instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Monday, May 24, 2004

Advice for priests

The Dominican Province of St. Joseph has seven new priests as of last Friday, the largest ordination of new priests in the province in many years.

On Saturday, I heard an older friar preach to the new priests. He referred to two Gospel passages that best sum up what he sees as the job of a priest.

The first was from Luke 4, when Jesus teaches in a synagogue. I expected the homilist to point out that Jesus's own homily was only nine words long, but he actually had in mind the reading Jesus chose from Isaiah:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."
These, he said, are the things a priest should do.

But a priest should also notice Jesus' final instructions to His apostles, as recorded in Luke, which is, "Don't do anything yet!"
"...stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
Though the homilist's words were directed to the new priests, I think they apply to the common priesthood as well. If we aren't bringing glad tidings to the poor, proclaiming liberty to captives and sight to the blind, then what are we doing as Christians? And if we aren't doing these things with power from on high, what power are we acting upon?