Some great stuff here, from Cardinal Seán O’Malley’s Chrism Mass homily yesterday:
We gather for the annual oil change and tune up. The oils are the tools we use in the ministry we share, but just as important is our own tune up as we gather as presbyterate to recommit ourselves to follow Christ and to shepherd His people.
These oils will be used for 20,000 Baptisms, 15,000 Confirmations, more than 150,000 Anointings, nine Ordinations and it is our priests and bishops and in some cases our deacons who will administer these sacraments. Your service, your generosity, your holiness is what brings the sacraments to our people and what makes the sacraments available.
Your preaching and your witness of a priestly life is what makes the sacraments credible and meaningful to our people. The role of the priest is crucial even for the priesthood itself.
Everyone here was helped in discovering his priestly vocation because of the witness, the friendship, the advice that each of us experienced in a priest whom we knew and whose ministry touched our lives. Now it is our turn to cultivate vocations for the future. If we truly love our people, we will want them to have the blessings of the Catholic priesthood.
In the first reading the Prophet Isaiah says: “You yourselves shall be named priests of the Lord. Your descendants shall be renowned among the nations.”
Your ministry will produce other ministers, other priests who will serve the next generation of Catholics. And their vocations will inspire the next generation.
The way that we express our thanks for our faith and our priestly vocation is to pass these gifts on. Pope Benedict said that the faith is spread not by proselytizing but by attraction…
…The Holy Father urges us to say “no to pessimism.” One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists and “sourpusses”. The Holy Father reminds us: Nobody can go off to battle unless he is fully convinced of victory beforehand. If we start without confidence, we have already lost half the battle and we bury our talents. In the midst of the pastoral problems we face, our faith is challenged to discern how wine can come from water and how wheat can grow in the midst of weeds.
I am convinced that if we embrace this missionary option, our parishes will see more people responding to a priestly vocation or a life of Christian marriage.