John-17 Week Homily

Palermo Pantocrator Christ priest

Christ our Priest prayed for us that night, Holy Thursday: He prayed for those who, through the preaching of the Apostles, would come to believe in the incarnate Son of God.

The Lord Jesus prayed at the first Mass, as our priest, because we need a priest. As He declared in His prayer, the world does not know the Father. The world needs a priest; the human race needs a priest, to unite us with the unknown Father. Christ executes that uniquely essential office.

He consecrates us in the truth. The truth of Mount Calvary, and of Easter Sunday, and Pentecost Sunday. The truth of the Paschal Mystery.

We, too, are priests.

The Lord provides ministerial priests, to be sure, to keep His Body and Blood on the altar, to gather the scattered children into the unity of the Holy Mass. We see in (seminarian) Dan’s presence with us this summer how the Lord keeps His promise: He calls men to serve at the altar, down through the generations. So the Mass continues, on a march towards the final day.

But, indeed, all of us, all baptized Christians, share the priesthood of the incarnate Son. He offered Himself on the cross. He gave us the Mass as the perpetual presence of that one, true, pleasing sacrifice to the Father. So we offer ourselves, too, just as He offered Himself. We offer ourselves along with Him, whenever we come in faith to the holy altar to participate.

In this act, we stand united. Or perhaps I should say we kneel united.

In this act, Christ consecrates us in the truth. We are priests in Him. The world cannot hold us. Our office reaches beyond the confines of the material cosmos and touches the eternal Father. Our office extends to Him. We extend to Him.

And the love with which the Father has loved the Son, since before the foundation of the world—that infinite love abides in us.

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