This fourth Sunday of Easter is known also today by another name, as we recount once more in the gospel the familiar parable of the good shepherd. Good Shepherd Sunday is marked in Rome by the ordination of men to the sacred priesthood by the Holy Father in Saint Peter’s basilica, and we keep in our minds today all those who are preparing to receive holy orders this summer, especially Brother Peter Martyr O.P., who serves in this parish. Today is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and so we think also in more general terms about the call of the sacred priesthood, and ask ourselves what it is that we are doing to encourage and support those who may be summoned to live this life, and if we might do more to help.
Given at the church of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.
The description of the events on the road to Emmaus is, for us who continue in these fifty festal days of Easter, one that holds particular significance. For the past three Sundays, the gospel has begun on “the first day of the week” – that is the first Easter Sunday – and it is in the events described in these passages that the reality of the Lord’s resurrection is made manifest to us in the scriptures. First, Saint Mary Magdalen and Saint Peter find the tomb empty (Jn 20: 1-9), then the Lord appears in the midst of the disciples (Jn 20: 19-31), and today Cleopas and the other disciple recognize Christ through the familiar action of the breaking of the bread (Lk. 24: 13-15).
Given at the Solemn Mass at Saint John the Evangelist, Silver Spring, during which there was the first administration of Holy Communion for children.
Last weekend I had the great privilege of attending the ordination of a new priest for the diocese of Covington, Kentucky. In the very pleasing surroundings of the exquisite French gothic cathedral, the bishop prayed that the new priest would be good, faithful, and obedient to the life to which – in that sacred ceremony – he was being conformed. On Sunday we gathered again in the cathedral as the new priest celebrated his first Mass at the high altar, and for the first time made present the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, as he will do with and for the Christian faithful each day from now until the day he dies.