An appreciation of the Holy Priesthood by Mr Alan Borg. Mr. Borg is a devout and longstanding parishioner of St. Ambrose.
We have just celebrated Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper when Christ Our Lord instituted the Blessed Sacrament and conferred His priesthood on His Apostles and on every priest who has been ever since.
Jesus commissioned His Apostles to “Go out to all the Earth and teach what I have taught you.” These gifts for His church are of a magnitude beyond all telling. Yet another gift is the enormous privilege for priests to act “in persona Christi” when in Confession “I absolve you”, and at the Consecration of the Mass “this is My Body”, this is My Blood”. These gifts of Jesus are signs of His great love for us, so He can be closer to us, and we to Him, and all this through the devoted ministry of our priests.
At another time Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. Priests spend years learning how to bring God’s people to this realization. Foremost is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Liturgy of the Word and homilies instruct us of Jesus’ “Truth”. The Bible is a letter from God to us. Administration of the Sacraments from birth to death (excluding Confirmation and Holy Orders) and our reception of them give us the grace necessary to live our lives following Jesus in His “Way”. Prayer is very much “The Way” of the Lord exemplified by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction, and many other spiritual initiatives all undertaken by all our priests. Much thought and many preparations take place in the background, all this we possibly take for granted since understandably we are focusing on our own life activities.
We thought it appropriate tonight at Mass of the Lord’s Supper to dwell briefly on the Ministry of the Priesthood so that we might renew our appreciation and gratitude for all that our priests do to try to get us all to heaven. “The harvest is great; the labourers are few”. Let us also pray for a needed increase in priestly vocations.
ON GOOD FRIDAY, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the solemn ceremonies of Good Friday, in the Adoration of the Cross, in the chanting of the ‘Reproaches’, in the reading of the Passion, and in receiving the pre-consecrated Host, we unite ourselves to our Saviour, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord.
THE VENERATION OF THE CROSS
In the seventh century, the Church in Rome adopted the practice of Adoration of the Cross from the Church in Jerusalem, where a fragment of wood believed to be the Lord’s cross had been venerated every year on Good Friday since the fourth century.
According to tradition, a part of the Holy Cross was discovered by the mother of the emperor Constantine, St. Helen, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 326. A fifth century account describes this service in Jerusalem. A coffer of gold-plated silver containing the wood of the cross was brought forward. The bishop placed the relic on a table in the chapel of the Crucifixion and the faithful approached it, touching brow and eyes and lips to the wood as the priest said (as every priest has done ever since): Behold, the Wood of the Cross’.