A NEW FEAST IN THE POLISH CHURCH
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
According to the decision of our Episcopate on 23 May 2013, it will be the first time we will have been celebrating the feast of Jesus Christ the Supreme and Eternal Priest in Poland. From now on, it is going to be always celebrated on Thursday, after the Pentecost. It is a feast which is important in regard to the fact that the function of a priest belongs to the basic functions in the Church and each of practically meets with it. Priestly ordination has its source in Christ. Here beautiful events of the Maundy Thursday come to mind, when Christ, embracing everybody with his unusual love, establishes priesthood day before his Passion, giving great power to those who accept His mission. Priesthood is a great holy mystery, filling us with joy and also with tremor. The Church has got a term for it: ‘mysterium tremendum’ and ‘mysterium fascinosum’. As Fr. Jan Twardowski wrote: I am afraid of my own priesthood/and I am falling down into dust in front of priesthood/and I am kneeling in front of priesthood’. We, priests, are looking at such a great mystery, which authorizes an ordinary man to celebrate holy sacraments on behalf of Christ, especially the Eucharist and pronounce His amazing words: ‘This is my body….’This is my blood…’.
We must analyze and reflect on priesthood deeply, which plays the basic role in our life. Let’s note that priests are still stigmatized so much. How real words of the Master are: ‘if they were persecuting me, then they will also persecute you’ (h 50.20). Let’s look only at some internet opinions today, where there are loads of words attacking priests, unjust or dishonest opinions, truly from hell. Here I am also thinking about active attacks – for example, in the recent time in Suchedniów, where a chaplain of a religious order was beaten unconscious, or in Cracow at Wawel a priest guiding a group of tourists was attacked. Not to mention the persecutions of Christ’s priests in many countries, where other religions, especially Islam, domineer.
One thing is worrying: that administrators of internet portals allow for such spreading internet hostile attacks against priests, even while facing a tragedy. Sometimes it seems that they want to destroy a beaten priest more, that they do not hear a voice of the conscience at all.
In this moment it looks as if they were cooperating with bandits and villains. Why is it happening so? Why do people become like wolves, which are attacking an easy prey with so much ferocity, although they were brought up in the Christian culture, who are often baptized people, who used to go to church, who received the First Communion?
Maybe it is worth thinking whether in our homes there is a respect to priesthood, whether we do not allow atheistic blasphemous newspapers to sow hostility to the Church in our homes? Do we give a chance to the Divine Word to act in our families – through reading the Holy Scripture, Catholic newspapers, listening to the Catholic radio station, watching Catholic TV programs, watching the Television Trwam?
We must also know that aggressive behavior of young people, who are attacking the Church today, may soon turn against other groups. Let’s remember that we will not build anything good on hatred, hatred is always ruining - first, the one, who hates.
And priests? – they are working bravely for the sake of a man. After all, the whole great pastoral work, including catechization, is work for the sake of people. There are also many parishes where people find a particular material help – food, financial support, care, etc. They do not go anywhere else but they go to a priest, parish priest with much trustfulness, because they know that they will not be rejected.
Therefore, it is good that this feast has been established, in order to pay a tribute to the Supreme and Eternal Priest, in whose Heart there are all priests. May Jesus Christ be an example for them and let their hearts be the closest to His God’s Heart. This mutual closeness is very needed to all of us.
First of all, on this day, priests are to pray to Jesus the Priest and ask Him for help in creating their life to the example of His life. And let believers, older or younger, pray for the holiness of priests, and also for respect for them. Also, let this day be a day of a prayer for priestly ordination, so that our churches could enjoy new groups of saint priests, who will be a warranty of a good future of the Church and our nation.