Thursday, May 7, 2015

Presbyters and priests: Daily Mass Homily--Wednesday, May 8th, 2015

(Listen to this homily here).

             First I want to point out how well our first and second graders read this morning.  You had some hard words to read! 
            Question for you—what were the most difficult words you read?  Circumcision.  Okay—ha!  That is a tough one…especially with the silent C it starts with.  I’m going to skip this word this morning.  If you have any questions, ask your parents.  Any others?  Presbyters.  That is another tough one.  Okay, what is a presbyter?  Here is a hint—there is one presbyter at Mass this morning?  A priest!  Yes—I am a priest, which in the period of Acts was called a presbyter.  (That’s Greek, by the way…)
Do you know what is really cool?  The presbyters from our readings are the priests of today.
Let me give you an example.  I have asked a few people to come up for a demonstration this morning.  Let me call up one of our older students in school.  [A 3rd grader volunteers to come up].  Next, I see one of our youngest parishioners (between the ages of 1 and 2) whose Mother brought him here.  Can you both come up?  [They do].  Finally…how about one of our senior parishioners.  [Mr. N whom I talked to before Mass comes up.]  By the way, I asked him Mr. N if it was okay to call him up during the homily and he agreed…and he still sat in the very last pew!
Alrighty…to our student of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School—were you baptized at St. Thomas Aquinas?  Yes.  Did I baptize you?  No.  What year were you baptized?  I don’t remember.  Were you baptized as a baby?  Yes.  Well, since you are eight years old, I am guessing you were baptized in 2007.  This means I did not baptize you.
To [a mother with child]: When were you [addressing Mom] baptized?  1980.  And when was your [two year old son] baptized?  2013.  And who baptized him?  I wasn’t here yet, so which priest baptized your son N.?  Fr. Kris McKuskey. 
To [our senior parishioner]:  Do you remember when you were baptized and the priest who baptized you?  I was baptized in 1930 by Fr. Sliewsovich...
This is what is really cool about our faith.  I have had the privilege of serving here for the past nine months.  Before I arrived another priest was here.  And before that, another.  Our priests could trace a line all the way to Jesus!
Here is what I want you to remember today: the presbyters we heard about from the book of Acts served in the same role as the priests today.  This is amazing!  And I’m not preaching in favor of a particular priest…I am speaking about the priesthood!
For example, I am a priest, right?  Yes.  But I, as a priest, have been personally impacted by other priests.  Think about it.  Before I was a priest I was baptized by a priest.  My first Confession was by a priest.  I received first Communion from a priest.  I was actually confirmed by a priest [due to a transition of our Diocesan Bishop].  Priests to this day hear my Confessions.
Jesus gave us an amazing gift of the priesthood.  And do you know what?  As a priest myself, this is the greatest gift I have received. 
For you little guys, who wants to be a priest today?  Have you ever thought about being a priest?
If God is calling you to be a priest, you are called to an amazing life.  Please say yes!

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