A couple reflections from our priests in these days.
I feel like Jesus is using this crisis, and the ban on offering Mass publicly to fix some broken things in me and the exercise of my priesthood. I’m sure that I’m not the only priest who felt a special responsibility at the altar today to enter into the Mass on behalf of the people entrusted to us, who, because of circumstances beyond their control, could not be present. I spoke the words of the Consecration today in a way that reminded me of my first Mass. I savored the Body and Blood of Jesus in Eucharist more, and tried to love Him, worship Him, and thank Him enough for the hundreds of parishioners who weren’t able to. In short, I felt more like a priest today than on other days when I have taken those things too lightly, taken too much for granted, and forgotten the tremendous responsibility and privilege of having a sacramental share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. It made the little exhortation we’ve all heard really hit home: “Priest of God offer this Mass as though it were your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass.”
My two years of priesthood have been filled with lots of terrible things: McCarrick et al scandals, crazy synod, parish madness, and now this. And yet there is still a deep and pervasive joy in my heart that God called me to be a priest. A priest is made to pray, sacrifice, intercede, and aren’t these times ripe for all of that? This of course doesn’t only apply to priests: each of us can enter into this. These are times for saints to rise up! Even though we cannot meet in churches right now, God is near to us. He is bringing already so many good things from this: a deeper desire for the Mass and Eucharist, priests finding new fervor to pray for their people, new longing for and realization of communion among the faithful, better understanding of the simplicity we are called to live. In short: God is doing what He does: bringing good from evil. We therefore have many reasons to hope. Yes, there are temptations to discouragement and disobedience. Those are from the world, the flesh, and the devil! Resist them! God calls us to zealous fidelity in the present situation. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” as St. James says. So stay strong brethren. God is with and for us. Who could be against? The Lion of the Tribe of Judah has conquered. How can we lose? Let us pray for one another. Amen.