A deep diaconal bow to my blog neighbor and FOTB Fr. Michael Duffy, who was invited to preach yesterday at the Mass of Thanksgiving for the newly ordained Fr. Andrew Garnett —and knocked it out of the park.
While this new reality is Fr. Garnett’s in a particular way because of his ordination yesterday it’s all of ours too, isn’t it? By virtue of our baptism we are all called to love as Christ does. To seek the good for the other, even at a cost of myself. The world though, rejects this kind of love – a love that is not self serving, in which nothing is received in return. The world doesn’t understand this love, just as it doesn’t understand the priesthood. That a young, happy, normal man would give his life away for very little in return confuses the world. The reality though, is that we receive much more than we give. The Cross teaches us that too, that it is in giving our lives away freely, that we are ultimately made free. The world desperately needs the witness of love, of people willing to die to themselves, to lay down their lives so that others might have life and have it to the full. Father Garnett’s priesthood, is that symbol to the world. That when the waters get rough, when the boat starts to toss and turn, the only clear option is to turn to Jesus Christ. The apostles turned to Jesus, desperate for help, fearful for their lives. And our Blessed Lord stood and immediately calmed the seas. He has dominion over the sky and the sea. The question for us today is, does the Lord have dominion over our lives too. So often in our lives we feel the toss and the turn of the boat. So much of our lives becomes confusing and difficult. Life becomes painful and difficult, we are faced with tremendous challenges – sickness, poverty, death, loneliness, confusion. Even in priesthood. Especially in the priesthood. Our opening hymn today told us to lift high the cross. But before we lift it high, we must accept it. Fr. Garnett, the priesthood is a total gift, but there will be many crosses. There will be many who don’t understand what happened yesterday. There will be those that hate you because of the collar around your neck. Turn to the Lord in those moments of darkness and need. Do like the Apostles did in the gospel we just heard and ask Christ to help. Make sure he has dominion over your priesthood. And lift high that cross. Embrace the Lord’s Cross. Because it’s only in doing that, that we are made free. That we can better be a living witness of Jesus Christ in the world. Christ didn’t leave this world unscathed, neither too shall we. But how glorious, how awesome that we could help the Lord carry His cross. That we can be partakers of his ministry and become his instruments in salvation.
Read it all and share it with a priest you know. It’s just that good.
Ad multos annos, Fr. Garnett—and Fr. Duffy!