Marian Shrine Nyaunglebin
13 February 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It’s a great joy for me to join you in this Holy Mass, during which our five young deaconshave been ordained priests of the Catholic Church through the imposition of hands of His Eminence Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon.
Congratulations and best wishes to our newly ordained Priests!
Through the Ordination today they have become ministers of the Church and members of the clergy of the Archdiocese of Yangon.
Today we offer our prayers for these newly ordained ministers of the Church and all the Priests and Seminarians of Myanmar.
We give thanks to God, since a priestly vocation as well as religious vocation is a precious gift of God given to the whole Church. God calls those whom He loves, He invites them to embrace priestly life, and through their dedication and witness He blesses and enriches his Church.
On this happy occasion, I would like share with you some reflections on priestly vocation and ministry.
In our Church, we are blessed to have eminent figures who dedicated their lives to proclaim the Word of God in this world, thus becoming an example/model for future priests, ministers of the Church: among them we find St Paul.
Today, I wish to share with youon some elements about his life, teaching and ministry garnered from his pastoral letters.
St Paul considers himself a “servant of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:1), whose ministry consists in announcing the word of God for the salvation of mankind. He writes: “It is not ourselves that we are proclaiming, but Christ Jesus as the Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor 4:5).
That’s what we priests are: We are servants of Jesus Christ, at the service of the Church, and we are called to proclaim the Word of God for the salvation of mankind.
St Paul is the one who was transformed by his encounter with the Risen Lord. Indeed he is the one who has become “a new creature” following his encounter with the Lord on the way to Damascus. From that moment onward, Christ has become the center of his life, rather He has become his own life, as St Paul writes: “I have been crucified with Christ… It is no longer I, but Christ living in me” (Gal 2:19-20). MihivivereChristusest!
As our Holy Father Pope Francis repeatedly reminds us, we are but sinners whom the Lord looked on with pity; in his mercy He called us to follow him, as it was the case of Levi, the tax collector (cf. Mt 9:9-13). We have been cleansed and saved by the mercy of Our Lord who calls us to become ministers of his mercy on our turn. (“MiserandoatqueEligendo”). The Lord sends us out as “Missionaries of Mercy”.
The Apostle to the Gentiles repeats several times in his Letters that his whole life is a fruit of God’s freely given, merciful grace (cf. 1 Cor 15:9-10; 2 Cor 4:1; Gal 1:15). He was chosen to proclaim “the Gospel of God” (Rom 1:1), to disseminate the announcement of divine Grace which in Christ reconciles man with God, himself and others.
His life was absolutely absorbed by the love of God. “Neither death, nor life”, he wrote to the Romans, “nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor thing to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:38-39).
Having come to the end of his earthly pilgrimage, he wrote to Timothy his faithful disciple: “For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:6-7).
As in early times, today too Christ needs apostles ready to sacrifice themselves. He needs witnesses and martyrs like St Paul. Paul, a former violent persecutor of Christians, when he fell to the ground dazzled by the divine light on the road to Damascus, did not hesitate to side with the Crucified One and followed him without second thoughts. He lived and worked for Christ, for him he suffered and died. How timely his example is today for us priests and for our seminarians!The example St Pauland his life of witness is an invitation for us all to remain faithful to our vocation, to the call of God.
Through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes whom we venerate in this Marian Shrine of Nyaunglebin, may you remain always faithful ministers of the Church following the heart of Jesus the Good Shepherd!
Thanks for your kind attention! ZZESU TIMBARE!
+ Paul Tschang In-Nam