Below is a translation of Pope Francis’ homily today, the fourth Sunday of Easter and the 53nd World Day of Pray for the Vocations’s Mass, at this morning’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
During the Mass, the Pope conferred priestly ordination on 11 deacons, nine which came from Roman diocesan seminaries (Pontifical Roman Major Seminary, Almo Collegio Capranica, Redemptoris Mater Diocesan College, Seminary of Our Lady of Divine Love), and two from other colleges.
These, our sons and brothers, were called to the order of presbyter. As you know, the Lord Jesus is the only High Priest of the New Testament, but in Him even all the Holy People of God were formed priestly people. Nevertheless, among all His disciples, the Lord Jesus wants to choose a few in particular, so that exercising the office of priesthood, in favor of all men, publicly in the Church, in His name, His personal mission as teacher, priest and shepherd continues.
After mature reflection, now we are to elevate these brothers to the order of priests, so that the service of Christ, Teacher, Priest, Pastor, works to build up the Body of Christ, which is the Church in the People of God and the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
They will indeed be configured to Christ, the Eternal High Priest, and will be consecrated as true priests of the New Testament, and as such, in their priesthood, they will be united to their bishop, and will be preachers of the Gospel, pastors of God’s people, and will preside over acts of worship, especially in the Celebration of the Lord’s sacrifice.
As for you, beloved sons and brothers who are being promoted to the order of the priesthood, consider that exercising the ministry of the Holy Doctrine, you will be sharers in the mission of Christ, the only Master. Dispense to all the Word of God, the Word that you yourselves have received with joy. Take memory of your history, of that gift of the Word that the Lord has given to you by your mother, grandmother – as Saint Paul says -, catechists, and the whole Church. Read and ponder diligently the Word of the Lord to believe what you read, to teach what you have learned in faith, and to live what you have taught.
Whether, therefore, it is your doctrine, joy and support to the faithful of Christ, or ‘the scent’ of your life, which nourishes the People of God, your word and example go together: word and example build the house of God, which is the Church . You will continue the sanctifying work of Christ. Through your ministry, the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is made perfect because the joint to the sacrifice of Christ, that for your hands, in the name of the whole Church, is offered in an unbloody manner on the altar in the celebration of the Holy Mysteries.
Understand, then, that which you do. Imitate what you celebrate, because participating in the mystery of the death and Resurrection of the Lord, [you] bear the death of Christ in your sin and walk with Him in newness of life. Bring Christ’s death in yourself, and walk with Christ in newness of life. Without the Cross, you will never find the real Jesus; and a Cross without Christ, does not make sense.
In Baptism, you admit new faithful to the People of God. With the Sacrament of Penance, forgive sins in the name of Christ and the Church. And, please, in the name of the same Jesus Christ, the Lord, and in the name of the Church, I ask you to be merciful, the compassionate. With holy oil, you will give relief to the sick. Celebrating the sacred rites and raising in the different hours of the day with prayers of praise and supplication, you will be the voice of the People of God and all of humanity.
Aware of having been chosen among men. Chosen, do not forget this. Chosen! And it is the Lord Who has called you, one by one. Chosen from among men and made in their favor, and not in my favor!
In filial communion with your bishop, strive to unite the faithful in one family to lead them to God the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit. Have always in mind the example of the Good Shepherd, who came not to be served but to serve; to seek and save that which was lost.[Original Text: Italian] [Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]