HOMILY: FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME 2021
One of the most haunting controversies in Roman Catholic Church is the issue on celibacy. Priests and religious do not marry so that they can give themselves totally to Christ and his Church. Celibacy is the secret weapon of priesthood. Priests sometimes are being put in a bad spot to be ridiculed; perhaps this guy is broken hearted. Many people have the impression that becoming a priest is not the best choice only a desperate move. Celibacy too is being blamed for the shortage of priest that only when priests are allowed to marry then young people will be glad to become one.
Let us reflect on celibacy this 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Celibacy is a gift given by God which is freely chosen and accepted. The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians defines unmarried state that is “anxious about the Lord’s affairs, how to please God and his interest is undivided”. Celibacy is a way of life that makes a person available to God and his message. It is as an opportunity to give oneself totally to God and wholly busy to make himself pleasing before the Lord. Why keep saying mass everyday when only few come? It is an expression of commitment and love because celibacy is not a restraint but an unhindered devotion to the Lord. Anybody can speak well about God; in fact there is certainly who can explain eloquently the bible. However, a prophetic office of the priest requires more than discoursing the word but by becoming a living witness thus they not only “participate in His prophetic office” but also share “His very condition of living”.
Celibacy germinates and grows organically in the community. The Book of Deuteronomy narrates that “the Lord your God will raise for you a prophet like me from among your kinsmen; you shall heed such a prophet”. The community is necessary to promote vocation and help the priest cultivate the gift. Your prayer, appreciation, encouragement, your friendly gestures promotes vocation. All these initiatives contribute a lot to make that vow healthy and strong.
Finally, celibacy is a source of transformation in the life of individual and community. Jesus Christ became like us but has enormous power to subdue especially the evil spirits. Nobody can challenge the integrity of his life even Satan because he is free from any stain of sin. Man’s sinfulness is the weakest spot for devil to conquer us. Celibacy is an opportunity to possess purity of heart and sanctity of life. It is a call to holiness thus imitating the very person of Jesus. When a priest is holy, nobody can destroy his reputation which eventually brings change in people’s lives through the grace of Almighty God. Priest’s holiness exhorts us from our sinfulness.