Yesterday I went on the number 7 bus to Soho where I intended to go to mass at 12.45 at Warwick street.
Arriving at the church just on time
I was disappointed to find a notice saying “No mass today, God bless”.
Anyway what could I do only continue on my way and so I walked to St. Patrick’s in Soho square where there is also 12.45 mass. I’d be a bit late but hey, Jesus would understand!
So I arrived before 1pm and…..again no mass!!
How unusual I thought as I wondered if perhaps there was some important meeting that all the priests were at in the area.
As a last resort I went to another catholic church that I know in Chinatown. The church was closed also and no mass!!
Rather than get annoyed I got a well earned sandwich and a coffee and sat on a door step on the street. Perhaps if I put my hat on the ground someone might have mistaken me for a beggar……and I suppose in a way they’d be right, I am a beggar because of Jesus!
So as I sat there I began to pray to Our Lady and said to her “I don’t understand, what’s happening?”
Immediately I heard her voice in my soul speaking to me
“Pray for the priests, this is what the church would be like if there were no priests”.
It hit me real hard this stark reality and how much I often take priests for granted.
Often they run large parishes with little help, they get buckets of criticism, they may have their own health problems too and not to mention that many are quite old.
And yet if they were to suddenly get sick then we’d have no mass.
It also hit me how we really need vocations to the priesthood. Men that love Jesus and the sacraments and that are prepared to rise up and fill the current gaps.
And so rather then sulk on the street because I didn’t get mass, I prayed and offered the inconvenience and annoyance of this episode to God as a small sacrifice for priests.
And so what’s my message today?
It’s to love and encourage our priests through prayer, community and friendship. It’s to help them in any way we can, forgive them when we feel hurt by them and to thank God that through those consecrated hands, the person of Jesus Christ becomes a living being in that little piece of bread which we are then invited to receive.
It’s also to pray for vocations and to support and encourage any young (or not so young) person interested in Jesus along the path of holiness and perhaps on the path of the priesthood.