• The school’s Entrance Exam is tomorrow, January 19.
• Good luck to our Robotics Team, which will be competing tomorrow (Saturday) in Chino Hills!
• Sophomores have an outing this Tuesday evening.
• The Sophomore Retreat is February 1-2.
• The next soccer games are: January 21 (Monday), at 3:15 PM, at Eldorado Emerson Private School [4100 E Walnut Ave, Orange, CA 92869]; and January 24 (Thursday) at 2:00 PM, at Lake Forest Sports Park.
• The next basketball games are: January 22 (Tuesday), at 2:00 PM, at Ladera Sports Center; and January 24 (Thursday) at 2:00 PM, at Ladera Sports Center.
We hear related in today’s Gospel the very first vocation story, the first calling of men by God to the Catholic Priesthood. Jesus, seeing Peter and Andrew, said to them, ‘Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him. And then He called two other brothers, James and John. And from that moment on down to the present day our Lord has been calling men to “come after Him,” to assist Him in His mission, not just as all Christians are called to, but in a very special way—to be His ministers, to, in a certain sense, take His place, to act in His name.
God asked these brothers to leave everything, even, in the case of James and John, their own father who was fishing with them. Our Lord requires from His priests this radical break from all else, so that the priest may belong wholly to Christ and His Church, as a husband belongs wholly to his wife and family. It is a sacrifice, no doubt; but if the priest is to be known as an alter Christus, “another Christ,” how can he refuse to sacrifice everything, when Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for us all? How often one hears the question, “But why can’t a priest get married? Can’t he still serve the Church just as well as a celibate priest?” No, he can’t. And the main reason is not because it would cost the parishioners more money (although it would); nor is it because he would not have as much time as an unmarried man (although he wouldn’t). The reason is because the celibate priest who gives himself totally to Christ does so with more love than one who marries.
Just imagine, you who are married, if on your wedding day your fiancé told you that they really did love you but that they wanted to have, you know, another wife or husband, on the side. And they even promised that they would still fulfill all their financial and practical obligations. What would you think of their love for you? What kind of love is it that refuses to make sacrifices? It is not love at all. It is the same with the priest. Christ wants the priest to make that sacrifice of himself, and thus imitate Him whose minister he is, Who offered His whole life up on the Cross for us. Celibate clergy are better for the Church because they are more closely united to Christ and they more perfectly imitate Him.
The mother of St. John Bosco said to him on the day of his first Mass: To become a priest is to commence a life of suffering. She was right. As “another Christ,” the priest is called to suffer in union with Christ for the sins of the world. Those first four Apostles called by our Lord would soon learn this fact: Can you drink the cup of suffering which I will drink? our Lord asked them. And how can the priest fulfill that obligation if he can’t even mortify himself by the vow of chastity?
Pope St. Pius X once wrote: As Christ’s ministers possessing unending power to renew the unparalleled Sacrifice of the Mass for the life of the world, we priests are bound to possess that spirit of Christ which led Him to offer Himself on the altar of the Cross as an unblemished Victim. When our Lord called these first Apostles, they didn’t say, “Wait, can’t we get married first? What’s in it for me? How much is this going to cost me?” No, Scripture says, “at once they left their nets and followed Him.”
Many of the problems in the Church today can be traced back to problems in the priesthood. One is reminded of a line from Chaucer: If a priest go foul in whom we should trust, no wonder that a common man should rust. And many priests have gone very foul. Some ignorantly claim that if priests were just allowed to marry all these problems would go away. Nothing could be more false. Rather we should be saying: “If priests would just be more faithful to a life of prayer and sacrifice, then these problems would never happen.”
Pray for priests. Pray that God will continue to call young men, as He called Peter, Andrew, James and John, to a life of prayer and sacrifice, to a life given totally to God. And pray that these same man will respond generously and promptly to God’s call, not asking how much can they keep, but how much can they give. And pray for those who have already answered that call, that they may treasure their vocation above all else, that they may sustain their vocation by prayer and sacrifice, that they might be holy priests of Jesus Christ, to Whom be all honor and glory. Amen.
• For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
• For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
• For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
• For the Church.