Functioning and being, or rather Being and functioning, because I think that function follows being. As priest, there are many functions that are given to us; we must serve as liturgical priest in the celebration of the Eucharist, and we must follow a certain ritual; we must serve as counselor and celebrate the sacraments of reconciliation and anointing of the sick, prepare couples for marriage and listen to people share their woes; we must serve the greater community of the diocese and work on committees; we must pray; we must sign checks; we must administer the parish, etc….
None of these functions mean anything without being a priest; being re-directed in life to giving of self for the good of others; being re-directed (ordained) to Be as Christ.
Back to the Gospel story, the man who was Christ-like was the Samaritan; the one who showed mercy. It was not the “official” priests/religious in the story. The priests were focussed on their function; and not on being.
This gospel makes me wrestle with identity and function. It gives to me a vision and value; one that I struggle to keep.
Because it is to easy for me to fall back into a functioning role, and let that define me as being.
I think we Males far too easily fall into the trap of letting our function as provider define us; that we think ourselves as good “men” in what and how we do things…and we forget to “Be” men. Priests are easily bound up into this.
Christ calls us beyond the function, beyond superficial definitions and actions, and into a realm of being, being men, women, priests, husbands, wives, etc.
This is a truth.
As Polonius (?) says in Hamlet: , To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.