My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
This is a great day in the life of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles! God is giving us new priests today! So let’s thank God for that and let’s pray for all our priests, our seminarians, and more vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.
Deacon Cesar and Deacon Ismael Rigoberto, I got to say the two names or your family is going to think we are ordaining the wrong person! Cause you just told me that they know you as Rigoberto, so he’s being ordained today. This is the last day we will call you “Deacon.” Today, through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration, you will join the order of the presbyters.
So my dear brothers, God made you — for a mission. And in the second reading that we heard this morning St. Paul, in the Acts of the Apostles, tell us what that mission is. He is telling us priests, and especially you, that you are to be the guardians of the flock of God. You are to be the protectors, the servants, the spiritual guides for the family of God.
He is sending you into the world. And the world needs you. The world needs God and wants to know God. You have the words of eternal life that Jesus gave us. The words about God. So in your priestly ministries, you got the beautiful mission to bring God to others. To show men and women that God is real, that God is alive.
So in this journey of the priesthood, you are called to continue the work of Jesus.
We heard about his work in our Gospel reading today. Our Gospel today gives us a beautiful image of the ministry of Jesus. We see him moving from town to town — teaching and preaching the Kingdom of God and healing every illness.
This is the priestly mission — to carry out Jesus’ mission. By the grace of ordination to the priesthood, we are granted the privilege of sharing in our Lord’s own priesthood, of ministering in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. Whoever hears you hears him. Whoever sees you will know the Father.
And it’s beautiful to see in today’s Gospel how we hear about the heart of Jesus. This month of June is the month that the Church dedicates to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
We hear today that Jesus’ heart was moved with pity, with compassion. As priests we have to always remember that. Priests have to love with the heart of Jesus!
So, my dear brothers, you must be men of compassion. Men in whom others see the heart of God! So speak the truth in love. Be the voice of God’s compassion in all that you do. Celebrate the sacraments with joy and great reverence. Be a man of prayer. Strive to grow in holiness.
And finally, my brothers, I urge you — make the Eucharist the source of everything you do. Let everything flow from your daily celebration of the Mass, and let everything flow back into the Mass you celebrate. Make your life a “Eucharist,” an offering that you are always making to God for the life of the world.
And all of us, my dear brothers and sisters, let us go to Our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of the Angels, the patroness of this great Archdiocese. Let us ask her to watch over our new priests, Cesar and Ismael. And let us ask her intercession that we might love God more deeply and serve our brothers and sisters in love.
1. Readings (Ordination to the Priesthood, Year C): Jer. 1:4-9; ps. 23; Acts 20:17-18a, 28-32, 36; Matt. 9:35-38.