Today’s Gospel makes for a very good homily or talk to the men who are discerning priesthood for the Archdiocese of Toronto. It’s a message we all need to hear, but espercially men who are trying to discern how and why God has “set them apart” from others – and yet He hasn’t! What I mean by that is that they are indeed set apart, because even though many men think about the priesthood, many do not choose to follow this path, or it’s not for them. Priesthood is never going to be the “norm” and men who become priests will always be few in number. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the way God ordained it. Now, that said, even this “setting apart” does not set men, seminarians, priests apart from the rest of the world. We are still sinners just like everyone else. We are no better, and as we’ve seen in our times, can be worse if that’s what we choose to be. The reason today’s Gospel ought to strike a chord is because as we discern our vocation, we also ought to discern how we plan to live our vocation out; will it be with privilege, entitlement, higher expectations OR will it be in the midst of our people; humble, with humility, WITH LOVE?
Today’s Gospel calls us all to put ourselves and our pride in check. I say pride, because personal pride is what leads us to want revenge on others, to retaliate against them and what they do to us. I know that most of us have some understanding that people who mistreat us are so often in a world of hurt, pain, insecurity, anger – they are not able to be reconciled. If we were to empathize (and I think very few of us should be incapable of that because most of us have been there) with people who hurt others or hate others, it doesn’t make life a very pleasant and enjoyable thing. The only thing that can change that, the only way we can do anything about that is with love, is by meeting hatred with love, understanding & goodness.
This is what we want of our men in the Archdiocese of Toronto; this is what we want of our priests. Priests who love the people unconditionally, even when the people don’t love us, who serve even when we don’t feel like it; when we’re tired, when we feel like some people don’t care – because it’s in this way we pattern ourselves on God. Men and women who discover God calling them to a religious vocation must really get this Gospel. We don’t do what we do for credit, a pat on the back, for what it get’s us…we do it for God. And if we stop and think about the Lord our God, He has patiently waited throughout all of human history for our generous response of love. He has waited for us, His people to build upon the goodness of the world He created; now it’s up to us. Let us consider today how God has been the one who has bore the brunt of our misguided anger, frustration and resentment and met that with love. I appeal to all Christians, who know that love to emulate the Lord in the way we deal with each one of our neighbours today. May God bless you.