Tuesday 16 - Lauds
HOMILY BY HIS EXC. MSGR. CRESCENZIO SEPE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE
FOR THE GREAT JUBILEE FOR THE YEAR 2000
"In so far as you share Christís sufferings, that you may also rejoice" (1 Pet 4:13)
Dearest brothers in the Priesthood,
The words we have just listened to, from the first Letter by the Apostle Paul, show the true meaning of the mystery and resurrection of Christ for each one of us. If the Cross is the most exalted demonstration of that redemptive sacrifice that makes Christ the only and eternal priest, then we can but take into consideration the sufferings of our life as part of our priestly being and living.
"If they persecuted me, the Lord says, they will persecute you" (Jn 15:20). This prophesy of Christís was true from the beginnings of the Church and continues to be true today as well: this is part of every Christian and every priestsí life, those who suffer from difficulties and persecution, in the various degrees and in different ways, in accomplishing this holy ministry. I would go so far as to say that, especially today, this part of the selfsame priestly identity, which is the total donation of self to God and to others.
If the life of Christ, who consecrated His entire Person to redemption, is the full and total donation of self, up to the sacrifice of the cross, the lives of those consecrated "alteri Christi" must be an echo, a form of Christís way of being and living, of His hearing and seeing, of reflection and planning, of choice and judgement, of acting and loving.
The daily personal passion for souls must characterize our life as priests, so as to live our priesthood as a gift received, loved and given up to the sacrifice of life, in union with the salvific sacrifice of Christ.
At the moment of consecration, each of us received a new identity card impressed with the seal of the priesthood of Christ: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me". This is our identity, the identification card of our commitment to being servants of the Lord in all the communities we are destined for.
In celebrating the Great Jubilee, we remember the eternal priesthood of Christ who, after two thousand years, continues to live among us, through the apostolic inheritance and the example of the many priests who preceded us, leaving us the example of the witness and the holiness of their lives.
In these two thousand years of history, how many priests knew how to bear witness, at times even with the flowing of their own blood, (as the Holy Father reminded us on Sunday May 7th, on the occasion of the Commemoration of the witnesses of faith), pastoral charity, evangelical radicalism accepted fully and the priestly identity!
The example given by these good and holy pastors continues to cut through time and history and, on the wave of the communion of saints, even reaches us today and will be passed to the future generations as a blessing. Their courage and their abnegation allow us to grasp the true and deep significance of our presbyteral ministry and, therefore, also of the Jubilee we are celebrating.
Todayís culture cannot always manage to understand these truths; rather, at times, it tends to forget them or even worse, to fight them. But these are truths marked by the fire of the Gospel, which each one of us must continue to refer back to and adapt ourselves to.
For this, we must never lose heart, because Jesus reassured us: "In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!" (Jn 16:33); and, as Peter reassures us in the reading we have just listened to: "that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed".
Dear brothers! You have come from all parts of the world to celebrate the Jubilee here in Rome, to "See Peter", to visit the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul, after a long path that brought many of you to pilgrimages during the past four years to Fatima, to Yamoussoukro in Africa, to the Shrine of the Madonna of Guadalupe in Mexico, to the Holy Land of Jesus. Well, I wish to address an invitation to all of you: enrich your priestly spirituality with "Petrinity" and with "Romanity". The true meaning of the Rome of the Apostles and of the martyrs, of the see of Peter and of his legitimate Successors, modeled generations of holy priests, imbued by apostolic and missionary sense, for the safe-keeping of the treasures of the legitimate local traditions and the legitimate plurality of expressions.
Most Holy Mary, Mother of priests and Queen of the Jubilee, the first pilgrim of faith, teach us to live our priesthood as total donation to the will of the Father, in full conformity with the Priesthood of the Son, through the Holy Spirit. Amen.