"The heart of a priest is a chalice of love.
The heart of a priest is a chalice of compassion, because it is the vessel of Christ." Catherine Doherty
Being a Jubilarian must be like becoming a grandparent for the first time... I am much too young to have been ordained 25 years.
It seems like just yesterday that i prostrated myself on the hard stone floor of the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling, WV, as the choir sang the Litany of the Saints. In that glorious Mass the Bishop laid his hands 0n me as bishops have done many thousands of times for many centuries, grafting me into the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ. Ever will I remember the pealing of the bells, the joyful tears of my mother, the hundreds of first blessings. Who would have ever believed that Mike McCormick could become a "priest forever in the line of Melchizedek"?
Like most new fathers and mothers, I was filled with all the joy and concerns of parenthood. Like the new dad who might not know a thing about diapers, bottles and child rearing, once the "baby" was placed in my arms the ocncerns melted away and the joy became pure love.
Jubilee. JUBILEE! 25 years later the newness has not worn off. Thanks to all my parishioners and friends who pray for priests, each day has become a new opportunity to find and experience the love of Jesus. When my priesthood has been difficult it is because I took my eyes off the prize--our salvation in Christ Jesus. At these times my Christian Family here on earth as well as my Christian Family in heaven, especially the Blessed Mother, help me to keep focused on Christ Jesus, His Church, the love of God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jubilee comes from the Aramaic word which means "trumpet blast". Special occasions such as this are an opportunity to sound that trumpet, not to toot our own horns, but to celebrate the gift of the priesthood through which we have the abiding presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. So let us "sound the trumpet in the assembly" to signal what we have known all along -- that Jesus is present with us in the Eucharist until the end of time, in the priest who consecrates the bread and wine, and in the people of God who form this Eucharistic body we call the Church.