Today is the first day of the "Year of the Priest." It is a time for us to step back and thank our priests for dedicating their life to God.
Unfortunately, in the last several years the priesthood has gotten a bad rap due to the scandals that have rocked the church. The people who think ill of priests because of those scandals and stereotype them are total morons (again with my Christlike thinking, huh). I had to mention that but I want to concentrate on talking about how wonderful priests and what an amazing gift they've given to God.
I am really at a loss of words as to what to say. Should I admire the powers that they have--the powers that they have?? The ability to forgive sins? They ability to change bread and wine into the body, blood soul and divinity of Jesus Christ? No--because when they do they it isn't them that does it--Jesus does it through them.
Should I admire the sacrifice that they've made?? Not having a family??Growing up alone?? I don't know--a lot of priests I've talked to, while realizing it's a huge sacrifice did it because they love God and are married to the Church. We are their spiritual children.
Should I admire the sacrifice of poverty that they've taken?? That no matter how hard they work they will never have riches? I don't know. I think they realize that they will have the riches of Heaven.
Should I admire the vow of servitude and humility they have taken?? Hmmm, I don't know. In my humble opinion they have lots of power and influence. I don't have a congregation of people listening to me every Sunday or every day in some cases.
My priest told a story in a sermon that his dad was disappointed in his choice in the priesthood because he would never have riches, power or influences or something to that effect. I disagree. I think being a priest does have those things you just have to look at it with different eyes.
I think I just admire the fact that they have listened to God and decided to do His will--decided to dedicate their life to God. Priests are cool people. Sure--some are old curmudgeons but the vast majority of priests I've met are just really cool. The type of person I admire, the type of person I trust, the type of person I'd like to sit and have a beer with (hopefully sometime I'll make it to New York)
There are so many things about priests that I admire. So many things that I respect. I think it is a great thing that we have this next year to thank them for their service. Thank you.