This was the first weekend when I got to celebrate Mass as a Catholic priest. The call felt peaceful but the reality has been chaotic. These readings resonate with my experience of priesthood. Jesus is on his way to cure one person when he gets distracted by another cure. Both women are "untouchable." But Jesus touches them and restores them both to life. Only Peter, James, and John and the child's parents are in the room when the healing happens. I have experienced many challenges but also many blessings. Here are some of the unexpected blessings of priesthood:
- Celibacy. I accepted celibacy because it was part of the package deal of priesthood, not because I was excited to not have a wife and children. Being celibate has forced me to develop an intimacy with God that has fueled and sustained my priesthood. I would say celibacy has actually been greater blessing even than being a priest.
- Follow the recipe. You don't have to be incredibly creative. Whether it's a funeral or a wedding or the seasons of the year, I just follow Holy Mother Church's time-tested recipe and it comes out good every time.
- Jesus does most of the work. "Jesus has plenty of money," as my spiritual director told me. He is also an incredible healer of souls and bodies. I get to be in the room when Jesus forgives sins and raises the spiritually dead to new life. There's no one Jesus doesn't love and nothing Jesus can't do, and I get to witness it happening.
Going Deeper: I was going to mention a fourth blessing but cut it in the interest of time. And ironically, the blessing was time. There never seems to be enough time to do everything. Until, that is, I started making prayer a priority. Prayer helped me see that I was spending time on the things that weren't important. When I started focusing on the important things, suddenly I had enough time with even a little left over. This week, make prayer a priority. Then focus on the important things and see what happens to your time.
(27 Jun 2021)