Sermon given by Father Pancras Raja on April 26th, 2020
“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine, and mine know me.” (Jn. 10: 14)
Our Lord tells us in today’s gospel that he is the good shepherd, the good shepherd of our souls. He provides for us, he watches over our lives – protecting us against danger, assisting us by his grace and leading us out to the green pastures of his heavenly doctrine and sacraments.
Thus, Our Lord is the model of the true pastors of souls. Like Christ, every Catholic priest should know his sheep, should lead them by good example, should nourish them by the heavenly doctrine of the Church, and defend them from the errors, scandal and sin.
But if these are the duties of the priests, it follows that the faithful have the corresponding duties of being docile, obedient and loyal to the priests’ teachings, directions, and of cooperating with all their efforts for the welfare of their souls. This follows from the dignity and character of the priestly office, and the devotion of the priests to their flock.
The priests give up their lives for the people, spend long years in labor acquiring their education and training, denying themselves many comforts and pleasures, even putting themselves in danger of their lives for the welfare of the flock! For the sake of their ministry the priests forego the gains that would come to them from temporal pursuits.
This “Good Pastor Sunday” is also celebrated as “Vocation Sunday” – dedicated for praying and contributing for the priestly and religious vocation and formation. Parents are instructed to be generous in sacrificing their children for the service of God. Young men and women are called to leave the world and enter the seminaries and monasteries to be the instruments of divine service in the hands of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Apostles of the latter times!
Yes, the need for such zealous shepherds are imperative at the present situation, when the prophecy of Christ (Mt. 26: 31) quoting Prophet Zacharias is being fulfilled: “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd …. Strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn my hand to the little ones ……. They shall call on my name and I will hear them. I will say: Thou art my people: and they shall say: The Lord is our God” (Zach. 13: 7-9) “The Lord is my good shepherd.” (Ps. 22)
Our Lord says: “And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one-fold and one shepherd.” (Jn. 10: 16)
Who are the other sheep of Christ the good shepherd?
The Gentiles who were not of the fold of Israel, whom Christ sought to bring by his disciples, and now by their successors, into His fold. To these sheep we also belonged by our ancestors. O how grateful we should be to God, that He has brought us into the fold of His Church, and how diligently should we conduct ourselves as loyal, and good sheep!
When will there be but one-fold and one shepherd?
When, by the prayers of the Church and by her missionaries, all nations shall be converted to the only saving Church, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church – constituting then, the one Church under one head. Let us pray that this may soon come to pass by the practice of:
The Traditional Catholic Priesthood
In order to know what Traditional Priesthood is, “We should recognize the principle so simply elucidated by Archbishop Lefebvre on June 29, 1976: “Catholic sense tells us that there can be no mixing of the illegitimate new rites with the Traditional Catholic Rites.” “We are of the religion of all time, of the Catholic religion. We are not of that new universal religion, as they call it today. It is no longer the Catholic religion. We are not of that liberal, modernist religion that has its own worship, its priests, its faith, its catechisms, and its Bible.”
We practice the Catholic Priesthood of all times.
The Roman Catholic priesthood has a long, long history. It all began with Jesus Christ. While Jesus was on earth, he instituted the seven sacraments. One of them was Holy Orders, the priesthood. The primary purpose of the priesthood is to minister to the people of all nations and to administer the sacraments to the faithful. The Catholic tradition has maintained the purpose and form of the priesthood as Jesus Christ intended.
During his three years of public preaching, Our Lord chose twelve men from the crowd, men to be his disciples, his students, his Apostles. They gave up everything to follow Jesus. He spent those three years teaching the public, but also teaching His disciples, telling them things he did not reveal to the crowd.
The Twelve Apostles were the original bishops and the original priests. They broke bread in homes in the name of Jesus, and they ministered to the poor. And, their ministry attracted a great number of people.
In course of time, the Apostles and their successors, the bishops of the church, continued their work, and ordained more priests along the way. “In the early church, a lay person could advance” to any position within the Church. In this manner, a man could skip deaconate or priesthood and immediately become a Bishop or even a Pope, if he were so chosen validly, maintaining the Apostolic succession.
Meanwhile, another form of religious expression had emerged: the religious communities. These began as hermits and then monks. These religious often were more holy than their priest counterparts, and people started seeking the hermits and monks for advice. The Church took note of this, and since these religious had vowed to live a celibate life, the Church thought that perhaps the priesthood could benefit from such a policy of the religious communities. So, in the 4th century A.D., the Church began to enforce the policy of celibacy for priests, and by the 12th century, any man becoming a priest also took a vow of celibacy when he received Holy Orders.
But in recent times, there have been many changes in thought concerning the Church and religious communities. The Second Vatican Council changed many aspects of the Church and its liturgy, all due to the evil influences of the modern theologians. The law of faith was twisted by the changes in the law of prayer. “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi” (வழிபாட்டு முறைமைகளின் மாற்றத்தினால் விசுவாச முறைமைகளில் தடுமாற்றம்)
Accordingly, most faithfully following the above mentioned principle of Archbishop Lefebvre (that there should be no mixing of the “illegitimate” new rites with the “traditional Catholic” rites) “on October 20, 2013 was begun, by the grace of God, this Seminary under the protection of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, to form young men of unflinching Faith, Apostles of Our Lady against the Satanic enemy of all creation and its Good God. These “Apostles” must have an uncompromising Supernatural Faith, as did our ancient forefathers in the Church,” (having Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer as their superior) in this little enclave of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel belonging to the Society of St. Pius X, as a fruitful and ever-living branch of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. (Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer is an official member of the Society of St. Pius X and a faithful follower of ABL)