What else would Father Chaminade see today, that he once saw? He sees us gathering at this Eucharist, listening to the same Scriptures that he once undoubtedly listened to, which form a framework not only for the lives of all of us, but in particular for the lives of those who are called to priestly service. Your lives as priests of Jesus Christ in the context of your Marianist vocation, will mirror the words of the Sacred Scriptures in today’s liturgy: “To do the right, to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God ... to live a life worthy of the call you have received so that the Body of Christ will he built up.” The Gospel you have chosen for today is the beautiful chapter at the end of St. John’s Gospel where Jesus asks Peter three times if he loved him. It ends simply with the words “Follow me.” It is in fact one of my favorites from my own priestly ordination and later on as a Bishop. You have been doing that in your vocation as religious of the Society of Mary, and you will now “follow him” as priests in that same Society. Having followed Him has already taken you in many and varied assignments as Marianists, and your daily prayer must be marked even more by this same dialogue as Peter had with the Lord: “Do you love me, you know that I love you.” Your priestly identity, which will be formed by this dialogue and the events of your daily lives in ministry, “must never be likened to any secular title or confused with civic or political office. Rather, configured to Christ who emptied himself taking on the form of servant, the priest lives a life of simplicity, chastity and humble service, which inspires others by example.” These arc the words of Pope Benedict XVI which clearly arid beautifully fit what you are about to undertake.
What kind of world did Father Chaminade see today, that he once saw? In the world in which he was chosen to minister, and the world in which you have been, and where you will be now missioned as priests of the Society of Mary, there are in fact some parallels: the indifference to Faith and the at times hostile reaction to the proclamation of the Gospel by the surrounding culture in the time of the French Revolution, which are certainly present in this post modem culture. The pressure to give allegiance to other values and realities other than the Lord are certainly among us today. Yet, in all of this people and students who cross your paths will be looking for the light of the Gospel to be mirrored in your lives. There