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He Still Walks Among Us

First Reading: Amos 9:11-15

Thus says the LORD:
On that day I will raise up
the fallen hut of David;
I will wall up its breaches,
raise up its ruins,
and rebuild it as in the days of old,
That they may conquer what is left of Edom
and all the nations that shall bear my name,
say I, the LORD, who will do this.
Yes, days are coming,
says the LORD,
When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
and the vintager, him who sows the seed;
The juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains,
and all the hills shall run with it.
I will bring about the restoration of my people Israel;
they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities,
Plant vineyards and drink the wine,
set out gardens and eat the fruits.
I will plant them upon their own ground;
never again shall they be plucked
From the land I have given them,
say I, the LORD, your God.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 85:9AB AND 10, 11-12, 13-14

R. (see 9b) The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD–for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.
R. The Lord speaks of peace to his people.

Gospel: Matthew 9:14-17

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.
No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth,
for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.
People do not put new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined.
Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

NAB

July 2

Recently I witnessed the beauty of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. A dear friend, alongside six other brave souls, stretched out his lanky form prostrate on the floor before altar and we called down the Host of Heaven by the Litany of Saints. Later as he knelt before our Archbishop, pledging his fidelity to him and to his successors, he offered his upturned hands to the successor to the Apostles. His hands were anointed with sacred chrism, and as Archbishop wrapped them in the stole signifying his new priestly ministry, he intoned a quiet rubric of the liturgy.

Later in the evening, cradling a beer in my hands and bouncing a baby in my front carrier, I listened to this freshly minted priest thank his family, his friends, and his religious brothers.

He pointed to his high school youth minister in the back of the ballroom and asked him to consider that, if nothing else bloomed from those six hard seasons of youth ministry he’d served all those years ago, this, at least, was one tangible fruit of his labor: a priestly vocation. Another Christ. The Bridegroom, sacramentally animated in the person of this flawed and fallible young man, Roman collar still scratching an unfamiliar groove around his neck.

“Can the wedding guests mourn when the Bridegroom is with them?”

Looking around the room at the faces upturned in joy and thanksgiving at this little wedding feast of sorts, I reflected on how very good it is to be Catholic.

Even today.

Because He does not leave us orphaned. He pours out new wine into new wineskins, forming priests after His own heart, calling us along in love and intimate communion through the Sacraments those hands will confer.

And that silent exchange between newly ordained and ordinary? It was this: Father James held his hands up and said, “These hands no longer belong to me. When I received the chalice and patten from Archbishop he told me this: ‘Your hands are no longer your own.'”

They belong to Christ now. And to His Church. He still walks among us, serving His Bride, and laying down His life.

Pray for a priest in your life: your pastor, your bishop, Pope Francis. Pray that God would nurture a priestly vocation in your brother, your nephew, your son. Make an act of sacrifice for someone’s priestly vocation.

photo credit

Jenny Uebbing is a freelance editor and writer for Catholic News Agency. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Dave and their growing army of toddlers. She writes about marriage, life issues, politics, sociological trends and traveling with kids here

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