VATICAN CITY, APRIL 5, 2012 (Zenit.org).- In his homily for today's Chrism Mass, which recalls Christ's gift of the priesthood, Benedict XVI offered his brother priests a reflection on being configured to Christ, noting that a key element of this configuration is obedience to His teachings in the Church.
The Pope's homily was widely reported as a papal scolding for a group of a couple hundred Austrian priests who have made a call to disobedience regarding women's ordination and the celibate priesthood. His reference to the group -- though he didn't name them -- was actually in the context of a meditation on Christ's priesthood, with pressing questions such as, "does our consecration extend to the daily reality of our lives – do we operate as men of God in fellowship with Jesus Christ? This question places the Lord before us and us before him."
The Holy Father referred to the renewal of priestly vows, carried out in the liturgy in response to the question: "Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to him, denying yourselves and confirming those promises about sacred duties towards Christ’s Church which, prompted by love of him, you willingly and joyfully pledged on the day of your priestly ordination?"
"After this homily, I shall be addressing that question to each of you here and to myself as well," the Pope said. "Two things, above all, are asked of us: there is a need for an interior bond, a configuration to Christ, and at the same time there has to be a transcending of ourselves, a renunciation of what is simply our own, of the much-vaunted self-fulfillment."
"We need, I need, not to claim my life as my own, but to place it at the disposal of another – of Christ. I should be asking not what I stand to gain, but what I can give for him and so for others," he added.
Then referring to the "group of priests from a European country" and their "summons to disobedience," he asked, "Is disobedience a path of renewal for the Church? [...] Do we sense here anything of that configuration to Christ which is the precondition for all true renewal, or do we merely sense a desperate push to do something to change the Church in accordance with one’s own preferences and ideas?"
Christ's concern, the Pontiff said, "was for true obedience, as opposed to human caprice."
"Nor must we forget," he added, "he was the Son, possessed of singular authority and responsibility to reveal the authentic will of God, so as to open up the path for God’s word to the world of the nations. And finally: he lived out his task with obedience and humility all the way to the Cross, and so gave credibility to his mission. Not my will, but thine be done: these words reveal to us the Son, in his humility and his divinity, and they show us the true path."
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