(The following is an excerpt from Bishop Barber’s homily from the May 25 Ordination Mass.)
There are lots of nice people in the Oakland diocese. You see the fire of Faith in their eyes — the reflection of the presence of God.
As a priest: They will shower you with love, respect, even reverence.
I visited a parish recently, and was welcomed by some nervous parishioners who greeted me in the sacristy. They were not used to meeting a bishop.
I think they had been watching the royal wedding, and they got a little confused…
“Welcome, Your Highness,” one said.
“Welcome, Your Majesty,” another lady said.
Bishop Carlos Sevilla told me as a seminarian, warned me actually, that people will show you marks of respect as a priest, and he told me the same later when I became a bishop. BUT, he said, they are not doing that for you (Michael) they are doing it for who you represent: Christ! That will keep you new priests humble as people kneel for your blessing and kiss your hands. They are not doing this for Arturo, Jimmy and Mario, they are doing this — for Jesus.
The best thing you can do as a priest, is to bring your people to Christ, and bring Christ to your people.
That is accomplished in the Eucharist.
I charge you: Celebrate Mass with reverence. If you do not believe and act that Christ is present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist, how will the people ever believe?
Our people are thirsty for Christ in the Eucharist. At Mass, yes. And in Eucharistic adoration. Look at the success of our “24 hours for the Lord.” People came to adore Christ throughout the night in four churches in the different regions of our diocese.
And our youth are thirsty for Christ. On a recent Confirmation retreat: a pastor told me, “The kids really enjoyed adoration.” In a world full of noise and iPhone stimulation, youth love the time for silence. Having the opportunity to converse interiorly with Christ. It is greatly consoling.
I need you to lead by example. For you to be a good and successful priest, you will need time with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament every day.
Just as you can’t be exposed to the sun without receiving its rays, neither can you come to Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament without receiving the divine rays of His grace, His love, His peace.
Jesus said: “Come to me all you who are weary, and I will give you rest.” We cannot give rest to others, unless we have found it first.
Full story at The Catholic Voice.