Sunday, March 23, 2014

Homélie à l’ordination de Mgr Riesbeck / Homily at Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Christian


Solemnity of St. Joseph—Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica
Ottawa, Ontario -- Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Episcopal Ordination of Christian Riesbeck, CC
Titular Bishop of Tipasa in Numidia, Auxiliary Bishop of Ottawa
[Texts: 2 Samuel 7.4-5a, 12-14a, 16; Psalm 89 (88).1-2,3-4, 26+28; Romans 4.13, 16-18, 22; Luke 2.41-51a]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ / Mes chers frères et sœurs dans le Seigneur: Pendant plusieurs siècles, le père adoptif de Jésus était peu mentionné. Il a commencé à prendre sa place dans la dévotion de l’Église surtout à l’époque de la fondation du Canada. Presque toutes les grandes figures religieuses de notre nation étaient très attachées à Joseph : les Jésuites, Marie de l’Incarnation et Marie Madeleine de la Peltrie.

La révérence des premiers arrivants pour l’Époux de Marie et le Père adoptif de Jésus n’est pas restée sans effets. Le Bienheureux Pie Neuf (IX) a proclamé saint Joseph patron de l’Église universelle à l’époque où saint Alfred Bessette – le Frère André – entrait dans la Congrégation de Sainte-Croix à Montréal. Ombre du Père des Cieux, il est un saint modeste et caché à qui sont dus respect et révérence.

Canada’s early colonists were part of a current of spirituality that had a great reverence for the Spouse of Mary and Jesus’ foster father, and later on this had its effects in the Church worldwide. Blessed Pius IX proclaimed Saint Joseph patron on the Universal Church around the time Brother Andre entered religious life in Montreal and began his project of honouring Joseph with an oratory that has become a spectacular basilica. Then, Saint Joseph was named principal patron of Canada and the Archdiocese of Ottawa.

The New Testament depicts Joseph as a resourceful individual, who earned his living as a tradesman, as a carpenter or stonemason; he was someone who worked shaping materials. He was a person who struggled as he sought to know God's will. And once he learned God's will, Joseph did it promptly and completely, even when this disturbed his own plans.

In Luke’s gospel, Joseph is shown as a parent who cared deeply about Jesus, both rejoicing in awe at the marvels attending his birth and sorrowing when Jesus was lost. St. Luke depicts the parents of Jesus as filled with joy, awe, puzzlement and amazement at all the events that accompanied the birth of Jesus. In the Passover of Jesus' twelfth year, Luke has Mary describe her sentiments and Joseph's as those of concern and sorrow, the very feelings we would expect of good parents. Joseph was not an unfeeling and distant guardian of Jesus, but one who could manifest the joys and sorrows of a parent struggling with a teenager.


This truth of seeking and following God’s will in family relationships speaks to our own day when we are called to provide for our children’s well-being ; in the ideal order, not two mothers or two fathers, but a mother and father who, in their complementarity can help the child or children to grow into holistic persons.

The role of the Bishop in the Church bears analogies with the role that Joseph played in the Holy Family, exercising spiritual paternity on those entrusted to his care, just as Joseph cared for Jesus and Mary.

So, dearly beloved, let us consider carefully the particular rank in the Church to which our brother Christian is about to be raised. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was sent by the Father to redeem the human race, himself sent twelve Apostles into the world. They were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel and to sanctify and govern all the peoples gathered into one flock. Moreover, that this office might remain to the end of time, the Apostles chose helpers for themselves.

Through the laying on of hands, by which the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred, the apostles handed on to their successors the gift of the Holy Spirit, which they had received, from Christ. The tradition handed down from the beginning through the unbroken succession of Bishops is preserved from generation to generation, and the work of the Saviour continues and grows even to our own times.


C’est notre Seigneur Jésus Christ lui-même, Grand Prêtre pour l’éternité, qui est présent au milieu de vous dans l’évêque entouré de ses prêtres. C’est lui, en effet, qui dans le ministère de l’évêque, ne cesse d’annoncer l’Évangile et de dispenser aux croyants les sacrements de la foi. C’est lui Jésus qui, par la paternité spirituelle de l’évêque, ajoute à son corps de nouveaux membres. C’est lui qui, par la sagesse et la prudence de l’évêque, vous guide dans votre pèlerinage terrestre, jusqu’au bonheur éternel.

Accueillez donc avec joie et reconnaissance notre frère Christian, que nous, les évêques, recevons aujourd’hui dans le collège épiscopal par l’imposition des mains. Honorez-le comme le ministre du Christ et l’intendant des mystères de Dieu, celui qui a reçu mission de rendre témoignage à l’Évangile de vérité, de remplir le ministère de l’Esprit et de la justice et, surtout aujourd’hui selon sa devise, de communiquer la joie de l’Évangile.

Et vous Christian, notre frère très cher choisi par le Seigneur, pensez, comme le dit l’Épître aux Hébreux, que vous avez été pris d’entre les hommes et chargé d’intervenir en faveur des hommes dans leurs relations avec Dieu : l’épiscopat n’est pas un honneur, mais un devoir; il faut que l’évêque serve plutôt qu’il ne domine. En effet, selon le commandement de Jésus notre Maître, celui qui est le plus grand doit prendre la place du plus petit, et celui qui commande, la place de celui qui sert. Prêchez à temps et à contretemps, exhortez avec une grande patience et avec le souci d’instruire. Dans la prière et l’offrande du sacrifice eucharistique pour le peuple dont vous êtes chargé, employez-vous à demander la grâce de Dieu sous toutes ses formes, qui vient de la sainteté du Christ.

In the Church, be a faithful steward, moderator and guardian of the mysteries of Christ. As one chosen by the Father to rule over his family, be mindful always of the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep and is known by them, and who did not hesitate to lay down his life for them.


With the charity of a father and brother, love all those whom God places in your care, especially the Priests and Deacons, who are our co-workers in the ministry of Christ, but also the poor and the weak, immigrants, and strangers. Exhort the faithful to work with you in your apostolic labour; do not refuse to listen willingly to them.

Never relax your concern for those not yet gathered to you into the one fold of Christ; they are also entrusted to you in the Lord. Never forget that you are joined to the College of Bishops in the Catholic Church made one by the bond of charity, and therefore you should have a constant concern for all the Churches and gladly come to the support of Churches in need.


And so, keep watch over the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit appoints you to govern the Church of God: in the name of the Father whose image you represent in the Church; and in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, whose office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd you will discharge; and in the name of the Holy Spirit who gives life to the Church of Christ and by his power strengthens us in our weakness.



Photos:
Raymond Dubois

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