2021-10-3131st Sunday in Ordinary TimeRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

This is my last Sunday here at St. Mary. Tomorrow, I will be a priest of senior status. In other words, I will be retired.

I thought that it would be appropriate for me to talk about priesthood especially since the second reading is from the book of Hebrews. That book is about priesthood.

What is a priest? It is someone who offers sacrifice. Pagan priests offered animal sacrifices to God and so did Jewish priests offer animal sacrifices in the temple.

Jewish priests were from the tribe of Levi and they were priests for life.

When the temple was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70AD and never re-built, the Jewish religion changed. There is a Muslim Mosque built on that site today. The Western wall or the wailing wall is all that is left from the old temple.

Since Jewish priests could only offer sacrifice in the temple and now there is no temple, Jews met in Synagogues and prayed the word of God or what we call the Old Testament.

Jesus who was a Jew offers us a new kind of priesthood.

Jesus does not offer animal sacrifice but offers himself under the appearance of bread and wine.

This is a very significant change in worship. No longer will we offer sacrifice to God. Now, God will offer sacrifice to us.

The new priesthood offers unbloody sacrifice according to the order of Melchizedek. He was a pagan priest in the Old Testament that offered up bread and wine.

When we receive the Body of Christ, we receive God Himself. Jesus becomes a part of us. We are what we eat. That is a profound miracle that we should not take for granted.

I was very lucky to always want to be a priest even from my earliest days as a boy.

It is my wish that more boys will consider the priesthood as a vocation. It is a wonderful life.

Many of you know that my life story is on the parish website. I have been a priest for nearly 50 years and I have never regretted my decision to become a priest. I was ordained to be a priest forever and I will continue to perform the sacraments where I am needed. St. Mary Star of the Sea has been a dream parish and you have welcomed me warmly since the day that I arrived. You have lifted my spirits many times by your affirmations and I will always remember you fondly. It is difficult to leave a parish that has been so good to me and so I leave with mixed emotions after 8 years.

I know you will welcome your new pastor, Father Matthew Gworek.

God bless you.

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