Pastor’s Corner for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, by Fr. Bruce Botha SJ

I recently sat and used almost all my fingers and toes to figure out how long I had been ordained a priest. On the 8th of September 2006, I was ordained to the priesthood here at Holy Trinity parish. Unless fingers and toes lie, that makes 17 years of ordained priesthood. It was said by the priests around me that the only difference or change in a man after ordination is that now people expect you to have the answers. What their observation was pointing towards is that the work of the priest, his responsibilities, shape him, and shape the perceptions and expectations of the people.


The mother is a different person after the birth of her child because she now has the awesome responsibility of nurturing this tiny being nestled in her arms. In the same way the priest is different because he is now entrusted with the wellbeing of a faith community, he bears responsibility for the celebration of the eucharist, and for being, quite literally Christ among and for the people.This responsibility shapes the priest’s nature, and his character.


Yet priests are mortal flesh, no more perfect the day after his ordination than the day before. As I am sure you have noticed, priests come in all shapes and sizes and giftedness. Some of us even bear more than a fair share of weakness and flaws. What I hope unites us is the humility to admit that we are still flawed human beings, simply trying to love God as best we can, and to serve God’s people to the best of our limited abilities.


Karl Rahner SJ wrote a prayer for priests, which I would like to share with you:


The priest is not an angel sent from heaven. He is a man, a member of the Church, a Christian. Remaining man and Christian, he begins to speak to you the word of God. This word is not his own. No, he comes to you because God has told him to proclaim God’s word. Perhaps he has not entirely understood it himself. Perhaps he adulterates it. Perhaps he falters and stammers. How else could he speak God’s Word, ordinary man that he is? But must not some one of us say something about God, about eternal life, about the majesty of grace in our sanctified being; must not some one of us speak of sin, the judgement and mercy of God? So, my dear friends, pray for him, carry him, so that he might be able to sustain others by bringing to them the mystery of God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ. Amen


Thank you for journeying with me on this journey of life, and for supporting me in my calling. Thank you for your prayers. Pray for me, as I pray for you.



Fr. Bruce Botha SJ