My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
So the whole family of God here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is rejoicing with us today.
My brothers — Egren and Danny, Gilbert and Ian, Spencer and John, Tommy — that’ right? It says Thomas here, but I think that is better — Pedro and Matthew — the path that you have taken on your journey of life has led you to this moment. This beautiful moment.
We thank God today for your families — for your mothers and fathers, your grandparents and godparents. By their prayers and sacrifices and their good example, they helped the love of God to grow in your hearts. We see today in a beautiful way how the family is the foundation of every vocation.
My dear brothers, this is a big step you are taking in the footsteps of Jesus. Today in the Gospel, we heard his prayer for you:
Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.
As You sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.
You were born for this moment — when you give yourselves to Jesus, when you dedicate your whole life, heart and mind, body and soul, to his mission of salvation.
He is sending you out into the world — to follow him, to serve him; to be holy as he is holy, and to call others to be holy, too.
And my brothers and sisters, as we can see, our new priests that are called from many different cultures and backgrounds. And they are filled with the joy of the Gospel. I am honored to call them my friends and my co-workers in this great ministry of salvation.
And as we pray for our new priests today, I think it is important for us to remember that every Christian life is a vocation.
This is true for every one of us, not only those who are called to be priests. Your lives also have a great meaning in the eyes of God. He is calling each of you to play your own part in this beautiful plan for the salvation of the world.
And God gives us holy priests to help us on our journey, on our mission in the world.
My brothers, God is anointing you today to be priests for his people. This is not just another profession, as you know. You continue the ancient and divine ministry that Isaiah prophesied — bringing good news and healing; leading people in the ways of freedom and happiness.
In our time and place, our priests must especially be men of hope.
So I pray that you will bring to everyone the simple and beautiful message of the Gospel — that God loves us and gave his life for us, and that he promises us a life that is beyond death, a love that never ends!
This is the “oil of gladness” that our people long to receive.
And my brothers, this calling to the priesthood comes from God. And it is not possible to carry out your ministry without the help of God’s grace.
So you need to rely on Jesus, totally. Let him be the Good Shepherd to you and grow in friendship with him, love him and learn from him.
And, as you know, you are called to be holy, but you are not “perfect.” I’m sorry to remind you of that. You are not perfect. You are as human as the people you serve — and you always will be. Never forget that. It will keep you humble. And humility is the key to being a disciple and the key to being a good priest.
St. Paul offers some great practical advice in that second reading we heard today: Be humble and gentle and patient. In everything you do, show the love and mercy of God to your people.
There is no better advice for a priest than this.
Finally, you are being ordained on the vigil of Corpus Christi, the great feast of our Lord’s Body and Blood.
And I want to say this personally to each of you: stay close always to our Lord in the Eucharist.
Make the Eucharist the heart of your life and your priesthood. Not only in offering the sacrifice of the Mass each day, but in spending time with our Lord in silence, adoring him in the Blessed Sacrament.
Talk to him as a child of God, listen to his voice. Give your hearts to him and let him shape your lives in his image, just as he changes the bread and the wine. Allow him to make you “another Christ.”
So my dear brothers and sisters, let us continue to pray for our new priests. Let us thank God today and pray that many more young men will be following in their footsteps.
And let us entrust our new priests and our own lives to Our Blessed Mother Mary, may she help all of us to open our hearts to the call of God in our lives.
1. Readings: Isa. 61:1-3; Ps 89; Eph 4:1-7, 11-13; John 17:6, 14-19.