Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

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Homily 190 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Prophetic Witness of Celibacy

People are often confused by the meaning of celibacy practiced by those in religious life. Sometimes people think that priests are celibate because it gives them more time to devote to ministry. Sadly, sometimes people might assume that marriage is less holy than priesthood. Neither are the real reason for the celibate vocation. Rather, the celibate person serves as a prophetic witness to the reality of heaven.

Marriage and family are good, holy even. Celibacy is a sacrifice precisely because the priest or religious gives up something good. Yet, as good as this life is, it is not the greatest good. The celibate person is meant to be a sign reminding us of heaven. In heaven there is no marriage because it is as though we are all married to God. That relationship of love with God is so real that celibates forgo the early sign of marriage to point to the reality of the heavenly marriage awaiting us.

So, never feel sorry for your priests or religious, or wish for them to be married. We freely and joyful choose to give our lives completely to God. Pray that we may be good prophetic signs that point people to heaven.

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