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Homily for the Priestly Ordination of 44 Legionaries of Christ
ITALY | RESOURCES | NEWS
Rome, Saint John Lateran, December 15, 2012

homilía ordenaciones 2012
We are celebrating. Today is a day of great importance for all of us. The Lord gives a great gift to his Church, through the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ: the priestly ordination of a large group of young men. We need priests because we need Christ, the eternal high priest whom God gave us to save and redeem us.



Christ, Eternal and High Priest



This is the priesthood that humanity needs, according to the saving plan of God. Not merely a ritual priesthood, the result of human invention, which just reminds us of our need for God; nor the priesthood of Aaron, which, in accord with the Old Testament, offered animal sacrifices as a reminder of our condition as sinners and our need of salvation, but which could not truly renew us or help us meet God, in whom is the meaning of our lives.



The priesthood which God has given us is that of his Son, Jesus Christ, who made an offering of himself once and for all in perfect love for God and for men. He conquered death, he destroyed sin, he began a new creation and a new humanity, making it the family of God and recapitulating in himself the entire history of salvation. Thus, he was established as the one, eternal, high priest, for all time and for all men; he is the one mediator and the one savior; he is the one name in which God has placed the salvation of all of humanity, of each of us. He is the true man, to which we must look, so that he can illumine and fill our lives, so that we may be transformed and divinized and thus fulfill the entire plan of God for the history of humanity.



Man’s need for Christ, the eternal high priest 



Christ is the man that every person of every time and place needs to arrive at the truth about God and himself, and to find happiness and the meaning of life. He himself said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” “I am the light of the world.” “The one who follows me does not walk in darkness, but has the light of life.” Every person needs to be born anew in him through water and the Holy Spirit (baptism). In him every person should be strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit, to be able to live as a child of God, under his guidance. Every person needs to be nourished by Him, bread of eternal life, so that by eating him, he may transform us, such that we live in God and for God; every person needs the bread of eternal life that is Christ himself who offers his own life for each of us, because each of us is called to live from Him, with Him, and for Him. Each person needs to meet Christ to be pardoned by him, renewed and recreated to live according to our dignity as children of God, ready to show others what we really are, children of God.  Each person needs to meet Christ in order to listen to and live according to his word, the word of eternal life. Each person needs Christ, eternal and high priest, in order to have eternal life.



The Catholic Priest, Minister of Christ and of Man



The Priesthood is Christ’s gift in order to make himself present in the history of each man and woman, through the sacrament of holy orders. Through ordination, man is configured to Christ, so that through him Christ can make himself present in the life of every person, accompanying them in the way of salvation. The teaching of the Church tells us that the priest acts in the person of Christ (in persona Christi).



Through the person of the priest, Christ, risen and present in the Church and in the history of humanity, makes his word heard, gives his life, and renews every man, giving him the Holy Spirit and bringing him to the fullness of eternal life. The priest is a servant, a minister, above all of Christ. For that reason, he should listen to his word, live in communion with him, be transformed into him, so that even his way of life is a revelation of the inner mystery which he bears. He is also a minister of the community, of his brothers and sisters, to whom he has to bring the mystery of Christ: the service of his word, of his sanctification, the mystery of Christ himself.



The priest can only understand himself in the mystery of Christ himself: in the mystery of his love and of his grace. The words of the Gospel which we just heard find their full meaning precisely in the life of the priest: he has been loved by Jesus; he is called to remain in his love, like the branch united to the vine, by fidelity to his will; to find in him his joy; to be a witness of the love of God with the gift of his own life, according to the example of Jesus; to live as a friend of Jesus, listening to what he wants to tell him. Like this, a priest will bear much fruit.



It is a vocation that surpasses man, that goes beyond human strength, precisely because it is a divine reality. But the grace of the sacrament transforms man and makes him capable of divine acts. Nothing is impossible for God! The priest, like the prophet Jeremiah and even more than him, experiences his own weakness and fragility. That experience is healthy, if it brings him to the only one who can give him the grace of fidelity, of love and total self-giving. Also in this, the priest is a witness of God, a witness to the power of divine grace that wants to carry man beyond mere human and earthly dimensions. The priest is a witness of the divine grace that envelops the life of man and transforms it. Without grace, man would walk in shadows, without a goal, without hope. Modern man, accustomed to a secular worldview of a purely earthly and transient life, needs this witness. The Christian perspective that the priest must awaken and revive is much higher.



The moment that the Legion is living



Dear friends, you are members of the Legion of Christ, a religious congregation which has had to confront a particularly difficult moment in its own history. This history has been marked by sin, by discouragement, perhaps even dejection and humiliation. You are, as Saint Paul says, afflicted from every side. But you have walked. You did not lose heart. You have persevered in your vocation. You believed in the one who called you. You believed in grace. You believed that everything is possible. Your life, your ordination today, is a witness of grace that continuously pardons, renews, creates a new heart, comforts, and gives hope and reassurance with the certainty of divine love. May the eternal high priest accompany you on your path and may you worthily represent him before men, and in all the circumstances of your lives. 


PUBLICATION DATE: 2012-12-15


 
 


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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.


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