A few highlights from a thoughtful and inspiring homily, delivered at his installation Tuesday afternoon at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph:
Brother priests, I say thank you to each of you for saying yes to Our Lord’s invitation to come follow Him. Some of you are recently ordained, and some of you have been ordained for decades, but all of you share in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ. I am truly grateful for your love of God and his Holy People here in Brooklyn and Queens, especially during challenging times. Like Andrew, you are out in the community, among God’s people, on the front lines of hope.
You know the needs and longings. You are involved in the lives of your parishioners, walking with them and sharing their joys and sorrows, hopes and burdens. But, also like Andrew, you’ve heard the call of Jesus, “Come and see,” “Follow me.” With these words, He has transformed your life. You are convinced that the answer to every human longing is Jesus himself. And so, you do what Andrew did. You bring people in their need to Jesus and at the same time bring the best of what we have to offer to Him so that He may transform it miraculously, to feed the crowd.
Let the Lord bring you back to the shore today, to those moments when he reached out to call you, “come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” Remember the hope and joy you had on your ordination day, for many of you it was at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint James, which in 2022 will be celebrating its 200th Anniversary. Let us all remember the Joy and the hope that comes from Jesus Christ.
Religious men and women, you too have given your lives to God in a very powerful way. You give your all. We thank you as well, we love you and we are all so moved by your powerful witness. In a prophetic way, you live out the charisms of your community and remind of deeper realities. How did Jesus meet you at the shore? How did he call you? Let him renew that call to you as well. We don’t do this alone, do we? We serve what Pope Francis calls an “evangelizing community.” Together, all of us, women and men in all our parishes and institutions; deacons, staff, and volunteers, we have a message that is too important to hold in: The Joy of the Gospel and the Splendor of Truth.
The world is found in Brooklyn and Queens, every language, every nationality, we truly are the Diocese of Immigrants; and together with the Joy of the Gospel, we are all called to be like Andrew and work together to share the Good News, to tell others about Jesus; to share the loaves and the fish that we have so that God will use what we have and miracles will take place.
Disciples of Jesus seek always to see the deeper meanings in life: to kneel and wash the feet of one another in fidelity to Christ and to touch his wounds in the sufferings of his people. Indeed, there are so many wounds all around us: division and polarization, the scourge of racism, a loss of the dignity of the human person created in the image and likeness of God, a throwaway culture that devalues even human life itself, violence, abuse, to name but a few.
It is Christ who heals. It is He who renews. I ask everyone here today to recall those moments of encounter with Jesus himself: calling you to service; to deeper faith; to marriage; to family; to pouring out your very life in love — even to total self-gift. Jesus, as he walks with you, is transforming your life. Lastly, to all the young people of our Diocese, be open to the calling of Christ in your lives, be open as Andrew and the others were open to the call of Jesus. Don’t be afraid to give yourself totally to him. Be bold. Always know the love that comes from God, the hope that comes from God, and the Joy that comes from being in the presence of God.
So, from the shores of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee to now those of Brooklyn Harbor, Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, Breezy Point, Rockaway Beach, Little Neck Flushing Bay, the East River, and Long Island Sound, let us encounter the Lord Jesus together anew. We hear his voice “Come after me, I will make you fishers of men.” May we never lose the joy of this encounter and may we be filled with that same apostolic zeal to witness boldly to the Joy of the Gospel and the Splendor of Truth.