By our baptism we share in the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ, some are called to exercise the ministerial priesthood so the Eucharist is celebrated. This ministry is lived and realised in the world we live, not yesterday, or tomorrow but the now, and can only be understood in the context of the washing of the feet. Becoming the last and servant of all. Only when we do our best to live this will ministry become real, active, and alive, and as Pope Francis reminds us will attract others to follow the poor carpenter of Nazareth.
People often remark to me ‘Why is nobody joining the priesthood’? I often respond ‘If your son expressed an interest in the priesthood would you encourage and support him’? Sometimes we expect more than what can be offered, but sometimes we should ask ourselves what are we doing to encourage a vocation to the priesthood or indeed pray for vocations.
Yes we experience a tremendous amount of support and goodwill for those of faith and none, but the pastoral reality demands we need the priesthood. Yes we need to trust that God provides, and new models of ministry are needed, but the simple fact remains without the priest there is no Eucharist, as is the case of many parishes today.
On this Holy Thursday could I invite you to ask the Lord to bless us with more priests, to raise up many more lay people for leadership, and to continue to work to make our parishes the vibrant, welcoming places of faith, hope, and love.