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September 6, 2015

After baptizing three babies, a kid asked me, “Why did you pour so much water on their heads, you made them real wet?”  “And why did you mess up their hair with the oil?  I don’t like it that way.   But the babies were cool, they didn’t cry at all.”

These questions make us think about our baptism.  When we were baptized, we were baptized into the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  When we were anointed, we began to share the glory and ministry of Jesus as priest, prophet and king.

Probably some of us would ask, “How do we share his glory and ministry as priest, prophet and king?

Of course there is a difference between the ministerial priesthood of ordained priests and common priesthood of other baptized persons.  We can’t all do things as a priest does in terms of celebrating the Sacraments.  But our common priesthood has its own dimension.  The common priesthood of the baptized makes them an offering to the Lord.  We can participate in the celebration of the Mass in different ways.  By our sharing the ministries in the liturgy, as lectors, altar servers, Eucharistic ministers, choirs, ushers…, by our worship, prayers, communion and daily Christian life, with Jesus, we offer a perfect offering to God.

We share the ministry of Jesus as a prophet by proclaiming the Word, by teaching our children, and by giving a good example of a Christian life to others, by visiting the sick and sharing the comfort and consolation to the dying.

We share the leadership’s ministry of Jesus by making our family a small Christian church, by helping the parish priest in pastoral works, by making our parish a good place to worship and a good Christian community.

But it’s not always easy when we offer our share in the ministries.  It requires a lot of sacrifices and dedications.  Sometimes we 

have to accept criticism too.  I remember Bishop Croteau in the North, who once told me that he spent hundreds of thousand dollars to train the local people for their services in different communities.  But only one or two criticisms, the people quit and the Bishop had to train others again.

There have been lots of people in our parish who have offered their services and participated in all ministries over the years.  Some have retired from ministry.  Some enjoy it very much. Some are so discouraged because of one or two criticism. 

Every September we call on more people to participate in the ministry of the parish.  One person refused to do ministry in our community, she said, “Father, people here are so critical and judgmental.  I offered my service before but I can’t take criticism any longer.” I didn’t say anything but I remembered when I was so down, an old priest sent me a funny joke; after reading it, I got up and continued again.  Here I have copied it for you:

  • If his homily is longer than usual: “He sends us to sleep!”
  • If it’s short: “He hasn’t bothered!”
  • If he raises his voice: “He’s shouting!”
  • If he speaks normally: “You can’t hear a thing!”
  • If he’s away: “He’s always on the road!”
  • If he’s at home: “He’s a stick-in-the-mud!”
  • If he’s out visiting: “He’s never at home!”
  • If he’s in the rectory: “He never visits people!”
  • If he talks finances: “He’s too fond of money!”
  • If he doesn’t: “The parish is dead!”
  • If he takes his time with people: “He wears everybody out!”
  • If he is brief: “He never listens!”
  • If he starts Mass on time: “His watch must be fast!”
  • If he starts a minute late: “He holds everybody up!”
  • If he’s young: “He lacks experience!”
  • If he’s old: “He ought to retire!”
  • And if he dies?  “Well, of course, no one could ever take his place!”

There is no Christian ministry outside the ministry of Jesus.  It’s interesting to know that how Jesus had accomplished his ministry and where he ended up: the Cross and Resurrection