Pope Francis reflected on ordained ministry at Mass yesterday, saying Jesus offers this gift to deacons, priests, and bishops so they might serve others. Source: Vatican News.
The occasion for his remarks was the presence of a group of priests and bishops celebrating their silver jubilee, or 25 years of ordination.
The Pope invited them to reflect on the day’s first reading (1 Timothy 4:12-16), in which St Paul invites Timothy not to neglect the gift of ordained ministry.
“It is not a job contract: ‘I have to do it’. The act of doing is in the second place. I must receive the gift and care for it, and from there flows all the rest: in contemplation of the gift. When we forget this, appropriate the gift, and turn it into a function, then we lose the heart of ministry and lose Jesus’ gaze who looked upon us and said: ‘Follow me.’ Gratuitousness is lost.”
Francis then warned everyone against the risk of making ministry into a self-centred exercise.
If we do not contemplate the gift we have received, he said, “all the deviations we can imagine are unleashed, from the most horrible – which are terrible – to the most mundane, which make us turn our ministry into being about us, rather than about the gratuitousness of the gift and about our love for he who gave us the gift of ministry.”
The Pope invited deacons, priests, and bishops to contemplate their ministry and service as a gift. We do what we can, he said, with good intentions, intelligence, and “even with a little cunning”, but always taking care of the gift.
Pope at Mass: Ministry is a gift to be contemplated (Vatican News)