(On June 1, Archbishop José H. Gomez ordained 11 men to the priesthood at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The following is adapted from homily.)

Brothers, the words of Jesus that we just heard in the Gospel were spoken at the Last Supper. They were addressed to the Twelve, to his apostles, to the men he chose to be his first priests.

Now he has chosen you. And he addresses these words to you. Tenderly he tells you: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.”

Jesus calls you his friends today, because he has told you everything that the Father told him.

He is entrusting to you his words of eternal life.

He is making you co-workers in his plan of love, what the apostles called “the plan of the mystery hidden from ages and generations.”

As his priests, you will be Christ’s servants, stewards of this great mystery of love, which the Father is working out in salvation history.

Love is the reason God created the universe. Love is the reason God created you and me, and every one of us here today. And love, my dear brothers, is the reason for your priesthood.

One of the saints said: “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.”

In the heart of God there is a deep longing. The Father longs for every man and woman to share in his love, and to become sons and daughters in his family, in the kingdom of love that he is building here on earth in his Church.

That’s why the Father sent his only Son into the world to die for our sake and be raised. And that’s why the Son is now sending you into the world — to continue his mission of love.

Remember what Jesus tells you today: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.”

Your priesthood will always be fruitful if you stay rooted in his love. “For the love of Christ impels us,” St. Paul tells you today.

Love your people as Jesus loves them, with all your heart and strength. Always be ready to lay down your life for the flock he has entrusted to you.

If you do everything for the love of Christ, then nothing you do will be in vain!

This is true for all of us in the Church. We are here to spread the love of God wherever we find ourselves. In our work, in our homes, in society.

The priest is ordained in persona Christi, to be the living image of Jesus, and he is called to be our leader in the ways of love.

Today you will give your life to Jesus, and in exchange, Jesus will make you instruments of his love.

Through your lips, he will proclaim his word of truth and pronounce his words of forgiveness. Into your hands, he will come down from heaven to give his body for the life of the world; he will pour out his blood for our salvation.

Brothers, as his priests, you are going to be the leaders of the Eucharistic revival in our times.

I think we all recognize that there is something happening in the world today, something exciting. There’s a new movement of the Spirit.

People are searching for meaning, and they’re finding God! People are looking for love, and they’re coming back to Jesus!

Everywhere around us, we can see the signs: God’s love is breaking into the world, and into the lives of the men and women of our times!

The Eucharist is the heart of God’s plan, it’s the heart of the mystery of love that moves creation and moves history.

And today he is placing this mystery in your hands.

He is anointing you, as he anointed the prophet in today’s first reading: “To announce a year of favor from the Lord, a day of vindication by our God.”

Through your priesthood, Jesus will come to seek and save the lost, to gather into one all his children from the ends of the earth.

Through you, he will stand and knock at the door of every heart, inviting all to share in his divinity, as he humbled himself to share in our humanity.

What an exciting time to be a priest!

And what an exciting time for all of us to be alive and be Catholic! To play our part in this great mystery of God’s love that is breaking into the world!

Let us entrust our new priests to the heart of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Fair Love, and Mother of Priests.

Let us ask her intercession for all our priests! And may she win for us many more vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life!