Recently, Pope Francis gave a reflection to a number of newly ordained priests about the service of God and the priesthood. He told the priests they should serve the people of God just as Christ serves the people, with closeness, compassion, and tenderness.

While in this instance he was talking to priests, the Pope stated that all the baptised have a mission to serve the people of God. Lay people share in the mystery of the priesthood. In his epistle, St Peter, referring to all the members of the church, said this, “You, however, are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people, He claims for His own to proclaim the glorious work.” (Peter 1: 2-9)

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This is a good opportunity for all of us to examine how we look at our own service to the church. I could be mowing the lawn, preparing a meal, teaching catechism, serving on the parish council. This and all service to the church should be re-examined in the light of the plan God Himself has for service to His Holy Church. Again, we do not speak here first about priests, sisters, and other ordained people, when everything any of us do for the church is done with the faith, we are building God’s Kingdom.

Pope Francis says, “By whose ministry His body, that is, the Church, is built and grows into a people of God, a Holy Temple”.

Being on the Parish Council, working as a gardener, cooking, or any service of God’s children, can only be taken on with mindset, that this is part of our mission as baptised members of the church. We share our faith, spread our faith, when we serve one another in a holy fashion. “This service of God to His people has a style which we have to follow” says the Pope.

God forgives everything and everyone who repents. If we live in the house of God (the Church) we must try to be compassionate to one another.

What is that “style”? Closeness, compassion, and tenderness! It is a closeness to God, in prayer, in the liturgy. It is a closeness to people, the bishop. The bishop has the grave responsibility of leading all to God. There must be a closeness to one another. We cannot mistrust each other. We must be united in mission. Only the devil wants division.

Compassion towards others is also important. God forgives everything and everyone who repents. If we live in the house of God (the Church) we must try to be compassionate to one another.

Pope Francis says that the devil enters into people “through the pocket”. Money, the love of money or lack of money is always a potential source of problems in any church setting. But the love of the poor and service to the poor should be the road to saving us from the evil which can result from the love of money.

Jesus is the Good Shepard. He is merciful and tender with all His sheep because He laid down His life for them.

We, as believers, should never forget the tender example of Mary, the Mother of God. She is our model, our example. She is the ultimate servant of God. Let us always keep her in our prayers.

Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM

This article was published in The Church and Life Newspaper