My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
Indeed this is a day of great joy for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as we ordain these men to serve in the permanent diaconate. I know this is a day of grace and joy for each one of you, my dear brothers, your wives, and all of your families.
This reading speaks to you, in a special way, my brothers.
You are here because God has called you to a deep identification with his mission. You have a personal call from God to serve him in the sacred Order of Deacons.
I hope you never forget that your vocation — your personal calling from God — is a great grace that God has given to you. Not because you somehow deserve this. But because God has loved you and called you personally to be close to him in service.
To be ordained a deacon is to be invited to contemplate the face of Jesus — to get to know him, to love him and to imitate his life. What a special, beautiful gift you are about to receive in this Sacrament!
The second reading that we heard this morning tells us about the origins of the diaconate in the early Church.
When you are consecrated today by the laying on of hands and the prayer of consecration, your names will be written in that long line of deacons that begins with these first heroic men we hear about today — St. Stephen, St. Philip and the rest.
As deacons you will continue the mission of those first deacons — as co-workers, along with my brother bishops and priests, in the apostolic ministry in this great Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
But in order to carry out that mission you need to have a heart like the apostles and those first deacons. You need a servant’s heart, a heart of love.
Yesterday we celebrated the feast of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is a beautiful reminder that the heart of God — the heart of Jesus— is love.
Through your service of love, as deacons, you will show our brothers and sisters how much God loves them. Through your service of love, you will show them how much God longs to touch each one of us personally with his love. How he loves to wash away our sins, to heal our wounds, to sanctify us and make us holy.
Jesus Christ became the servant of all.And that’s what you are called to be! Servants of the family of God here in Los Angeles.
So let us all prepare for this laying on of hands — this Sacrament in which our brothers will be configured in a deep and spiritual way to the Son of Man who came to serve, not to be served.
Especially ask today for the intercession of Mary, Our Blessed Mother. Today especially as we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. We ask her for her intercession that each one of you, all of us, feel in a special way the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
That each of you today and in your ministry as deacons in the service of God and his family be instruments of the love of God in your lives. And may Mary help all of us to gain the grace we need to always serve God and our brothers and sisters in love.