The call to serve others as a Roman Catholic priest is but one form of God’s Divine invitation to each and every faithful son and daughter. As a layperson every lay Catholic, through their reception of the Sacrament of Baptism and then, by their free and informed consent to enter into and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, is called by God, our one, holy and divine Father to enter more fully into a life of service unto those among the less fortunate. Clerical priesthood is all too often sighted as possessing a more authentic and greater fullness of God’s unconditional Divine invitation and vocation of living a life as a modern disciple of Christ. In short, God calls all who will hear and obey to enter into a lifetime centered on living out the priesthood of Jesus Christ. You already possess this Divine invitation. Today I invite you to draw nearer to God, to hear our Lord Jesus as He encourages you to help lift up this so imperfect and suffering world by listening in prayer to the ancient heartfelt wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Draw near. Come closer. Listen in prayer. Accept our Lord’s invitation.
Our modern American Catholic Church is turned upside down. Too many deacons, priests, bishops and religious expect the laity to serve them. Too many clergy demand laity to show them some unearned respect. Some priests see themselves as being much smarter, even superior “to those people” they are called to serve. When the bottom of a jar is on top and the top of the jar is on the bottom, one might realize it’s all upside down! Well, that is our modern American Church.
It’s understandable to be very angry with our modern Church leaders. They knew much about the heinous crimes committed by priests years, decades, even scores ago. Knowing this, too many priests and bishops freely chose to say nothing about the factual truth! Nothing! I myself watched this decades ago. If I knew in the 1970’s, so too did those at the top of our Archdiocese. When I spoke up I was mocked, insulted, called a liar and rejected by those to whom I had turned, and chose to confide in and trusted. Sadly, the Corporate legal and financial and PR interests were of more value than the actual truth! Heck of a lesson to learn as a result of my heartfelt desire to live my life in the company of Christ.
The decades old national efforts by bishops and lawyers and countless priests and staff have now brought our modern American Roman Catholic Church to the day so, so many feared!!! Their fears were correct. Their efforts to deny and reject and lie about past and current sexual misbehavior are now laid bare and it’s all for naught. Sad. Sad. Sad.
Today, we need to strongly pray for our Church. Then, we must always choose to put our faith into action. I invite you as modern disciples of Christ to enter more fully into our church community. Do not allow anger, fear or distrust to hold your heart or mind as a prisoner. Rather, like Christ, be willing to die in the Holy Name of Jesus so that you will rise anew as the modern disciple Jesus calls you to become.
You will become stronger in your faith, more keenly attuned to the ways of our good Lord, and much more sharply focused on living out our faith by living out the Gospel. Join us today in our daily efforts to put our faith into action. Do this in memory of our good Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
-Father Michael Briese