In one of our priest meetings of the Archdiocese, it was pointed out that there are only about 200 priests in the Archdiocese. 80 of these priests are above 60 years old. Only 40 of these priests are below 30 years old. The average of the priest in the Archdiocese in 54 years old. Yes, there are fewer and fewer ordinations every year. The Gospel often talks about Jesus, the Good Shepherd. We should always pray for more Good Shepherds. Three things we reflect on:
- The Call. This year, I will be 13 years in the priesthood. After working for PLDT for 14 years, I entered the seminary and then was ordained a priest. When people ask why I tell them first, I am not heartbroken. Second, I felt I was doing great in my career and had all the opportunities to move up. Third, but there was this “silent” call that could not be unacknowledged.
- The Challenges. Further, it is not easy to be a priest. First, you have to balance so many people. Different personalities, different characters, different agendas. But at the end of the day, you will have to stand up for what is best for the parish. Second, our life is perpetually being observed. “Who is the favorite parishioner?” “Why is his homily so short?” “Why doesn’t he want to have a photo taken?” People forget that we are not perfect. Third, there is the challenge to live a holy life. But priests get tempted. In fact, the temptation of priests is much more because the devil knows that if the priests fall, so many people are affected.
- The Blessings. I always tell people it is the world’s best-kept secret. The youth does not consider it anymore but it has so many blessings because it focuses on the things that matter in life. First, Service. When one serves, one enters into the life of so many people. You enrich their lives and they enrich your life. Second, God. Priests remind people that we are both body and soul. Food for the soul is God. Third, Guidance. We all need guidance, like sheep. We all need wisdom in our decision in lives and the holy fear of the Lord is the start of wisdom.
In Mass, we should pray for three things:
- We pray for more priests, religious brothers, and sisters. The seedbed for formation is still the family. Parents encourage and pray for your children that they may consider the call to the priesthood if you sense there is.
- We pray for our government leaders. They too are our shepherds. A good shepherd follows the way of our lord.
- We pray for our parents, they are our first shepherd.