My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Once again we gather as a family of God in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and it is, as I was saying, a day of great joy for all of us. And, as I said, I know it is a beautiful day for all of you — your wives, your families and your parishes.
So my brothers, today, by the imposition hands and the prayer of consecration you are going to be consecrated to the ministry of God’s Word and the ministry of charity — to serve the whole family of God here in the Archdiocese.
In the Gospel that we have just heard, Jesus Christ is speaking to each one of you, personally. He says: You did not choose me! But I chose you.
This is the mystery of your calling! You have been chosen for this sacred Order of Deacons. Chosen by Jesus Christ himself!
Jesus is calling you today, in a personal way, to be close to him. To stay close by him in his service of love to God’s people.
What a beautiful gift our Lord is giving to you in this Sacrament.
So always try to live with the sense of wonder and awe that we heard in our first reading today. Because what God says to the prophet Jeremiah in that first reading —he is also saying to you:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you.
We all know that the name “deacon” means one who serves.
And going back to our Gospel passage today, we also heard Jesus say: I no longer call you servants, but friends.
Jesus is calling you to serve those he came to serve. But even more than that, Jesus is calling you to friendship. What an amazing gift it is for all of us. The possibility of having that personal friendship with our Lord Jesus Christ that we are called to have. That it is so beautiful for each one of you today, as in a special way, you receive once again that beautiful call.
So as you have this call today — to have beautiful and personal friendship with Jesus Christ, so try to know everything you can about who Jesus is. Do not let a day go by without reflecting on his person in the Gospel. Talk to him. Ask him for the strength you need to imitate him in your thoughts and actions. You know it just came to my mind that that is what we do with our friends when we try to increase our friendship. Nowadays, for good or bad, just talking to people, we have all the electronic things, facebook and text messages. I don’t know how much time people spend working on that facebook page, must be a lot, no? I don’t want to know. So look at Jesus’ facebook page, every day, many times, which is the Gospels obviously.
My brothers, in the second reading that we heard today, St. Paul gives you some good advice for your lives as Deacons.
He tells you to be a good example for the people you serve. He tells you, basically, that you need to have a life of simple holiness and an attitude of humble service.
That’s good advice. And if you live this way, if you carry out your ministry of love and service with fidelity and humility — you will find joy. And your ministry will be fruitful, it will change people’s lives.
And we need to be a Church that changes lives, that makes all things new! A Church that worships God and serves his people. We need to be a Church of mercy and love — especially to the poor and the wounded.
So, my dear brothers, you are being ordained on the vigil of Pentecost, so we ask the Holy Spirit in a special way today to give you light and strength and wisdom as you begin your new lives as Deacons.
We also need to ask for the prayers of our Blessed Mother Mary. May she help you, my brothers — and all of us — to serve Jesus with a generous heart!
1. Readings: Jer. 1:4-9; Ps. 117; 1 Tim. 4:12-16; John 15:9-17.