Homilette for Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Joshua 24:1-13; Matthew 19:3-12)

In one sense there is no vocation crisis. Many men feel called to the permanent diaconate and many women, to church ministry. Far fewer people, however, wish to forego the possibility of marriage in order to serve the Church.

A simple way to resolve the current shortage of priests would be to ordain married men. This was done throughout the first millennium of Christianity, and exceptions to the rule of celibacy are made today as Episcopalian clergymen converting to Catholicism are usually ordained priests even though they have wives.

Of course, there are practical problems that the Church would have to face with married priests. More significant, however, is the question raised in the gospel today. Jesus says that whoever can renounce marriage for the sake of the Kingdom ought to do so. He obviously did, and those who desire to be completely conformed to him should be willing to make the same sacrifice.