Tuesday, April 30, 2013

He learned obedience from what he suffered...

Deacons Night 
Hebrews 5: 8-10 

He learned obedience from what he suffered, and thus became our great High Priest, the giver and the gift, the altar and the sacrifice, “emptying himself” even unto death, death on a cross.

And that is what you are seek to become. A Priest, in the model of Christ Jesus, the great High Priest. A sharer in the priesthood and mission of your Bishop, successor of the Apostles who were ordained by Christ: Your Bishop, to whom you promise an obedience motivated by charity and manifested in respect. Your Bishop, in whose decisions you will recognize the will of Christ.

He learned obedience from what he suffered.

Such obedience is very unpopular today. Actually, it’s never been too popular. We want to do our own will, plot our own course, plan our own careers. How else could we ever get ahead?

But you will be ordained, my dear brothers, to conform yourselves to the one who chose to be last, to wash feet, and to be obedient to his Father’s will even unto death, death on a Cross.

He learned obedience from what he suffered.

But what happens, you might have asked yourself, if the Bishop asks me to do the impossible, something which is just beyond my capacity. Cardinal Arinze once offered this advice: “even when in the worst of scenarios the bishop assigns a task that surpasses the capacity of the priest or could make him suffer or harm him God will not cease to protect the priest who is obedient...in the end God protects the priest who respects and obeys the Bishop with firm fidelity and nobility of character. The intervention of God might appear after months or even years, but it does finally come. Some saints were only done justice after death...”

He learned obedience from what he suffered.

Saint Catherine of Siena used to say “Obedience is the measure of humility, and humility is the measure of obedience.”

And to paraphrase another great Saint:

‘Whether you are sent to a town ot a country mission, employed in a college as a teacher or a President, whether your work puts you before the eyes of the world or leaves you hidden in obscurity, it is all pastoral, all apostolic...For you may be well assured that obedience to your Bishop makes your union with the Prince of Pastors complete...and you could not do the will of God better than by being where he sent you.’

So, in just a few weeks you will repeat the promise you first made in your ordination as a Deacon. You will kneel before your Bishop and place your life in his hands and promise to live a life ‘of constant readiness to allow yourself to be taken up, indeed consumed by the needs and demands of the flock.’

And may God, who has begun this good work in you, bring it to completion,

Monsignor James P. Moroney