My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
First, I’m glad that we found you! I was getting nervous!I saw Andrew over there, and then I saw Chris over there, but I couldn’t find Juan and John, so I was getting nervous.
Seriously it is a beautiful, beautiful day for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The ordination of new priests is always a moment of special grace for all the family of God here in the Archdiocese.
This year, as I said at the beginning of Mass, we gather on the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,, at the end of the month of May, the month of Mary. Mary was here to bring Jesus to her cousin Elizabeth who was so happy and surprised:
How did this happen to me,
That the mother of my Lord should come to me?
She said. Mary responded, as we all know, with the Magnificat and stayed with Elizabeth about three months.
Juan, Andrew, Chris, John — my brothers — you are ready now to share in the mission of Jesus Christ and in his ministry as our Shepherd, our Teacher, and our High Priest. And we entrust your priesthood, especially to Mary, the Mother of Priests.
By your ordination, you are anointed to serve. To be Jesus for our brothers and sisters.
In your ministry, I pray that you will always be men of patience and mercy and love and hope. As the spiritual fathers of your people, I pray that you will always reflect our Father in heaven’s own patience and mercy.
Earlier this month, our Holy Father Pope Francis ordained several men at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. And he gave them this advice, he said:
“For the love of Jesus Christ, never tire of being merciful! Please! Have the ability to forgive that the Lord had, who came not to condemn but to forgive! Be greatly merciful! The Good Shepherd enters through the door, and the doors of mercy are the wounds of the Lord.”2
So be men of mercy, my brothers. And ministers of joy also! Joyful witnesses.
It is the beautiful privilege we have, as priests, to serve the family of God! To accompany our people on their journey to God, to support them, to bring them light and healing.
Jesus makes this promise to you in the Gospel today: I have called you friends!
So you need to stay close to Jesus, my brothers. You must live, every day, as friends of Jesus, as brothers of Jesus. This friendship must be your strength — the foundation of your ministry.
So today, by your ordination, you are putting your lives totally in the hands of Jesus. So trust in him, lean on him. He will never let you down. You are his priests now.
And my brothers and sisters, we all have a vocation, a personal call from God. But as we are witnessing today, some are chosen by Jesus for a special calling — to conform their lives more closely to him in the priesthood.
As I was saying recently, a vocation is always the context of the Church. So our task in the Church, at every level, is to welcome and accompany people and to open their hearts to know God’s calling in their lives — in our parishes, in our schools and our ministries. We need to encourage people to seek the path to holiness and friendship in Jesus.
Let us continue to pray for vocations, maybe with that simple prayer that I learned when I was a kid:
Lord, we ask you to grant us vocations
Grant us many vocations
Grant us many holy vocations
In entrust you to Our Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of the Angels, the patroness of this great Archdiocese.
And may Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of priests, watch over our new priests. And may she help many more young men hear the voice of Jesus, calling them to his priesthood.
1. Readings: Isa. 61:1-3; Ps. 110: 1 Tim. 4:12-16; John 15:9-17.
2. Homily (May 11, 2014).