ordination Rite, but in a very real sense, you are to become more and more priests every day. We have to become better disciples of the Lord, more deeply dedicated, more generously committed each day. This is a growth of our priesthood; this is the fleshing out of the sacramental reality that you receive this evening.

You are indeed a class set apart, you are indeed specially chosen ones. This is truly a dignity, an honour, but you know that in the Gospels, authority means service, leadership means becoming the least; becoming head means washing the feet of those who work with you. Humility, service and emptying of oneself are hallmarks of Christ-like leadership. My dearest Joel, Savio and Joseph, that is the leadership you are called to. This is to be our understanding - yours and mine - of the priesthood.

One of the most appreciated leaders in the world today is Pope Francis. Cardinal O'Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, told me that a survey was recently conducted among people in his area, and the Holy Father got over 80% positive rating – by far more than any other world leader—civil or religious. You and I have to become Pope Francis' priests. Remember what he repeatedly says: We have to have the smell of the sheep; we have to go to the periphery to reach out to those most in need; we have to make the Church a field-hospital to treat people wounded in war. We have to dirty our hands.