My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
I’m not sure that we need a homily anymore. But I’ll do my best.
This is such a beautiful day of joy! We give thanks to God today and to Pope Francis for this great gift of a new auxiliary bishop for the family of God here in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
My dear Bishop-elect Trudeau, today, through the laying on of hands, you will become a spiritual link in a sacred chain that extends back to our Lord’s founding of his Church in the calling of his twelve apostles.
The Gospel passage today remembers the calling of St. Peter and the first apostles. But what we are doing is also a historic moment in God’s saving plan. Because today we ordain a successor in the line of those apostles.
As we heard in the Gospel, those first apostles did not follow Jesus because he promised them a privileged or an easy life. And no bishop is a prince. Every bishop is an ordinary worker. “A man with a boat,” like Simon Peter in the Gospel.
Bishop-elect Marc, today Jesus is calling you, just as he called Peter. He is asking for your “boat,” for your faith, your abilities and gifts.
In calling you to be a bishop, Jesus wants to use your life to help him to teach and to heal and to proclaim the hope of God.
Jesus is asking you today: “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” And, as Archbishop Pierre said, these are the beautiful words that you have chosen for your episcopal motto.
You have given your life to walk with Jesus. You have been a good priest, with a heart for your people.
But now our Lord is calling you to go deeper, to go where you have never gone before. Deeper in your friendship with him. Deeper in your service to the family of God.
Episcopal ministry would be impossible if it was only about us and our powers. But with God all things are possible. And, I think every bishop here today would say the same thing: Jesus does not leave your side. Ever.
The bishop knows that he’s doing the Lord’s work, not his own. If we try to do what he asks of us in every moment, we know he will do the rest.
The bishop is always a man who is walking with Jesus. In our ministry, we are always standing in the same “boat” alongside him.
When Pope Francis spoke to the bishops of the United States in Washington in 2015, he said: “We need to learn from Jesus — or better to learn Jesus, meek and humble; to enter into his meekness by contemplating his way of acting.”
The bishop ministers, as Jesus ministered. Personally. With tenderness and compassion. We need to know our people — what they hope for, what they are anxious about, how we can help them.
We hold a beautiful and simple truth in the Church — that Jesus Christ died and rose for you and for me. This is how much God loves us! And in Jesus, we see God’s beautiful dream for every person. In him, we see the path that leads to happiness in this life and to a love that never ends in eternity.
This is the joy of the bishop! We are privileged to accompany our people on the road to heaven. We go with them — speaking the Word of God to their hearts, nourishing them with the one Bread of Heaven that gives us the “taste of eternity.”
In that beautiful dialogue in today’s Gospel, Simon Peter says to Jesus, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.”
A good bishop is always honest with himself and with God. He recognizes that he is a sinner who needs the Lord — even more than the people he serves.
But the bishop knows — and he proclaims — that we can keep coming back to Jesus. Always. He is never far from us.
Bishop-elect Trudeau, Jesus is sending you out today “into the deep.”
I pray that you will live your new calling with joy and love. Be humble and gentle and patient. In everything you do, try to do as Jesus would do.
The whole family of God, and all the communion of saints and apostles are praying for you in this beautiful moment. I ask our Blessed Mother Mary to stay close to you, to watch over and guide you.
And let’s ask our Blessed Mother, the Queen of the Angels, to pray for all our bishops, that we might always serve our people with love and mercy!
1. Readings: Isaiah 61:1-3; Acts 10:37-43; Luke 5:1-11.