On the feast of Ss Peter and Marcellinus, 2 June, Cardinal Vincent celebrated Mass for the Jubilee of Priests at Santa Maria Regina degli Apostoli alla Montagnola in Rome.
In his homily, the Cardinal looked to the example of the saints whose feast is celebrated today, explaining that ‘their suffering and their faithfulness was in bearing witness to Christ, the one who in his divinity raises our humanity to its fulfilment’.
He also mentioned the recent visit of the Hungarian relic of St Thomas Becket as a reminder of the saint who ‘became a symbol of the resistance of the Church to powerful and unscrupulous rulers’ and the patron saint of clergy, saying that Thomas should be an ‘inspiration’ for all priests.
He said, ‘Thomas embraced his ordination as priest and bishop with a radical seriousness. So should we... His focus became Christ, the sole measure and motivation of every word and action. This is to be our focus too.’
He added that, ‘Thomas knew when compromise was no longer an acceptable path’ which ‘led to a dramatic decision to return to his See, from exile, knowing his life was at risk’.
Drawing on this example, the Cardinal cautioned, ‘For us the risks are less dramatic. They creep up on us as we slowly compromise and lose our distinctive identity and with it some of the edge, the power, of the witness we are to give’.
Looking at the witness of these martyrs, the Cardinal explained, ‘They remind us of the earthiness of our mission: to be among and with the realities of this world, with all its messiness and brutality.’
Yet, he said that living ‘in the light of the Resurrection’ priests ‘strive to express in our struggles and our ministry that perseverance which is motivated by the vision of our heavenly destiny’.
Explaining that Thomas’ tomb became a place of miraculous reconciliations, the Cardinal prayed ‘that our ministry as priests will be characterised by striving for the reconciliation of conflicting parties’ and that this can only have as its source ‘the gracious mercy of God’ which is ‘poured out in the Sacrament of Reconciliation’.
The full text of the homily can be read here.