Church Daily

Fr. David Okolie expresses his utter disapproval on the erroneous idea of the Catholic priesthood as a profession

In the recent times, people have tried to look at the Priesthood as one of the Professions that anybody can decide either to take up or not.

Photo of Rev. Fr. David Okoli a Catholic priest of Okigwe Diocese

Photo of Rev. Fr. David Okoli a Catholic priest of Okigwe Diocese

I simply want to join my voice to the many voices that have resounded through history in utter disapproval of such erroneous idea of the Priesthood.

The letter to the Hebrews made it very clear thus: “Every high priest is CHOSEN from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins… No one takes this honour upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was” (Heb 5:1-4).

The above clearly draws a distinction between the Priesthood, which is a vocation and any other profession; for example, Legal Profession. While the Priesthood is totally based on Divine Choice and is NOT GAIN-oriented, a Legal Profession, for example, is based on individual choice with Divine support but it is, of course, GAIN-oriented.

To buttress this idea of “NOT GAIN-ORIENTED” as regards the Priesthood, let us look at this Petrine exhortation: “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not GREEDY for MONEY, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Pt 5:2-4).

My dearest friends, the truth remains that, if anybody thinks that he needs some monetary gains to pursue certain responsibilities in life and in the family, then the Priesthood is certainly not for that person. If such a person ventures into the Priesthood and sustains such a quest, then, frustration may likely be his lot.

A priest, so to speak, has no fixed income but lives on the benevolence of those he serves. Just look at him, today he is working in a very big parish where the faithful are generous and ready to give him gifts of money; then tomorrow, he is on a mission whereby he needs to sell off some of his belongings so as to support the faithful who are almost looking up to him for their daily bread.

However, when the priest sincerely carries out the Christ-like services that his Vocation demands from him, he will NEVER lack anything; indeed, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Ps 23:1).

The unfortunate thing that has befallen our generation is that some persons are now beginning to look at the Priesthood from the point of view of a PROFESSION.

This attitude is doing a lot of harm to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ and of course, bringing unimaginable consequences on such persons. Hence, Jesus affirms: “Woe to him who causes the fall of any of these young ones” (Mt 18:6).

We sincerely thank the many priests who are continuously pouring themselves out for the good of the people of God and we encourage the people of God never to relent in supporting their priests, both financially and otherwise; bearing in mind the words of Jesus Christ thus: “I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward” (Mk 9:41).

Remain blessed!

– Rev. Fr. David Okolie

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