(DADITAMA CLERGY GATHERING HOMILY)
In celebration of the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons, Archbishop Romulo Valles gave his message to the priests as he presided the mass for the 6th year of the nine-year preparation for 2021, the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines.
“The call for priesthood is fulfilled by the special sacrament through which priests, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are mapped with a special character and are so configured to Christ the priest that they can act in the person of Christ the head,” he said.
Valles then read words from St. Peter saying: “I am asking to the presbyters of your church, just I am a presbyter too among you. I am a witness to Christ’s struggles. I am asking you to take care of the people God has given you not because you are forced, but because you are willing to do what God has told you to do. Work not because of the compensation, but work because of the willingness to serve. Don’t make yourself a king to the people you are supposed to watch for.”
Valles also has a message for priests who find themselves empty, struggling or feeling bitter.
“When God guides me, there’s nothing missing in me,” he said.
He added, “It is God we turn to when we feel empty.”
Valles also told the priests to stop for a moment and be like Peter as he recalls the time Peter refused to be washed in the feet by Jesus.
“This is to allow the Lord to renew us, to be washed again, to be disciples at the Lord’s feet, to know Him, to be so attracted by His person and what he offers, so that with renewed intensity, we go and serve others in the community,” he said.
“How great it is that despite all our sinfulness and shortcomings, the Lord calls us to be His priests so that His people, our community, in our persons can see the presence of Jesus in their daily lives,” he added.