I am reading today for the first time the homily of Archbishop J. Peter Sartain at his installation Mass in Seattle on December 1, 2010. Archbishop Sartain and I studied together in Rome in the late 1970s, and even though we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in nearly 30 years, he quickly remembered my name without prompting an number of years ago when I met him again in Arkansas, where he was bishop at the time.
I have said this before, and I say it again, Peter is a genuinely decent, holy man. He is a good bishop.
Here is an excerpt from his homily I think worth noting. www.seattlearchdiocese.org/Archdiocese/Sartain/Docs/InstallationHomily.pdf
And so, very conscious of my weaknesses and my faults, what I have, I will offer you: the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel who is Jesus Christ….It is especially important to bishops, priests, deacons and consecrated religious that Jesus remain literally in our minds and in our hearts at all times, that we recognize he is always before us and we are to follow. We bear his image, his mystery, as our gift to those we encounter in the course of the day. Conscious of our awesome call to serve in the name of Jesus, we will continue to ask pardon for the times we have not been faithful to that call, and especially seek God’s healing for his little ones who have been harmed by clergy andd others acting in the name of the Church….. None of us has anything of our own to offer, and so together we follow him to whom we must give everything, so that through us he may give his everything to those we serve. Pope John Paul II once wrote (in Radiation of Fatherhood),
“I have decided to eliminate from my vocabulary the word ‘my.’ How can I use that word when I know that everything is Yours? … I myself am more ‘Yours’ than ‘mine.’ So I have learned that I may not say ‘mine’ of that which is Yours. I may not say, think or feel it. I must free myself, empty myself of this.”
The name of Jesus should be on our lips in every homily, at every meeting, in every counseling session, at every moment of prayer… at times of confusion and anxiety… at times of distraction… at times of temptation… praying the name of Jesus, we take our place among the leprous and the grieving, the blind and the lame, the sinful and the searching, who cried out to him for help….
My brothers and sisters, I have neither silver nor gold, nor anything of my own to offer you — yet our Lord has sent me to feed you. My food, your food, is to do the Father’s will in his Son, Jesus Christ; to proclaim Christ; to build up the Church; to proclaim the truth in love.”
This is a good meditation for all of us clergy, and lay too, for the upcoming week.