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Pontiff reflects on what it means to be a priest

By editor - 12 January, 2014

pope-francis1Pope Francis dedicated his entire homily at morning Mass on Saturday to a reflection on the priesthood.

In his homily at the church in Casa Santa Marta, the Pontiff said a true priest, anointed by God for His people, has a close relationship with Jesus.

But, he warned that when that relationship is missing, the priest becomes “smarmy” or an idolater – a worshipper of the “god Narcissus.”

Commenting on the passage from the First Letter of St John, where the Apostle says that we have eternal life because we believe in the name of Jesus, the Pope addressed the relationship of priests with Jesus.

He underlined that “the strength of a priest is in this relationship.”

When Jesus was growing in popularity, the Pope said, “He went to the Father.” He retreated “to a deserted place to pray.”

This is a kind of “touchstone for priests” Pope Francis said.

“What is the place of Jesus Christ in my priestly life? Is it a living relationship, from the disciple to the Master, from brother to brother, from the poor man to God, or is it a somewhat artificial relationship… that does not come from the heart?”

“We are anointed by the Spirit, and when a priest is far from Jesus Christ he can lose this unction.”

“And instead of being anointed he ends up being smarmy. And how damaging to the Church are smarmy priests!” the Pope observed.

He also criticised those who put their strength in “artificial things, in vanity, in an attitude… in a cutesy language…”

The Pontiff continued, “But how often do we hear it said with sorrow: ‘This is a butterfly-priest’ because they are always vain… This kind of priest does not have a relationship with Jesus Christ! He has lost the unction: he is smarmy.”

“We priests have so many limits. We are sinners, all. But if we go to Jesus Christ, if we seek the Lord in prayer – prayer of intercession, prayer of adoration – we are good priests, even though we are sinners,” the Pope acknowledged.

“But if we are far from Jesus Christ, we necessarily compensate for this with other, worldly attitudes. And so we see all these figures… priest wheeler-dealers, priest-tycoons…”

Jesus Christ is the centre of the life of the priest, he said, and suggested that priests need to adore Jesus and seek Him. “If that is not there, we lose everything. And what will we give to the people?” he asked.

“Our relationship with Jesus Christ, is a relationship of anointing for the people,” Pope Francis said, “grows in us priests each day.”

“It is good to find priests who have given their lives as priests, truly, of whom the people say: “Yes, he’s difficult, he’s this or that… but he is a priest!”

On the other hand, when people see priest idolaters – priests who instead of having Jesus have little idols… worshippers of the god Narcissus… When people see priests like this, they say ‘poor guy!’

The relationship with Jesus Christ saves us from worldliness and the idolatry that makes us smarmy, preserves us in the anointing [we have received].

“Today, this is my hope for you who have been kind enough to come here to concelebrate with me: Even if you lose everything in life, don’t lose this relationship with Jesus Christ! This is your victory. Go forward with this!”

Courtesy: Independent Catholic News: http://www.indcatholicnews.com/
Source: Vatican Radio/ VIS

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